A product of the date palm and cultivated since approximately 6000 B.C, the date fruit is one of the sweetest fruits around and also happens to come in many different varieties. Although dates can be eaten fresh, the fruit is very often dried, resembling raisins or plums. But whether fresh or dry, the health benefits of dates are still just as plentiful.
1 – Boosts your Brain Health – Sufficient vitamin B6 levels are associated with improved brain performance
2 – A Healthy Pregnancy and Delivery – A study performed by researchers at the University of Science and Technology set out to discover how the date fruit impacted labor parameters and delivery outcomes. After studying 69 women for a year and 1 month, the researchers found that “the consumption of date fruit in the last 4 weeks before labour significantly reduced the need for induction and augmentation of labour, and produced a more favourable, but non-significant, delivery outcome.
3 – Reduced Stroke Risk – After evaluating 7 studies published over a 14 year time period, researchers found stroke risk was reduced by 9% for every every 100 milligrams of magnesium a person consumes per day.
4 – Anti-Inflammatory – Dates are rich in magnesium – a mineral known for its anti-inflammatory benefits.
5 – Promoting Digestive Health, Relieving Constipation – Fiber is essential for promoting colon health and making for regular bowel movements. The insoluble and soluble fiber found in dates help to clean out the gastrointestinal system, allowing the colon to work at greater levels of efficiency. Some other benefits relating to fiber and colon health are reduced risks of colitis, colon cancer, and hemorrhoids.
The Prophet used to break his fast by eating some dates before offering Maghrib prayer, and if ripe dates were not available, he used to substitute them with some dried grapes. When they too were not available, he used to have a few sips of water, according to some reports.
Hadith from our Beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him)
(1) The Prophet (PBUH) said: “Break your fast by eating dates as it is purifying.” (Narrated by Ahmad)
(2) The Prophet (PBUH) said: “ Whoever finds dates should break his fast with them and the one who does not should break his fast with water because it is pure”
The Prophet (Peace & blessings of Allah be on him) said: (Whoever eats seven date fruits of the high land “Medina Munawwarah” in the morning, no poison or sorcery shall hurt him that day.)
The Prophet (Pbuh) used to combine dates with bread sometimes. At other times he mixed ripe dates with cucumber, or dates combined with ghee. He used to take all varieties of dates, but he preferred the variety called Ajwah.
Sayyidah Ayisha, (R.A.) wife of Prophet (Pbuh), used to prescribe dates for those suffering from giddiness.
In Quran, Surah Maryam (19), Verse number 23 ..
(1) In the Qur’an when Maryam(as) the mother of Prophet Jesus(as) was giving birth to him and she was experiencing pain, she was told to: ” Shake the trunk of the palm towards you and fresh, ripe dates will drop down onto you.”
(2) And in the earth are tracts (diverse though) neighboring, and gardens of vines and fields sown with corn, and palm trees – growing out of single roots or otherwise: watered with the same water, yet some of them We make more excellent than others to eat. Behold, verily in these things there are signs for those who understand! (Qur’an, 13:4)
(Shake also to thee the palm-trunk, and there shall come tumbling upon thee dates fresh and ripe. Eat therefore, and drink, and be comforted;)
And thereby He brings forth for you crops, and olives, and palms, and vines, and all kinds of fruit. Surely in that is a sign for a people who reflect.)
‘A’isha (Radi Allah Anha) reported Allah’s Messenger (sal-allahu-alleihi-wasallam) as saying: A family which has dates will not be hungry. [Sahih Muslim : Book 23, Number 5078]
‘A’isha (Radi Allah Anha) reported Allah’s Messenger (sal-allahu-alleihi-wasallam) as saying: ‘A’isha a family which has no dates (in their house) its members will be hungry; (or) ‘A’isha the family which has no dates its members may be hungry. He said this twice or thrice. [Sahih Muslim : Book 23, Number 5079]
“Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) never proceeded (for the prayer) on the Day of ‘Id-ul-Fitr unless he had eaten some dates.” Anas (radiallahu ‘anhu) also narrated,
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) is reported to have said: “if anyone of you is fasting, let him break his fast with dates. In case he does not have them, then with water. Verily water is a purifier.”
The Prophet (sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) used to eat odd number of dates. Bukhari (Hadeeth 2.73)
The date fruit and tree were dear to Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and the word “date” is mentioned in the Holy Qur’an more than 20 times.
While the date palm tree is called “nakhl,” the fruit is called “tamr” in Arabic.
The date palm, mentioned more than any other fruit-bearing plant in the Qur’an, is a symbol often associated with Islam and Muslims. Throughout the month of Ramadan, dates are a common ingredient in the Muslim diet.
