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The Importance of the Miswak

Question: What is the importance of the miswak? What are the manners and rules concerning using it?
ANSWER
Islam taught us 14 centuries ago treatment methods regarding dental health that modern medicine has only recently started to introduce. The miswak, which has a great effect on dental health, is the best teeth-cleaning tool with its easy-to-use quality. Using a miswak is highly beneficial for the prevention of tooth decay. The medical book entitled Larousse Illustré Medical says:

"All kinds of toothpaste and powder are harmful to the teeth. The best method for cleaning them is with a hard brush. Initially it makes the teeth bleed. But you should not fear that. It will strengthen the gums, so that they will no longer bleed.”

The best tool that cleans the teeth in the above-mentioned way is a miswak. Dentifrices kill all oral bacteria, regardless of whether they are harmful or helpful. But the miswak kills only harmful ones. Using it is one of the sunnats of wudu'. It is one of the sunnats of salat according to the Shafi'i Madhhab. The following hadith-i sharifs state:

(A salat offered after one has used a miswak is 70 times superior to the salat offered without it.) [Ibn Nejjar]

(Jabrael alaihis-salam recommended using a miswak so much that I feared that it would be made obligatory [fard].) [Ibn Majah]

(If I had not found it a hardship for my Ummah, I would order them to make wudu' for every salat and to use miswak in every wudu'.) [Bukhari, Muslim]

(When you get up for Salat al-Layl, clean your mouth with a miswak because an angel comes close to the mouth of the person reciting the Qur'an in salat and listens to his recitation.) [Daylami]

(Your mouths are the pathways of the Qur'an, so clean them with a miswak.) [Abu Nu'aym]

(The five sunnats of prophets are as follows: haya [shame, modesty, bashfulness], mildness, blood-letting [hijamah], miswak, and fragrant scent.) [Tabarani]

(The miswak increases the eloquence of a man's speech.) [Ibn Adiy, Hatib]

(Miswak cleans the mouth, sharpens eyesight, strengthens the gums, whitens the teeth, prevents tooth decay, facilitates digestion, restores the stomach to health, brings an end to the phlegm, and multiplies good deeds. A person using a miswak pleases Allahu ta'ala and delights angels.) [Abu Nu'aym]

The miswak has more than 30 benefits, the lightest of which is that it dispels distress. The best of them is that it reminds its user to say the Kalima-i Shahadat (Word of Testimony) at the time of death. In the miswak is a cure for every illness except death. The use of the miswak makes it easier to walk on the Sirat Bridge. Besides, it slows the aging process.

The miswak cleans the mouth, polishes the eyes, removes bad breath and dirt in the mouth, whitens the teeth, gives vigor to the gums, promotes digestion, stops phlegm production, and increases the rewards of salat. It purifies the mouth, which is the pathway of the Qur'an al-karim, gives the mouth a nice smell, increases the eloquence of one's speech, adds strength to the stomach, makes the Devil distraught, multiplies one's rewards (thawab), cures the bile, relieves the veins in the head, soothes a headache, and causes the soul to leave the body easily.

Our master the Prophet always carried with him a mirror, comb, and miswak. His blessed companions did not neglect to use their miswaks even in battle. It is mustahab to use the miswak when the teeth turn yellow, when the smell of the mouth changes, when one wakes up, when one stands up for salat, when one enters one's home, when one goes to join gatherings, when one starts to recite the Qur'an, and when one is performing wudu'.

Hadrat Imam-i A'zam stated, "Using a miswak is one of the sunnats of the religion." Rubbing it on the upper teeth three times and then the lower teeth three times is the minimum act required. It should be rubbed on their inner and outer faces as well as biting/chewing faces and their lower parts. It should be used with the right hand. One should not hold it in a fist, nor should one suck on it. It should be held in such a way that the little finger and the thumb of the right hand are under the stick and the remaining three fingers are on it.

