Arabic Language Blog

Dates: Different names and uses across the Arab world Posted by on Nov 22, 2017 in Arabic Language, Culture, Vocabulary

Dates in Libya

Taken by, Hanan (Blogger) – Tripoli- Libya

Today, we’re going to learn about some aspects of dates التمر , a very important part of the Arabic culture and something that can be found in very much every Arabic house.

Datesالتّمور  are a very popular type of fruit as date palms أشجار النحيل – النخيل   are cultivated يُزرع  across the Arab region, both the Middle East الشرق الأوسط and North Africa شمال إفريقيا . In every Arabic country, people consume dates daily due to its health benefits فوائدها الصحيه  and nutritional values قيمتها الغذائية . In this post, I will first discuss the significance of dates to Arabs and Muslims. Second, I will provide a list some of the different ways dates are typically used/consumed in the Arab world.


In addition to being an extremely healthy صحي type of fruit, it’s also part of the Arabic/Islamic heritage التراث الإسلامي and is valued for much more than its health benefits. Dates are one of the few fruits that are mentioned in the holy Quran, a fact that renders this fruit an important part of the Islamic heritage. It’s also said that dates were the main part of the Prophet Mohammed’s diet. For this reason, eating dates is considered Sunnah  سُنّه  (The prophet’s way of life), particularly in Ramadan as it’s usually the first food Muslims break their fast with.

Different types and uses of dates:

There are many different types of dates (maybe hundreds), depending on where they grow, the level of their tenderness, flavours, uses, etc. For example, there is about 18 different type of dates in the city of Jufrah in South Libya alone! One of the very popular types, which you can also find in shops and supermarkets in the west, are: Degla دقله  and Medjool. They’re both knowns for their high quality, soft texture and very sweet taste.

Dates are great because you can eat them in different ways, for example:

  • You can eat them as they are (after removing the pit النواه off course!).
  • You can have them with yoghurt or laban لبن – milk.
  • Stuff them with different types of nuts, especially almonds اللوز and pistachios الفستق
  • You can turn dates into a dough* and use them as healthy snack balls by adding some oil, sesame and cinnamon to the dough.
  • You can also use the dough to make different types of traditional sweets. Interestingly, many Arabic countries have their own version of a date-filled desert that is specifically served in special occasions, such as Eid. One of these popular desserts is called معمول maʕmoul (Ma’moul), which is a date-filled pastry that is very popular in the Middle east. Here’s a link to how you can make some yourself!



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About the Author: Hanan Ben Nafa

Hi, this is Hanan :) I'm an Arabic linguist. I completed my PhD in Linguistics - 2018. My PhD thesis was entitled Code-switching as an evaluative strategy: identity construction among Arabic-English bilinguals. I'm also a qualified public service translator & interpreter.


  1. Safiyaaa:

    I love this! Now I need a ma’moul mold lol

    • Hanan Ben Nafa:

      @Safiyaaa Glad to hear this, all the best 🙂