Hadith, ‘Ajwa Dates and Science

Other day a person, seemingly a Christian polemicist left me an email, challenging me on something which he thought was really a big deal. He quoted the following Hadith:

Narrated Sa’d: The Prophet said, "If somebody takes some 'Ajwa dates every morning, he will not be effected by poison or magic on that day till night." (Another narrator said seven dates). (Sahih Bukhari)

And then hurled the challenge;

are you today ready to take this simple challenge and eat 7 Ajwa dates and then drink poison and survive ?

The response:

The unfortunate fact is that most people in our time think that just reading any translation of Hadith texts, they can lay hands upon, is quite enough to have a full grasp of it and they find themselves worthy enough to comment. The practice might have had some justification if Hadith -or for that matter any classical Islamic text- was in some dead language hardly known to even the followers of the religion as it happened with Judaism and Christianity.

A basic principle in studying any historical narration is to understand the environment and context in which it originated. While it may not be possible to find details as to when and why was some particular words were uttered, another reasonable way is to see the complementing narrations before looking to reach a conclusion.

Sa’d told of hearing Allah’s Messenger say, “He who has a morning meal of seven ‘ajwa dates will not suffer harm that day through toxins or magic.” (Bukhari, Hadith 5327 and Muslim, Hadith 3814)

‘Aisha reported Allah’s Messenger as saying, “The ‘ajwah dates of al-‘Aliya contain healing, and they are an antidote (when taken as) first thing in the morning.” (Muslim, Hadith 3815)

‘Aisha reported Allah’s Messenger as saying, “The ‘ajwah dates of al-‘Aliya taken as the first thing in the morning, in the state of fasting; contain healing for all (kinds of) magic or toxins.” (Musnad Ahmad, Hadith 23592)

Al-‘Aliya is the named applied to some villages a few miles east of Medina.

Narrated ‘Urwah: ‘Aisha used to order to make a habit of or taking in regular intervals seven ‘ajwah dates, in the state of fasting for seven mornings. (Musannaf Ibn Abi Shayba, Hadith 23945)

Now considering all these narrations it becomes clear that the benefits mentioned are for link to certain specifics.
1- It is about 'Ajwa dates from al-Aliya, a particular locality near al-Medina
2- The benefit is for eating them early in the morning breaking the night fast with it
3- It is for the one who eats them regularly as Aisha (RA) used to instruct people. Her instruction matters for she is one of the narrators of the Hadith in question.
Now let me explain a few things:

"The Poison/Toxin": The word actually used is "summ" which means, poison or toxin. The problem is some people think it is about instantly killing poisonous stuff. However the fact mention in Hadith that it benefits when taken as the first thing early in the morning and on regular basis itself establishes that it is about toxins, which are indeed poisonous and harmful to the body. Also see the following evidence.


Al-Mawarid Arabic-English Dictionary Dar el-Elm Lilmalayin, Beirut 1995 p.642

Ibn Qayyim in his Tibb al-Nabawi writes: "For the people of al-Medina, dried dates are their staple like wheat is to other people. In addition, dried dates from the area of al-Aliyah in al-Medina are one of the best kinds of dates ... Dates are a type of fruit that is also used for its nutritional and medicinal value, being favorable for most bodies and for their role in strengthening the natural heat. Moreover, dates do not produce harmful wastes or excrement like other types of food and fruits. Rather, dates preserve the body wastes from being spoiled and from rotting, especially for those who are used to eating dried dates." (Healing with the Medicine of the Prophet, Translated by Abd el-Qader bin Abd el-Azeez, Dar al-Ghadd al-Gadeed, al-Mansoura (Egypt), 2003 p.121)

Here are a couple of more narrations,

Narrated Sa'd: I suffered from an illness. The Messenger of Allah –may Allah bless him- came to pay a visit to me. He put his hands on my chest and I felt its coolness at my heart. He said: “You are a man suffering from heart sickness. Go to al-Harith ibn Kaladah, brother of Thaqif. He is a man who gives medical treatment. He should take seven ajwah dates of Medina and grind them with their kernels, and then put them into your mouth.” (Sunan Abu DawudHadith 3875)