When one starts cleaning one's teeth with a miswak, swallowing the wetness in the mouth is good for some diseases. But one should not swallow the wetness after it. It causes Satanic whispers if one does. The miswak should be washed after it is used. Satan uses it if it is not washed. It should not be left flat (when not in use) but should be put in an upright position with its bristles down. It should not be extremely wet or hard or longer than one hand span. It should be like the little finger in thickness. (Radd-ul-mukhtar)

Question: The miswak is obtained from the twigs of the arak tree (salvadora persica). But this tree does not grow in Turkey. Do the twigs of any other tree not serve the same purpose?
ANSWER
The miswak made of the twigs of the arak tree is preferable to a miswak made of the other trees. It can be made of the olive tree in the absence of the arak tree. But a miswak from a pomegranate tree should not be used.

It is declared in a hadith-i sharif:
(How nice is the miswak made of the olive tree, which is a blessed tree! It is my miswak and the miswak of those prophets before me.) [Tabarani]

One should not neglect to use a miswak, be it from the olive tree, for the miswak slows the process of aging, strengthens vision, eliminates bad breath. It has many other benefits, too. (Radd-ul-mukhtar)

Question: It is written in the book entitled Namaz Kitabı that it is mustahab to clean the teeth with a miswak when one is making wudu'. But it is written in its section dealing with the sunnats of wudu' that using a miswak is an important sunnat. Are they not contradictory?
ANSWER
It is sunnat to clean and to brush the teeth when one is making wudu'. To do this sunnat with a miswak is mustahab; it is better. That is, when one uses a miswak, one has done an act that is both sunnat and mustahab. If one cleans one's teeth with one's fingers or with a toothbrush, one has done only a sunnat act. If one uses a miswak to fulfill this sunnat, one earns the reward of a sunnat act, plus that of a mustahab one.

Question: When I soften the tip of a miswak, I cannot make it brush-like. It remains like a piece of wood no matter how much I use it. I cannot succeed in separating its fibers. What should I do?
ANSWER
When the tip of a newly bought miswak is gently hit with a hammer a few times, its fibers will separate like a brush. It will not be necessary to soak it in water.

Question: Is using a miswak sunnat only when one is making wudu'?
ANSWER
Miswak can be used at all times, especially when one gets up, when one stands for salat, after one has eaten a meal, and when one begins wudu'.

Question: What is the proper time for using the miswak during wudu'?
ANSWER
The proper time for it is the time when one begins making wudu'.

Question: If the miswak is rubbed on the teeth more than three times, is it considered to be against the sunnat way?
ANSWER
No, it is not.

Question: Is the sunnat considered to have been fulfilled too when the miswak is rubbed on dentures?
ANSWER
Yes, it is.

Question: If a person who does not have any teeth rubs the miswak on his palate, will he earn the reward of a sunnat act?
ANSWER
Yes, he will earn it.

Question: Can a miswak be used when it becomes shorter?
ANSWER
Yes, it can be used.

Question: Is it permissible for women to use a miswak?
ANSWER
Yes, it is permissible. Their chewing gum substitutes for cleaning the teeth with a miswak.

Question:
What should a person do for wudu' in the absence of a miswak?
ANSWER
It is sunnat to clean the teeth after one has eaten a meal and when one is making wudu'. To fulfill this sunnat with a miswak is mustahab in addition to being sunnat. One should use a toothbrush in the absence of a miswak. If there is no toothbrush, either, one must clean one’s teeth with one’s thumb and second little finger [the index finger]; for doing this, the former is rubbed on the teeth on the right hand side and the latter is rubbed on the ones on the left hand side, three times each. (Endless Bliss)

Question: Is there anything wrong with swallowing pieces of miswak?
ANSWER
One should not swallow them deliberately, but there is nothing wrong with swallowing them accidentally.

Question: What is the method of using a miswak?
ANSWER
It can be moved in a side-to-side or up-and-down motion.

Question:
I have heard that using a miswak has lots of benefits. Is it true that it, in addition to its other benefits, causes a person to say the Kalima-i Shahadat at the time of death?
ANSWER
Yes, it causes its user to remember the Kalima-i Shahadat at his/her last breath and to die a Believer. (Durr-ul-mukhtar, Hashiyat Maraqi al-Falah, Siraj al-Wahhaj, Miftah al-Jannat)

 
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Date of Update
23 Eylül 2014 Salı
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