Eating garlic and brushing teeth before going to masjid
Fatwa No: 365101

  • Fatwa Date:27-12-2017 - Rabee' Al-Aakhir 9, 1439
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Question

Assalaamu alaykum wa rahmatullaahi wa barakaatuhu. Shaykh, if I eat garlic and brush my teeth, can I then go to the masjid? It has happened with me that I drank fresh juice made of fruits and garlic and brushed my teeth, but then I started burping with a garlic smell, and the taste/smell of garlic also returned to my mouth later. What am I to do in such a situation? Should I quit garlic completely? It mostly happens with raw garlic, and I do not think that it happens after having cooked garlic, but for some health benefits, it is good to have it raw. Please advise, shaykh. May Allah reward you.

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allah, the Lord of the worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah and that Muhammad, sallallahu ʻalayhi wa sallam, is His slave and Messenger.

First of all, we would like to point out that, according to the majority of scholars – contrary to Ibn Hazm – a woman's prayer at home is better and more rewardable than her prayer in the masjid, as it was authentically reported that the Prophet, sallallahu ʻalayhi wa sallam, said, “Do not prevent your women from going to the masjids, and their homes are better for them.” [Abu Dawood]

Eating raw garlic or onions is not prohibited according to the majority of the scholars; however, if you eat them, then going to the masjid while their smell can still be felt is disliked. Another view held that it is prohibited. Ibn Qudaamah  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him said, “It is disliked to eat onions, garlic, leeks, radish, and everything that has an unpleasant smell because of its smell, whether the person wants to enter the masjid or not, as the Prophet, sallallahu ʻalayhi wa sallam, said, ‘The angels are offended by the same things that people are offended by.’” [Ibn Maajah]

If a person eats such foods, he should not go to the masjid. The Prophet, sallallahu ʻalayhi wa sallam, said, “Whoever eats from these two trees (i.e. plants) should not come near our place of prayer.” Another version of the hadeeth reads, “...should not come near us in our masjids.” [At-Tirmithi: good-authentic] ... It was narrated on the authority of (Imaam) Ahmad that a person bears a sin for doing that because the general indication of the hadeeth suggests prohibition. Moreover, harming Muslims is prohibited and doing this harms them.”

Accordingly, you have two options: either you refrain from eating garlic or onion when you wish to go to the masjid, or if you insist on eating them and their smell can still be felt, then do not go to the masjid and pray at home instead. But as for doing both; eating garlic or onion and going to the masjid while the unpleasant smell is still present, then this is unacceptable.

It is often not enough to brush your teeth with toothpaste or the like because the source of the smell is the stomach, and not the mouth.

Allah knows best.

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