Why Ripe Dates (Rutab)
When the Prophet ﷺ used to break his fast, he used to first eat ripe or dry dates, or would drink some water.
Allah said to Mariam:
وَهُزِّي إِلَيْكِ بِجِذْعِ النَّخْلَةِ تُسَاقِطْ عَلَيْكِ رُطَبًا جَنِيًّا – 19:25
فَكُلِي وَاشْرَبِي وَقَرِّي عَيْنًا ۖ فَإِمَّا تَرَيِنَّ مِنَ الْبَشَرِ أَحَدًا فَقُولِي إِنِّي نَذَرْتُ لِلرَّحْمَٰنِ صَوْمًا فَلَنْ أُكَلِّمَ الْيَوْمَ إِنسِيًّا – 19:26
“And shake the trunk of date palm towards you, it will let fall fresh ripe dates upon you. So eat and drink and be glad. And if you see any human being, say: ‘Verily, I have vowed a fast unto the Most Gracious (Allah) so I shall not speak to any human being this day.” [19:25, 26]
Also, in the Sahihain it is narrated that Abdullah bin Ja’far (r.a) said:
“I saw the Messenger of Allah eating cucumbers with ripe dates.”
Abu Dawood also narrated in his Sunan that Anas (r.a) said:
“The Messenger of Allah ﷺ used to break his fast on some ripe dates, and if he did not have any, on dry dates. Otherwise, if he did not have dry dates, he would have several sips of water.”
Ripe dates are just like water, hot and wet, and they are favourable for and strengthen the cold stomach, increase the production of semen and fertility, are suitable for cold temperaments and are very nutritious.
Ripe dates are the best type of fruit for the people of Al-Madinah specifically and for all others in general where ripe dates grow. It is also a very beneficial fruit for the body.
When the Prophet ﷺ used to break his fast, he used to first eat ripe or dry dates, or would drink some water. This is a wise decision, because fasting empties the stomach of food. Thus the liver would not find any sufficient energy that it could transfer to the various organs. Sweets are the fastest food to reach the liver and are also favoured by the liver, especially when one eats ripe dates, in which case the liver accepts it even more favorably, benefits from it and then transfers the benefit to the rest of the organs of the body. If there are no ripe dates available, one should eat dried dates because they are sweet and nutritious. Otherwise, some sips of water would extinguish the heat of the stomach and the fast. The stomach’s appetite would then increase and become ready to accept (and digest) food.
Furthermore, it is good to eat dates so that they will be nourishment and healing for you, but it is better to eat them with the intention of following the Sunnah of the Prophet ﷺ, so that they will be nourishment, healing and reward for you, inSha Allah. Do not forget to praise and thank Allah, the Exalted, for that great blessing.