The Miswak: More Than a Convenient Twig


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Bad breath continues to be a problem for many. Not only can it bother people around them, it can also bother those who have it. It is never easy to admit exactly how much it can trouble those who possess poor odour in this regard. And in this very regard, denial seldom helps.

You may think that there is no solution for this, or that there is no road toward impeccability in this area. You rarely have to think twice about covering your mouth during your spontaneous yawns, and occasionally may feel embarrassed to converse with others at small distances.

There is nothing to be embarrassed about, you say, in attempts to reassure yourself that not everybody is fussy when it comes to bad breath. That is until of course, you consciously realize individuals moving away from you an inch or two whilst you speak.

Of course it can be a sensitive topic, especially because it has the potential to play with a person’s confidence. This is understandable because nobody wants to feel unpleasant or be perceived as unclean. Therefore, it is definitely a topic of importance and worth giving some attention.

After all and most importantly, bad breath is usually a red flag that indicates bad oral health. Bad oral health is a warning to tell us that a whole lot of other bad things can or are occurring like ulcers, gingivitis, and cavities.

And in that case, a miswak could be just the special thing you are searching for to reduce or even eliminate your oral health issues, In sha Allah.

What is a miswak?
A miswak is a pencil-sized twig used as a natural means to clean teeth adequately through a gentle chewing and brushing process, which was frequently practised during the early Islamic period.

However, it is more than your usual toothbrush or any other portable teeth-cleaning equipment that you might insist be in the “must have” category such as your mouthwash, toothpaste, floss etc. These are all items you probably never miss throwing into your luggage during your long distance travels.

Imagine pretty much all of the benefits of these deemed essentials in one 15cm stick. Astounding, no?

Usually derived from the Salvadora persica tree, also known as the toothbrush tree, a miswak’s natural properties serve as chemical plaque control. This happens whilst simultaneously providing mechanical plaque control through contact of the twig with surfaces of the teeth – all naturally.

Properties and benefits of the miswak
So what does this mean exactly and what makes a miswak undeniably amazing? Well, as far as numerous researchers are concerned, the antimicrobial effects of miswaks have been well-documented after discovery of its perfect chemical composition that helps with attaining good oral well-being.

For instance, the silica found in miswaks adopt the role of an abrasive, which has the ability to remove tooth stains, resulting in cleaner teeth.

Tannins found in miswaks take the role of astringents (a chemical compound which causes contraction of tissues to stop blood flow), which was found to help decrease noticeable gingivitis.

Calcium saturated in the saliva, as a result of miswak use, was found to assist toward remineralisation of tooth enamel, supporting the production of stronger teeth at large.

The resins found in it form a layer over the enamel to serve as protection against further microbial damage.

Of course, many other medical properties have been discovered and confirm the comprehensive benefits miswaks have toward oral health, all of which inevitably help with having better breath!

The miswak in Islam
It is no wonder that Prophet Muhammad ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) placed such great emphasis on the miswak to the degree where he would have ordered its use at every prayer time, should it not have become burdensome for the believers.

The Prophet subḥānahu wa ta’āla (glorified and exalted be He) said:

“Were I not afraid that it would be hard on my followers, I would order them to use the siwak (as obligatory, for cleaning the teeth).” [Bukhari]

Out of his magnificent mercy, our Prophet ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) spared his people from perceived hardship. Nonetheless, that level of importance he ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) ascribed to it through the above hadith clearly shows that a miswak is unquestionably beyond a piece of twig broken off a tree. Its benefits are endless!

Whilst the miswak is associated with good mouth hygiene, as a part of cleanliness that is strongly encouraged in Islam, the miswak is also associated with good and pleasant odour, , another value that is promoted in this religion.

The Prophet Muhammad ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said:

“The Miswak (tooth-stick) cleanses and purifies the mouth and pleases the Lord.” [An-Nasa’i]

The former notion in regard to hygiene is implied in the hadith, whilst also educating Muslims about its spiritual benefit. Use of the miswak is a noble act in the sight of Allah subḥānahu wa ta’āla (glorified and exalted be He) as well as an easy means to gain His pleasure and reward!

Hudhaifa raḍyAllāhu ‘anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) narrated that whenever the Prophet ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) got up for Tahajjud prayer he used to clean his mouth (and teeth) with Siwak. [Bukhari]

This shows that the miswak is fitting to use whenever the smell of the mouth changes as a result from abstaining from food and water for a long period of time, or even as a result of eating food which possesses strong odour.

In short, the use of miswak is emphasised before prayer and after waking up. Its connection with oral cleanliness and pleasant odour has been implicitly and explicitly documented in Islamic literature and much later in scientific research.

Furthermore, the spiritual benefit in the form of attaining Allah’s subḥānahu wa ta’āla (glorified and exalted be He) pleasure and reviving the Prophet’s ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) sunnah should be taken well into account.

It is easy in its method, affordable in its price, beneficial in its process, reliable in its use, and rewarding in practice.

