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Sunday, July 19, 2009

TO USE A MISWAK

Ibni ’Abidin wrote in Radd-ul mukhtar:



It is sunnat-i muakkada [1] to use a miswak when performing an ablution. A hadith-i-sharif [2] declares: “The namaz (daily prayer) which is performed after using a miswak is seventy-fold superior to the namaz without a miswak.” A miswak must be straight, as wide as the second small finger, and a span long. The miswak is derived from a branch of the erak (peelo) tree growing in Arabia. [Shaving it about two centimetres from the straight end, you keep this part in water for a couple of hours. When you crush it, it will open like a brush.] When the arak tree cannot be found, a miswak can be made from an olive branch. You should not make it from a pomegranate branch. If an erak or olive tree cannot be found or if one does not have teeth, the sunnat [3] must be carried out with one’s fingers. The miswak has more than thirty advantages, which are written in Tahtawi’s Hashiyatu Maraq al-falah. Firstly, it causes one to die with iman (belief) in one’s last breath. It is makruh for men to chew gum without any ’udhr (strong necessity), even when they are not fasting. Women must use chewing gum when they are not fasting instead of a miswak by intending to do the sunnat.




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GLOSSARY

[1] sunnat-i muakkada: the sunnah that is emphatic, practised regularly by our blessed Prophet.

[2] hadith-i-sharif: a saying of the Prophet (‘alaihi ‘s-salam).

[3] sunnat: act, thing that was, though not commanded by Allahu ta’ala, done and liked by the Prophet (‘alaihi ‘s-salam) as an ‘ibada.

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