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Guest DjibrilCisse

The benefits of dates

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Guest DjibrilCisse

Muslims generally break their fast by eating dates. 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 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. Modern science has

proved that dates are part of a healthy diet. They contain sugar, fat

and

proteins, as well as important vitamins. Hence the great importance

attached to them by the Prophet.

Dates are also rich in natural fibres. Modern medicine has shown that

they

are effective in preventing abdominal cancer. They also surpass other

fruits in the sheer variety of their constituents. They contain oil,

calcium, sulphur, iron, potassium, phosphorous, manganese, copper and

magnesium. In other words, one date is a minimum of a balanced and

healthy

diet. Arabs usually combine dates with milk and yogurt or bread, butter

and

fish. This combination indeed makes a self-sufficient and tasty diet

for

both mind and body. Dates and date palms have been mentioned in the

Holy

Qur'an 20 times, thus showing their importance. The Prophet likened a

good

Muslim to the date palm, saying, "Among trees, there is a tree like a

Muslim. Its leaves do not fall."

Sayyidah Mariam (the Virgin Mary) mother of Jesus (pbuh) had dates as

her

food when she felt labour pains and during confinement. They are

definitely the "crown of sweets," and ideal food which is easy to

digest,

and within half an hour of taking it, the tired body regains a renewed

vigour. The reason for this is that a shortage of sugar in the blood is

the

main factor that makes people feel hungry and not an empty stomach as

is

often assumed. When the body absorbs the nutritional essence of a few

dates, the feeling of hunger becomes appeased. When one breaking the

fast

with dates takes some other food afterwards, he cannot eat much. It

would

seem that breaking the fast with dates then helps one avoid excessive

eating.

Experiments have also shown that dates contain some stimulants that

strengthen the muscles of the uterus in the last months of pregnancy.

This

helps the dilation of the uterus at the time of delivery on one hand

and

reduces the bleeding after delivery on the other. Dieticians consider

dates

as the best food for women in confinement and those who are

breast-feeding.

This is because dates contain elements that assist in alleviating

depression in mothers and enriching the breast-milk with all the

elements

needed to make the child healthy and resistant to disease. The Prophet

(pbuh) has emphasized the importance of dates and their effectiveness

in

the growth of the fetus. He has also recommended they be given to

women.

Modern dietary institute now recommend dates to be given to children

suffering from a nervous nature or hyperactivity. The Prophet (pbuh)

has

also recommended dates as a medicine for heart troubles, according to

some

reports. Modern scie

Sayyidah Ayisha, (R.A.) wife of Prophet (pbuh), used to prescribe dates

for

those suffering from giddiness. It is now well known that a fall in the

level of the sugar in the blood and low blood pressure are among the

causes

of giddiness. She was also reported to have used dates combined with

cucumber to treat her over-slim condition! She said, "they've tried to

fatten me giving me everything. But I did not become fat. Then they

fattened me with cucumber and ripe dates and I gained!" Ayisha was

quite

correct, as we now know that one kilogram of dates contains nearly

3,000

calories which alone are sufficient to supply the minimum daily

requirements of an active man for one full day.

Dates are rich in several vitamins and minerals. When the level of

trace

elements falls in the body, the health of the blood vessels is affected

leading to an increased heart-rate and a consequent inability to

perform

its function with normal efficiency. As dates are also rich in calcium,

they help strengthen the bones. When the calcium content in the body

decreases, children are affected with rickets and the bones of adults

become brittle and weak.

Dates are also important in keeping up the health of eyes. It is quite

effective in guarding against night-blindness. In the early years of

Islam,

dates served as food for Muslim warriors. They used to carry them in

special bags hung at their sides. They are the best stimulant for

muscles

and so the best food for a warrior about to engage in battle.

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.

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