Sajda(Prostration) is a unique position or stance in the regular prayers, which a Muslim is supposed to offer at least five times a day. Although the basic purpose of obligatory prayers is not to provide an exercise for people yet it is being increasingly recognized that it has plenty of medical advantages for the human body.
Here it is worth mentioning that Holy Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him) has mentioned in a hadith in Ibn Maja:’That prayer is a cure for many diseases’. The position of Sajda in which the forehead touches the ground is exclusively associated with the Muslim form of prayer. It is the climax of a Muslim’s prayer and as mentioned in a Hadith a Muslim is nearest to Allah in this position.
The messenger of Allah (pbuh) said: “The nearest a servant comes to his Lord is when he is prostrating himself, so make supplication’ (in this state)” In a Hadith narrated by Anas bin Malik (R.A.) Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) advised Muslims to perform Rukuu (bowing) and Sajda(prostration) properly.
In another Hadith he (peace be upon him) advised to perform Sajda(Prostration) and Bowing calmly and to get up only when the body has come to ease. Hence the first positive effect upon a person who prostrates or does Sajda(Prostration) is that he comes nearest to Allah and hence in that condition he can supplicate.
This is a great psychological advantage and it gives relief to the person concerned as life is full of worries and in this position he gets at least a transient refuge from the agonizing problems.
When a person goes to the position of Sajda(Prostration), his whole body is in active motion. This position can be considered as a mini dive as the musalli (one who offers prayer) goes to rest his forehead on the ground while his hands are placed at the sides. This brings most of the body muscles if not all in active motion and serves to give them some exercise. The hands are then specifically stretched out and thence the forearm as well as arm muscles are supposed to bear the weight in the Sajda(Prostration) position. It gives good exercise to the muscles of the upper limb. The Prophet (peace be upon him) in a hadith advised not to put the forearms flatly on the ground but to keep them elevated above the ground and this is better for the forearm and arm muscles.
Sajda(Prostration) is a unique position as this is the only position in which brain (or head) becomes lower than the heart and hence for the first time, the blood gushes towards the brain with full force whereas in all other positions (even when lying) brain is above the heart when it has to work against gravity to send blood to the brain. In the position of Sajda(Prostration) due to the increased blood supply, the brain receives more nourishment and it has a good effect upon memory, vision, hearing, concentration, psyche and all other cognitive abilities.
People who offer their prayers regularly have more will power and can cope with the difficulties of life in a much better manner.
They have less incidence of headaches, psychological problems and other defects of cognitive function. In the unique position of Sajda(Prostration) the neck muscles get the best exercise. They have to bear the load when the forehead lies at the ground hence the neck muscles become stronger. One can note the tense pressure at the neck muscles in the position of Sajda(Prostration) especially the active motion of the neck and the facial muscles when the head is being lifted. (e.g. one inch above the ground) and it will be noticed that they are in a very active motion.
More strong cervical muscles mean the cervical vertebra will be better protected. The strength of cervical muscles is important as the headrests upon cervical vertebra supported by cervical musculature. In fact, head performs rotator movements over the cervical vertebra. In any accident cervical neck examination is especially important to the physicians because of its extraordinary importance. It is uncommon that a person who offers his prayers regularly will get the usual neck myalgias or cervical spondylosis as the neck muscles particularly become very strong due to the 34 sajdas(Prostrations) offered daily in five prayers.
The unique position of Sajda(Prostration) also has positive effects upon the back muscles as while going into Sajda and getting up from it the back muscle contract actively and they become stronger. Probably it is because of this reason that a person who is regular in prayers will (rarely) get backache.
Finally, it must be reminded that (even though) prayer is not meant to be an exercise, there are a lot of medical advantages associated with it. Still, the best blessing is the peace of mind, which a person derives by the accomplishment of his duty to Allah by fulfilling an obligation.