The Prophet said: “Break your fast by eating dates as it is purifying,” (Ahmad).On the basis of this Hadith, Muslims insist on breaking their fasts with dates.
However, in another Hadith, the Prophet said, “If you have a date, break your fast with it, if you don’t have it, break the fast with water as it is purifying.” (Abu Dawood)
According to another Hadith, “The Messenger said: Ajwah dates are from Paradise.” (Al-Tirmidhi)
In Surah Maryam of the Holy Qur’an, Allah provided Prophet Isa’s (peace be upon him) mother Maryam (peace be upon her) with fresh dates when she was experiencing discomfort and pain during the final stages of her pregnancy.
“Shake the trunk of the palm toward you and fresh, ripe dates will drop down onto you.” (Surah Maryam: verse 25)
The significance of the date palm as a source of nutrition and sustenance is evident in the statement narrated by Ibn Umar (may Allah be pleased with him): “The Prophet said there is a tree among the trees which is similar to a Muslim (in goodness), and that is the date palm tree.” (Bukhari)
In another Hadith, the Prophet stressed the importance of dates as a major food item, saying, “People in a house without dates are in a state of hunger.” (Muslim)The excellence of date palms is also referred to in the following verse of the Holy Qur’an: “And in the earth are tracts (diverse though) neighboring, and gardens of vines and fields sown with corn, and palm trees — growing out of single roots or otherwise: watered with the same water, yet some of them We make more excellent than others to eat. Behold, verily in these things there are signs for those who understand.” (Surah Al-Raad, verse 4)
The date is also referred to in the Holy Qur’an as one of the blessings that would be offered in Paradise.
In several traditions the Prophet ate dates with some other fruits and vegetables. “Abdullah ibn Jaafar, may Allah be pleased with him, said the Messenger ate cucumbers with dates.” (Al-Tirmidhi) According to two other traditions recorded by Al-Tirmidhi, the Prophet ate dates with watermelon or muskmelon.
The Prophet also taught his disciples that the date was not only an antidote to poison but also an effective defense against black magic. “Whoever eats seven dates of the High Land of Madinah in the morning will not be hurt by poison or sorcery on that day.” (Bukhari)
“Rubay bint Mu’awwidh ibn Afraa said: ‘I took a plate of fresh dates and small cucumbers to the Messenger. He gave me a handful of jewelry, or a handful of gold.’” (Al-Tirmidhi)
In another Hadith, the Prophet exhorted the believers that “you should defend yourselves from the hellfire even with a piece of date.”
It has also been reported that the Prophet used to put chewed dates or honey into the mouths of newborn babies.
Reference to the palm tree could also be seen in chapter Qaf, Al-Shuara and Al-Nahl of the Holy Qur’an. In early descriptions of the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah, historians state that the leaves of the date palm were used as a roof covering.In the Islamic hadith literature, Ajwa dates are afforded a great position for their health and protective benefits. “Whoever has seven Ajwa dates every morning he will not be harmed on that day by poison or magic.” Sahih al-Bukhari nos. (5445) (5768) (5769) (5779). And also, “Ajwa dates are from paradise. Tirmidhee no. (2068). And referring to eating seven Ajwa dates, the Prophet Muhammad (upon him be prayers and salutations), “He will not be harmed by anything until he reaches the evening.” Sahih Muslim no. (2047).
Ajwa (عجوة) is a soft dry variety of date fruit from Saudi Arabia. It is cultivated at the city of Madinah. It is a delightfully soft and fruity date with fine texture.
There are some interesting hadith relating to the Ajwa dates in particular
Narrated by Saud; the Messenger (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) said, “If Somebody takes seven ‘ajwa dates in the morning, neither magic nor poison will hurt him that day.” [Sahih Bukhari, Book #71, Hadith #664 (also 663, 672)]
The Messenger (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam) also said, “Ajwa dates are from paradise.” [Tirmidhi (2068) hasan Saheeh and it was authenticated by Shaikh al-Albaani]
Referring to eating seven Ajwa dates, the Messenger (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam) said, “He will not be harmed by anything until he reaches the evening.” [Sahih Muslim (2047)]
A’isha (RAA) reported Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: “The ‘Ajwa’ dates of ‘Aliya’ contain heating effects and these are antidote in the early morning.” Sahih Muslim, Book #023.
Hadith #5083 Narrated Sa’d: The Prophet said, “If somebody takes some ‘Ajwa dates every morning, he will not be effected by poison or magic on that day till night.” (Another narrator said seven dates). (Sahih Bukhari)