What is the one thing that Muslim communities all over the world eat in the month of Ramazan? Dates, of course! They are one of the earliest cultivated crops and one variety in particular is believed to have been blessed by the Prophet Muhammad himself.
Dates, also known as khajoor (Urdu), buah kurma (Malay and Indonesian), balah (Arabic) and hurmah (Turkish), are cited in the Hadith, where it has been mentioned that the Prophet used to always break the fast with dates and water.
“I call it the energy capsule,” says Mohammed Idrees Choudhury, 51. He is the fourth-generation owner of Bengaluru dry fruits shop Delicious Dates and Dry Fruits – since 1927. Choudhury stresses on the ‘since 1927’ as it was his great-grandfather who started the shop in the city’s historic Russel Market during the British era. At that time, the shop was called Delhi Fruit Stall and sold fresh fruits. Two decades later, dry fruits were introduced, thanks to the demand. But the dates available were ‘dry’. Choudhury, who credits himself for having introduced the most varieties of dates to India, said his interest in dates began when he was young and his parents had returned from Haj with dates boxes they had bought from Saudi Arabia and Jordan. “I had always been fond of dates and would sneak handfuls of them in my pockets when breaking fast,” he laughs.