World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article


Article Id: WHEBN0004084326
Reproduction Date:

Title: Miswak  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Muslim hygienical jurisprudence, Islam, Islamic toilet etiquette, Islam and masturbation, Islamic criminal jurisprudence
Collection: Dental Equipment, Islamic Culture, Traditional Medicine
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


Traditional miswak sticks. Softened bristles on either end can be used to clean the teeth.

The miswak (miswaak, siwak, sewak, السواك) is a teeth cleaning twig made from the Salvadora persica tree (known as arak in Arabic). A traditional alternative to the modern toothbrush, it has a long, well-documented history and is reputed for its medicinal benefits.[1] It also features prominently in Islamic hygienical jurisprudence.

The miswak is predominant in Muslim-inhabited areas. It is commonly used in the Arabian peninsula, the Horn of Africa, North Africa, parts of the Sahel, the Indian subcontinent, Central Asia and Southeast Asia. In Malaysia, miswak is known as Kayu Sugi (Malay for 'chewing stick').


  • Hadith 1
  • Science 2
    • Studies 2.1
    • Miswak extract vs. oral disinfectants 2.2
  • Religious prescriptions 3
  • Examples of hadith concerning the miswak 4
  • Maintenance 5
  • References 6
  • Further reading 7
  • External links 8


It is often mentioned that the Islamic Prophet Muhammad recommended the miswak's use. He is quoted in various hadith extolling its virtues:[2][3]



A 2003 scientific study comparing the use of miswak with ordinary toothbrushes concluded that the results clearly were in favor of the users who had been using the miswak, provided they had been given proper instruction in how to brush using it.[4] However, the study's sample size was only fifteen people, calling into question its statistical significance. The oral hygiene concluded that further research was needed to document the effect of the miswak.[5]

Dr. Rami Mohammed Diabi,[6] who spent more than 17 years researching the effects of miswak on health, and especially its anti-addiction effects on smokers (curative and preventive sides), has opened a field of science and research with his last publication: "Miswak Medicine Theory" or Sewak Puncture medicine[7] which led him to what is called Beyond Sewak: World of Science and Research.[8] Miswak also is contributing in the fight against desertification,[9] thereby affecting our environment and global climate.

Miswak extract vs. oral disinfectants

Studies indicate that Salvadora persica extract exhibits low antimicrobial activity compared to other oral disinfectants and anti-plaque agents like Triclosan and Chlorhexidine Gluconate.[10][11]


Religious prescriptions

A pack of miswak sticks.

The use of the miswak is frequently advocated in the hadith (the traditions relating to the life of Muhammad). Situations where the miswak is recommended to be used include, before religious practice, before entering one's house, before and after going on a journey, on Fridays,[12] before sleeping and after waking up, when experiencing hunger or thirst and before entering any good gathering.

In addition to strengthening the gums, preventing tooth decay and eliminating toothaches, the miswak is said to halt further decay that has already set in. Furthermore, it is reputed to create a fragrance in the mouth, eliminate bad breath, improve sensitivity of taste-buds and promote cleaner teeth.

Examples of hadith concerning the miswak

From Sahih al-Bukhari:

From Sahih Muslim:


A miswak stick.

A miswak should be one hand span in length when selected. If it becomes dry, it should be soaked in rose water to soften the end bristles. The end should be cut afresh to ensure hygiene and should never be stored near a toilet or sink. The brush may be created by cutting Salvadora persica's branches instead of its roots; keeping in mind that the tree's roots can retain humidity more so than its branches. This favors more long-term usage.

There is also a toothpaste made from miswak extract that can be purchased in the Middle East, South Asia, Southeast Asia, Europe and North America. Use of toothpastes featuring benefits of miswak is, however, not a true alternate practice of using miswak in its original shape and in the masnoon way. Some companies, such as Al Khair and AL Falah, have also taken the initiative to process and preserve miswak. This has the effect of increasing the twig's shelf life to a period of over six months.


  1. ^ a b c d IslamKotob, Muslims and Science, (Islamic Books), p.30.
  2. ^ "Miswak" at
  3. ^ "Siwak" at
  4. ^ Al-Otaibi M, Al-Harthy M, Soder B, Gustafsson A, Angmar-Mansson B. (2003). "Comparative effect of chewing sticks and toothbrushing on plaque removal and gingival health.". Oral Health Prev Dent 1 (4): 301–7.  
  5. ^ Undersøkelse av en aktuell eldgammel munnrengjøringsmetode in Norwegian
  6. ^ Untitled requires log in
  7. ^ Miswak Medicine Theory
  8. ^ Beyond Sewak Worlds Researches Page
  9. ^ See effects of Salvadora Persica "Miswak tree" on stopping deserts and fixing the soil - Thrust Areas of Research
  10. ^ Almas, K. (August 2002). "The effect of Salvadora persica extract (miswak) and chlorhexidine gluconate on human dentin: a SEM study.". J Contemp Dent Pract. 3 (3): 27–35.  
  11. ^ a b Almas, K; Skaug, N; Ahmad, I. (February 2005). "An in vitro antimicrobial comparison of miswak extract with commercially available non-alcohol mouthrinses.". Int J Dent Hyg. 3 (1): 18–24.  
  12. ^

Further reading

  • Islamic Research on Miswak (Dr. Al Sahli)
  • Khan, Tehmeena, Toothbrush (Miswak), in Muhammad in History, Thought, and Culture: An Encyclopedia of the Prophet of God (2 vols.), Edited by C. Fitzpatrick and A. Walker, Santa Barbara, ABC-CLIO, 2014.

External links

  • Article on Miswak
  • Miswak Is Ecological
  • The Miswaak Page - Guidelines and Information
  • IslamWeb
  • Al Khair - Miswak
  • Al-Badr Collection - Miswak
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World eBook Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.