Usage of Siwaak

Is the usage of siwaak sunnah or waajib?

In case on unavailability of miswaak, will one be rewarded in a similar way if he uses toothbrush in every wudhu?

Also, can one use the right hand to use miswaak if he finds it difficult to use the left hand?

Siwaak is sunnah and not waajib. This is based on the hadeeth of the Prophet (ﷺ) in which he is reported to have said:

“But for the fear that it would be hard on my followers, I would have ordered them to use siwaak on every performance of ablution.[1]

Reward wise I don’t think it does. The fact that the Prophet (ﷺ) used the miswaak should mean there is no real comparison between it and the modern toothbrush. Furthermore research has showed that the miswaak has more advantages than the toothbrush.[2]

The scholars did have different opinions regarding this, some saying use the left hand and some saying use the right hand.

Those who say use the right hand say that it was narrated from Ayesha (رضى الله عنها) that Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) liked to start from the right. They say this is a general statement which includes siwaak. Those who say you can use the left hand say that siwaak is for cleaning dirt and cleaning dirt should be done using the left hand.[3]

Some scholars say there is no definite proof for either of the opinions so a person can either use the right or the left. So this will answer your initial question inshaa' Allah: a person when they cant use their right then they can use their left or vice versa.

Personally I prefer using the right hand since there is a general hadeeth.

Allah knows best.

References:

[1] [Sahih Bukhari, Hadeeth 7240]

[2] http://islamqa.info/en/115282

[3] http://islamqa.info/en/2577

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