CULTURAL FACTS ON THE IMPORTANCE OF THE DATE PALM

HISTORICAL

  • Believed to have originated in Iraq (Southern Iraq)
  • 50,000 year old date palm seeds have been found in the Shanidar Caves in Northern Iraq
  • Has been cultivated for sure since 4,000 B.C. (Other sources put date cultivation much earlier, however this is a safe date)
  • Used for food, medicine, shelter/building materials
  • Considered the oldest cultivated tree in the world

RELIGIOUS

  • Historically significant to Judaism, Christianity, and Islam
  • Prophet Abraham
    • Born and raised in Ur, Iraq (the area where date palms considered to be from in Southern Iraq)
    • There is literature discussing his love for the dates and the tree
  • JUDAISM
    • Jews consider the date as one of the seven holy fruits
  • CHRISTIANITY
    • Palm Sunday
    • Scholars believe that the date palm (not the apple tree) was the tree of knowledge of good and evil
    • The date (not the apple) was the fruit Eve so generously offered to Adam in the Garden of Eden.
    • If the date palm was the tree of knowledge, Gabriel would not have suggested to Adam that he taste and eat the dates.
  • ISLAM
    • Known as the “Blessed Tree” or “Sacred Tree” in Islam
    • Dates are the only food allowed to be eaten during Ramadan or New Year’s fast.
    • The date and date palm is mentioned in 17 chapters of the Koran
    • 26 references to dates in the Koran
    • Mohammed believed (stated):
      • Described the date palm as the “best property” to own
      • Cures many disorders
      • Urged Muslims to “eat dates and tend to the date palm”
      • Considered to be the chief food created by God to nourish Adam in the Garden of Eden
      • Built his home out of the date palm lumber and fronds
      • His mosque in Medinah was constructed out of date palms
      • One of his famous quotes to his followers is “cherish your father’s sister, the palm tree.”

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