Dr. Muhammad Karim Beebani, Saudi Gazette
And Your Lord said: “Invoke Me, I will respond to your (invocation). Verily, those who scorn My worship, they will surely enter Hell in humiliation!” (Ghafir 40:60)
According to the Qur’an, prayer, meaning “calling, requesting, seeking help,” is a person’s turning sincerely to Allah, and seeking help from Him, the Almighty, the Compassionate and Merciful, in the knowledge that he is a dependent being. Illness is one of those instances when a person feels this dependence most and draws closer to Allah. Furthermore, sickness is a test, devised in His wisdom, that takes place by His will, and is a warning to remind people of the transience and imperfection of this life, and is also a source of recompense in the hereafter for the patient and submissive.
Those without faith, on the other hand, imagine that the way to recovery is through doctors, medicines or the advanced technological capabilities of modern science. They never pause to think that it is Allah Who causes their physical systems to function when they are in good health, or Who creates the healing medicines and doctors when they are ill. Many turn only to Allah when they arrive at the opinion that doctors and medicines are inadequate. People in such situations seek help only from Allah, realizing that only He can free them from their difficulty. Allah has revealed this mindset in a verse:
And when harm touches man, he invokes Us, lying on his side, or sitting down or standing. But when We removed his harm from him he passes on as if he had never invoked Us for a harm that touched him! Thus it is made fair-seeming to be Musrifun that which they used to do. (Yunus 10:12)
The fact is, however, that even in good health, or without tribulations or other difficulties, a person must pray and give thanks to Allah for the comforts, good health and all the other blessings He has imparted.
One very important aspect of prayer is this: In addition to praying out loud, it is also important for a person to make every effort to pray through his or her deeds. Prayer by action means doing everything possible to attain a certain wish. For example, in addition to praying, a sick person may also have to visit an expert doctor, use medicines that will be of benefit, and receive hospital treatment if necessary or some other form of special care. Because Allah has linked everything that happens in this world to specific causes, everything in the world and in the universe happens in accordance with these causes. Therefore, the individual must take the requisite measures in accordance with these causes, and yet await the outcome from Allah, with humility, submission, and patience, in the knowledge that it is He Who brings about their results.
The positive effect of faith and prayer on the sick and the way this accelerates treatment is a matter that has attracted the attention of and is recommended by doctors. Under the heading “God and Health: Is Religion Good Medicine? Why Science Is Starting to Believe,” Newsweek took the curative effect of religion as its cover story. It reported that faith in God raised people’s morale and helped them recover more easily, and that science had also begun to believe that people with religious faith recover more easily and quickly. According to a Newsweek survey, 72 percent of Americans say they believe that praying can cure someone and that prayer facilitates recovery. Research in Great Britain and the USA has also concluded that prayer reduces patients’ symptoms and accelerates the recovery process.
According to research conducted at Michigan University, depression and stress are observed to a lesser extent in the devout. And, according to findings at Rush University in Chicago, the early death rate among people who worship and pray regularly is some 25 percent lower than in those with no religious convictions. Another study conducted on 750 people, who underwent angio-cardiography, proved scientifically the “curative power of prayer.” It was established that the death rate among heart patients who prayed decreased by 30 percent within a year after their operations.
Examples of the prayers mentioned in the Qur’an are these:
And (remember) Ayyub (Job), when he cried to his Lord: “Verily, distress has seized me, and You are the Most Merciful of the merciful of all those who show mercy.” (Al-Anbiya’ 21:83)
And (remember) Zakariya (Zachariah), when he cried to his Lord: ” O My Lord! Leave me not single (childless), though You are the Best of Inheritors.” (Al-Anbiya’ 21:89)
And indeed Nuh (Noah) invoked Us, and We are the Best of those who answer (the request). (As-Saffat 37:75)
As has already been stated, prayer must not only be for alleviation of sickness or other mundane problems. A sincere believer must always pray to Allah and accept whatever comes from Him. The fact that the benefits of prayer revealed in many verses of the Qur’an are now being recognized scientifically once again reveals the miraculous nature of the Qur’an.
