Did the fruits mentioned in the Quran use to grow in Makkah?

The Details of the Question

- We all know that the Quran is mainly aimed at the Arab people of Muhammad [pbuh]; so, most of the examples given in the Quran should have been perceptible / observable by his people / readers...

- For example, if a particular fruit is mentioned, people should not look at each other and think what that fruit it is... They should already have knowledge and awareness about the fruit in question.

- Since our Prophet (pbuh) lived in Makkah, then migrated to Madinah and then returned to Makkah, the fruits mentioned in the Quran must have grown in those two regions... Here is the list...

- Fruits Mentioned in the Qur’an: 1. Grapes 2. Dates 3. Pomegranates 4. Figs 5. Olives Can you confirm that all those fruits were grown in Makkah during the time of the Prophet (pbuh) as they are mentioned in the Quran?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

A fruit or plant does not have to grow in the place where a person lives for that person to know it. Even if a fruit grows in other places, it can be brought to the place where a personlives through various ways.

Therefore, it is possible for the agricultural products mentioned in the Quran and hadith not to grow in Makkah or Madinah and to be brought from other places through various ways.

Although the Arabian Peninsula does not seem like a very suitable region for agriculture, considering the natural resources, soil structure and annual precipitation in the region, Madinah, Taif, Khaybar, Fadak, Wadilqura, Ayla, Azruh, Jarba, Yamama, Oman, Najran and Yemen had soil structure and climatic features suitable for the cultivation of various agricultural products during the time of the Prophet (pbuh).

Among the agricultural products grown as a result of agricultural activities in the time of the Prophet (pbuh) were dates, grape, barley, wheat, peach, pomegranate, zucchini, onion, garlic, eggplant, beans, cotton, saffron and hitr (a kind of plant from which fabric dye is obtained).

Besides, agricultural products grown in different regions reached Makkah and Madinah through trade and fairs.

As a matter of fact, agricultural products and their derivatives, especially cereals and olive oil, were brought to Makkah by trade caravans sent to and coming from the most important political and commercial regions of that period, such as Syria, Iraq and Yemen. (1)

In addition, in Taif, which is close to Makkah, viticulture was carried out in particular; fruits such as dates (2), banana, fig (3), peach, pomegranate (4), apricot, and vegetables such as melons and watermelons were also grown there. (5)

When we have look at the agricultural products grown in the Arabian Peninsula, it should be said that the first agricultural product that stands out is date. Dates are the most widely grown agricultural product. Many oases and hillsides are covered with date palms. As a result, dates have had a very important place in economic and social life. (6)

It is said that different fruits and vegetables such as banana, grapes, coffee, quince, fig, orange, mulberry, almond, apricot, watermelon, rye, euphorbia, senna (6) and rice (7) are also grown alongside dates.

The peninsula located between the Mediterranean countries and the Far East may have been influenced by the agricultural cultures of different regions over time. It is probable that at least some plant species were transferred to this region on the passageway. For example, Damascus, which was frequented by Arab traders, was known for its highly fertile lands and walnut, fig, apricot and olive trees. (8)

References:

1) Ibn Sa’d, at-Tabaqatul-Kubra, I, 259; Jahiz, al-Mahasin wal-Azdad, p. 167; Ibn Qutayba, al-Ma’arif, p. 575; Isfahani, al-Aghani, VI, 359, 361; VI, 365; XIII, 229-231; Ibnul-Jawzi, al-Muntazam fi Tarikhil-Muluk wal-Umam, III, 144; Ibn Kathir, al-Bidaya wan-Nihaya, II, 223, 318; Ibn Asakir, Tarikhu Madinati Dimashq, IX, 259-263; Ibn Hajar, al-Isaba fi Tamyizis-Sahaba, V, 332-333.
2) Yaqut al-Hamawi, Mu’jamul-Buldan, 5/9.
3) Hitti, Philip K. (1995), Siyasi ve Kültürel İslâm Tarihi I-II, Transl. Salih Tuğ, Marmara Üniversitesi İlahiyat Fakültesi Yayınları, İstanbul, p. 154.
4) Balazuri, Futuhul-Buldan, p. 77-78.
5) Esad, Mahmut, İslam Tarihi (Târih-i Din-i İslâm), Marifet Yayınları, İstanbul. p. 62.
6) Esad, p. 53.
7) Hitti, p. 37.
8) Bebel, August (2003), Hz. Muhammed ve Arap İslâm Kültürü Dönemi, Transl. Veysel Atayman, Bordo-Siyah Yayınları, İstanbul. p. 104.
- For detailed information, see Fatih Oğuzay, Hz. Peygamber Döneminde Tarım Kültürü (Master’s Thesis, Sakarya Üniversitesi, 2008); İsmail Pırlanta, Hz. Peygamber Döneminde Tarım Faaliyetleri ve Ekonomiye Katkısı, Siyer Araştırmaları Dergisi Issue: 5, January-June 2019.

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