By: CalgaryIslam.com Editoral Staff
One of the best ways to protect one's teeth is the siwak, which was mentioned in several sayings of Prophet Muhammad (صلى الله عليه وسلم). One such saying of the prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) was narrated by Abu Hurairah:
Ibn Maajah [no. 288] reports that the Messenger of Allaah (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said, "Use the siwaak for indeed it purifies the mouth and is pleasing to the Lord. Each time Jibreel has come to me he has enjoined me to employ the siwaak to the point that I feared that it would become obligatory upon my nation and me. If I did not fear that it would become difficult for my nation I would have obligated its use upon them and indeed I employ the siwaak to the point that I fear that my front teeth would be uprooted."
Hadeeth No. 1816
The Prophet 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 Allah." Narrated 'Amir bin Rabi'a, "I saw the Prophet cleaning his teeth with Siwak while he was fasting so many times as I can't count." And narrated Abu Huraira, The Prophet 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 who did not differentiate between a fasting and a nonfasting person in this respect (using Siwak).
Aisha said, "The Prophet said, "It (i.e. Siwak) is a purification for the mouth and it is a way of seeking Allah's pleasures." Ata' and Qatada said, "There is no harm in swallowing the resultant saliva."
"For centuries, chewing sticks have been used as a tooth-cleaning device. one of the most commonly used types is known as the Miswak. Despite its common use, few studies have examined possible effects on the gingiva and the surrounding structures.
The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between Miswak and periodontal health. The incisors, canines, and premolars were examined in 236 patients. All patients were interviewed regarding their demographic data, oral hygiene habits, and use of Miswak. Clinical examination included scoring of plaque, gingival inflammation, pocket depths, attachment loss, and gingival recession.
Patients were divided into three groups: a Miswak group, a toothbrush group, and a Miswak/toothbrush group. The results of this study indicated that use of the Miswak may influence plaque accumulation and periodontal health." [Source: King Saud University, College of Dentistry, Riyadh 11545, Saudi Arabia. Authors: Eid MA, al-Shammery AR, Selim HA.]
The fuqaha’ suggested that when using siwaak, a person should start on the right, and use a side-to-side motion rather than up-and-down, as the latter may harm the gums. Among the etiquette of using siwaak, they mentioned the following:
1. That a person should not use the siwaak in front of others or in public, because this is impolite.
2. That the siwaak should be washed after use, to get rid of any dirt that may be on it. ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) said: “The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to use siwaak, then he would give it to me to wash it. I would use it first, then wash it and give it back to him.” (Reported by Abu Dawood, 1/45).
3. The siwaak should be kept in a clean place.
We should keep in mind the practice of this Sunnah at all times. It is a great loss to forget the Miswaak especially when there are so many AHadeeth which mention its importance!