How to use the miswak
Using the miswak is pretty easy. Here is a simple 5-step guide to get you started:

Step 1
Using a knife, trim around 0.5 inches off the top of the miswak. You will be able to feel how deep to cut into the miswak when you are doing it.

Step 2
Slightly nibble on the miswak until it forms bristles.

Step 3
If the miswak is dry and lacking moisture, leave it in rosewater or fresh water for around 8 hours.

Step 4
Use the miswak in an up and down motion on your teeth.

Step 5
Trim the miswak every 3 to 5 days and follow from step 1 (excluding step 3).

Is the miswak better than a toothbrush?
One of the main reasons I love using the miswak is because of its convenience. Since no toothpaste or water is required, I use it immediately after I have had food or sipped on some coffee in order to protect my teeth from stains and the dreaded ‘something-stuck-in-my-teeth’ smile.

Due to the recent trend in avoiding chemical products and moving to natural and more organic products, the miswak is the perfect option for people wanting to avoid all the artificial substances found in toothpastes and mouthwashes.

Let’s revive this highly recommended sunnah and 100% natural method of maintaining oral health and hygiene: let’s decide to start using the miswak at least once a day, from today In sha Allah!

Courtesy: Salina Ahmed @

The cleanliness of the Masjid is our duty


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The religion of Islam being a natural way of life is promotes many simple, yet essential values to our existence. Islam lays a lot of importance to respect, etiquettes and moral conduct which can be found throughout the Quran and Sunnah.
An example of this is found where Allah Ta’ala has honoured and revered the Masajid, This entails that everyone else also follows in this order. Allah Ta’ala associates the respect shown to the symbols of Islam (here the Masjid) with the grand quality of Taqwa:
وَمَن يُعَظِّمْ شَعَائِرَ اللهِ فَإِنَّهَا مِن تَقْوَى الْقُلُوبِ
Those who show respect to the signs of Allah Ta’ala for this is from the Taqwa of the heart (Surah Hajj)
The Masajid are the houses of Allah from which the radiance of Iman emanates. Continue reading

Your child and Madrasah/ Maktab??


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The first formal institute of madrasa/Maktab education was at the home of Sayyadina Zaid bin Arkam (ra) near a hill called Safa, where our beloved Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu Alayhi Wassallam) was the teacher and the students were the beloved sahaba (ra). After migration the madrasa of “Suffa” was established in Madina on the east side of the Masjid an-Nabawi. Sayyadina Ubada bin Saumit (ra) was appointed by the Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wassallam) as a teacher. In the madrassa curriculum there were the teachings of the Qur’an, the ahadith, fara’idh, tajweed, genealogy, treatises of first aid, etc. There were also training in horse riding; the art of war; handwriting and calligraphy; athletics and martial arts.

Continue reading

The Influence of television is true!!


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One of the many Sunnaah of the Ambiya (عليهم السلام) is that of Hayaa – shame and modesty : a quality which is sorely missing in the lives of the majority of Muslims today and which should otherwise be an outstanding characteristic and feature of all Muslims, whether married or un-married. The Hadith states : ‘Hayaa is a branch of Imaan.’
Television is such an evil that if our society only understood its reality, then they would find no excuse to watch. Continue reading

Method of learning



“Learning from those who have been on the journey before you can save you a lot of hurdles and help you deal with the inevitable, better equipped. We need to realise the importance of learning from those before us.”

Seeking knowledge is a highly rewarding venture. It is, however, very easy to become overwhelmed by the vast amounts of information that needs to be processed and digested. Here is an 8 step guide briefly discussing the basic requirements for a student of Deen or an aspiring Hafidh of the Qur’an:

  1. Constancy alongside moderation Continue reading

Role of Women in Islamic Education


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How does a woman fulfill her relationship with Allah Most High, and at the same time, also serve the community?

There are many extremes in this. For example, some people believe that women should not be educated at all; that they should be kept completely ignorant so that they don’t know anything beyond the basics of their faith. This is completely rejected by our deen. Mawlana Ashraf Ali Thanawi, for example, compiled the famous work Bahishti Zewar and aimed it particularly toward women. The comprehensiveness of the book suggests it is a work that ought to live on the bookshelf of every home and used as a guidance for every aspect of a woman’s (and indeed her family’s) life. Indeed, such is the usefulness of the book that it is not uncommon to find muftis using Bahishti Zewar as a reference point nowadays.

There is the other extreme, too. Continue reading

How to Safeguard Your Time


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The great tābi‘ī, Hasan al-Basri rahimahullāh once said:

O son of Ādam! You are but (a collection of) days: when a day goes, a part of you goes.

A day that has passed will never return. Every morning at sunrise the day says:

Whoever is able to do some good should do it, for I will never return to you.

Just think! Our childhood days have passed; for many their youth has passed; others have reached old age and are waiting only for death to come. Allāh ta‘ālā says:

…Indeed, when the term appointed by Allāh comes, it cannot be delayed… (71:4) Continue reading


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