Dates are popular as a superfood worldwide. These fruits are rich in vital nutrients, vitamins, and fiber, which provide the human body and mind with several health benefits. We can eat Dates fresh when they harvest them from palm trees, or dried and stored for a long period of time. This makes them one of the most versatile foods. With various shapes and tastes, there are more than 600 types of dates. But the Ajwa date variety is highly prominent throughout the world. Ajwa date is a popular type of dates, grown mainly in Medina, Saudi Arabia. These dates are wonderfully soft and fruity with a prune-like flavor, varying from a dark brown to almost black color, and appear to be of a dry sort.
Dates are considered the oldest fruit in the world. Fossil evidence suggests that dates date back at least 50 million years ago. Its scientific name Phoenix Dactylifera comes from Ancient Greece. As the date palm grew greatly in Phoenicia, it was considered to be the homeland of the trees. It became known as the Phoenix or tree of Phoenicia. It was an emblem of the city and was also featured on Phoenician coins. A reference to the long shaped dates and the bundles in which they grow, dactylifera means “finger bearing”.Greek mythology links the date palm to the immortal Phoenix. Pliny the Elder mentions the Phoenix bird in Natural History (1 AD), who would build its nest at the top of a date palm. The bird would then catch fire from the sun’s flames after 500 years and would resurrect itself from its own ashes. Some myths claim that the date palm, along with the famous bird, would die and come back to life. The date palm tree is native to the North African and Middle Eastern deserts. The main producers are countries in the Middle East and North Africa. They produce approximately 8.5 Million tons of dates annually.
The Quran mentions dates 23 times. They are a sign of tiches and prosperity and have a special place in the history of Islam. Muslims believe date palms and their fruit are divine. The term for date palm in Arabic is “nakhl”, and its fruit’s name is “tamr”. However, the word for date in Turkish is “hurma”, and in Arabic, it means “respect”. In Turkish culture, it is easy to notice the special place dates occupy. At Iftar tables during Ramadan, dates are essential. The modest Iftar table of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) always had dates. The Prophet used to break his fast with water and dates. He chose to break the fast with raw food, that is not touched by fire, for the latter was thought to be a symbol of wrath. If there were no dates, he started with water, salt, or olives. Ajwa dates in particular have the effect of a natural antidote. It is said that if a person eats 7 Ajwa first thing in the morning, no sorcery or poison will harm him.
Dates and date palms were mentioned several times in both Hadith and Quran. The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “If somebody takes seven ajwa dates in the morning, neither magic nor poison will hurt him that day”. [Sahih Bukhari]
Referring to eating seven Ajwa dates, the Prophet (PBUH) said: “No harm will come to him until he reaches the evening”. [Sahih Muslim]
Narrated Abu Huraira (RA): “Once the Prophet (PBUH) distributed dates among his companions and gave each one seven dates. He gave me seven dates too, one of which was dry and hard, but none of the other dates was more liked by me than that one, for it prolonged my chewing it”. [Sahih Bukhari]
Narrated Ibn Umar (RA)I was with the Prophet (PBUH) while he was eating fresh dates. He said, “From the trees, there is a tree that resembles a faithful believer”. I wanted to say the date palm, but I was the youngest among them (so I kept quiet). He added, “It is the date palm”. [Sahih Bukhari]
Abu Hurairah (RA) narrated that the prophet (PBUH) said: “Al Ajwa is from Paradise and it contains a cure for poison. Truffles are a form of manna, and its liquid is a cure for the eye”. [Jami’ at-Tirmidhi]
“And shake the trunk of date-palm towards you, it will let fall fresh ripe dates upon you” [Surah Maryam: Verse 25]
“Therein are fruits, date-palm producing sheathed fruit stalks” (55:11)
“Then we brought forth for you therewith gardens of date-palms and grapes, wherein is much fruit for you, and whereof you eat” (23:19)
“With it, He causes to grow for you the crops, the olives, the date-palms, the grapes, and every kind of fruit. Verily! In this is an evident proof and a manifest SIGN for people who give thought”. (16:11)
“Or you have a garden of date-palms and grapes, and cause rivers to gush in their midst abundantly“. (17:91)
Consuming Ajwa dates regularly prevents the blockage of blood vessels, stimulates and strengthens the functioning of the heart. The simple fact that they contain vitamin B, which plays a crucial role in getting rid of unhealthy amounts of homocysteine in the blood, will affirm the benefits of Ajwa dates for the heart. Magnesium found in these dates also helps sustain the heartbeats.
This type of dates is rich in phosphorus and calcium, which in turn helps preserve strong bones and teeth. The health benefits of Ajwa dates make it a superfood for reinforcing bones and battling off painful ailments.
Dates contain vast amounts of natural sugars, such as glucose, fructose, and sucrose, which increases energy levels immediately. Ajwa dates have a low Glycemic index, so they do not result in a significant increase in blood sugar, which makes them the type of dates suitable for people with diabetes.
Ajwa dates act as an excellent source of antioxidants. Selenium and other essential nutrients found in it may also be able to prevent cancer from happening. Consuming Ajwa dates daily helps the body fix the functioning of the immune system. It can also help protect from different diseases and strengthens the body’s immunity.
To sum up, everything that has been stated so far, Ajwa dates are a great source of fiber that benefits the digestive system. This date variety is one of the best ingredients for muscle development, brain health, and vitality. It can also serve as a snack which makes it the most versatile food.