The Ramadan calendar dates for 2009 are August 21st through September 19th. Are you hungry for more on Ramadan? Here are some useful links for you to learn about this holy month observed by Muslims worldwide: Muslim holy month trivia: Find out how much you really know – test your knowledge with this Ramadan quiz. […]
I had a date last night. No, it’s not what you think: Muslims customarily break their fast with a date. Dates have a special significance in Muslim culture and tradition. Referenced many times in the Qur’an, date palms are said to have sheltered and sustained Mary while she was giving birth to Jesus, and dates were a staple of the diet of the Prophet Muhammad and his companions.
My father used to take me on pilgrimages to Mecca. Not the holy city in Saudi Arabia, but the town of Mecca, California, where the annual Date Festival is held. We got to sample every type of date available — Zahidi, Deglet Noor, Empress, and others. In this part of California, dates are not only celebrated–view the many roadside date shops and billboards along Interstate 10–but their links to the Arab and Muslim world are acknowledged respectfully. The date growers we met even asked us if they were pronouncing the Arabic names properly.
So how did my beloved Medjool date find a home in America? Back in the 1920s, disease threatened the very existence of Medjool dates in their native Morocco. In a desperate attempt to save the Medjool, the ruler of Morocco sent 11 young date palms to southern California, where they found a new home and prospered.
And rather than losing our religion in the American melting pot, our faith has blossomed as well. Native-born and educated US scholars, steeped in both traditional Islam and American creative thinking, are being re-exported to the Muslim world. Scholars from the US may be the key to resolving the post-modern identity crisis that afflicts too many Muslim societies.
Just something to chew on the next time you eat a date.