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The Chew Stick of the Prophet in Sīra and Ḥadīth

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Chapter Summary

This chapter describes about the chew stick as a motif, whose development is followed in one sīra text and a number of ḥadiths. The use of the chew stick was so widespread, that Arabs hardly needed a prophetic example for it. It was a pre-Islamic habit and indeed non-Muslim pastoral peoples of Eastern Africa use such twigs for cleaning their teeth until today. The sīra narrative was saved into some ḥadiths collections. That was not a great step, for Ibn Isḥīq's story has a chain of transmitters and therefore was already a ḥadith. Two relatively early ḥadiths collections contain a number of ḥadiths and reports that bear witness to an early legal discussion about the chew stick: the Muṣannaf of ʿAbd al-Razzāq ibn Hammām al-Ṣanʿānī (126-211/724-827) and that of Ibn Abī Shayba.

Keywords: ḥadiths; chew stick; eastern Africa; Ibn Abī Shayba; Islamic text; sīra



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