And when My slaves ask you (O Muhammad, peace be upon him) concerning Me, then (answer them) I am indeed near (to them by my knowledge). I respond to the invocations of the supplicant when he calls on Me. So let them obey Me and believe in Me, so that they may be led aright. (Al-Baqarah 2:186)
A heart filled with the love of Allah is a heart that finds peace and tranquility. Allah says: “Indeed, by the remembrance of Allah do the hearts find contentment.” [Surah al-Ra`d: 28]
Allah promises those who believe and work righteousness that he will give them a life of goodness. He says: “Whoever works righteousness, man or woman, and has faith, verily to him we will give him a life that is good and pure.” [Surah al-Nahl: 97]
This life which is good and pure is by way of the radiance of one’s spirit, the coolness of one’s eyes, and the happiness of one’s heart towards Allah. Religion faith provides solace to the soul’s pain. It is the physician that cures our tears and our emotional wounds.
From our love for Allah stems our love for His Messengers, His Prophets, and His angels, Our love for Allah makes us love His righteous servants among our fellows. We want to be with those who love Him, associate with them, and adopt their good ways and manners.
From our love for Allah stems a desire to exhibit goodness to all of Creation. This desire manifests itself in our good words, our good deeds, our supplications, and our help. This in itself is a reason for happiness and contentment. Those who go forth to help others and fulfill their needs are the people with the most happiness and fulfillment in their lives.
The love for Allah comes by way of keeping His Book as a dear companion by reading it, contemplating its meanings, and acting upon its teachings. Such companionship of the Qur’an means that the reader is always with it. Whenever he completes one chapter, he moves on to another. He never finishes reading the Qur’an except with the intention of starting again.
A person’s love for Allah is expressed through his love for prayer since this is the way the soul can travel to its Lord. It brings rest to the spirit. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said to Bilal: “Call the prayer, so that we may find rest in it.” [Sunan Abi Dawud (4985)]
Prayer safeguards us from sin and wrongdoing. Allah says: “Establish prayer, for prayer restrains from shameful and false deeds.” [Surah al-`Ankabut: 45]
We show our love to Allah by constantly seeking His forgiveness and by constantly striving to draw nearer to Him. A Muslim never despairs of Allah’s mercy and he never sees his sins to be greater than Allah’s forgiveness. Indeed, Allah forgives all sins.
Allah says: “No one despairs of Allah’s mercy except those who have no faith.” [Surah Yusuf: 87]
Allah says: “And who despairs of the mercy of Allah except those who are astray?” [Surah al-Hijr: 56]
Our penitence includes our repeatedly seeking Allah’s forgiveness with the prescribed wording for doing so while keeping the meaning of what we are saying clear in our minds. We must recognize and acknowledge our shortcomings before Allah. We should feel acutely how much we need Him and how much we must rely on Him at every moment of our lives.
We show our love for Allah by being aware of the numerous blessings He has bestowed upon us, despite all our sins and shortcomings.
A worshipper of Allah should never forget supplication. It is a door that is always open and never closed. Allah says: “Call upon Me. I will answer you.” [Surah Ghafir: 60]
Allah says: “If My servants asks you about Me, for indeed I am near. I answer the supplication of the supplicant when he calls upon Me.” [Surah al-Baqarah: 186]
We must beseech our Lord in humility at every possible occasion and express our need of Him. Our hearts should be tied to Allah. We should wake up and pray to Him during the last third of the night, which is a special and most precious time for our worship. We should beseech Allah during the last hour of the afternoon on Friday and between the two calls of every prayer.
We should be careful that all of our sustenance is lawful and good. We should uphold our ties of kinship and honor our parents. We should respect the honor and wealth of our fellow human beings and never transgress against them.
We should receive in our hearts the glad assurance of the good that is bestowed by the One who when He wills something, just says “Be!” and it is.
