I'm aware of this hadith relating to Eid al-Fitr (see: Is it sunnah to eat dates before going to eid al-Fithr prayer?):

Narrated Anas bin Malik: Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) never proceeded (for the prayer) on the Day of `Id-ul-Fitr unless he had eaten some dates. Anas also narrated: The Prophet (ﷺ) used to eat odd number of dates. -- Sahih al-Bukhari 953 (sunnah.com)

And, on one occasion (unrelated to Eid al-Fitr), two Muslim friends from Algeria told me it was better to eat an odd number of dates. I've been trying to eat only odd numbers of dates ever since (except when I eat 0 dates). Hence:

Question: Is it generally important to eat an odd number of dates?


3 Answers 3


No, it even isn't Sunnah

There is no evidence from the Sunnah that the Prophet intentionally ate an odd number of dates.

Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allah have mercy on him) said:

It is not obligatory – and in fact it is not Sunnah – to break the fast with an odd number, three or five or seven or nine, except on the Day of Eid al-Fitr, as it is proven that the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him and his family) would not go out for prayer on the Day of Eid al-Fitr, until he had eaten some dates, an odd number thereof. Apart from that, the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) did not seek deliberately to eat an odd number of dates.

[Fataawa Noor ‘ala ad-Darb (11/2)]

There is a hadith where it says that the Prophet ate 3 dates to break his fast.

The Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) used to like to break his fast by eating three dates or something that had not been touched by fire.

Narrated by Abu Ya‘la (3305)

It is a da‘eef (weak) hadith that has not been proven. See ad-Da‘eefah by al-Albaani (966).

However, some scholars say that it is mustahabb to make everything odd-numbered.

Shaykh Saalih al-Fawzaan (may Allah preserve him) was asked:

Should making things odd-numbered be done with regard to all permissible things, such as drinking coffee and the like, or is it only with regard to things concerning which a text has been narrated?

The Shaykh’s answer may be summed up as follows:

All words and deeds should be made odd-numbered. This is the Sunnah.

Shaykh ‘Abd al-Kareem al-Khudayr (may Allah preserve him) was asked:

Will we be rewarded for making things odd-numbered as an act of devotion when eating, drinking and so on?

He replied

Yes, we will be rewarded for doing that as an act of devotion. So if a person eats dates, he should eat one, or three or seven, an odd number, because Allah loves that which is odd-numbered.

‘Abd ar-Razzaaq (5/498) narrated from Ma‘mar, from Ayyoob, from Ibn Sireen, from Abu Hurayrah, that the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said:

“Verily Allah is One and loves that which is odd-numbered.”

Ayyoob said: Ibn Sireen liked that which was odd-numbered in all things, to the extent that he would eat an odd number of things. This is a saheeh isnaad.

To summarise, the matter is broad and has not been proven. The scholars who said that said it on the basis of ijtihaad.

And Allah knows best.

Source: Islam Q&A


I said to a Muslim friend that I don't now eat dates because I like them too much and I don't want to have too much sugar. He told me that as long as I made sure I had an odd number of dates there was no sugar in them so couldn't be harmful. I was naturally sceptical at first, but it makes a kind of sense. If you intend to eat less dates, then deciding to have an odd number really might help.

It works like this. Let us say you eat three dates [or any other odd number] at midday.

Then in the evening you feel a bit peckish and decide to have more. If you have made a promise to yourself only to have an odd number, then a second lot is not possible, since any two odd numbers added together always makes an even number.

You could try and get round this by having three lots of dates, but you would still have to have the second lot [an even number] before you could have the third lot...

Hope this helps.


Honestly there is a lot of speculation on this and the context around it. This is certainly not Farz and not a Sunday either, except this was observed on Eid al Fitr. To continue this tradition, I can try to follow eating an odd number of dates but this is an observation. Nobody questioned the Prophet S.A.W. as to why did he see fit to do this? So naturally there is no direct explanation.

Up to discretion of the person should he or she choose to follow this tradition in their everyday life. Dates are great but I cannot see myself eating 1 or 3 daily. It's not a part of my lifestyle. And it is not compulsory or a Sunnah (correct me if I'm wrong).

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