Muslims generally break their fast by eating dates. Prophet Muhammad (sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) 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 (sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) 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.
Dates are the fruits of the date palm tree which is a food of high nutritional value. They are used abundantly in the month of Ramadan when Muslims fast from dawn to dusk. The sweetness of the date takes the edge off hunger and this is another reason why fasts are opened with dates. This prevents a person from overeating after he has opened his fast.
Dates contain calcium, sulphur, iron, potassium, phosphorus, manganese, copper, magnesium, volatile oils, Vitamin-B6, folic acid, Potassium, Iron and Magnesium, proteins, sugars, vitamins and are rich in natural fibres which contribute to a healthy body and mind.
Dates provides natural sugar in the form of glucose and fructose which is ready for immediate absorption and, is infinitely far superior to cane-sugar. Modern science found that dates play an important role in the complete diet of man. They content sugar, fats, proteins and necessary vitamins.
Dates also contain such elements that are a very effective remedy for the prevention of stomach cancer progression.
Dates prevail over other fruit in their diverse composition; they contain iron, phosphor, copper, manganese, magnesium, calcium and many others.
Arabs often combine dates with milk, yoghurt or bread, butter and fish. Such combination undoubtedly provides a delicious diet, healthy for body and mind.
In the Holy Quraan dates are mentioned 20 times, that once more emphasizes a very important role of dates in human life.
After having eaten dates, even a very tired man for half an hour feels his forces return and energy restore
Eating dates has great benefits which can be illustrated as follows:
1.Prevents Cancer: Dates are very nutritious and contain natural fibres. Modern medicine has shown that they are effective in preventing abdominal cancer. In general Bedouin Arabs, who eat them on a regular basis, show an extremely low incidence rate of cancer.
2.Weak heart: Dates are an excellent remedy for weak heart. Dates soaked overnight should be taken twice a week which strengthens the heart. Bedouin Arabs who regularly consume dates have shown an extremely low rate of heart disease.
3.Treatment for Obesity: The wide variety of nutritious elements in dates makes it hunger-resistive! So treatment by eating few dates when feeling hungry helps reduce hunger and be filled. These dates will provide the body with the necessary sugar and stimulate the intestine which reduce hunger greatly, and eventually, reduce food consumption.
4.Eases child-birth: Eating dates eases the pain of childbirth. Scientifically they are known to contain hormones which strengthen the uterus, help produce milk for nursing mothers and also prevent blood loss after childbirth. (The ripe fruit contains a substance that urges uterine spasms and increases contractions especially in the time of delivery. This substance resembles ‘oxytocin’ that is secreted by pituitary gland, which encourages contractions of the uterus. Dates contain some stimulants which strengthen the muscles of the uterus in the last months of pregnancy. This helps the dilation of the uterus at the time of delivery and reduces post-natal bleeding).
5.Ideal for breast-feeding mothers: Dieticians consider dates the best food for breast-feeding mothers. This is because dates contain elements that assist in alleviating depression and enrich the breast milk with the nutrients needed to make the child healthy and resistant to disease.
6.Bones: Calcium is important for strong bones so this is an additional benefit that dates provide. As dates are rich in calcium, they contribute to healthy bones. For this reason it is recommended that children and older adults, especially women, eat plenty of dates to strengthen their bones.
7.Modern science has also proved the effectiveness of dates, in preventing diseases of the respiratory system.
8.Intestinal Disturbances: Eating dates in the morning on an empty stomach kills intestinal worms and other parasites, for dates have an antidote potency which restrains their growth. According to Metchnikoff, a Great Russian scientist, liberal use of dates keeps in check the growth of pathological organisms and helps to establish a colony of friendly bacteria in the intestines.
9.Improves Eye sight: Dates are also important in maintaining good vision and are effective in guarding against night-blindness.
10. Cures constipation: Dates are also highly beneficial in the treatment of constipation as the roughage provided by it stimulates sluggish bowels. They should be immersed in water at night and taken after making them into fine syrup the next morning to secure laxative effect.
11. Remedy for Liver and Inflammations: Dates remedy Lever and purge it from toxins, breaking the fast with dates, is one of the most magnificent of natural remedies for the maintenance and purging the Lever from accumulated toxins. And also drinking dates juice could be used in the treatment of sore throat, various types of fever, rhinorrhia and common cold.
12.Remedy for Intoxication: Dates are an excellent remedy for alcoholic intoxication. In such a case, drinking water in which fresh dates have been rubbed or soaked will bring quick relief
13.Children’s Disease: Dates tied to a wrist of the baby and allowed to be sucked during teething period hardens the gums and also prevents other complaints like restlessness and diarrhoea.
Dates contain 80 percent carbohydrates (fructose) along with protein, minerals and vitamins. They have very little fat and no cholesterol. Their nutrients are bio available even to children and the elderly. Let us review some of these nutrients.
Magnesium in the fruit lowers blood pressure; relaxes the muscles, nerves and arteries; helps make bone mass; protects against cancer (lung); and controls hypertension and heartbeat along with its copper content.
Calcium in dates is another muscle, artery, and nerve relaxant; builds bones; prevents osteoporosis; and helps regulate blood pressure.
Potassium from the fruit strengthens the heart muscles; enhances appetite; prevents muscle spasms; lowers blood pressure; improves bone structure; and reduces cancer risk.
Selenium in the fruit prevents infections (hospital bacteria); prevents antibiotic resistance; works against cancer; strengthens immunity; reduces joint inflammation; improves mood disorders; normalizes thyroid activity; and enhances fertility.
Sodium, chloride, and potassium contents in the fruit help balance stomach acid.
Iron along with vitamin B2 and copper in dates builds red blood cells; transports oxygen in the blood and muscles; improves vision; provides energy; is important for child bearing years and pregnancies; and eases delivery.
Fluorine in the fruit protects against tooth decay, making dates a good substitute for sweets for children.
Vitamin C in dates is high enough to protect against scurvy; strengthen blood vessel walls; help gum disease and bleeding; and bolster and aid in liver detoxification.
Vitamin A’s availability in the date improves eye and skin dryness, night vision and sexual drive.
Vitamins B1 and B2 respectively treat nervous system disorders and anemia.
Pectin in dates, like apples and pears, lowers cholesterol to prevent cardiovascular disease.
Fibre is high in dates. It improves digestion and bowel movement and decreases colon cancer risk.
Traditional medicine in Arabia prescribes dates for many conditions ranging from digestive and respiratory disorders and bone building to pregnancy, childbirth, flagging sexual drive, low sperm count, fertility, and insect bites. During pregnancy, they bolster energy; supplement mother with important nutrients; prepare for delivery and lactation; regulate contractions; and prevent hemorrhage