It is reported, though through a weak chain, that ‘Ali –may Allah be pleased with him- said: “And whoever eats seven ‘ajwa dates every day it kills every disease in the stomach.” (Kanzul Ummal, Hadith 28472)

These show that they have healing effect against heart ailment and problems of the stomach.
And we have scientific evidence that dates protect arteries and lower the risks of heart attack. Cholesterol that causes many heart problems itself is a toxin. Moreover some of the ingredients of the dates are protective against digestive system related problems, e.g. dietary fiber helps eliminate human intestinal toxic substances, researchers suggest.

Magic: As to magic, there are two possibilities. If it is literally a reference to magic as it was and is known then we cannot actually say much about it in the light of modern scientific research. Western science has, to the best of my knowledge, only skeptical notions about it which do not have any real value. (We earlier discussed a similar case about the Evil-eye)

It may simply be a reference to some diseases caused by apparently unknown factors expressed this way especially taking into account the times in which the statement was made.

The word "Sihr" is so called as "it changes health and soundness to disease" (see E.W. Lane's Lexicon Book I p.1316) and in that sense it is simply a reference to the something causing ailment like the word used to imply toxin poison and is hinted to by the word "or" used in many narrations. This might be a reference to certain radiations that adversely affect human body. And we know certain of the ingredients of dates like Calcium, magnesium, Selenium, Zinc, Vitamin C etc. are helpful against radiations.

Summary of the above:

The two things mentioned above are for dates in general and as clear from the Hadith reports the ‘ajwa dates from al-Aliya locality of al-Medina are even more beneficial especially in that particular environment.

With regards to toxins there is no doubt the dates are indeed curative. As to magic more research is possible however whatever is written above suffices to kill the skeptical notions about the Hadith. Those who doubt the Hadith have nothing to substantiate their view. We at least have fair amount of support in favor of our thesis.
The Hadith narrations say, 'ajwa dates from al-Aliya taken regularly as first thing in the morning breaking the fast -in spells of 7 successive days- is a cure against toxins, just as they are helpful as a preventive cure against heart and stomach problems.


While the explanation above is quite enough for any ardent and reasonable observer, for the hate mongers from amongst the Christian missionaries I have a challenge on these lines. And the challenge is to drink the “any deadly thing” and stay unhurt. This is what the Bible promises putting the words into the mouth of Jesus –may Allah bless him.

“They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.” (KJV, Mark 16:18)

I always wonder how come missionary haters of Islam muster up the courage to talk about Islam. Don’t they ever turn back and have a look at their own house?

Acknowledgement: I am indebted to the invaluable help offered by brother Azhan Ahmad in bringing up this article.

Indeed Allah knows the best!

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    1. Are christians ready to drink poison?

      1. They already do unfortunately in the form of their Bible and misguided preachers they listen to every Sunday

    2. This is ground breaking! and eye catching response!

    3. asalaamu alaykum, Great article bro. Keep them coming!

    4. 900 Christians dead because of the fabricated verse of Mark 16:18.


    5. Nice job brother. May Allah bless you further for educating us on this matter.

    6. This post is described the importance of ajwa dates.The Holy prophet PBUH described any one who eat seven ajwa dates in the morning who will be saved from any kind of disease.Now science has proved if any one who uses the date who will secure from heart disease.

    7. glad to hear about the dates, now what about camels urine?

