Ramadan 2022: Why dates are integral to holy month

The date palm and its fruit are both mentioned in the Holy Quran

File photo
File photo

By Aftab H. Kola

Published: Sat 9 Apr 2022, 10:29 PM

Last updated: Sun 10 Apr 2022, 6:38 AM

Dates are an integral part of ending one’s fast in Ramadan. Muslims attach tremendous importance to the date palm and its fruit because both are mentioned in the Holy Quran, Traditions (Ahadith) and Islamic history.

Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) explained the importance of the date palm thus: “If the Hour of Resurrection is upon you while you were planting a date palm, you should continue to work if you could.”

Fourteen centuries ago, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) broke his fast by eating dates, a tradition that is still followed by Muslims with the same fervour during the holy month of Ramadan.

In many places, the Quran notes the date palm’s significance as a portentous sign... for a people who believe.

Verse 6:99 reads: “It is He Who sends down rain from the skies: with it, We produce vegetation of all kinds: from some, We produce green (crops), out of which We produce grain, heaped up (at harvest); out of the date-palm and its sheaths (or spathes) (come) clusters of dates hanging low and near: and (then there are) gardens of grapes, and olives, and pomegranates, each similar (in kind) yet different (in variety): when they begin to bear fruit, feast your eyes with the fruit and the ripeness thereof. Behold! in these things, there are signs for people who believe.”

The date palm has been a vital source of livelihood for ages. The date palm, symbolic of a culture rich in history and religious traditions, forms the bedrock of the Arabian civilization. There was a time when the entire Arab economy was solely dependent on the production of dates and using the parts of the date palm for different purposes.

Notwithstanding the fact that oil has dramatically changed the economic profile of the majority of the Arab states, people of the region still attach great importance to the date palm the same way they used to do it before. Dates are rich in carbohydrates, protein and minerals and thus are a nutritious source of food.

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