Monday, March 18, 2013

Forget the Musang King, Let's plant the Ajwa

Dates for sales at the farm in Madinah. The black ones are the Ajwa.
Taken on Feb 26th, 2013
I am amused after reading Dr MAZA's latest entry at his website.
Personally, I found his writing insightful. It is simple to understand, and he did not attempt to confuse us with big words, and his line of thinking is rational.
I don't normally have to read it twice to understand, but I normally read them twice anyway.
To ensure that I have his pertinent points in my mind.
Having just came back from the holy land, with all the dates are still fresh in my mind, especially after having visited the dates farm and then onto the dates market in Madinah. Obviously for us Malaysians, if you went to the holy cities, it would not be complete with bringing back some (dried) dates as gifts to go with the zam-zam water.
It makes nice gifts.
Never mind if you didn't buy them abaya or sajadah (prayer mat).
Dates and zam-zam water would be sufficient.
Obviously I am told to buy Ajwa, supposedly the prophet's dates. Supposedly he loves it so much that that there are sayings (credited to him) about the virtues of dates in general, and Ajwa in particular. You'll find the virtues being told over and over again, especially during Ramadhan.
But at the dates farms and market, I was appalled by the price. Generally, on average one would pay about SR20-30 per kg of normal dates. But one would pay anything from SR100-150 per kg for the Ajwa.
That's a whopping RM130 per kg. And dried ones at that.
All because our prophet was supposed to have uttered those words praising the Ajwa dates.
That's nearly 5x as expensive as the King of fruits - the Musang King!
I mean RM20 is already expensive if one were to buy Durians and even the best of Mangoes, or any fruit for that matter. Let's not even talk about dokongs and rambutans; at this stage they seems like worthless.
But to pay more than RM100 for a kg of dates, I thought that we were going overboard. We want quick pahala and benefits; just by eating the kurma, and we are all supposed to go to heaven, I guess.
So I was amused to read Dr Asri's article when he retorted to the date sellers advocating him to buy the Ajwa by telling him (the sellers) that "there are no more prophet's dates. They were finished by him during his time. These are your dates, not the prophet's."
I quote,
Apabila jenama ‘Islam’ itu laris, ramai orang menggunakannya. Samada mereka itu ikhlas kerana Allah, ataupun kerana ‘market demand’ hanya Allah sahaja Yang Maha Mengetahui. Bermula dari pelbagai produk makanan dan barangan cuba dikaitkan dengan agama sehingga kepada pelbagai jenis motivasi. Akhirnya, agama kelihatan murah dan selekeh.
Ubat-ubatan yang entah apa-apa kualitinya dikaitkan kononnya makanan Nabi s.a.w. Sama seperti sesetengah para penjual tamar di Mekah dan Madinah yang apabila melihat orang asing akan berteriak memanggil pembeli dengan menyebut “Tamar Nabi! Tamar Nabi! Tamar Nabi!” Saya sering menjawab mereka dengan berkata: Tamar Nabi s.a.w baginda sudah pun makan dan habis pada zaman tersebut. Ini tamar awak punya, bukan Nabi s.a.w punya!
Malangnya, orang-orang yang tidak tahu akan tertipu lalu membeli tamar dengan harga berlipat kali ganda hanya disebabkan laungan ‘tamar Nabi s.a.w’. Agama sering menjadi alat penipuan dan kepentingan golongan yang pandai mengeksplotasikannya
End of Quote
You can read the full version here - Apabila Ceramah Motivasi Mula Merepek.
Thank you Dr MAZA. You have restored my faith. I am not sure I am a fan of the Ajwa; I thought that there are many other better tasting dates. In fact during Ramadhan, I prefer the dates from China to be honest. To me, it is a matter of preference.

I am all for loving our prophets, but to equate his food preference to deeds, aah, well...May be our kambing sellers would be promoting some types of kambings and make kambings our daily dishes.

I am ok for that as I love kambing. But many others who could not stand the smell or simply the meat would cringe.
Thinking back, may be we should be planting the Ajwa here in Malaysia?

And let's not bother with Musang King, shall we?

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