Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) laid great stress on the use of the Miswaak (a tree-twig used for cleansing the teeth). One of the Sunnats of Wudhu is to use a Miswaak. Wherever a Miswaak is available and is not used, the full beauty and complete Sawaab of the Wudhu is not realised. There are numerous benefits and advantages in using a Miswaak.
HISTORY OF THE MISWAAK
The Miswaak, a tree-twig, was in use for brushing and cleansing the teeth long before the advent of our Holy Nabi (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam). In fact the records of our Nabi Muhummad's (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) Ahadith indicate that the Miswaak was the "Sunnah" or practice of all the Ambiyaa (Prophets of Allah)—Peace be upon them.
"Abu Ayyub (R) narrates that Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) said:
'Four things are amongst the practices of the Ambiyaa —circumcision, application of perfume, Miswaak and marriage'." (AHMAD AND TIRMIZI)
Several other Ahadith of our Nabi (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) also mention the Miswaak to have been the practice of the Prophets (Upon Whom Be Peace). Thus, we can safely claim that the practice of using the Miswaak is as old as mankind itself since Mankind's origin on the planet was with the appearance of the first Nabi of Allah, viz. Adam (A.S.). Therefore, among the many advantages and benefits of using the Miswaak, one of the greatest benefits is the good-fortune of being associated with the Ambiyaa in this holy practice. On the other hand, those who neglect the use of the Miswaak invite upon themselves a great misfortune by being deprived of the tremendous amount of Sawaab (Reward) which this noble practice carries.
Allamah Ibn Ismail says:
"It surprises me how people could forgo such a great Sunnah, the significance of which many Ahadith of our Nabi (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) explain. Remember that it is a great loss to neglect the Miswaak."
THE IMPORTANCE OF THE MISWAAK IN ISLAM
Islam has accorded an elevated status to the Miswaak. Its importance has been stressed in many Ahadith of our Holy Nabi (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam). The statements and examples of the Sahaba and the Ulama of Islam regarding this practice bear testimony in abundance of the significance of the Miswaak.
Ibn Umar (R) 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)'." (BUKHARI)
It is clear from this Hadith that two types of benefits accrue from the use of the Miswaak. These could be categorised as follows:
(1) UKHRAWI or Benefits which relate to the Hereafter;
(2) DUNYAWI or Benefits which relate to this worldly life.
The Ukhrawi category comprises the various Sawaabs (Rewards) which the Servant of Allah will obtain in the Hereafter for using the Miswaak. The Dunyawi category comprises the immediate benefits or advantages accruing to the physical human body by the constant use of the Miswaak.
The prime motive of the true Believer in his use of the Miswaak is his desire to obtain the first category of Benefits, i.e. Ukhrawi, the obtainal of the second category being a necessary corollary. This is so, since the only factor which governs the motive and intention of the Believer in his Ibaadat (Worship) is the Pleasure of Allah, our Creator, Nourisher and Sustainer. Hadhrat Ali (R), the fourth Khalif of Islam said:
"Make the Miswaak (i.e. its use) incumbent upon you, and be constant in this practice because Allah's Pleasure is in it and it increases the Reward of Salat from ninety-nine times to four hundred times."
In fact, the importance of the Miswaak is such that at one stage our Nabi (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) was under the impression that Allah Ta'aala might decree the use of the Miswaak Fardh (compulsory) upon the Ummah (Islamic Nation).
Abu Umamah (R) narrates that the Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) said:
'Use the Miswaak, for verily, it purifies the mouth, and it is a Pleasure for the Lord. Jib-ra-eel (A.S.) exhorted me so much to use the Miswaak that I feared that its use would be decreed obligatory upon me and upon my Ummah. If I did not fear imposing hardship on my Ummah I would have made its use obligatory upon my people. Verily, I use the Miswaak so much that I fear the front part of my mouth being peeled (by constant and abundant brushing with the Miswaak)'." (IBN MAJAH)
"Abu Hurairah (R) 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'." (BUKHARI)
Hadhrat Shah Waliullah (R) relates the following :"The Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) said: 'I was commanded to use the Miswaak to such an extent that I thought the Miswaak would be made obligatory'." (AHMAD and TIBRANI)
Ibn Abbas (R) narrates the following Hadith:
"The Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) said: 'I was commanded so much to use the Miswaak that I thought Wahi of the Qurtaan (Revelation) would be revealed, regarding it (i.e. its use)'." (ABU YA'LAA)
Although the use of the Miswaak was not made Fardh (compulsory) upon the Ummah, nevertheless its use was Fardh upon our Nabi (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam). This is borne out by the following Hadith: "Aisha (R) narrates that Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam): said:
'These (practices), viz., Miswaak, Witr Salaat and Tahajjud Salaat, are Sunnat for you and Fardh for me'."
Hadhrat Abu Hurairah (R) narrates:
"The Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) would use the Miswaak (regularly) prior to sleeping and after rising from sleep." (MUNTAKHAB)
Imam Ghazali (R), in his Ihya-ul-Uloom, has enum,erated ten Aadaab (Respects or duties) of sleep. The very first of these being purity and the use of the Miswaak (before sleeping).
Advantages of the Miswaak:
1. Miswaak strengthens the gums and prevents tooth decay.
2. Miswaak assists in eliminating toothaches and prevents further increase of decay which has already set in.
3. Miswaak creates a fragrance in the mouth.
4. Miswaak is a cure for illness.
5. Miswaak eliminates bad odors and improves the sense of taste.
6. Miswaak sharpens the memory.
7. Miswaak is a cure for headaches.
8. Miswaak creates lustre (noor) on the face of the one who continually uses it.
9. Miswaak causes the teeth to glow.
10. Miswaak strengthens the eyesight.
11. Miswaak assists in digestion.
12. Miswaak clears the voice.
13. The greatest benefit of using miswaak is gaining the pleasure of Allah.
14. The reward of Salaah (Prayers) is multiplied 70 times if Miswaak was used before it.
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