The Date Palm tree is frequently mentioned in the Holy Qur’an. It is mentioned approximate 20 times in the Holy Qur’an, therefore is also cited in many occasions in the Prophet’s Hadith (PBUH). Date Palm has an important role in the lives of the Arabs in the Peninsula, and the Qur’anic Botanic garden gives added attention to this plant by collecting of the traditional instruments made from Palm’s leaves, stems and fronds which are still being used by Arabs today. In this section we will highlight the Date Palm Display and show images and definitions of some of the traditional tools from the Arabian Peninsula that are made of palm leaves or its derivatives. Simple explanations and descriptions will be given for each element.
Al-Minaz is a rectangular crib made from palm tree fronds with a tent-like canopy to protect the infant from flies and mosquitoes. It has an elevated bottom that creates a space below where the infant’s clothes can be stored.
Al-Ḥaṣīr are sitting mats made from palm tree leaves that can also be used for sleeping. These rectangular mats can be made from other plants as well, such as cattail aquatic plant and sea rush grass among others.
Al-Sarūds are large circular woven tablemats that are used for serving food. They are made of palm tree leaves and can also be used as colorful wall decorations.
Al-Jafīrs are wide barrel-shaped woven baskets. They are made of palm tree leaves and have two handles. They can be used to store dates, food and flour. They are also used to transport ripe dates after harvesting. In some Gulf areas, these baskets are called Al-Zabīl.
Al-Jifīrs are round, but sometimes cylindrical woven baskets with tight covers. They are made of colored palm tree leaves and tamarisk stems. They are used to store food and dates.
Al-Mansafs are shallow round baskets that look like trays. They are made of palm tree stems (the fronds without the leaves) and are used to clean grains such as rice from dust and other impurities.
These are hand fans made from colored palm tree leaves. They are usually rectangular or round with a piece of a frond as a handle. They are used for airing and to shoo flying insects.
A date basket is cubical structure made of palm tree fronds, usually 15 cm. by 50 cm. in size. It has a door at the top and enough space between the frond pieces to allow good ventilation. These are permanently used to store dates and can be easily kept on shelves.
Al-Makabba is a cone-shaped container made of palm tree leaves. It is used to cover food plates to keep insects away. The term “Al-Makabba” also refers to a kind of bird cages for pigeons and other small birds. These have a door on top and are usually hung on walls to keep rodents and other animals from getting to the birds.
Al- Ḥabl is a belt made of linen and palm tree bark fiber. It is a soft brown fiber found in the stem of palm trees. The belt is a rope covered with a layer of linen, and it is used to climb palm trees for pollination or to cut down date crowns during harvest season.