The first group of this ummah who will enter Paradise will be those who were pre-eminent in their Imaan, taqwaa, righteous deeds and adherence to the true religion. They will enter Paradise in one rank: the first of them will not enter until the last of them enters, and they will be as beautiful as the full moon.
Al-Bukhaari reports from Abu Hurayrah (ra) that the Messenger of Allah (saw) said:
“The first group to enter Paradise will be as beautiful as the full moon. They will not spit, blow their noses or excrete. Their vessels will be fo gold, their combs of gold and silver, their incense o aloe, and their sweat of musk. Each of them will have two wives, the marrow of whose leg-bones will be visible through their flesh because of their extreme beauty. There will be no differences or hatred among them (the people of Paradise); their hearts will be as one, and they will glorify Allah (swt) morning and evening”. (Kitaab Bid’ al-Khalq, Baab Ma Jaa’ fi Sifaat al-Jannah, Fath al-Baari, 6/318; Muslim, at-Tirmidhi)
al-Bukhaari reports from Sahl ibn Sa’d (ra) that the Messenger of Allah (saw) said: “Seventy thousand – or seven hundred thousand – of my ummah will enter Paradise; the first of them will not enter until the last of them does so, and their faces will look like the full moon”. (Fath al-Baari, 6/319)
It is true that with each one of these seventy, Allah (swt) will give His Prophet seventy thousand. Ahmad reports with a saheeh isnaad from Abu Bakr (ra) that the Messenger of Allah (saw) said:
“I have been given seventy thousand of my ummah, who will enter Paradise without being called to account. Their faces will be like the full moon, and their hearts will be as one. I asked my Rabb, may He be glorified, for more, and He gave me, along with each of them, seventy thousand more”. (Saheeh al-Jaami’, 1/350, no. 1068)
Ahmad, at-Tirmidhi, and Ibn Hibbaan report with a saheeh isnaad from Abu Umaamah that the Messenger of Allah (saw) said, “My Rabb promised me that seventy thousand of my ummah would enter Paradise without being called to account and without being punished, and with each one will be seventy thousand, and three handfuls of people picked up by my Rabb [ i.e. it will be a great number]”. (Saheeh al-Jaami’ 6/108, no. 2988).
The Prophet (saw) described the characteristics of these seventy thousand.
al-Bukhaari reports from Ibn ‘Abbaas that the Prophet (saw) said, “I was shown the nations, and I saw a Prophet pass by with a group of his people, and another with a band of his people, another with only ten, another with five, and another on his own (with no followers). Then I looked and saw a large crowd of people. I asked, “O Jibreel, are these my ummah?” He said, “No, but look at the horizon.” So I looked and saw a huge multitude of people. Jibreel said, “These are your ummah, and those seventy thousand in front will not be called to account or punished.” I asked, “Why?” He said, “They did not treat themselves with branding (cauterization) or with ruqyaa (charms) and they did not see evil omens in things ( i.e they were not superstitious): they put their trust only in their Rabb””. ‘Ukaasha ibn Mihsan stood up and said, “Pray to Allah (swt) to make me one of them”. The Prophet (saw) said, “O Allah (swt) make him one of them”. Then another man stood up and said, “Ask Allah (swt) to make me one of them”. The Prophet (saw) said, ‘Ukaasha has preceded you”. (Saheeh al-Bukhaari, Kitaab ar-Riqaaq, Baab Yadhkul al-Jannah Sab’un Alfan bi Ghayri Hisaab, Fath al-Baari, 11/405)
These may be the ones whom Allah (swt) has called al-Muqarraboon (those nearest to Allah swt):
“And those foremost [in faith] will be foremost [in the Hereafter]. These will be those nearest to Allah [al-Muqarraboon], in the Gardens of Bliss”. (56:10-12)
More of them will come from the early generations than from the later generations:
“A multitude of those [foremost] will be from the first generations [who embraced Islaam], and a few of those [foremost] will be from the later generations”. (56:13-14)