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Virtues Of Miswaak

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The blessings of Miswaak

 

Moulana Ruhullaah Naqshbandi Ghafoori

 

Translation edited by Mufti A. H. Elias (May ALLAAH protect him)

 

Allaamah Sayyid Thahthawie Hanafi (A.R) has written in 'Hashiyatut Thahthawie';

"The virtues of Miswaak which the Aimah have reported from Hadhrat Ali (RA), Hadhrat Abdullaah bin Abbaas (RA)  and Hadhrat At'aa (A.R) are as follows;

 

  1. Hold  fast onto the Miswaak and do not be negligent regarding it. Be regular with its use as it earns the pleasure of ALLAAH Ta'ala

  2. The  reward of Salaah increases by ninety-nine or by four hundred.

  3. Regular  use of the Miswaak makes ones  Rizq (Sustenance) easier and increases its blessings.

  4. It cures headache and calms the nerves; if a nerve is stationary then it brings it into motion or calms a pulsating nerve.

  5. It  reduces  phlegm.

  6. It strengthens the eyesight.

  7. It cleans  the intestines.

  8. It  improves eloquence in speech.

  9. It  increases energy.

  10. It  improves the memory and understanding.

  11. It  cleanses the heart.

  12. It  increases performance of virtuous deeds.

  13. It  pleases the angels, who greet him on account of the radiance of his face.

  14. When he exits the Masjid the angels follow him.

  15. The  Ambiyaa supplicate for his forgiveness.

  16. Miswaak  angers Shaytaan and wards him off.

  17. It  i mproves  digestion.

  18. It  increases  fertility.

  19. It  delays old age.

  20. It  removes  excess heat from the body.

  21. It  strengthens the back.

  22. It  grants the body strength for Ibaadat (worship).

  23. It  eases the pangs of death and reminds one of the Kalimah at the time of     death.

  24. It  result in one being awarded his Book of Deeds in his right hand on the Day     of Qiyaamah.

  25. One  will cross the bridge of Siraat with the speed of lighting.

  26. It   causes the Qabr (grave) to be widened.

  27. It   grants  ease in the Qabr (grave).

  28. One  who is habitual with using the Miswaak will be rewarded even when he forgets to use it.

  29. The Doors of Jannat are opened for him.

  30. The angels announce that he is the follower of the Ambiyaa.

  31. He  adheres to the Sunnat of the Ambiyaa.

  32. The Day supplicates for his guidance.

  33. The doors of Jahannam are closed for him.

  34. He  eaves this world purified from sin.

  35. The angel of death takes the form of a friend when removing his soul and     in some narrations it is mentioned takes the same form that he     appears in when taking the souls of the Ambiyaa.

  36. The     greatest benefit of all is that the pleasure of ALLAAH is attained.1

 

Definition of Miswaak according to the Fuqahaa

The opinion of Hanafi scholars

السواك اسم لخشبة معينة للاستاك

"Miswaak is a specific wooden stick used to assist in brushing."2

 

The opinion of the Maaliki scholars

سواك اى استياك بعود اراك او نحوه

"To brush the teeth with a wooden stick or similar is called Miswaak."3

 

The opinion of the Shaafie scholars

استعمال عود او نحوه فى الاسنان و ما حولها لاذهاب التغيير ونحوه

"Using a wooden stick or similar item to remove the dirt, etc around the teeth is called Miswaak."4

 

The opinion of the Hanbali scholars

السواك و المسواك اسم للعود الذى يتسوك به

"Siwaak and Miswaak is the name of the wooden stick with which the teeth are brushed."

In all these definitions the Fuqahaa are unanimous and it is proven that the use of a wooden stick to remove the foul odour of the mouth is called Miswaak. Removal of this odour is possible with any item that has the capability of clearing the teeth by scraping it.

 

What to observe when using a Miswaak?

In essence any branch can be used as a Miswaak as long as it is not harmful, such as when it is very small. "It has been said that any branch can be used as a Miswaak."However there are some trees which contain beneficial properties and are therefore better to use as a Miswaak.

Those aspects which one should take note of when using a Miswaak are;

 

1) It should not be a poisonous tree.

2) The wood should not be hard.

3) It should not be a thorny tree.

4) It should not be a bitter tree.

5) It should be soft wood.

6) It should be moist wood.

7) It should be a straight branch.

8) It should be as thick as a finger.

9) It should be one hand span in length.

10) Its bristles should be made thin and softened.

11) It should be held in the right hand.

12) One should begin brushing from the right side.

13) The Miswaak should be washed before use.

14) The Miswaak should be washed after use.

15) It should not be sucked.

16) It should not be thrown away as ordinary things would.

17) The necessary Duas (supplications) should be recited while using it.

18) The Miswaak should be discarded once it is shorter than four fingers.

 

Times when Miswaak is Mustahab

 

'Ghaayatul Idraak" claims that the times when using a Miswaak are Mustahab (preferable) are so numerous that it is impossible to list and explain them all. However this is an exaggeration and the majority of them actually refer to the same instance. We will now quote these instances in the same manner as he had listed it,

 

1) It is Sunnat to use the Miswaak while making Wudhu. It is mentioned in 'Siraajuth Thullaam' that Miswaak should be made in  Wudhu as according to us it is of the Sunnats of Wudhu.

