Dates have long been celebrated not only for their sweet taste but also for the wealth of health benefits they offer. Ajwah Dates are the most popular among Muslims today and there are many important reasons why. Ajwa dates are quite dark in colour, slightly smaller and tend to be more of the dry and chewy variety of dates. Ajwa dates are extra special because they are actually cultivated in Madinah Munawwara and our beloved prophet (PBUH) was said to have blessed its seed. Today we will shed some light on the nutritional value of dates and the constructive elements they bring to the body. We will also take a closer look at Ajwa Dates which have specific health advantages that are supported by both religious and contemporary research.
Hadith Relating to Ajwa Dates
Narrated by Saud; the Messenger (PBUH) said,
If somebody takes seven Ajwa dates in the morning, neither magic nor poison will hurt him that day.[Sahih Bukhari, Book #71, Hadith #664 (also 663, 672)]
The Messenger (PBUH) also said:
Ajwa dates are from paradise.[Tirmidhi (2068) hasan Saheeh and it was authenticated by Shaikh al-Albaani]
Referring to eating seven Ajwa dates, the Messenger (PBUH) said:
He will not be harmed by anything until he reaches the evening.”[Sahih Muslim (2047)]
A’isha (RAA) reported Allah’s Messenger (PBUH) as saying:
The Ajwa dates of ‘Aliya’ contain heating effects and these are antidote in the early morning.”[ Sahih Muslim, Book #023.]
Hadith #5083 Narrated Sa’d: The Prophet (PBUH) said:
If somebody takes some ‘Ajwa dates every morning, he will not be affected by poison or magic on that day till night. (Another narrator said seven dates).[ Sahih Bukhari ]
The Prophet (PBUH) said:
When one of you breaks his fast, let him break it with dates for they are blessed.
Sayyidatuna ‘Aaisha (RAA) reported that the blessed prophet (PBUH) said:
The household which has dates will not go hungry.
The Prophet (PBUH) said:
Break your fast by eating dates as it is purifying.(Ahmad).
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.
The significance of the date palm as a source of nutrition and sustenance is evident in the statement narrated by Ibn Umar (RAA):
The Prophet said there is a tree among the trees which is similar to a Muslim (in goodness), and that is the date palm tree.(Bukhari)
Ajwa Dates Protects Us From Black Magic
The Nutritional Value of Eating Dates
- Protein, Minerals, and Vitamins: Dates serve as a natural nutritional resource, providing the body with a high percentage of proteins, minerals, and essential vitamins such as Vitamin A, B1, B2, and B6. These components play a vital role in building up body tissues and muscles.
- Pregnancy Support: Dates contribute to a smoother delivery for pregnant women by activating womb muscles during pregnancy and aiding in womb movement during delivery. Furthermore, dates minimize post-natal bleeding. (Hence, the verse “And shake the trunk of this palm tree towards you, it will drop fresh, ripe dates upon you”. Surah Maryam, Quran)
- Liver Health: Known for its healing properties, dates assist in treating liver conditions, acting as a beneficial remedy for parasitic diseases and hepatitis. The presence of Vitamin B2 further enhances their therapeutic impact.
- Anti-Ageing Properties: Dates can revitalize ageing processes, delaying the impact of ageing elements and providing immunity against brain and body fatigue.
- Digestive Aid and Kidney Health: Easy to digest, dates stimulate urine production, cleanse the kidneys, and contribute to liver health. They are recognized as a good appetizer and a perfect natural snack.
Dates are recognized as a natural resource that fulfils the nutritional needs of the body, aligning with Islamic teachings on the responsibility of caring for one’s health as a trust from Allah. The proteins, minerals, and vitamins they provide are considered blessings that contribute to the well-being of the body, a gift from the Creator.
Dates Help Prevent & Eliminate Parasites
Dates are rich in antioxidants, tannins being the most important of them. These tannins prevent cell damage and protect against inflammation. Eating dates on an empty stomach is known to kill intestinal worms.
Dates exhibit remarkable benefits for the digestive system, serving as a potent ally in promoting gut health. Renowned as one of the most effective anti-parasitical foods globally, dates actively engage in binding, destroying, and sweeping away various harmful elements from the gastrointestinal tract. This includes parasites, yeast, mould, fungi, heavy metals, unproductive bacteria, viruses, and other toxic pathogens. The bioactive compounds within dates ensure a thorough cleansing and detoxification process, contributing to a healthier and more balanced digestive environment. Incorporating dates into your diet not only offers a deliciously sweet treat but also contributes to the overall well-being of your digestive system.
