Seventeenth and Eighteenth Hadeeth

Some of the Rulings of Siwaak

It was narrated that ‘Aa’ishah, may Allaah be pleased with her, said: “‘Abdur-Rahmaan ibn Abu Bakr entered upon the Prophet, peace and blessing be upon him, while I was supporting the Prophet, peace and blessing be upon him, on my chest. ‘Abdur-Rahmaan had a fresh Siwaak then and he was cleaning his teeth with it. The Messenger of Allaah, peace and blessing be upon him, looked at it, so I took the Siwaak, cut it (chewed it with my teeth), shook it and made it soft (with water), and then gave it to the Prophet, peace and blessing be upon him, who cleaned his teeth with it. I had never seen the Messenger of Allaah, peace and blessing be upon him, cleaning his teeth in a better way. After finishing the brushing of his teeth, he lifted his hand or his finger and said thrice, "O Allaah! Let me be with the highest companions," and then died.” ‘Aa’ishah, may Allaah be pleased with her, used to say, "He died while his head was resting between my chest and chin."

In another wording: “I saw the Prophet, peace and blessing be upon him, looking at it (i.e. Siwaak) and I knew that he loved the Siwaak, so I said ( to him ), "Shall I take it for you? " He nodded in agreement.” (1).

It was also narrated that Abu Moosa Al-Ash‘ari, may Allaah be pleased with him, said: “I came to the Prophet, peace and blessing be upon him, and saw him carrying a fresh Siwaak in his hand and cleansing his teeth, saying, 'U' U'," as if he was retching while the Siwaak was in his mouth." (2).

Such two Hadeeths have several important points. We will review them in the following lines:

Firstly, the saying of ‘Aa’ishah, may Allaah be pleased with her, “…‘Abdur-Rahmaan had a fresh Siwaak then and he was cleaning his teeth with it…” means he, may Allaah be pleased with him, was letting the Siwaak passes over his teeth as if he was sharpening them.

Secondly, the Hadeeth indicates that the Prophet, peace and blessing be upon him, used to like Siwaak very much to the extent he was on the deathbed and feel eager to it. This actually indicates that Siwaak has great virtues.

Thirdly, both Hadeeths indicates that it is permissible to use the fresh Siwaak; rather, it is more appropriate to use it than the dried one because it may hurt gums and selecting it is even more appropriate. It is prescribed to exaggerate in using Siwaak. It is also prescribed to use Siwaak in cleaning the tongue, where it was stated in the Hadeeth of Abu Moosa, may Allaah be pleased with him: “…and saw him carrying a fresh Siwaak in his hand and cleansing his teeth, saying, 'U' U'," as if he was retching while the Siwaak was in his mouth." (3).

Fourthly, Muslim scholars have stated that it is recommended that Siwaak be from the Araak tree although other than it will also be permissible if it fulfills the desired requirement. Specifying and recommending it because it is the Siwaak of the Messenger of Allaah, peace and blessing be upon him. Imam Ahmad reported with a Saheeh Sanad (i.e. good chain of narrators) that ‘Abdullaah ibn Mas‘ood, may Allaah be pleased with him, said: “I used to gather Siwaak sticks from the Araak tree for the Messenger of Allaah, peace and blessing be upon him.” (4).

However, if there is no stick of Arak tree available, then one can use any other stick that can do the same job. Rather, some jurists, may Allaah have mercy upon them, have stated that this can be done by the coarse finger. Accordingly, it is more appropriate to include tooth-brush and toothpaste under the meaning of Siwaak because they fulfill the desired aim. However, one should not neglect using the Siwaak from Arak unless he does not find it. If one does both of them, then this will be more perfect and appropriate.

Amongst the matters that should be noted here is that it is recommended to use the left hand for Siwaak. Then one should start on the right, and use a side-to-side motion (rather than up-and-down, as the latter may harm the gums). Then, brush the tongue. It is also worth noting that many people go extremely in using Siwaak in all times. This is in general something recommended of course and even become more recommended in times and conditions stated before. However, it is disliked to use it in some other times such as using it while speaking to someone, in lectures and courses and the like. That is because using Siwaak in such times and the like is actually something impolite. Thus, we should observe such etiquette and think highly of it.

Fifthly, it was stated in such two Hadeeths the times when the use of Siwaak is recommended. In the following lines we will mention some of them:

1- When making Wudoo’ (i.e. Ablution). It was narrated that the Prophet, peace and blessing be upon him, said: “Were it not for the fact that I did not want to make things too hard for my Ummah, I would have commanded them to use the Siwaak during every time of making Wudoo’.” According to the narration of Al-Bukhaari, he, peace and blessing be upon him, said: “…at every time of making Wudoo’” and according to the narration of Ahmad: “…along with every Wudoo’” (5) Such narrations indicate that using Siwaak before every time of making ablution is something highly recommended.

