With 19 days already gone in the holy month of Ramadan, shopkeepers in Mysuru still see the demand for dates; demand for Ajwa dates has seen a surge due to its religious importance .
After a full day’s fasting, almost 14 hours without food and water, there is always one essential starter on the dining table in all the Muslim households – dates. A handful of dates for breaking the fast at dusk and there your body is recharged instantly.
Dates are an intrinsic part of the diet of Muslims, particularly during the month of Ramadan, as they have high nutritional value and are an energising fruit. Dates are an ideal food consumed after breaking the fast as they are packed with natural sugar that gives the body a quick burst of energy.
Dates are also a good source of fibre, which aids in digestion. In addition, dates are high in potassium, carbohydrates, magnesium, calcium, iron, vitamins K and B, including vitamin B6 and Folate.
Not only health, but a religious importance has also been attached to it as believed by Muslims across the globe. Islamic scholars say that Prophet Muhammad broke his fast with dates.
The Hadith, sayings attributed to Prophet, mentions “The Messenger of Allah would break his fast with ripe dates before he would pray. If those were not available, he would eat dry dates. If those were not available, he would drink some water.” The same practice has been adopted by Muslims, contributing to the increase in the demand for dates during the month of Ramadan.
Shelves at the supermarkets and grocery stores in several areas in city have been flooded with a variety of dates, while few vendors also sell it on streets, most of them engaging themselves in additional temporary work in the evening to earn a few rupees more.
The single variety from Rajasthan which is considered to be the lowest in quality sells at Rs 100 a kilogram and is easily available in shops and on the roadside. The most expensive variety is ‘Ajwa’ from Saudi Arabia that sells for Rs 2,250 a kilogram.
Different varieties of dates are also imported from other West Asian and north African countries like Iran, Iraq, Oman, Jordan, Algeria, Tunisia and Egypt which include Amber, Mabram, Algerian dates, Sukkary, etc.
Jibran Ahmed, one of the managers at Loyal World Supermarket, claims that they sell 68 varieties of dates especially during the month of Ramadan.
“We have a ‘Date festival’ running at our outlets across the city and the response seems to be quite good so far. Besides, the demand for normal dates, expensive dates like Ajwa has also been increased as it has religious importance and imported from Madina,” he said, adding “The sale of dates ranges from Rs 30 lakh to 40 lakh every year during Ramadan.”
Abdullah, a daily wage worker who sells dates for his additional income, in a chat with ‘City Today,’ says that “the profit he gets from selling dates would help him overcome the additional expenses of Eid.” Like him, there are many people in the market who consider selling of dates as a lucrative business, strive to earn additional income to support their families.
The Muslim community members eat dates, irrespective of its orgin and quality, as it was the favourite fruit of Prophet Muhammed. This, however, doesn’t stop the non-Muslims from eating dates as many consume them for nutrition.
EASY TO DIGEST
Food nutritionists say that dates are easy to digest and consumption of which also protects the fasting person from constipation, and alkaline salts in dates adjust the acidity of the blood, thus serving as great food starters at the time of breaking the fast.