Also, eating more raw garlic, pumpkin seeds, pomegranates, beets, and carrots can help prevent and eliminate parasites from the stomach, they have been used traditionally to kill parasites for decades. In one study, researchers found that a mixture of honey and papaya seeds cleared stools of parasites in 23 out of 30 subjects. (Source: Mount Sinai)
Ajwa Dates Health Benefits
- Abdominal Cancer Prevention: Ajwa Dates are recognized for their effectiveness in preventing abdominal cancer, making them a valuable addition to a health-conscious diet.
- Anaemia Prevention: These dates play a role in preventing anaemia, contributing to the overall well-being of the circulatory system.
- Nervous System Strengthening: Ajwa Dates are beneficial in strengthening the nervous system, aiding in energy production and combating fatigue.
- Hypertension Treatment: With properties to regulate blood pressure, Ajwa Dates serves as a natural treatment for hypertension.
- Bone Health: The consumption of Ajwa Dates contributes to maintaining healthy bones, providing essential minerals for bone density.
- Skin and Eyesight: These dates promote healthy skin and eyesight, enriching the body with nutrients that benefit both external and internal well-being.
- Protection Against Diseases: Ajwa Dates offers protection against diseases like pellagra, dermatitis, and dementia, showcasing their versatile health benefits.
- Cholesterol Reduction: Research suggests Ajwa Dates may help reduce triglycerides and cholesterol levels (LDL) in the blood.
- Cardiovascular Health: These dates contribute to protecting the heart and circulatory system, acting as a preventive measure against atherosclerosis and heart-related problems.
Abundant in nearly 70 bioactive minerals, surpassing documented levels, dates play a pivotal role in supporting the adrenal glands. Renowned as one of the most heart-healthy foods, dates harbour an unparalleled concentration of amino acids, with leucine notably contributing to maximizing the fruit’s potassium content. This synergy sustains and strengthens muscles and nerves while preventing the takeover of lactic acid during periods of stress. Beyond their nutritional prowess, dates boast anti-cancerous properties, positioning them as an essential component for individuals focused on disease prevention and striving for optimal health.
How Can we Incorporate Dates into our Diet?
Elevating your daily diet with the natural sweetness and nutritional benefits of dates isn’t as difficult as it seems. You can start your morning by adding chopped dates to your breakfast cereal or porridge, or add them to a jar of overnight oats for a sweet boost of energy.
As a convenient on-the-go snack, dates pair well with nuts, this combo is very common during iftars and weddings boasting a satisfying blend of textures and flavour.
Including dates in your salads or yoghurt bowls provides a refreshing contrast, while blending them into milkshakes & smoothies imparts a rich, caramel-like sweetness. Experimenting with date-sweetened recipes, such as energy bars or bliss balls, is another creative way to incorporate these versatile fruits into your daily routine, ensuring a nutritious and delicious addition to your overall diet.
Date Caramel Sauce Recipe:
Soak 15 large, pitted Medjool dates in boiling water for 10 minutes, then drain and add to a blender. Blend dates with 1/4 cup of honey, 1 tablespoon refined coconut oil, and 1 cup almond milk, adding 1/4 cup at a time (may need more or less, depending on desired consistency). Store in an airtight jar for up to 10 days. Makes about eight servings of 1/4 cup each.
Nutrition per serving: 173 calories, total fat 2.1g, saturated fat 1.4g, sodium 2.9mg, carbohydrates 42g, fibre 3.1g, sugar 37g, protein 0.9g.
Stuffed Date Appetizer
Dates are perfect for stuffing. Once pitted, they have a natural pocket just waiting to be filled with sweet or savoury fillings. Try goat’s cheese with chopped cucumber, or cream cheese with chopped nuts for a savoury option or stuff them with almond butter and fresh cream for a sweeter treat.
The Prophet (PBUH) Ate Dates with Cucumbers and Watermelon
I was at an Islamic talk once and it was Ramadhan, the time for Iftaar came and the masjid helpers handed out dates for us to break the fast. I was shocked to see half of the plate decorated with a variety of dates that were filled with cucumbers. It was the first time I had ever seen it. When I expressed my intrigue and questioned it, a beautiful sister informed me of the hadith about the Prophet (PBUH) eating dates with cucumber. It was the very first time I had heard this hadith. This Sunnah snack seemed strange at first, however, the combined consumption of cucumbers and dates yields extraordinary benefits, amplifying the individual virtues of these two ingredients.
