Food - Drink
Why Ajwa Dates Are So Important To The Saudi Arabian City Madina
By NATASHA BAILEY
Ajwa dates, grown in only a few parts of the world, are so dark-hued that instead of brown skins, they look closer to black. Flavorful and sweet, these dates are most commonly eaten dried alongside Arabic coffee and are quite good for the body due to their fiber-rich properties, but they're an icon in the city of Madina for another reason.
An integral part of Saudi Arabian life and economy, the Ajwa date is an ancient and vital agricultural product in the country, with the origins of the fruit dating back over 50 million years. Madina is an important Islamic pilgrimage site, and the dates' significance is linked to the holiday Ramandan and the Prophet Muhammad himself.
It is believed that Muhammad loved Ajwa dates, often planted the trees, and recommended them for protection against diseases, making them precious to the people of Madina. An Ajwa date farm is located right next to the Quba mosque in the city, and the Madina vendors sell them continuously, especially during Ramadan and Haj.