What is Miswak ?

Miswaak is essentially a traditional style replacement for toothbrush and toothpaste. It is chewing stick taken from the tree of Salvadora persica and has great health benefits.

What are the benefits of using Miswaak ?

There are mentions of Miswaak in various hadiths which highlights its importance as a sunnah as well as the fact that it is something for which there is a reward for using:

The Beloved Prophet (SallAllahu Alayhi wa Sallam) states, “Miswak is a thing that pleases the Merciful Lord.” [Sahih al-Bukhari, Vol. 1, Page 637, Hadith 1933]

Sayyiduna Abu Umamah (Radi Allahu Anhu) has narrated the following saying of the Holy Prophet (SallAllahu Alayhi wa Sallam), “Miswak is a means of the purification of your mouths and the pleasure of your Rabb.” [Sunan Ibn Majah, Page 2495, Hadith 289]

As a general rule of thumb if the Prophet Muhammad has stated a benefit of something then it is true and we have had science back this up time and time again. Examples are the benefits of sleeping on the side as opposed to your back or front and the drinking of water whilst sitting as opposed to standing.

Similarly, using Miswaak has many benefits such as :

  • Whitens teeth.
  • Helps remove bad breath.
  • Prevents plaque and gingivitis.
  • Strengthens tooth enamel – as it contains potassium, sodium, chloride, sodium bicarbonate and calcium oxide which all help to strengthen tooth enamel.
  • Prevents tooth decay.
  • Anti-carcinogenic effects.

When to use Miswaak ?

According to Prophetic tradition it is beneficial to use Miswaak especially at the time of performing ablution in preparation for the prayer (Salah) as it says:

Tabrani narrates a Hasan narration on the authority of Hadrat Ali (Radi Allahu Anhu), citing that Rasoolullah (SallAllahu Alayhi wa Sallam) said, “If I did not feel that it would be difficult upon my Ummah, I would have commanded them to perform miswak with every Wudu.” [Mu’jam al-Awsat, Vol. 1, Page 341, Hadith 1238]

However as it is not a command but it is obvious that there is benefit to use it we would suggest to try and make it part of your daily routine where possible. This could generally mean using it as a replacement or in addition to your morning and night time brushing routine or carry it with you and use it when you’re about to perform Wudu (ablution).

How to use Miswaak ?

After getting your first ever Miswaak it can be a bit overwhelming and confusing to say the least on how this cylindrical twig is meant to act as a replacement for your toothbrush.

But the solution is simple :

  • Chew about 2 cm of bark from one end of the Miswaak (this will expose the bristles) until all the surrounding bark has been removed.
  • Chew the middle of the Miswaak until it becomes soft and turns into bristles.
  • You then dip the bristles into water and then brush as you would normally.
  • Cut the used bristles off every few days and repeat the above process to expose new bristles.
  • Ensure the Miswaak is kept in a dry place.

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