Ramadan in Yemen: a Golden Season for Miswak vendors

National Yemen

By Tamjid Alkohali

Miswak in Yemen has a well-known religious importance. It is used by people during Ramadan, just as the Prophet Mohammed used to do. He recommended that people use it in Ramadan for cleaning their mouths and teeth instead of water because they are fasting.

Therefore, Ramadan is considered a golden season for the sale of miswak. Miswak vendors sell their wares everywhere: next to the doors of hospitals and mosques as well as on main streets and crowded places.

Miswak is a primitive method for cleaning the mouth and teeth. It’s a small stick of wood extracted from the root of the Salvadora Persica tree.

Mohammed Ali, a Miswak vendor at Bab al-Yemen in old Sana’a, said that he extracts Miswak from the Salvadora Persica trees in the valleys that are near Sana’a, such as Saham valley and Srdd valley, and then he takes back to Sana’a to sell it.

Ali added that sales of Miswak faced a significant decline this year because many vendors did not go to the valleys to bring Miswak, fearing the deteriorated security situation.

“Last Ramadan, I was selling about 400 Miswak in a day while this year I sell 100 miswak everyday for 50 YR. I hope the situation will improve in the coming days of Ramadan,” he said.

Professor in the Faculty of Dentistry at the University of Science and Technology, Anas Shamh, said that the main reason for using Miswak in Ramadan is to follow the Prophet Mohammed. Also, It is scientifically proven to change the smell of the mouth due to the material that it contains.

“Because people are fasting in Ramadan, they are careful to swallow water while they are brushing their teeth using toothbrush and paste, so they prefer using Miswak which doesn’t need to any water,” he explained.

In general, Ramadan is considered a livelihood season because it provides jobs for the many unemployed people through many temporary occupations, such as the sale of Juices, sweets, and samosas, which are considered the main dish in Ramadan.

In Ramadan most of these business earn a lot of profits when they sell their goods on the sidewalks or on mobile carts. They even become competitors for the big shops.

Ahmed Saleh, is unemployed, said that Ramadan is considered a livelihood season for him. He prepares himself early in order to sell sweets related to this month.

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