“Indeed, I am Allah. There is no deity except Me, so worship Me and establish prayer for My remembrance.”[At-Taha: 14]
One of the most significant pillars of Islam is Salah(prayer). It is an obligation upon every believer of the religion to establish the five daily obligatory prayers until the day he breaths his last. It is Salah that distinguishes a believer from a non-believer. If we look at the benefits of Salah in terms of religion, the person who prays is rewarded in so many ways by Allah ﷻ in this world and in the next. Furthermore, when a Muslim establishes Salah regularly, he attains a wide range of benefits. Let’s magnify those benefits from the physical, psychological and spiritual point of view.
Physical Benefits of Salah
When a believer prays, he alternates between the four positions- Qiyaam(standing), Ruku (deep bowing), Sujood (kowtowing or prostration) and Tashahhud (sitting).
When a person stands up to pray, he collects himself physically and mentally as one, thus improving his posture and maintaining the body’s balance. Being in the Qiyaam also normalizes the blood pressure and breathing.
As a person bends down to do Ruku, the muscles of his lower back are stretched and toned, thus the risk of back pain is reduced. His spine becomes supple and flexible, and his spinal nerves are nourished. Also, the shoulders, knees and ankles become flexible. When in Ruku, one exerts abdominal pressure which eases constipation and peristaltic movements (alternate contraction and relaxation which pushes ingested food through the food pipe, oesophagus, and through the digestive tract towards its release at the anus). It reduces flatulence (gastric wind accumulation) and aids in better kidney function.
As a person takes the position of the Sujood, with eight parts of his body touching the ground, the functions of his lymph system, prostate, bladder and adrenal glands are enhanced. Sujood keeps a person’s spine firm and erect, and maintains the skeletal system. When the forehead is on the ground, it increases blood supply to the upper part of the body, which means there is an increased blood supply to the brain, and it stimulates the master pituitary gland, reducing the chances of brain haemorrhage and headache. It also improves vision, hearing, memory, concentration and other cognitive abilities. There is an increased circulation of blood to the skin, face and neck, which is healthy, especially during the cold season. (Do you now realize how your face is blessed with Noor when you pray regularly?) Also, during Sujood, there is drainage of the paranasal sinuses which lowers the risk of sinusitis (inflammation of the linings of the sinuses that surround the nose).
The human body is constantly bombarded with various electromagnetic waves, electrostatic charges and so on, owing to the adaptation to an era of technology and the atmosphere. These have to be dissipated or discharged to prevent oneself from the aches and spasms in various parts of the body. Many people end up taking drugs and tranquilizers to keep them off this pain. In order to dissipate these charges, the frontal lobe has to be placed on the ground, and SubhanAllah, this happens in Sujood. Hence, Muslims are less affected by these waves and charges.
Also, in this position, the toes experience something similar to acupressure, and this relieves various pains in the body.
When alternating between the different positions of the Salah, the eyes focus majorly on only one area. This alters the focusing process in the eye, strengthens the focus of the eye and maintains intraocular pressure.
During the Tashahhud, the posture attained stimulates the large intestine, bettering the process of digestion and detoxification. As a person gives salaam by turning his head to the right and the left side of the body, the neck joints are loosened, and the muscles of the shoulder and upper body are relaxed. It also refreshes the nerves through the neck, thus reducing headaches and migraines.
Performing Salah at their prescribed times, regularly, proves to maintain good health in the long run. Especially, when you are an early bird and you perform Fajr Salah every day, the hormonal functions are kept balanced. Hence, the risk of diabetes, joint aches, Alzheimer’s disorder, dementia and so on are significantly lowered.
Spiritual and Psychological Benefits of Salah
When you pull your prayer mat out and are ready to offer your Salah, you leave all the matters of the world behind, and you collect yourself, and your heart, body, mind and soul. You attain a calm meditative state. You are completely aware of yourself and you tend to concentrate only in Salah, being completely in the present. This is similar to Mindfulness, an emerging concept in psychology and spirituality. Being mindful of the present, following your thoughts without judgement, and accepting things as they are, are the principles of mindfulness. Experts suggest that being mindful enhances the quality of life, relieves a person from stress and anxiety, and aids in better understanding of the world. Imagine being in a mindful state, 5 times, every day, and at more or less similar timings. Wouldn’t it prove to be beneficial? Just by performing your obligatory prayers, you have put aside a lot of mental and emotional troubles. This is happening with or without your knowledge when you pray.
“Certainly will the believers have succeeded: They who are during their prayer humbly submissive.”[Al-Mu’minoon: 1-2]
When you pray five times a day, by having complete Taqwa (God-consciousness), you acknowledge the Source of power and the Creator Mightier than you, and you submit yourself completely. You tend to employ the principle of Tawakkal a’la Allah (placing the utmost trust in Allah ﷻ), and are assured that everything in your life is under the control of your Rabb, and that He ﷻ will take care of every happening. In turn, you will feel ease and a sense of tranquillity travelling through your heart and soul.
“…Unquestionably, by the remembrance of Allah hearts are assured.”[Ar-Rad: 28]
When you offer Salah regularly, you tend to plan your days around it. You will feel uneasy and you know your Eeman will crush you when you miss your Salah. Hence, you start tracking your Salah. You question yourself if you are performing your Salah on time, if you are fulfilling the requirements of Salah to be accepted, if you can perfect your Salah more, or if you can regularize praying Sunnah and nafil, and so on. Your Salah will become a means of self-introspection and in turn will influence your life further in all areas.
Allah ﷻ says in the Qur’an,
“… and be grateful to Allah, if it is Him you worship.”[Al-Baqarah: 172]
“…If you are grateful, I will surely increase you in favour…”[Ibrahim: 7]
From the above verses, it is clear that we need to worship our Lord with gratitude, and it is His promise that He will give us more. If you might not know, gratitude exercises are given for people with many disorders, especially depression. Being grateful will make you feel content and satisfied with life. Also, it will also drive you towards optimism.
Let us take a moment to contemplate. Allah ﷻ says,
“And I did not create the jinn and mankind except to worship me.”[Ad-Dhariyath: 56]
He ﷻ has ordained us to establish our prayers. To those who consider it nothing more than a burden, Salah is not for Allah’s ﷻ sake; it is for us. He ﷻ made it beneficial and a source of peace and guidance only for our good.
“So which of the favours of your Lord would you deny?”[Ar-Rahman: 13]
Written by: Taz Iris
Edited by: The Editorial Team
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