“At the time of our prophet there was no toothbrush. That is why he used miswak. So, there is no need to use miswak today.” How can we give an answer to this claim?
The real reason for us to perform the obligatory and to abstain from the forbidden is the command of Allah (SWT). The benefits, wisdom or profits might be cause of choice; but they cannot be the real reasons for practicing a deed.
For instance, the prayer (salah) is shortened during journey. The apparent cause for shortening the prayer is the journey, and the wisdom of it is the difficulties. However, the prayer is shortened even though there is no difficulty. On the other hand, the prayer cannot be shortened at home even if there are hundreds of difficulties.
Eating pork, for example, is forbidden. The real reason of this is the divine prohibition. And the wisdom of the prohibition is some harms of the pork. Even if those harms are neutralized by today’s medical scientists, the pork is still forbidden; because the real reason is the divine prohibition.
Similarly, the real reason for us to use miswak is the commands of our prophet (PBUH). The wisdom is the things like oral and dental health. Muslims use miswak to fulfil the command. Nonetheless, due to its benefits to mouth and teeth, toothbrush can be used on condition that it does not replace miswak.
“Make a regular practice of miswak, for verily it is purification for the mouth and a means of the pleasure of the Lord.” (Bukhari)
Was it not for my fear of imposing a difficulty on my Ummah I would have ordered that the miswak be used for every Salah. (Bukhari)
Hadhrat Aishah (R) narrates: Verily, the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) would use miswak before making wudhu (ablutions) whenever he arose from sleep, whether it is during the night or during the day. (Abu Dawood)
The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) would use miswak at night time [i.e. Tahajjud time] after every two rakahs of the Salat he performed. (Ibn Majah)
Dental health is one of the issues that our prophet gave importance about the cleanness of body. The most practical and effective way of cleaning the teeth is to use miswak according to the Sunnah. And the miswak from peelo tree is appropriate to the Sunnah.
Scholars count many benefits of using miswak. Some of them:
An important Sunnah is performed.
It is a means to gain the divine pleasure of Allah.
Increases the good deeds and makes the life fruitful.
Reminds the Kalima al-Shahadah at the moment one takes his dying breath.
It delays the old age.
It prevents the stomach diseases.
Cleans the mouth.
It brightens the teeth and is beneficial to the gingival health.
It prevents bad breath.
Prevents tooth decay.
Beautifies the voice and helpful for speaking.
Toothbrush can be used although it cannot substitute for miswak.
Some of the suggestions of our prophet about the cleanness of mouth:
“Why are you coming to me with your yellow teeth? Use miswak.”
“Your mouths are the ways of the Qur’an. Clean them with miswak.”
“The reward of the prayers is multiplied 25 times if miswak was used before it.”