2- When offering every prayer. Prayer here is general term refers to all forms of prayers whether it is obligatory or supererogatory. This is proved by the saying of the Prophet, peace and blessing be upon him: “Were it not for the fact that I did not want to make things too hard for my Ummah, I would have commanded them to use the Siwaak at every time of prayer.” Thus, it is generally recommended to use Siwaak before any whatever prayer. It was also reported from Salamah from Zayd ibn Khaalid who said: “I heard the Messenger of Allaah, peace and blessing be upon him, saying: 'If it were not that it would be difficult on my nation then, I would have ordered them to use the Siwaak for each prayer.” He [Abu Salamah, the narrator] said: “Zayd ibn Khaalid would attend the prayer in the Masjid and his Siwaak would be on his ear in the location of the pen on the ear of a writer. He would not get up to pray without cleaning his teeth, then returning it to its location.” (6).

Moreover, Ibn Abi Shaybah reported from Saalih ibn Kisaan that ‘Ubaadah ibn As-Saamit and the companions of the Messenger of Allaah, peace and blessing be upon him, and may Allaah be pleased with all of his companions used to keep Siwaak above their ears even at the time of a journey.”

We come to know from such texts that using Siwaak is something recommended at every prayer, whether it is obligatory or supererogatory.

3- When getting up from sleep. This is proved by the Hadeeth Hudhayfah ibn al-Yamaan (may Allaah be pleased with him) reported that when the Messenger of Allaah, peace and blessing be upon him, got up during the night, he would clean his mouth thoroughly with the Siwaak. (7).

Also, it was narrated that ‘Aa’ishah, may Allaah be pleased with her, said: “We used to prepare for the Messenger of Allaah, peace and blessing be upon him, his Siwaak and and the water for making Wudoo’. Whenever Allaah wished to awaken him from sleep at night, he, peace and blessing be upon him, would brush his teeth with Siwaak, make Wudoo’, and perform prayer.” (8).

It was narrated that ‘Abdullaah ibn ‘Abbaas, may Allaah be pleased with him, said: “He spent (one night) in the house of the Messenger of Allaah, peace and blessing be upon him. He (the Holy Prophet) got up, brushed his teeth and performed ablution and said:" In the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the alternation of the night and the day, there are indeed signs for people of understanding" (Quran, 3: 190), to the end of the Soorah. He, peace and blessing be upon him, then stood up and prayed two Rak‘ahs (9).

4- When the smell of one’s mouth changes, using Siwaak is recommended, whether this is because of eating food with a strong odour, or because of not speaking for a long time or much speaking. Siwaak is really cleansing for the mouth.

5- When entering one's home. Imaam Ahmad reported in his Musnad, Muslim in his Saheeh and others from Al-Miqdaam ibn Sharoo‘ from his father that he said: I asked ‘Aa’ishah, what the Messenger of Allaah, peace and blessing be upon him, did when he first came home? She said, “When he entered his house, the first thing he would do was to use the Siwaak.” (10).

6- Amongst the times in which using Siwaak is something recommended is when reading Quran. The wisdom behind that is that the angel puts his mouth over the mouth of the reciter and is harmed by the bad smell and thus using Siwaak is recommended for this reason.

7- Amongst the lessons that can be drawn from the Hadeeth of Abu Hurairah, may Allaah be pleased with him, is a great basic principle which is warding off evil takes precedence over achieving benefits and we have discussed it in the previous Hadeeth.

 

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1) Reported by imam Al-Bukhaari in the Book of Al-Maghaazi (i.e. Military Expeditions led by the Prophet, peace and blessing be upon him), the chapter of the sickness of the Prophet, peace and blessing be upon him, and his death.

2) Reported by imam Al-Bukhaari in the Book of Wudoo’ (i.e. Ablution), the chapter of Siwaak 1/98, no. 244, and Imam Muslim in the Book of Tahaarah (i.e. purification), chapter of Siwaak 1/490, no. 45.

3) Ibid

4) Reported by Imam Ahmad in His Musnad 1, no. 420 and 3, no. 386.

5) Ibid.

6) Reported by Abu Daaowood in the Book of Tahaarah (i.e. purification), chapter of Siwaak 1/40, no. 47.

7) Ibid.

8) Reported by imam Muslim in the Book of the Travelers, the chapter of the night prayer and Witr 2/369, no 139.

9) Reported by Imam Muslim in the Book of Tahaarah (i.e. purification), the chapter of Siwaak 1/491.

10) Reported by Imam Muslim in the Book of Tahaarah (i.e. purification), the chapter of Siwaak 1/489, no. 43.

 

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