We love to ask Muslims about how they celebrate Ramadan and Eid in their culture. So far, we haven’t talked to anyone who hasn’t brought up mention of dates when explaining their Ramadan and Eid traditions. We’ve talked to Muslims from various sects and from a diverse range of countries, yet dates still always come up. Even people who don’t normally like dates, will eat dates in Ramadan to uphold tradition. As a New York Time’s article pointed out, dates are the food that unify Muslims, especially during our holy days.
This tradition of breaking fast with dates stems from Prophet Muhammad’s example of breaking fast with dates. Apart from being used for breaking fast, dates are also traditionally consumed for pre-fasting meals and on Eid day, before heading out for the Eid prayer in the morning.
As narrated by Anas bin Malik: Allah’s Apostle never proceeded (for the prayer) on the Day of ‘Id-ul-Fitr unless he had eaten some dates. Anas also narrated: The Prophet used to eat odd number of dates. (Sahih Al- Bukhari Book #15, Hadith #73)
Even though all Muslim cultures seem to be unified on consuming this food during holy days, each culture likes to take their dates a little differently at the time of breaking fast. For some cultures, dates are taken with water as the first things to break fast with. For others, dates and milk seem to be preferred. Sometimes the water or milk might be flavoured into tasty sherbets too. Other times, people might choose tea or coffee alongside dates to break their fast.
What do you traditionally break fast with? Dates and water or dates and milk? Or some other way entirely? Let us know in the comments below.