the fountain issue 3
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ISSUE 3 / FREEJUMADA UKHRA 1434 / MAY 2013
By the students of Imam Zakariya Academy under the guidance of Mufti Shah SadruddinOnline version available at: hikmah.co.uk
The use of Miswak brings cleanliness of the mouth and the pleasure of Allah c (Bukhari).
The Miswak, a twig from the Peelo tree, has been the Sunnah (practice) of all the Ambiyaa p. For centuries, Miswak was known to be affective against tooth decay and gum disease, yet scientific research has only recently validated this age-old tradition. In fact, as more re-search is carried out into its miraculous properties, oral health researchers are identifying many more benefits of using the Miswak and maintaining healthy teeth and gums. In this article, I aim to present some contemporary research into the benefits of Miswak and main-taining good oral health in general.
It has been shown that only a couple of minutes after tooth brushing, decay causing bacteria firmly adhere to the tooth surface. If these bacteria are al-lowed to remain for 3 hours or more, the initial tooth decay damage will begin and even more harmful bacteria will at-tach to the tooth surface. These bacteria then attack the tiny blood vessels on the gum and make them susceptible to bleeding. They can only be removed by effective brushing with abrasive fibres, such as Miswak or even a tooth-brush. However, unlike brushing with a standard toothbrush, the Miswak has been found to inhibit this initial bacte-rial growth and retard the build-up of plaque, helping to improve oral health and freshen breath; thus providing dual benefit by acting as an anti-microbial and retardant.
Studies on MiswakIn 1986, the World Health Organisa-tion (WHO) recommended the use of Miswak, concluding that Miswak is as effective as tooth-brushing for reducing plaque and gingivitis (early gum dis-ease), and that the antimicrob-ial effect of S. persica is beneficial for prevention
and treatment of periodontal disease. (Swedish Dental Journal; 2004). Fur-ther, a Scientific study (2003) which compared the use of Miswak with or-dinary toothbrushes found results to be in clear favour of the users of Miswak, provided they had been given proper instruction in how to brush using it. It is here that we can glimpse the beauty of the Sunnah of our beloved prophet Muhammad g of using the Miswak at every opportunity. We also get a scope of the wisdom behind beautiful narra-tions extolling the Miswaks virtues such as: Make a regular practice of Miswak for verily it is the purification for the mouth and a means of the pleasure of the Lord (Bukhari).
It is quite unfortunate that we Muslims who should be leading by example, in fact have some of the worst oral hygiene indices in the country; a matter of great emba-rrassment and shame. The NHS has recently been working on a project to help the Asian community (with particular attention to the Pakistani and Bangladeshi communities) to improve oral health. How can we Muslims invite others to this beneficial Sunnah when we in fact neglect oral health? There are serious implications of neglecting oral health. Leading researchers have identified 2 major lines of enquiry cur-rently being analysed. These include the harmful effects of neglecting oral health on heart disease. Harmful decay caus-ing bacteria also damage the heart and lead to general ill health. Research has also shown poor oral health leading to premature births and difficult pregnan-cies in women.
Did you know there are more bacteria in your mouth than the number of people in the world!!! Even more astounding is the fact that minerals in Miswak are effective against every single harm-ful one of these!!! In light of the above discussion I would like to highlight a
few points. The first is that the research illustrates two themes: 1, the importance of oral health and 2, the clear physical benefits of using Miswak- also recog-nised by the medical world. As Muslims who claim to follow the teachings of the Quran and the way of Muhammad g, these two facts should already be well known to us. It is hoped that the few benefits outlined above will encour-age more of us to utilise the Miswak, but I would like to make one further point. As Muslims we should see the physical benefits of Miswak as second-ary and should be prepared to use the Miswak out of the love of our prophet g. It should be enough for us to use the Miswak that the Messenger himself used it and instructed us to use it.
Our primary goal for using the Miswak should be to attain the pleasure of Allah c by following the teachings of His Messenger g.The physical benefits are an example of the abundant wisdom behind this practice which would be un-known to the common individual. What is more compelling about the Miswak is the spiritual benefit to be attained in the hereafter. The reward of salah offered after one has used aMiswakis 70 times superior to the salahoffered without it. (Musnad Ahmad).