 

2) It is Sunnat to use the Miswaak when the mouth contains a foul odour. This is then divided into many categories the summary of which is that it is Sunnat to use the Miswaak after consuming or eating anything that may leave a foul odour in the mouth.

 

3) When one wakes as a foul odour emanates from the mouth after sleep.

 

4) When entering the home.

 

5) When meeting someone.

 

6) While reciting the Quraan.

 

7) While studying Hadeeth.

 

8) When the teeth are stained.

 

9) When beginning to talk especially after a long silence.

 

10) When rising for Tahajjud.

 

11) When a foul odour emanates from the teeth.

 

12) Before taking a bath.

 

13) Between each two Rakaats of Tahajjud Salaah.

 

14) Miswaak should be made repeatedly on the day of Jumu'ah.

 

15) Before sleeping

 

16) After Salaatul Witr.

 

17) At the time of Sehri.

 

18) When standing for Salaah.

 

و فى امدادالفتاح و ليس السواك من خصائص الوضوء فانها يستحب فى حالات منها تغير الفم والقيام من النوم و الى الصلوة و دخول البيت و اجتماع الناس و قراءة القران و الحديث لقول ابى حنيفة ان السواك من سنن الدين و يستوى فيه الاحوال كلها و قال عليه السلام السواك مطهرة للفم و مرضات للربّ

 

"It is written in 'Imdaadul Fataah' that the use of Miswaak is not restricted to Wudhu only but is Mustahab in many situations such as when a foul odour emanates from the mouth, when awakening, when intending to perform Salaah, when entering the home, when meeting people, when reciting the Quraan or studying Hadeeth. This is also because Imaam Abu Hanifah (A.R) has stated that Miswaak is among the Sunnats of Deen and  everytime is the same as the other. Rasulullaah  has said, "Miswaak purifies the mouth and earns the pleasure of ALLAAH."

 

All the occasions mentioned above have been reported in various Ahaadeeth, the references of which can be found in reliable works of Fiqh. Since some of these occasions are obvious and do not need further investigation, to report the Hadeeth relating to each occasion would only unnecessarily lengthen this treatise. This is why we have sufficed with only a few. If each of these occasions were to be discussed in depth then this short sub-section would consist of more than a hundred pages. Nevertheless we should endeavour to make using the Miswaak a habit and remain steadfast upon the Sunnat of Rasulullaah (SAW) so that it s rewards can be benefitted from. Each Sunnat has its own unique position and reward which can only be attained when one abides to it strictly. Those people who claim that it is merely a Sunnat and is therefore permissible to discard, will be told on the Day of Qiyaamah that this is a stage of Jannat and it is permissible for you to be deprived of it.

Ibn Qaasim bin Qusay (A.R) has clearly stated this in his book, 'Dhal'ut Ta'alain'.

 

1     'Haashiyatut Thahthawie ala Maraaqiyul Falaah'

 

 

2     'Sharhul Inaayah alal Hidaayah' by Imaam Akmaludeen Muhammad bin     Mahmood al-Baabarti', 'Sharah Fathul Qadeer' page 24

 

 

3     'Jawaahirul Ikleel' volume 1 page 17

 

 

4     'Haashiyatul Jamal ala Sharhul Manhaj' volume 1 page 116

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Scientific studies conducted on Miswak.

 

The Wrigley Company made a study on Miswak which was published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. The study found that mints laced with Miswak extract were 20 times more effective in killing bacteria than ordinary mints. A small testimony to this fact is that after half an hour, the mints laced with Miswak extract killed about 60% of the bacteria where as the ordinary mints managed only 3.6%

 

In the August issue of Journal of Periodontology (2008) appeared a study conducted by Swedish researchers on Miswak. The study apparently found that suspended Miswak pieces in a petridish (medium for culturing bacteria) were able to kill bacteria that cause periodontal disease with out being in physical contact with the bacteria. The researchers suggested that Miswak might be giving antibiotics as gases trying to explain this phenomenon.

 

A study which compares toothbrushing and using Miswak (Miswak ing!) can be seen on Pubmed (U.S National Library for Medicine Service). The study concluded that Miswak was more effective than toothbrushing in reducing plaque and gingivitis provided it was used correctly. Similar studies found on the same website and elsewhere vouch for the effectiveness of Miswak over toothbrush.

 

A study conducted by a group of dentists at King Saud University concluded that using Miswak was at least as good as tooth brushing, if not better. There have been plenty of published studies on Miswak and infact entire books published which study its oral and systemic benefits.

 

 

Now, with all those studies chucked at you, you couldn’t help but wonder why it is so effective. This can be attributed to its strong antibacterial properties. Another important aspect to consider is that its bristles are parallel to the handle rather than perpendicular which means effective cleaning between the teeth. Now, that’s one natural toothbrush cum toothpaste cum floss.

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Sunnah method of holding the miswaak

 

Q: What is the Sunnah method of holding a miswaak to use it?

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A: The method of holding the miswaak is that one will place the thumb and small finger under the miswaak, and the remainder fingers on the upper-side of the miswaak.

And Allah Ta'ala (الله تعالى) knows best.

وفي البحر والنهر والسنة في كيفية أخذه أن يجعل الخنصر أسفله والإبهام أسفل رأسه وباقي الأصابع فوقه كما رواه ابن مسعود (شامي 1/114)

Answered by:

Mufti Zakaria Makada

Checked & Approved:

Mufti Ebrahim Salejee (Isipingo Beach)

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