Chapter 13: Siwak (brushing teeth)

1. In al-Kafi: Narrated from Ishaq ibn ‘Ammar from Abi ‘Abdillah (as) who said: Brushing teeth is from the sunnah of the prophets.1

2. In al-Khisal: In his narration from ‘Ali (as): Brushing teeth is liked by Allah (SwT) and is a sunnah of the Noble Prophet (S) and a means of cleansing the mouth.2

Note: There are numerous similar narrations from various sources.

3. In al-Makarim: The Holy Prophet (S) would brush his teeth thrice every night. Once before sleeping, once when he woke up for the nightly worship and once before leaving for the Fajr prayer.3

4. In al-Kafi: Narrated from Ibn Abi ‘Umayr from Hammad from al-Halabi from Abi ‘Abdillah (as) who said: When the Holy Prophet (S) had performed the ‘Isha prayer, he would ask for a basin to perform ablution and his siwak and (when they were brought) he would cover them and place them next to himself and sleep for some time – for as long as Allah willed – then he would wake up and brush his teeth, perform ablution and pray four rak’ahs after which he would go back to sleep. Then he would wake up (again) and brush his teeth, perform ablution and pray. Then he (as) said:

“Certainly you have in the Apostle of Allah an excellent exemplar.” (Surat al-Ahzab (33): 21)

At the end of the hadith he said that he (S) would brush his teeth each time he woke up from his sleep.4

5. From al-Saduq in al-Muqni’: The Noble Prophet (S) would brush his teeth before every prayer.5

6. In al-Makarim: When the Holy Prophet (S) brushed his teeth, he would brush them widthwise.6

7. Also: He (S) would brush his teeth with (a siwak from) ‘al-Arak’7 as this is what Jibra’il (as) told him to do.8

Addendum to this Chapter

1. In al-Mahasin: From Muhammad al-Halabi from Abi ‘Abdillah (as) who said: The Holy Prophet (S) used to brush his teeth a lot.9

Note: This has been narrated by al-Saduq in al-Faqih, Ibn Abi Jamhur in Lubb al-Lubab and al-Qadhi in al-Da’aim.10

2. In al-Faqih: Brushing teeth at the time of sahar (i.e. the final hours of the night), before performing ablution, is from the sunnah.11

3. In al-Kafi: It has been narrated that it is (from the) sunnah to brush one’s teeth at the time of sahar.12

4. From al-Qutb al-Rawandi in Lubb al-Lubab from the Noble Prophet (S) who said: “The best siwak is that of the blessed olive tree. It sweetens the breath and prevents cavities; and it is my siwak and the siwak of all the prophets before me.”13

5. In Jami’ al-Akhbar: In a hadith from ‘Ali (as) from the Holy Prophet (S): The one who brushes his teeth twice a day has perpetuated the sunnah of the prophets (as).14

  • 1. al-Kafi 6:495
  • 2. al-Khisal 2:611, Makarim al-Akhlaq: 51, al-Kafi 6:495, al-Ja’fariyat: 15, al-Mahasin: 562, Tuhf al-’Uqul: 101
  • 3. Makarim al-Akhlaq: 39
  • 4. al-Kafi 3:445, Majma’ al-Bayan 2:555, Tahdhib al-Ahkam: 35
  • 5. al-Muqni’: 8
  • 6. Makarim al-Akhlaq: 35
  • 7. A type of tree. (Tr.)
  • 8. Makarim al-Akhlaq: 39
  • 9. al-Mahasin: 563
  • 10. al-Faqih 1:53
  • 11. Ibid., 1:481
  • 12. al-Kafi 3:23
  • 13. Quoted by al-Nuri in al-Mustadrak 1:369 from Lubb al-Lubab
  • 14. Jami’ al-Akhbar: 68