Q. What is meant by ” Istaakou Ardan laa toulan (making miswaak across, not lengthwise)?” I have tried to research the issue but the more I search the more confused I get! Is it the ‘ardh’ of the mouth or the teeth? If it‘s the teeth, what is the ‘ardh’ of the teeth; is it right to left or up down?
If one takes all the teeth as one tooth, the ‘ardh’ would be up down (shorter) and all the teeth from the right side of the mouth to the left would be the ‘toul’ (length)?
In short, should miswaak be done as the dentists recommend brushing the teeth, i.e. from the gums to the end of the teeth (vertically) or from the molars to the front (horizontally)?
May I request for a reference from the Fiqhi Kutub. The illat (raison d’etre) is not to harm the gums. In which way is the gum hurt?
A. Miswaak should be made from right to left (ardhan), i.e. sideways. As you mentioned, the reason for this is that in brushing from top to bottom (toolan) the gums could be hurt and this could lead to bleeding of the gums.
Some Fuqaha have stated both ways. Another interpretation is to brush the teeth sideways and the tongue lengthways.
Brushing the teeth in circular movements is also reported from the Fuqaha. This means that whilst brushing sideways the miswaak should be rotated making circular motions with it, and this is precisely what dentists of today recommend.
Our dissertation has been taken from Allaamah Shaami’s Raddul Muhtaar(Sunanul Wudhu).