The Sunnah Of The Amibiya- The Miswaak.
Maleeh ibn Abdullah Khatamy narrates that Rasulullah (SAW) said: “5 things are the Sunnah of the Amibiya;1) modesty,2) tolerance, 3) cupping,4) using the miswaak and 5) applying itr.”
Abu Darda (RA) narrates that Rasulullah (SAW) said: “Three things were the habits of the Amibiya:
1) To break the fast immediately after sunset
2) To have Sehri a little while before the break of dawn
3: To use miswaak.”
IMPORTANCE OF MISWAK IN ISLAM
“Abu Hurairah (RA) narrates that Rasulullah (SAW) said: “Was it not for my fear of imposing a difficulty on my Ummah I would have ordered that the Miswaak be used for every Salaat, and delay in Esha prayer.” (Al-Bukhari)
Ibn Umar (RA) narrates that Rasulullah (SAW) said: “Make a regular practice of the Miswaak, for verily, it is healthy for the mouth and it is a Pleasure for the Creator (i.e. Allah is pleased with the Muslim who uses the Miswaak).”(Al-Bukhari)
Ayesha (RA) narrates that Rasulullah (SAW) said: “The reward of Salaah (Prayers) is multiplied 70 times if Miswaak was used before it.”
MISWAAK BEFORE AND AFTER MEALS
Abu Hurairah (RA) said: “I have used the Miswaak before sleeping, after rising, before eating and after eating, ever since I heard the Nabi (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) advising so.” (Masnad Ahmad)
MISWAAK DURING FASTING
Aamir Bin Rabiyah (RA) narrates: I have seen Rasulullah (SAW) using the Miswaak many a time while fasting.(Ibn Majah)
TYPES OF MISWAAKS
It is permissible to take for a Miswaak of all types of tree twigs, which are not harmful or poisonous. The following are the types of Miswaak are recommended:
1) Peelo tree
2) Olive tree
4) Any bitter tree
5) Walnut tree
AADAAB (Etiquette) OF THE MISWAAK
1) The Miswaak should be a straight twig (small branch) and clean
2) The Miswaak should not be too hard/roughness nor too soft.
3) The new Miswaak should be approximately 8 inches (a hand-span) in length.
4) The Miswaak should be the thickness of the forefinger.
5) Before and after using the Miswaak, it should be washed.
6) The Miswaak should not be sucked.
7) The Miswaak should be placed vertically when not in use.
8) If the Miswaak is dry it should be moistened with water prior to use. (This is Mustahabb. It is preferable to moisten it with Rose water.)
9) The Miswaak should not be used at both ends.
10) The Miswaak should not be taken from an unknown tree, as it may be poisonous.
ADVANTAGES AND BENEFITS OF THE MISWAAK
1) Eliminates bad odors and improves the sense of taste.
2) It Sharpens the Intelligence.” Four things increase the Intelligence as in TIBBE NABAWI a) Shunning of nonsensical talks
b) Use of the Miswaak
c) Sitting in the company of the pious.
d) Sitting in the company of the Ulama.”
3) Eliminates Slime (slippery substance).
4) Cure for Illness.
5) Miswaak creates fragrance in the mouth.
6) Miswaak prevents further increase of decay.
7) Miswaak is a cure for headaches, also assists in eliminating toothaches.
8) Miswaak creates luster (Noor) on the face of the one who continually uses it.
9) Miswaak removes the yellowish-ness of the teeth.
10) Miswaak assists in the process of Digestion.
11) Miswaak is a cure for a certain mouth disease known as Qilaa. (This is stated in Hujjatul Baaleghah.)
12) And, the greatest benefit of using the Miswaak is the attainment of Allah’s Pleasure.
13) Indeed the Miswaak is a great Sunnah.
