Of Dates and Ramadan!

Batanes to Tawi-Tawi

with Julmunir I. Jannaral

This is not referred to as the date of Ramadan. Many Aleem projected that the date of the 1st day of Ramadan will most likely start on Saturday, April 2, 2022.

But the Dates I am referring to here are the Dates considered as the Staple food in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. 

During my 1st Hajj and 2nd Hajj as well, I frequented the Mall known as Bin Daud  just in front of the Masjidil Haram. My frequent visit to the grocery of this Mall is to buy the 1st Class Dates which are dry and with Almond too.  Unlike the Dates being distributed for Free by the Saudi Embassy in Makati it is not dry or not Export Quality. However no matter it is wet or dry still the Filipino Muslims in time of Ramadan are very much thankful to the Saudi Ambassador for giving these dates for free.

However in last year Ramadan in the year of the Hegira 1442 or year 2021, many Muslim Filipinos are expecting that National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF) where the Saudi Ambassador used to course through the Free Dates they are giving to the Filipino Muslims many usual recipients whoever is the NCMF Secretary they stand to receive at least a package of the Dates.

However, during the time of former NCMF Secretary Saidamen Pangarungan, many kept on waiting until the last day of Ramadan thinking they can received the Free Dates. However No Dates and not a single seed was distributed. However it ended inside a bodega or warehouse of the NCMF. When I asked how come it was just kept in the bodega, the answer it was upon the order of the Head of NCMF General Services. 

In my case, when I realized that it would be impossible for me to receive even a small package of Dates, we call our Saudi friends in Riyadh to send us a package of Dates. Alhamdulillah it was still during the time of Ramadan when the package arrived in our residence.

  • Medical research has found out that fasting can cause mild health issues such as headaches, and low blood sugar. 
  • On the other hand, medical research has found out also eating dates after fasting has great nutritional and health benefits.
  • That’s why as I have said Dates are a staple food in Saudi Arabia and the wider Middle East, both in their own right and as a common ingredient in local dishes.
  • In particular, they form an important part of the diet of Muslims during Ramadan, when they are traditionally eaten every evening to break the fast.
  • The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is the second-largest producer of dates in the world. The UN World Food Program (WFP) and 30 countries around the world will this year receive 7,000 tons of dates donated by the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSRelief) in Riyadh. 
  • This was announced recently by Dr. Abdullah Al-Rabeeah, supervisor general of KSRelief, as part of a government aid program.

“The aid includes 4,000 tons of dates donated to the WFP, and another 3,000 tons will be sent to more than 30 countries,” he said.

In the Islamic tradition, dates are the food Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) ate when he broke his fast. The date palm, called “nakhl” in Arabic, and the fruit, called “tamr,” are mentioned more than any other fruit-bearing plant in the Qur’an, and are symbols closely associated with Islam and Muslims.

According to some Islamic scholars there are several Prophetic traditions asserting the significance of the fruit, which has been cultivated in the Arabian Gulf for thousands of years. 

For example, Prophet Muhammad once said: “Break your fast by eating dates as it is purifying.” However, it is not mandatory to break the fast with dates, as 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.”

There are many health benefits associated with eating dates, especially during Ramadan. They are rich in natural sugars and so raise blood sugar levels almost immediately after fasting, helping to rebalance the body’s systems. 

The high carbohydrate content slows the digestion process, leaving you feeling fuller for longer. It is advisable to have soup or salad after the dates to help your body get started again after fasting, and it is best if you wait for at least 20 minutes before having your main meal.

Fasting can cause mild health issues such as headaches, and low blood sugar.

According to medical research to help minimize the problems, it is a good idea to carefully plan and monitor your eating habits when fasting for the day. 

Dates are an excellent source of important nutrients such as fiber, sugar, magnesium, potassium and carbohydrates, so taking advantage of the benefits of the fruit during Ramadan is very important.

Dr. Hassan Mehdi, a doctor at a clinic in Riyadh, said that as well as providing much-needed minerals and energy to help you stay fit and healthy, dates prepare the stomach to receive food after being inactive due to fasting by activating the release of digestive juices.

Date palms are now grown extensively around the world. There are many varieties, with Amir Hajj, Saidy, Khadrawy and Medjool dates some of the finest, known for their rich flavors and superior quality.

The Ajwah variety, however, has particular religious and medicinal significance. The Prophet said: “Ajwah dates are from Paradise.” 

Researchers at King Saud University in Riyadh found evidence that the Ajwa date from Madinah contains active elements useful in the prevention of diseases such as cancer, and has anti-inflammatory properties similar to those of drugs such as ibuprofen and aspirin.

The study, published in the US-based Journal for Agriculture and Food Chemistry, also found that dates contain many flavonoid glycosides, which have anti-oxidant properties. 

The inhibition rate in Ajwa dates is equal to commercial anti-oxidant supplements. Another benefit is that the sugars in Ajwa dates are monosaccharides, which makes them suitable for people with Type 2 diabetes. They also contain folic acid, sulfur, protein, copper, iron, fiber and potassium.

Seven Ajwa dates have about 120 calories. People who eat five to seven  every day have been found to be less susceptible to carcinoma and circulatory diseases.

Around 300 varieties of dates are found in Saudi Arabia. Of the total production of dates, only about 6.8 percent is exported.

For your Comments or Suggestions, please send an email to: julmunir1845@gmail.com. You may call or send text message to Cellphone No. +639778430218.

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