Wednesday, September 19, 2007


MISWAAK = twigs of certain trees that are used on a regular basis by Muslims for centuries (and all Prophets Peace upon Them) to maintain oral hygiene and gain the pleasure of Allah SWT. It is a "natural toothbrush." Not only does it provide spiritual benefits, but it is also beneficial to the everyday maintenance of one's mouth, gums, and teeth.

A 2003 scientific study comparing the use of miswaak with ordinary toothbrushing concluded that the results clearly were in favor of the users who had been using the miswaak provided they had been given proper instruction in how to brush using the miswaak. The WHO recommended the use of the miswaak in 1986 and in 2000 an international consensus report on oral hygiene concluded that further research was needed to document the effect of the miswak.

Abu Huraira:
The Prophet(sallalahu alayhi wa sallm) said, "If somebody eats or drinks forgetfully then he should complete his
fast, for what he has eaten or drunk, has been given to him by God." Narrated 'Amir bin Rabi'a, "I saw the Prophet(sallalahu alayhi wa sallm) cleaning his teeth with Siwak while he was fasting so many times as I can't count." And narrated Abu Huraira, "The Prophet(sallalahu alayhi wa sallm) said, 'But for my fear that it would be hard for my followers, I would have ordered them to clean their teeth with Siwak on every performance of ablution." The same is narrated by Jabir and Zaid bin Khalid from the Prophet(salalahu alayhi wa sallm) who did not differentiate between a fasting and a nonfasting person in this respect (using Siwak).

Aisha said, "The Prophet(sallalahu alayhi wa sallm) said, "It (i.e. Siwak) is a purification for the mouth and it is a way of seeking God's pleasures." Ata' and Qatada said, "There is no harm in swallowing the resultant saliva."

Ibn Umar narrates that the Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) 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)'."

"Abu Hurairah narrates that Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) 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'."

'Abd al-Rahman son of Abu Sa'id al-Khudri reported on the authority of his father that the Messenger of God(sallalahu alayhi wa sallm) said: Bathing on Friday for every adult, using of Miswak and applying some perfume, that is available-these are essential. So far as the perfume is concerned, it may be that used by a lady.

‘Aa'ishah related that the Prophet(sallalahu alayhi wa sallm) said: "Ten things are part of one’s natural disposition: Trimming the moustache, growing a beard, (using) the Miswaak, sniffing water, cutting the nails, washing hands, plucking armpits, shaving pubic hair, and conserving water." [Muslim]

Use and Maintanence

1) A miswak should be one hand span in length when selected.

2) If it is becomes dry, it should be soaked in rose water to ensure the end is soft.

3) The end should be cut afresh to ensure hygiene, and should never be stored near a toilet or sink.

4) It can be used by cutting the branches instead of roots, keeping in mind that the roots can keep the humidity of Miswak more than the branches .

5) Fresh Miswaak is brown in color, with a hot, pleasant taste. People usually strip off some of the Miswaak's thin bark from one end, then chew that end a little to separate the fibers so that they become like the fibers of a normal toothbrush. They then use it to brush their teeth.

6) Freshness: Miswaak should be freshly cut so that it is supple, easily chewed, and still rich in active constituents. The root should be whitish-brown in color; a dark brown color indicates that the Miswaak is no longer fresh.

7) If a stick is dry, the end for chewing should initially be soaked in fresh water for 24 hours. It should be noted that soaking for unduly long periods causes loss of active constituents and diminishes the therapeutic properties, although the mechanical effects on the teeth can still occur.

8) Before Miswaak is used, the end should be washed with water. It is then chewed repeatedly until the fibers stand out like the bristles of a toothbrush. These fibers should be trimmed every 24 hours.

9) The techniques employed for removing plaque mechanically are similar to that for the toothbrush and the chewing stick; i.e., vertical and horizontal brushing. The cleaning movement should always be directed away from the gingival margin of the teeth (away from the gums) on both the buccal (outer cheek) and lingual (inner cheek) surfaces. Care should be taken to avoid damaging the soft tissues of the mouth. Satisfactory cleaning can be achieved if this procedure is followed for five minutes.

10) There are two basic holds: Pen-grip (three-finger) or palm-grip (five finger-grip). In each case the aim is to ensure firm but controlled movement of the brush end of the Miswaak within the oral cavity, so that every area of the mouth is reached with relative ease and convenience.

When to use Miswaak:

In general, the Miswaak should be used a minimum of five times a day (i.e. before each prayer).

However it is recommended to use it all the time, whenever possible.

Common mistakes in Miswaak use:

1. The end is either too thin or too thick.

2. Keeping it in the mouth while doing other things.

3. Not cutting the end every day.

4. Forgetting that teeth have five faces (inner, outer, two sides, and biting/chewing face), and only using Miswaak to clean the outer faces.


BuJ said...

Very interesting blog.. i love miswaks :) i never seen the main tree b4..

keep up the good work!

Sultana said...

Buj: I had never thought that the tree actually looked like a bush...I have seen them in Yemen, but they were thinned out like trees a bit...Anyway, yes, it was interesting...This Ramadan will be my first time to try it, I never thought to use it before!

Thank you for the encouragement,Barak Allahu Feek...

Sultana :)

Anonymous said...

ALlah bless you
an invitation to visit our sewak new un-discovered historically facts ( researches) : on :
Dr Rami DIabi

Anonymous said...

ALlah bless you
an invitation to visit our sewak new un-discovered historically facts ( researches) : on :
Dr Rami DIabi