Abdullah Ibn Jaf’ar reported:
I saw the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, eating fresh dates with cucumbers.[Sahih Muslim]
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) combined cucumbers with ripe dates saying:
The heat of the latter is reduced by the coolness of the former.[Bukhari, Ibn Dawood, Muslim and Ibn- Majah]
Rubay bint Mu’awwidh ibn Afraa (RAA) said:
I took a plate of fresh dates and small cucumbers to the Messenger. He gave me a handful of jewellery or a handful of gold.(Al-Tirmidhi)
In another hadith A’ishah (RA) narrated that the Prophet (PBUH) used to eat watermelon and ripe (fresh) dates together, saying:
The heat of this substance (dates) neutralizes the coolness of that (watermelon).Sunan al-Tirmizi
In Ibn al Qayyam’s insightful treatise, “Prophetic Medicine,” a unique perspective on the health benefits of cucumbers emerges when paired with dates. According to his narration, cucumbers, being inherently cold and wet, are best balanced when consumed alongside something hot and dry, such as raisins and dates, mitigating potential adverse effects on the body. The wisdom lies in combining foods with opposing natures and qualities to create a milder product, thus reducing the risk of harmful side effects.
Delving into the specifics, ripe dates are categorized as hot in the second degree. While they fortify a cold stomach, they come with drawbacks such as inducing thirst, posing risks to dental health, impacting blood quality, and triggering headaches, clogs, and prostate pains. In contrast, cucumbers exhibit a cold and wet nature in the second degree, countering thirst and providing a cooling effect on the stomach.
The juxtaposition of these two ingredients, with cucumbers introducing a cooling effect and dates contributing warmth, serves to harmonize their potential imbalances and neutralize any harm. Despite cucumbers being insipid and dates boasting sweetness, their union results in a palatable, sweet, and, most importantly, health-conscious snack.
Can you Enjoy the Benefits of Dates if you are Diabetic?
Dates, cherished in Islamic culture for their rich taste and profound symbolism, hold a special place in the hearts of Muslims worldwide. Beyond their sweetness, dates are esteemed for their remarkable health benefits, aligning with Islamic principles of nourishing the body as a trust from Allah (SWT).
What if you are Diabetic?
Are Dates Good for Diabetes?
Can Diabetic Individuals Consume Dates?
The good news is YES, diabetics are allowed to eat dates. Diabetic individuals can include dates in their diet, but it is crucial to do so in moderation and under the guidance of healthcare professionals. If you have too many dates as a diabetic, the natural sugars in them can impact your blood sugar levels, so monitoring the intake is essential for diabetic individuals. Having said that though, despite common misconceptions, dates prove to be a beneficial dietary choice for individuals managing diabetes and hypoglycemia. Dates play a crucial role in delivering essential glucose to the liver, effectively addressing the glucose depletion responsible for issues related to blood sugar levels.
So how much Dates is too much?
The recommended daily intake for the average diabetic shouldn’t be more than 3 dates. This can vary in each case. For the average person who is not Diabetic, the recommended amount to reap all the nutritional benefits of dates is between 3 – 7 dates daily.
Restrictions and Considerations
While dates offer numerous health benefits, diabetic individuals need to be mindful of the quantity consumed. Additionally, choosing whole, natural dates over processed varieties is recommended. Consulting with a healthcare provider is advised to determine the number of dates you can include in your diet, and individual responses may vary. The fibre content in dates can have a positive impact on blood sugar, but monitoring is necessary to prevent any adverse effects.
In conclusion, dates are a divine gift and a symbol of sustenance in Islamic tradition. Their consumption is encouraged, and when approached with mindfulness and moderation, they can be a source of both physical and spiritual well-being. Diabetic individuals can enjoy the goodness of dates by incorporating them into their diet, ensuring a good balance between health, faith, and nutrition.
While acknowledging the vast health benefits attributed to dates, especially Ajwa Dates, it is essential to approach health claims with diligence and undertake personal research. The traditional and historical significance of dates, coupled with the recommendations from the Prophet Muhammad (SAWS), underscores their esteemed status as a healthful and spiritually significant food source. For those seeking verified medical information, independent research is encouraged, ensuring a nuanced understanding of the remarkable benefits dates may offer.
As for me, the fact that it is recommended by the prophet (SAWS) himself, is enough reassurance for me to believe in the great rewards of eating them bi’idthnillah.
Ajwa dates are currently available to purchase on:
The Tastiest Date Milkshake Ever Recipe
- 7 Dates I used Ajwa dates but you can use any
- 1 Medium-sized banana sliced
- 150 ml Milk
- 1 tbsp Natural unsweetened yoghurt
- 1 tsp Cinnamon powder
- 7 Almonds softened, peeled & chopped
- In a blender, combine pitted dates, milk, banana, ground cinnamon, yoghurt and chopped soaked almonds.
- Blend until the mixture reaches a smooth and creamy consistency.
- If desired, add ice cubes for a refreshing chill.
- Pour into a glass, and garnish with a sprinkle of cinnamon or crushed almonds.
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