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`."
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.
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)`."
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)`."
"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`."