Transcribed by Sameera, brought to you by Valley Ranch masjid's YouTube Channel.
[Note: The transcript is slightly modified for improving the readability]
[Valley Ranch masjid]: As we promised our brothers and sisters online on Facebook, you will be answering a series of questions. This month we are going to be focusing on questions for Ramadan. The question we are going to be addressing today is about miswak, tongue scrapers, mouthwash – is it permissible? If so, what is the general ruling? Please tell us more.
[Shaykh Yaser Birjas]: Jazak'Allāh khayr. Barak Allāh feek. imām Bukhāri reported a hadith by 'Amir b. Rabi'ah: “I have seen the Prophet so many times that I can't count when he was using a miswak while fasting.” He mentioned that even while Rasulullah was engaged in fasting, he would still use his miswak. Using the miswak is one of the great sunan of the Prophet , and he emphasized it so much. He said, “I don't want to create hardship for my ummah. If I had wanted to create hardship for my ummah, I would have ordered them to use the miswak for every ṣalāh and every wuḍūʼ'.” He did not want to create hardship, so he did not make it mandatory at that time. The Prophet used it very often.
Having a sahabi like 'Amir b. Rabi'ah reporting this hadith that he saw the Prophet do this while fasting means that it is permissible to do that.
The miswak was a famous stick used by the Arabs back then and it was their way of brushing. Today, what about all of these modern ways of cleaning our teeth and mouth? For example: is using a toothbrush with toothpaste permissible? The ulema (rahimahullah ta'ala), and many of them are still alive, say that it is permissible to use the toothbrush with toothpaste; however, they deem it to be makrooh, but it is still considered to be permissible. They give a lot of conditions on this, meaning they want the people to be careful as they use toothpaste so that they don't swallow it. Yes, it may have a strong aroma and strong taste, but even the natural miswak had a natural taste, so it is permissible to use it inshā'Allāh.
There are many people who have some issues dealing with people in close proximity such as doctors, dentists, and students in a group activity, so they may feel uncomfortable speaking to people when they sense the smell coming from the stomach. This is why it is permissible to do it.
What about using mouthwash? Similarly, the Prophet recommended that we rinse our mouths and blow our noses for wuḍūʼ'. He said, “When you make wuḍūʼ', exaggerate or do it thoroughly unless you are fasting.” Similarly, while in the month of Ramadan or while fasting, it is considered makrooh to use mouthwash. You are allowed to use it, but if you can avoid it and there is no need for you to use it, then it is better for you to avoid it. If you have one of these circumstances, then you can use it, but be careful and don't use too much. Use it moderately, inshā'Allāh.
Cleaning the mouth and keeping good hygiene is part of our Sunnah even during the month of Ramadan. When you use it, use it carefully. I hope this answered your question, inshā'Allāh ta'ala.
[Valley Ranch masjid]: Jazak Allāh khayr, Shaykh Yaser. It is always a pleasure to hear from you! We will be doing more of these question and answer sessions. If people have more questions pertaining to Ramadan, they can go to our Facebook: Valley Ranch masjid and go to the Event called Q&A with Shaykh Yaser Birjas. Go there and post your question, and inshā'Allāh you will be seeing an answer to it soon.