Appears in
Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets

By Darra Goldstein

Published 2015

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Ramadan is the holiest month in the Muslim lunar calendar, during which the consumption of sweets reaches dizzying heights. After abstaining from food and drink from sunrise to sunset, fasters gratify their deprived appetites with a varied meal known as iftar, followed by some ultra-sweet desserts. Such indulgences might have been largely encouraged by a widely circulated, albeit questionable, oral tradition of the Prophet Muhammad that describes true believers as lovers of sweets. Another tradition says that true believers love dates. See dates and islam. Indeed, Muslims worldwide traditionally break their daylong fast with a few dates, following the Prophet’s example, along with some water or yogurt. It should be noted that modern medicine has given its nod of approval to this sweet ritual: while the body rapidly gets the nourishment it needs, the dairy slows down elevated sugar levels.