We must make a sincere effort to imple-ment this beautiful Sunnah into our lives and benefit not only from tremen-dous rewards but also excellent general health. The Miswak should become one of our necessities remaining with us wherever we go. It should be kept along-side a toothbrush in the bathroom so it can be used when brushing teeth, before going to bed etc. A small Miswak should also be kept in ones pocket/bag so that it can be used when performing wudhu at university, work, and outdoors. A little effort with the right intention can reap huge rewards.
Miswak: Natures ToothbrushBy Dr Suheil Patel (6th Year student)
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Miswak: Natures Toothbrush
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Has it come to a point where Muslims are inevitably falling into a ditch of woeful ignorance in regards to the Book which sits comfortably in its nicely sewn cover on our lofty shelves? Our community is becoming exponentially ignorant to the hidden gems in this Book. We claim and believe that there is nothing like it, for over 1400 hundred years it hasnt been changed and no one can change it. Yet at the same time we remain hidden from the points which make the Quran unique. The question then follows is; what are these gems?
Many of us are aware of the miracles of the Holy Quran, and are familiar with various works which highlight how the Quran contains knowledge being proven by Science now. However, was it the miracles of science which capti-vated the tongues and minds of the 7th century Arabs? Obviously not! Why was it, that the eloquent Arabs of that time, who would pride themselves upon the ability to recite poetry at will, and would even hold competitions to decide the best amongst them in language, could find no response to the beauty of the Quran. Experts of their time, such as Utba ibn Rabia, famed for his ability to manipulate the Arabic language to bol-ster his ideas, was left dumbfounded by the poetic nature of a single verse of the Quran, to such an extent that he had to admit defeat and accept this was not the word of a man.
The message which was recited unto him was no ordinary message, rather a message from a source with no fault, absolute perfection and whose words, structured and chosen in such a manner rendering hearts to melt, eyes to weep, and foreheads to submit. It was delivered to him in the same tongue which he had mastered yet the words overcame him. How the Quran delivers its message to mankind are the very gems which are the cause of its inimitability, the cause of a revolution which was the most paramount in history and is an area which is lost to most of us. Its literary
form shamed the masters of Arabic and is a subject which needs to be revived so we can view and understand the Quran from an angle which were not used to seeing.
If We had sent down this Quran upon a mountain (Surah Al Hashr)
That Book, there is no doubt in it, is a guide to those who guard (against evil) (Surah Al Baqarah)
One aspect which makes the Quran a literary marvel is the choice of words used by Allah c. Consider the following highlighted portions of these verses.
The meaning of dhalika is that and the meaning of hadha is this. The phrase this book clearly indicates the book being closer than the phrase that book. So when we want to describe an object which is far we say that or dhalika and for something which is close we say this or hadha. What we find in the Quran is, on multiple instances, the phrase this Quran is used and That book is used, never that Quran and rarely this
Book (only in one instance is the phrase this Book used). So when Allah c uses the word Book, He c puts it further away because he says THAT Book and when He says Quran he puts it near be-cause He says THIS Quran. Why then has Allah c made such a distinction?
The word Book, al-kitaab, comes from the word to write and al-kitaab is some-thing which is written or documented. Was the Quran already written in its complete form during the process of its revelation? Yes, the entire Quran was already written in the Preserved Tablet. And this Preserved Tablet is with Allah c, so the actual book is far. Hence the most appropriate word to use in this instance is THAT Book.
Another reason for using the phrase THAT BOOK, is that the associa-tion of the word THIS with the word Book may be taken to mean that the Book is from this planet. To negate the possibility of this incorrect view, Allah c has used the phrase THAT BOOK so as to make clear that the origin of the Quran is from Allah c.
As for the word Quran, one of its root meanings is to recite and as the recita-tion of the Quran takes place on the earth, it is more appropriate to say THIS Quran, indicating it being close.
This is only one example as to how Allah communicates with the people and the intricacy in which he delivers the manual for leading our lives. It is therefore n