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October 11, 2013

The toothbrush which rivalled a loving husband

by Simple Muslimah

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

In the name of Allah, the Entirely Merciful [towards all mankind], the Especially Merciful [towards the believers]

I heard about this beautiful incident- involving the daughter of Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه و سلم and her husband who was famed for his bravery- in a lecture I attended a few weeks ago so naturally I wanted to share :).

May the Almighty bless our marriages with such love and mercy, ameen.

One day Ali (may Allah be pleased him) noticed that his wife Fatimah (may Allah be pleased with her) had a Siwaak سِواك in her hand and was using it.  For those of you who don’t know, a Siwaak سِواك back then was their equivalent of our toothbrush nowadays.  It is made from the branches of Al-‘Araak tree شَجَرُ الأَراك. So he decided to flirt with her, composing the following poetry on the spot:

قد فُزتَ يا عودَ الأَراكِ بثغْرِها

ما خِْفتَ يا عودَ الأراكِ أراكا

ولو كُنْتَ مِنْ أَهْلِ القتالِ قتلتُكَ

ما فازَ منِّي يا سواكُ سواك

You have seized her mouth, O ‘uud of al-Araak

Were you not afraid, O ‘uud of al-Araak, that I would see you?

Had you been from those who I could fight, I would have killed you

No one has been able to defeat me, O siwaak, except you

Commentary (thanks to this source)

The lines play upon the fact that Ali (may Allah be pleased with him) is jealous that this Siwaak- a toothbrush!- has access to his wife’s mouth (may Allah be pleased with her).  In a sense, the Siwaak is depicted as another man, who Ali – may Allah be pleased with him – would surely kill if he could. But the fact remains that the Siwaak is only a Siwaak – you can’t kill a Siwaak! So by being this jealous from the Siwaak for merely being in the mouth of his wife, Ali – may Allah be pleased with both of them – is raising the status of the his wife’s mouth to something very precious, very elevated, and more importantly, very beloved to him. If her mouth is that precious, how precious do you think “his wife” is to him? See where the flirting comes in? :)

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