IMPORTANCE OF MISWAAK IN THE LIGHT OF Hadith
LAWS AND ETTIQUETTES
1) According to the Hanafi Madh-hab, Miswaak is a Sunnah of Wudhu. Therefore Miswaak should be made at the time of Wudhu. According to the Shafi Madh-hab, it is a Sunnah of Salaah, so should be used just prior to Salaah. Some Hanafi jurists are of the opinion that Miswaak is Mustahabb before Salaah too. Thus, if one uses the Miswaak just prior to Salaah, ensure that no blood comes out. If blood comes out, the Wudhu will break according to the Hanafi Madh-hab. If one wishes to use the Miswaak prior to Salaah, it will be safer to use it lightly on the teeth only, avoiding the gums.
2) There are two opinions regarding the proper time for Miswaak in Wudhu. Some jurists say at the very beginning of making Wudhu. Others say at the time of rinsing the mouth. Both opinions are correct. It is preferable for a person whose gums normally bleed to use the Miswaak at the beginning of
Wudhu and at the time of rinsing the mouth for one who does not bleed.
3) All types of tree twigs may be used for Miswaak with the exception of: a) the pomegranate tree, b) the basil plant, it can cause leprosy, c) the myrtle tree, it can also cause leprosy. It, too, should not be used as a toothpick. Preferably, twigs from a bitter tree should be used, for, it (wood from a bitter tree) cleanses the mouth and strengthens the teeth and stomach.
Ensure that it is not harmful or poisonous.
The best Miswaak is from the olive tree. Mu’aadh (RA) narrates the following Hadith from Rasulullah (SAW): “The best Miswaak is from the olive tree, a blessed tree. It cleans the mouth and it is my Miswaak and the Miswaak of the Amibiya before me.” (As Si’aayah)
4) According to the narration of Abdullah ibn Mas’ood (RA) the method of holding the Miswaak is to place the small finger at the bottom towards the end of the Miswaak and the thumb at the bottom towards the front (the brushing part) of it. The rest of the fingers should be placed on top. The right hand should be used.
5) Begin with the Miswaak on the right of the top teeth going towards the left and back towards the right. Thereafter clean the bottom teeth in the same manner. The teeth can be brushed lengthwise or breadth wise. It is preferable to clean the teeth breadth wise and the tongue lengthwise. The gums should also be brushed. Also, the back of the teeth.
6) If no Miswaak is available or a person does not have teeth, use the thumb and forefinger and rub the teeth or in the case of no teeth, the gums. The thumb will be used on the right and the forefinger on the left of the teeth. A piece of thick cloth can also be used. Do not use the fingers or a cloth when a Miswaak is available.
7) Miswaak is a Sunnah for both men and women.
8) It is Haraam to use a toothbrush made of pig bristles. It will be permissible to use one made of nylon. A toothbrush does not replace a Miswaak. The virtues and reward of Miswaak is not gained when using a toothbrush.
9) Toothpaste with any Haraam ingredient must be avoided.
10) Tooth powder with no Haraam ingredient is permissible but also does not substitute for a Miswaak.
11) The brushing portion of the Miswaak should not be too soft or too hard.
12) The Miswaak stick should be straight (not too bent) with not many knots.
13) Do not hold it in a fist and use. This can cause hemorrhoids (piles).
14) It is Makrooh (abominable) to use the Miswaak while lying down. It can lead to enlargement of the spleen.
15) Do not suck on the Miswaak, for, it can cause blindness.
16) Wash it (before and after brushing), otherwise Shaytaan uses it.
17) The length of the Miswaak should be one hand span when new. Shaytaan embarks on it if it is longer. There is no harm if because of use, the size decreases. It should be thick as the forefinger.
18) Do not leave it flat but place it in an upright position otherwise there is fear of insanity. Do not leave it flat on the ground. It is related from a Tabi’e Sa’eed ibn Jubayr that whoever does so and becomes insane has no one to blame but himself.
19) According to the Hanafi Madh-hab, a fasting person can use the Miswaak throughout the day. In the Shafi Madh-hab, it should not be used after Zawaal – after the sun reaches its zenith, i.e. till the beginning of the time of Zuhr Salaah.
