Using a toothbrush instead of Miswaak

Assalamu Alaikum

Will the Sunnah of Miswaak be performed by using a brush instead of a Miswaak?

Answer

Wa’alaykum as Salam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu,

Just as the Sunnah status of cleaning the teeth is proven from the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam), so too is the Sunnah method, and the Sunnah means of Miswaak. Shaykh Mufti Taqi Uthmani (may Allah preserve him) explains that these are two separate issues; the Sunnah of cleaning the teeth, and the Sunnah method and means to clean the teeth.

The Prophet (sallaahu alayhi wasallam) has praised the tree of Arak (also known as Salvadora persica, Galenia asiatica, Peelu, Pīlu, Salvadora indica, mustard tree, or mustard bush), and also stated the virtue of the olive tree miswak.

Imam Tabrani (may Allah have mercy on him) has quoted in his al-Mujam al-Kabeer, (22 / 368) that Abu Khairah (may Allah be pleased with him) said:




قال الإمام الطبراني حدثنا إبراهيم بن نائلة الأصبهاني، قال: ثنا شباب العصفري، ثنا عون بن كهمس، ثنا داود بن المساور، عن مقاتل بن همام، عن أبي خيرة الصباحي، قال: كنت في الوفد الذين أتوا رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم من عبد القيس فزودنا الأراك نستاك به (أخرجه الطبراني في المعجم الكبير (22/ 368)

“I was with the delegation that came to the prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) from Abd al-Qays. Nabi (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) gave us Arak to clean our teeth with.”

In another narration the olive stick has been mentioned:

قال الإمام الطبراني وعن إبراهيم بن أبي عبلة عن عبد الرحمن بن غنم الأشعري عن معاذ بن جبل قال سمعت رسول الله يقول : نعم السواك الزيتون (أخرجه الطبراني في المعجم الأوسط (1/ 210)

“How excellent is the miswaak of the olive tree.” (Al-Mujam al-Awsat, 1 / 210)

Allamah Ibn Aabideen Shami writes:

وأفضله الأراك ثم الزيتون) حاشية ابن عابدين (رد المحتار) (1/ 115(

“The most virtuous is the Arak then the olive tree.”

From the aforementioned we learn that the actual Sunnah is to perform miswaak with the twig of a tree. If a toothbrush is used despite the availability of a Miswaak, the reward of a Sunnah will be missed. At the most, a person will get the reward for cleansing the teeth.

And Allaah Ta’aala knows best
Wassalaam,
Ismail Moosa (Mufti)
Iftaa Department,
Euro-Sunni & Islamic Research and Welfare Academy