Muslims end their day-long fast at the Prophet’s Mosque in Medina. Image Credit: Source: General Authority for Care of the Prophet’s Mosque

Cairo: Worshippers ending their day-long fast at the sunset iftar in the Prophet’s Mosque, Islam’s second holiest site, consume more than 1 million pieces of dates per day, according to a Saudi media report.

Three to five pieces of dates are distributed per person daily as part of the iftar meals during Ramadan in the mosque in the Saudi city of Medina, Al Watan newspaper said.

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Iftar banquets in the mosque stretch for more than 100,000 metres long with some 233,000 fast-breaking meals are made available to the worshippers each day.

Once the iftar is over, the place is prepared in minutes for performing the Maghreb or sunset prayers under oversight of the General Authority for Care of the Prophet’s Mosque Affairs, a Saudi state agency.

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Muslims traditionally end their fast in Ramadan by eating dates, following the example of the Prophet Mohammad (Peace Be Upon Him) and due to their nourishing effect.

Dates are rich in nutrients including fibres, potassium and antioxidants.

Saudi Arabia has achieved self-efficiency in dates with an output estimated at 1.5 million tonnes per year.

Exports soared to SR1.2 billion in 2022, up 5.4 per cent compared to the previous year.

The exports further surged by 14 per cent to hit SR1.4 billion last year to a total of 119 countries, according to the National Centre for Palms and Dates.

Ramadan traditionally marks the peak season of Umrah or minor pilgrimage at the Grand Mosque, Islam’s holiest site, in the Saudi city of Mecca.

After performing Umrah, many pilgrims would head to Medina to offer prayers at the Prophet’s Mosque and visit other Islamic landmarks in the city.