The date is the edible fruit of a flowering species of date palm which is scientifically known as Phoenix dactylifera. Date palm belongs to the family Arecaceae. It is mainly grown in North Arica, the Middle East & South Asia. The date palm can reach up to 100 years of age and can grow up to 100ft in height. They are used as a dessert all over the world. Their cultivation dates back to 6000BC-5001BC in Arabia as there is archaeological evidence for that. In 2020, 9 million tonnes of dates were produced globally and the leading producer was Egypt followed by Saudi Arabia, Iran, Algeria, Iraq, Pakistan, and Sudan.
A large number of varieties have emerged through the history of date cultivation but the most popular ones are as below:
- Medjool of Morocco
- Mazafati of Iran
- Deglet Noor of Algeria
- Yahidi and Hallawi of Iraq
Ajwa dates ( عجوة in Arabic):
Ajwa dates are the delicious and healthiest dates that are widely grown in Al-Madina Al- Munawarah, Saudi Arabia and are oval and soft with black skin. The majority of Ajwa date farms in Saudi are located near Quba Mosque and within the four walls of Haram. In Saudi Arabia, more than 400 varieties of dates are grown but Ajwa dates are the most expensive ones due to their health benefits. They are sold across the globe and are taken especially by the pilgrims who perform Hajj and Umrah for their loved ones back home.
How old are Ajwa dates?
They are more than 50 million years old. During the excavation of sites in Egypt, remains of dates were found offering evidence for their origin 8000 years ago. In the same era, date palms were found in Greece and Assyria. Ajwa dates traveled the world as they grew popular, during his conquest Alexander the Great brought Ajwa date seeds to Pakistan and some parts of the Middle East. In the 1200s Marco Polo took the date palm seeds to Italy from India. In the 1700s Spanish explorers bought Ajwa date seeds from Mexico and on their way to the North planted them in California. The travelers also spread it to Africa which is now one of the leading producers of Ajwa dates.
Islamic significance of Ajwa Dates:
They are very special in Islam. Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H) seeded the first tree of Ajwa dates near the Quba Mosque in Medina. In fact, the word ‘Ajwa’ signifies ‘ produce from Medina’.Ajwa dates have numerous medicinal benefits and they are a part of Tibvi Nabvi, the medical practice of the Prophet (P.B.U.H.) through plants. Due to their immense benefits, Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H) suggested that Muslims should break their fast with Ajwa dates in Ramadan. There are many Islamic references and hadith that depict their immense benefits, some of them are listed below:
- ‘’Whoever has seven Ajwa dates between the two areas (the east and west of Madina) as soon as he wakes up every morning, he will not be harmed on that day by poison and magic until the evening.’’ – Sahih Muslim
- ‘’Ajwa dates are from paradise and they are healing for possession.’’ – Sunan Ibn Majah Vol 1, book 31
5 Great Benefits of Ajwa Dates:
Boosts Cardio Vascular Health:
Ajwa dates are rich in Potassium & Magnesium which are important for controlling blood pressure, normal cardiac rhythm & healthy muscular contractions. The occurrence of stroke and cardiac arrhythmias is reduced, and myocardial contractility is improved due to the nutrients present in ajwa dates. An article was published in the SCIREA Journal of Health in 2019 titled.’ Trends and effectiveness of Ajwa Dates usage in Management of Coronary Artery Disease, Study in Urban Community of Islamabad, Pakistan ‘ and as per the results of the research, Ajwa has some role in the management of Coronary Artery Disease, especially in symptomatic improvement.
Healthy pregnancy and easy labor:
The consumption of Ajwa dates helps to prevent preeclampsia in pregnancy. Preeclampsia is a disorder that occurs after 20 weeks of gestation in which the blood pressure of the pregnant woman doesn’t remain normal. Also, taking Ajwa dates in the last trimester of pregnancy helps in the progression of labor, eases labor pain, and minimizes post-natal bleeding.
Good for bone health:
Ajwa dates are a good source of minerals like Calcium and phosphorous which are essential for strengthening bones and helpful in preventing bone disorders like osteoporosis.
They are an extremely good source of natural sugars like sucrose, fructose, and glucose. They can pump up your energy levels immediately so you can consume them during your mid-day snacks.
Ajwa dates contain the perfect amount of iron which makes them a great dietary supplement for people who suffer from anemia. A research article is published in ResearchGate titled ‘ Ajwa date fruit in increasing hemoglobin level to teenage girl ‘ and as per the results of the research hemoglobin levels increased after the intervention of Ajwa dates.
Ajwa dates are a powerhouse of essential nutrients and they have immense benefits like boosting cardiovascular health, healthy pregnancy and easy labor, good for bone health, energy booster, and anti-anemic. It is a good practice to include Ajwa dates in our daily diets and Kashmir Basket brings to you superior quality Ajwa dates straight from the land of Saudi Arabia.