Why Do Muslims Break Their Fast With Dates?
Across the globe, millions of Muslims are observing Ramadan – the month of reverence and prayers, fasting from dawn until dusk, and a grand community feast at night. The fast symbolises detachment from worldly pleasures, physical and spiritual detoxification, dedication to almighty Allah, and service to the less fortunate. It is a vital element of the Islamic five pillars, which also includes the Muslim assertion of faith, every-day prayer, charity, and undergoing the arduous hajj pilgrimage to Mecca.
Muslims conventionally break their fast in homage to Prophet Muhammad. According to Hadith literature, some 1,400 years ago, he used to conclude his with a mouthful of water and few dates at dusk. This first sip of water is by far the most anticipated moment of the day. With the last rays of the setting sun follow the sunset prayer and a grandiose feast – Iftar. Family and friends come together to indulge in a rich banquet.
Mantra for Instant Energy
Breaking the fast with dates is an ancient Ramadan ritual. Alternative to saccharine-packed candies, rich and chewy dates provide instant energy boost due to their high natural sugar content. After a long and tiring day, the body needs to revive quickly for offering twilight prayers. This energy is also required to consume and digest the secondary, complex foods offered during the Iftar buffet. A heavy dinner right after fasting is harmful since the body is in a weakened state. Biting into dates first helps the body to set off the digestive process and provides energy to rapidly break down the rich Iftar meal.
Powerhouse of Nutrients
Dates are loaded with vitamins A and B6, folic acid, potassium, natural sodium, iron, and magnesium. So rather than resorting to multivitamins, it is better to ingest these natural delicacies on a daily basis. A stronger and healthier body is fitter for fasting and undergoing long hours without food and water. Large amounts of dietary fibre present in dates also prevent constipation that might be the outcome of consuming traditionally rich food during Ramadan. The fruit protects the stomach and intestinal tract from parasites and bacteria, thus also acting as a preventative medicine if eating Iftar at unknown locations.
Bond of Spirituality and Cultural Beliefs
Since time immemorial dates have had an exceptional place in Islamic customs. They are believed to be the most frequently consumed food by the Prophet. Enjoying a handful primarily before Iftar is an act of following this tradition and connecting to his memories. Not only is this spiritually uplifting but also a belief for Muslims to never forget their roots.
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