What is the ruling on using the Siwaak (natural toothbrush) during the Khutbah (sermon) of Jumu‘ah, and is this comparable to (the Hadeeth about) touching pebbles?
All perfect praise be to Allaah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah, and that Muhammad, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, is His Slave and Messenger.
It is disliked to occupy oneself with the Siwaak or other things during the Khutbah as it is comparable to one being occupied by pebbles, which the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, forbade touching during the Khutbah; he said: "Whoever touches the pebbles has surely engaged in an idle action." [Muslim]
Imaam An-Nawawi said: "This includes the prohibition of touching pebbles and other things of a frivolous nature during the Khutbah."
The Hanbali scholar Al-Buhooti said:
Anything frivolous is disliked during the Khutbah due to the saying of the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam: "Whoever touches the pebbles has surely engaged in an idle action," [At-Tirmithi: Saheeh] and because frivolity restricts Khushoo‘ (humility). Similarly, the act of drinking is disliked while listening to the Khutbah, because it is an act that resembles touching the pebbles (in its frivolous nature). However, if someone is severely thirsty, then it is not disliked to drink in order to regain Khushoo‘, and Abul-Ma‘aali resolved that it would then be appropriate.
Allaah Knows best.
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