20) A Muhrim – a person in the state of Ihram can use the Miswaak.
21) If the Miswaak is dry, it is Mustahabb to soften it with water.
22) Use the Miswaak thrice, washing it after each time. Others say it should be used (per occasion) until one is satisfied that the mouth is clean.
23) Do not use the Miswaak while in the toilet.
24) Do not use the Miswaak from both ends.
25) Do not use the Miswaak of another person without permission.
26) The Miswaak should also be used at the time of ghusl –bathing.
27) Make it a habit; encourage the children to use the Miswaak.
28) Special Du’aa can be recited at the time of Miswaak:
Abu Hurairah (RA) says that after hearing the (abovementioned) Hadith, he used the Miswaak regularly before sleeping and after awakening and before and after eating. (As Si’aayah)
Abu Hurairah (RA) reports that Rasulullah (SAW) said: “If I did not fear difficulty upon my Ummah, I would have instructed them to use the Miswaak before every Salaah.” (Tirmidhi)
The innumerable virtues of the Miswaak demand that it be Fardh so that no person is deprived of these virtues. However, because of the difficulty in using the Miswaak with every Wudhu or Salaah, it was not made Fardh. Allah, through His Mercy and Kindness did not make it Fardh so that His servants are not inconvenienced, also, the non-user will not become a sinner for neglecting a Fardh. Thus, it has been made Sunnah to avoid anyone being deprived of its innumerable benefits and reward.
REWARD OF SALAAH INCREASED AFTER MISWAAK
Ayesha (RA) says: “A Salaah performed after using the Miswaak is seventy times superior to the Salaah performed without Miswaak.” (As Sunan ul Kubraa)
Ayesha (RA) narrates from Rasulullah (SAW): “Two Rakaat’s of Salaah after using the Miswaak is more beloved unto me than seventy Rakaat’s without Miswaak.” (As Sunan ul Kubraa)
After understanding these two Ahadith, who would want to be deprived of this great reward and virtue? There are many other Ahadith extolling the superiority of Salaah after using the Miswaak. These two will suffice for this treatise. Other narrations mention ninety-nine fold up to four hundred fold. The Ulama explain that the difference in reward is in accordance with the Ikhlas – sincerity of the person. “The more the sincerity, the more the reward.”
MISWAAK DURING THE NIGHT
Ayesha (RA) says that water for Wudhu and the Miswaak would be kept ready for Rasulullah (SAW). When he awakened during the night (for Tahajud), he would first relieve himself, then use the Miswaak. (Abu Dawud)
CLEANING THE TONGUE WITH THE MISWAAK
Abu Burdah relates the following from his father (RA): “We came to Rasulullah (SAW) to seek assistance from him. (At that time) I saw him making Miswaak on the tongue.” (As Si’aayah)
In another narration he says: “I entered upon Rasulullah (SAW) while he was making Miswaak. He had the Miswaak on his tongue while he was saying ‘aah aah’, i.e. he was emitting a spewing sound.” (As Si’aayah)
ibn Sabaaq (RA) reports that Rasulullah (SAW) said: “O gathering of Muslims! Allah has made this day (Friday) a day of Eid for the Muslims; therefore take a bath (on Fridays). If you have perfume, apply it. Also make the use of the Miswaak compulsory upon yourselves.” (Muwatta Imaam Mohammed)
Friday, which includes, inters alia: the use of the Miswaak. Use of the Miswaak on a Friday holds greater virtue.
It is recorded in Zaad ul Ma’aad: “On Jumuah and Eidayn (the two Eids) the gathering is enormous. So take more care of using the Miswaak on these days compared to other days.”
We also learn from the second Hadith that the Miswaak has a part to play in the forgiveness of sins. The use of permissible perfumes is allowed. They should be free from alcohol and other Haraam substances. Also, ‘the best of clothes’ is that which is closest to the Sunnah. Tight fitting and immodest clothes should be avoided at all times. ‘Old clothes’ which are nearer to the Sunnah is better than new clothes which are distant from the Sunnah