On Sunday afternoon, I had the pleasure of listening to a short lecture at Park Road Masjid by Sheikh Said Bafana. He touched on the topic of various misconceptions regarding the issue of what may break your fast during Ramadan. While he addressed many points, I would like to share one issue in particular: brushing one’s teeth while fasting.
The misconception about brushing the teeth stems from this hadith, narrated by Abu Huraira (RA): “The Prophet (SAW) said, ‘By Him in whose hands my soul is, the smell coming out from the mouth of a fasting person is better in the sight of Allah than the smell of musk.’”
Often, during the month of Ramadan, you might come across fellow Muslims who have fumes coming out the moment they open their mouths! When you ask them why, they refer to the hadith quoted above. Is this correct?
According to Sheikh Bafana, there are three sources of odour in the mouth. The first is due to the food that we eat that gets stuck in between our teeth and remains on our tongues where the saliva works quickly to break down the nutrients. Basically, after a few hours, the remnants of the food in one’s mouth emits a smell. Secondly, one could have diseased gums and teeth. In this case, one should seek medical help as soon as possible! Thirdly, there is the smell emitted from the stomach which is caused by the natural process of digestion, and when one has not eaten for a while, the smell rises from the stomach and escapes through the mouth. This is the smell that is referred to in the hadith mentioned above.
Brothers and sisters, we should remember another hadith of the Prophet’s (SAW) as reported by Abu Hurairah: "Were it not that I might overburden believers, I would have ordered them to use the Miswak at every prayer."
The Prophet (SAW) used to brush his teeth more often than that. Below are other instances of when he brushed his teeth:
1. Before reciting the Qur’an.
2. When the mouth emitted odour.
3. When teaching the virtues of Islam.
4. Before dhikr, (remembrance of Allah/meditation).
5. After entering his home.
6. Before joining any gathering.
7. When experiencing pangs of hunger and thirst.
8. After the signs of death became evident.
9. At the time of Suhoor.
10. Before meals.
11. Before undertaking a journey.
12. On returning from a journey.
13. Before sleeping.
14. Upon awakening.
Therefore, next time you meet a Muslim with foul-smelling breath, you can advise him/her given this knowledge, and inshallah he/she will be guided.
May Allah grant us all guidance. Ameen.
You can read more about the advantages of using the Miswak here: Revive a forgotten Sunnah – Miswak
You are also able to get a Miswak at your local Masjid. If not, you can find them in Eastleigh and online at halal-bazaar.com.
[caption id="attachment_2625" align="aligncenter" width="400"] From Native Deen's Nasheed Video "Ramadan is Here"[/caption]
photo credit: jeyp. via photopin cc
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