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DATES: The Blessed Fruit

The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is reported to have said: "If one of you is fasting, he should break his fast with dates. If dates are not available, then with water, for water is purifying." Related in Tirmidhi

Millions of Muslim across the world would have complied with this wise prophetic injunction during Ramadan. Only now contemporary research has indicated that dates contribute towards a healthy diet.

They are an ideal food with which to open a fast, easy to digest and within half an hour of ingesting the tired body regains a renewed energy. This occurs because a shortage of sugar in the blood is the main factor that makes a person feel hungry, so when the body absorbs the nutritional essences of a few dates, the feeling of hunger disappears. Hence when a fasting person breaks their fast with a few dates, they may find it difficult to eat a lot afterwards, something which should be avoided anyway.

Dates contain proteins, sugars, vitamins and are rich in natural fibres. Modern medical research has suggested that they are effective in preventing abdominal cancer. The very make-up of dates far exceeds that of other fruits, in terms of assortment, for they also contain, sulphur, copper, potassium, calcium, phosphorous, iron and magnesium. Dates and date palms have been mentioned in the Holy Quran some twenty times, indicating their importance.

Dieticians consider dates as a good source of nutrition for pregnant and breast-feeding women. This is because dates are said to contain elements that assist in alleviating depression in mothers and enriching the breast-milk with all the elements needed to make a child healthy and resistant to disease. Dates are rich in several vitamins and minerals including calcium, which is vital for the formation of strong bones. Dates are also said to keep the eyes healthy. The Prophet (pbuh) used to eat all types of dates, but he had a special liking for the variety called Ajwah. The final note is that we should try and consume this precious fruit in moderation, throughout the year and not just in Ramadan.



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