Tuesday, July 31, 2012
Ramadan 2012 – Day 12, Miswak
One of the questions I originally had about fasting and not being able to drink any liquids is, “is it okay to brush your teeth?”
I asked around and there are two possibilities:
1) yes, you can brush your teeth is normal just make sure you don't swallow any water. Many of my Qatari friends brush their teeth during the day; or
2) use miswak.
So what's a miswak? Miswak, also known as siwak, is the branch of a specific type of tree that grows in the Middle East. It had long been used for cleaning teeth, pre-dating Islam, and even to this day many people in the Gulf use it.
You can buy it at pharmacies (you might need to ask the pharmacist where it is, they don't keep it next to the toothbrushes). Here's what it looks like:
So how do you use it? First you strip off some of the bark at one end. Then you chew on and moisten the end, it gets bristly similar to a toothbrush.
Then clean your teeth. No water or toothpaste required.
Using it for the first time was strange. It has an odd taste, apparently that's from the chemicals in the wood that kill bacteria and help clean the teeth. It's also harder to use than a toothbrush because the bristles points straight out rather than a toothbrush where they point out of the side.
If you want to see more there are some videos on youtube of people using miswak.
I'm sure you get used to it in time.
Hadiths of the Day!
Abd al-Rahman son of Abd Said al-Khudri reported on the authority of his father that the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) 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.” (Sahih Muslim)
Abdullah Umar reported Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) as saying: “I saw in a dream that I was using miswak and the two persons contended to get it from me, the one being older than the other one. I gave the miswak to the younger one. It was said to me to give that to the older one and I gave it to the older one.” (Sahih Muslim)
Abu Huraira narrated: Allah’s Apostle ((peace be upon him) said, "If I had not found it hard for my followers or the people, I would have ordered them to clean their teeth with Siwak for every prayer." (Sahih Al-Bukhari)