Kuwait Times Article - Breaking fast with dates
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    Breaking Fast with Dates
    -By Hassan Twaha Bwambale

    Before delving into the topic, I would like to remind you that Almighty Allah says what can be translated as: “Obey Allah and obey the Messenger (PBUH). But if you turn away from obedience, (then know that) Our Messenger (PBUH) has no other duty than to clearly convey the Truth.” (At-Tagha’bun 64: 12) 

    It is clear that dates have historically been a major part of Middle Eastern culture and cuisine. Apart from their spiritual significance and being juicy and delicious treats, dates are also an incredible source of nutrients, antioxidants, and many health benefits. While observing Ramadan and fasting from dawn to sunset, dates are a perfect food to consume to restore your energy and give your body the fuel it needs. 

    The Majestic Allah also tells what can be translated as: “There has certainly been for you in the Messenger of Allah an excellent pattern for anyone whose hope is in Allah and the Last Day and (who) remembers Allah often.” (Al-Ahzab 33: 21) Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) - breaking his fast on dates and water: Anas bin Malik narrated that Allah’s Messenger (PBUH) used to break his fast before performing (the Maghreb – sunset) - prayer on some fresh unripe dates, but if there were no fresh unripe dates, he would then eat a few dry dates, and if there were no dry dates, he would take some mouthfuls of water.” (Al-Albani rated it as Hasan/Saheeh in Saheeh Abu Dawud # 2, 356)
    The following is a list of reasons why dates are a nutritious food to eat after fasting. According to modern research, dates are high in sugar to give you a natural energy boost. After fasting all day, your body craves carbohydrates and sugars to maintain its energy sources. Dates are naturally high in sugar and are the right kind of carbohydrates to rejuvenate your body’s energy levels. It is common to feel lethargic after fasting. Eating one to three or more dates before anything else to break your fast, is a sure-fire way to combat the exhaustion you may feel. Within an hour of digesting a date or two or three, your body feels stronger, and the sugar is replenished in the blood, the lack of which is the main cause of hunger and tiredness. Note that Prophet (PBUH) preferred to break his fast on dates in odd numbers. 

    Additionally, dates help alleviate symptoms of low blood sugar. During a fast, whether during Ramadan or any other time, you can experience low blood sugar which can leave you feeling weak, tired, and lightheaded. Dates are a natural sugar supply that will combat low blood sugar and help you feel better. Headaches are a common result of low blood sugar levels and fasting. Dates can help alleviate headaches. 

    More benefits of dates: Dates are a great source of fibre. Fibber helps you feel full. When you’ve spent a long day fasting, your first instinct might be to stuff your stomach once it’s time to break the fast. By eating a few dates before you consume anything else, you can satiate your hunger without overeating and causing yourself any discomfort. Dates can help with digestion. You can often experience nausea or an upset stomach in general when you start eating after fasting all day long. Dates are great for digestion. They help ease constipation due to their high fibre content. 

    Dates are full of vitamins and nutrients. It is no wonder why dates are a significant part of Middle Eastern culture. They are jam-packed with essential vitamins and nutrients. Dates contain more potassium than a banana, and magnesium, iron, copper, phosphorus, and calcium. In conclusion: fasting during the month of Ramadan is a spiritual tradition to bring you closer to the Almighty and your community, especially when you enjoy a communal meal while breaking the fast, and to empathize with the poor and the needy. 

    Following the tradition of consuming dates upon breaking the fast allows one to feel closer to Almighty Allah, Prophet (PBUH) and the entire community, which is a sacred experience for Muslims. All these points as well as others underscore the Message that Almighty Allah delivered to us in Surat (chapter) Fussilat 41, verse 53 that can be translated as: “Soon shall We show them Our Signs on the horizons and within themselves until it becomes clear to them that (the Quran) is the Truth. Is it not enough that your Lord is a witness over everything?” (Fussilat 41: 53) 

    Courtesy of the TIES Center: The TIES Center is one of the projects of Kuwait Society for Cultural Dialogue, and is the social and educational hub for English speaking expats in Kuwait and aims at empowering Kuwait’s expats through social and educational services that promote a positive and productive role in society. It also facilitates opportunities for intra- and interfaith interactions that promote social solidarity. For more information, you can contact TIES at Tel: 25231015/6; Hotline: 94079777; e-mail: ties@tawasul.com.kw
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