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It’s that time of the year again….dazzling sunshine, scorching heat & ripening dates. In every yard, on every street, in parks, around masjids, on tall & dwarf trees, clusters of the delicious dark delights greet us this month onwards.
 Alhumdullilah, the country is blessed with more than 40 million palm trees that yield 110 varieties of dates. It’s a wonderful fruit that people enjoy & its demand reaches climax during the month of Ramadan as the food of choice for people to break their fast the Sunnah way.
 Prophet (SalullahualaihiWassallum) “used to break the fast before he prayed with fresh dates, if there were no fresh dates then with dry dates, and if there were no dry dates, then he sipped from water.” (At-Tirmidhi & Al Albanni declared it hasan in Sahih Al Jama #4995)
 But, as is human nature, when something is near or in abundance, it loses its value. Large number of dates lies scattered around the palm trees, smudging the ground, unwanted, and unvalued. It is a common sight to see the smudged pavements – residue of the flattened dates.
 So near & so much that no one (seems to) cares.

 This sad reality of human nature plays out in my own front yard. Both the neighboring houses are home to date palms (that too, right next to our side of the wall). Tuk, Duk, Put, with the rustling of those large leaves, dates, at various stages of its life, drop on my roof & patio. Every morning during the fruiting season, there is the extra chore of sweeping the ground of previous night’s fallen bounties. Sadly, most of the ones that land on our territory are either too young to be edible, over-ripe or old & shriveled. (This a possibly a result of no/weak cross pollination – owing to a shortage of male trees in the neighborhood) So there’s not much to entice the pellet there. There are some sweet perfect ones also, but the diligent army of night ants overtakes us at relishing them.

 We will be buying our dates’ supply for Ramadan this year.

 In the meantime, I’ll try to see the bright side of the picture & enjoy & appreciate the next couple of months. After all, it doesn’t rain dates everywhere!        

 “Amongst the trees, there is a tree which resembles a Muslim. Its leaves do not fall and it gives its fruit every season. It is a date-palm tree.”  [Sahih Bukhari- 4368]