      Volume 1, Book 4, Number 234:

      Narrated Abu Qilaba:

      Anas said, "Some people of 'Ukl or 'Uraina tribe came to Medina and its climate did not suit them. So the Prophet ordered them to go to the herd of (Milch) camels and to drink their milk and urine (as a medicine). So they went as directed and after they became healthy, they killed the shepherd of the Prophet and drove away all the camels. The news reached the Prophet early in the morning and he sent (men) in their pursuit and they were captured and brought at noon. He then ordered to cut their hands and feet (and it was done), and their eyes were branded with heated pieces of iron, They were put in 'Al-Harra' and when they asked for water, no water was given to them." Abu Qilaba said, "Those people committed theft and murder, became infidels after embracing Islam and fought against Allah and His Apostle ."

      1. Many modern day pharmaceutical giants use ingredients extracted from the urine of camels .. As laymen, we only see the end product as a tablet, capsule or syrup ...

      2. For me the most useful part was how it was never intended to be a powerful antidote, just as a preventer of disease like vitamins are. And I agree the daily usage by Aisha (as opposed to only reaching for them at time of illness) supports this.

    8. Effect of camel urine on the cytological and biochemical changes induced by cyclophosphamide in mice.


      have a nice day bro!

    9. Paul fabricated the Christianity of today why shouldn't they open dead sea scroll and other documents found else where and tell Christians the real truth

    10. subhanAllah,what an intelligent response. May Allah bless u both,and us Muslims with wisdom and patience,amin.

    11. Masha Allaah very useful article

    12. V nice article. May allah bless u, n full fill ur desires ameen

    13. Masha Allaah very useful article

    14. sir i am sumaira, my phd resesarch is on ajwa. kindly if u have some more literature regarding ajwa then plz share

    15. الطعن في أحاديث فضل العجوة والتداوي بها

    16. jazakullah for your efforts and research

    17. Jazakallahu khair, may Allah bless you for this wonderful knowledge you shared

    18. Islam will enter every house of the world insha Allah. Unfortunately many people dont put context of the hadith in the right area. "A Little learning is a dangerous thing". Allah guide us to the straight path.

    19. Ther r toxins stored in fat cells. Once a person loses weight or if a person fasts, deze toxins r released into blood n kidneys n liver, which cn b hazardous. So the body requires fiber to excrete deze toxins thru faeces. N dates r wonderful source of fiber. When v r on a weight loss regime or when v fast, v lose weight but da toxins which were there in fat cells releases. There r ketones formed as a by product of fasting n weight loss, which itself is toxic. Da most important thing after weight loss or fasting is detox thru fiber. Dates r excellent source of fiber.

      1. I feel this is the best explaination of having dates in fasting. Even in Shivratri fasting, Hindus eat dates as they are best source of energy and ketones are thrown out of body.

    20. Awesome explanation...May Allah guide us in the right path....

    21. i m very much impressed by the explanation. ur article has logic n reason to explain the importance of dates in the light of islam n science. good job

    22. Fasting leads to apoptosis n autophagy. Both r anti tumour anti cancer. A high-fiber diet can reverse the negative effects of fatty liver on apoptosis. fiber supplementation facilitated recovery from intestinal insult as evidenced both histologically, by a preservation of intestinal cytoarchitecture, and biochemically, by a significant reduction in colonic myeloperoxidase activity and by restoration of colonic glutathione levels. This intestinal anti-inflammatory effect was associated with lower TNFalpha levels. Dates r excellent fiber source. TNF alpha is worse than poison.

    23. This comment has been removed by the author.

    24. Scientific article published in ACS publications "Antioxidant and Anti-inflammatory Assays Confirm Bioactive Compounds in Ajwa Date Fruit" http://pubs.acs.org.ezp.uod.edu.sa/doi/abs/10.1021/jf401371v

    25. Alhamdoulillah am Muslim. May Allah S W T keep teaching us more. Thanks so much.

    26. Alhamdoulillah for being a Muslim. May Allah S W T keep teaching us more. Thanks

    27. Great post! I never really thought about it but the best posts are always "Do" posts.
      Shifa e ajwa paste

      Thanks for the ideas!:)

    28. Where does it say to break the fast by eating the date And what do you mean by the night fast? Please explain

    29. Mashallah brother! You are brilliant.😍