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 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 receive more nourishment and it has 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 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) specially 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. Strength of cervical muscles is important as the head rests 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.
Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was always full of gratitude to God, expressing it right from the moment he woke up before dawn, using fine, clear and most expressive words: “My Lord! Whatever blessing I or anyone of Your creatures is enjoying this morning comes from You alone, as You have no partners. All praise and all thanks are due to You. My Lord! I have started this day enjoying Your blessings, sound health and protection. Perfect the blessings, health and protection You bestow on me in this life and in the life to come.”
Prophet Muhammad recommends us to glorify God and praise Him as we wake up: “Whoever says as he wakes up, ‘Praise be to God who has created sleep and alertness; praise be to God who has returned me safe and sound; I bear witness that God brings the dead back to life and that He is able to do everything,’ will be answered by God who says, ‘My servant tells the truth.’” It is great indeed that a human being should praise the Creator of the universe and God listens to the praise, accepting it and admitting that person to His service.
The Prophet says: “When any of you wakes up in the morning he should say: ‘We have come into this morning when all dominion belongs to God, the Lord of all worlds. My Lord! I appeal to You to grant me the goodness of this day: its gifts, help, light, blessing and guidance; and I seek Your shelter from any evil in it or in the days to come’. When the evening approaches he should say the same.”
People live in a dark cave whose walls are made of their own real or imaginary problems. It is sad to find intelligent minds unable to see further than the walls of such a cave and beating hearts feeling nothing other than the darkness of such a narrow cave. Muhammad, God’s messenger who knows his Lord well denounces such humiliating isolation. He says: “Every morning a caller addresses mankind, saying: “O You creatures! Glorify the Holy Sovereign”.
What I would like to say here is that it appears that only Muhammad’s heart has listened to this caller who urges mankind to tear away the curtains that keep them in ignorance and turn back toward God, the Holy Sovereign of the universe. His creative reminders are the result of his absorbing glorification of God and keen awareness of His greatness.
The great majority of scholars do not consider it a duty of a Muslim to repeat the glorifications and supplications we have quoted or will be quoting. They are only recommended. This is certainly true. However, I feel that it is necessary to reflect at length on such glorifications and passionate supplications when one’s heart is slackening and the relation with God weakens. They are highly effective in giving us the right concept of God and making us aware of the significance of His great attributes.
When faith is not based on enlightened vision it is ineffective. When conviction is only marginal, it cannot control behavior or keep wanton desire in check. Indeed, the Prophet’s companions were able to attain the summit of faith and change the course of history, replacing constitutions and morality with what were infinitely better ones, only because they were close to the Prophet, watching his life and guided by his light. They thus allowed his exemplary sincerity and love of God to fill their hearts as they filled his. Such is human nature. To my mind, listening to the Prophet as he addressed his supplication, and feeling his emotion as he appealed to God are bound to enlighten hearts and minds, motivating them to draw closer to God.
This type of glorification and supplication is only recommended, not a duty. But there is a measure of close contact with God that is a binding duty. This is related to the mosque and obligatory prayers. It is a duty incumbent on every Muslim to stand before God five times in every 24 hours to perform our obligatory prayers. Offering them in congregation in the mosque may be either a duty or an urged recommendation. The place of the mosque in Muslim society is high indeed. People who are careless about their prayers may find talking about it strange, because they prefer to pursue their desires.
With the first light of dawn Muslims aim toward the mosque. To strengthen their resolve the Prophet says: “Give those who walk to the mosque in the darkness of the night the happy news that they will have perfect light on the Day of Judgment.” And we read in the Qur’an: “On the day when you see all believers, men and women, with their light spreading rapidly before them and to their right.” (57: 12) “They will say: Our Lord! Perfect our light for us and forgive us. You certainly have power over all things.” (66: 8)
– By SHEIKH MUHAMMAD AL-GHAZALI
[ALLAH’S Quran – 27:62] “Who responds to the oppressed when he calls out to Him, and relieves his suffering and who will make you inheritors of the earth? Then, is there a god besides God? How little you pay heed!”
The Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) has said:
[Bukhari, Book #43, Hadith #628] “Narrated Ibn ‘Abbas: The Prophet sent Mu’adh to Yemen and said, “Be afraid, from the curse of the oppressed as there is no screen between his invocation and Allah.”
[Muslim, Book #001, Hadith #0027] “It is reported on the authority of Ibn ‘Abbas that Mu’adh said: The Messenger of Allah sent me (as a governor of Yemen) and (at the time of departure) instructed me thus:……………………………..Beware of the supplication of the oppressed for there is no barrier between him and Allah.”
[Quran 2:201 ] “And among them are those who pray, “Our Lord, grant us in the world what is good, and in the Hereafter what is good, and protect us from the punishment of the Fire.”
The Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) has said:
[Bukhari, Book #75, Hadith #398] Narrated Anas: The most frequent invocation of The Prophet was: “O Allah! Give to us in the world that which is good and in the Hereafter that which is good, and save us from the torment of the fire.”
[Muslim, Book #035, Hadith #6501] “Anas reported that Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) visited a person from amongst the Muslims in order to inquire (about his health) who had grown feeble like the chicken. Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) said: Did you supplicate for anything or beg of Him about that? He said: Yes. I used to utter (these words): Impose punishment upon me earlier in this world, what Thou art going to impose upon me in the Hereafter. Thereupon Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) said: Hallowed be Allah, you have neither the power nor forbearance to take upon yourself (the burden of His Punishment). Why did you not say this: O Allah, grant us good in the world and good in the Hereafter, and save us from the torment of fire. He (the Holy Prophet) made this supplication (for him) and he was all right.
[Muslim, Book #035, Hadith #6506] “Qatada asked Anas which Supplication Allah’s Apostle (may peace be upon him) frequently made. He said: The supplication that he (the Holy Prophet made very frequently is this:” O Allah, grant us the good in this world and the good in the Hereafter and save us from the torment of Hell-fire.” He (Qatada) said that whenever Anas had to supplicate he made this very supplication, and whenever he (intended) to make another supplication he (inserted) this very supplication in that.
[Tafsir ] Allah also criticizes those who only supplicate to Him about the affairs of this life, while ignoring the affairs of the Hereafter. Allah said: (But of mankind there are some who say: “Our Lord! Give us (Your bounties) in this world!” and for such there will be no portion in the Hereafter.) meaning, they have no share in the Hereafter. This criticism serves to discourage other people from imitating those mentioned.
Sa`id bin Jubayr said that Ibn `Abbas said, “Some bedouins used to come to the standing area (`Arafat) and supplicate saying, `O Allah! Make it a rainy year, a fertile year and a year of good child bearing.’ They would not mention any of the affairs of the Hereafter. Thus, Allah revealed about them: (But of mankind there are some who say: “Our Lord! Give us (Your bounties) in this world!” and for such there will be no portion in the Hereafter.)
The believers who came after them used to say: (Our Lord! Give us in this world that which is good and in the Hereafter that which is good, and save us from the torment of the Fire!”)
Next, Allah revealed: (For them there will be alloted a share for what they have earned. And Allah is swift at reckoning.)
Hence, Allah praised those who ask for the affairs of both this life and the Hereafter. He said: And of them there are some who say: “Our Lord! Give us in this world that which is good and in the Hereafter that which is good, and save us from the torment of the Fire!”)
The supplication mentioned and praised in the Ayah includes all good aspects of this life and seeks refuge from all types of evil. The good of this life concerns every material request of well-being, spacious dwelling, pleasing mates, sufficient provision, beneficial knowledge, good profession or deeds, comfortable means of transportation and good praise, all of which the scholars of Tafsir have mentioned regarding this subject. All of these are but a part of the good that is sought in this life. As for the good of the Hereafter, the best of this includes acquiring Paradise, which also means acquiring safety from the greatest horror at the gathering place. It also refers to being questioned lightly and the other favours in the Hereafter.
As for acquiring safety from the Fire, it includes being directed to what leads to this good end in this world, such as avoiding the prohibitions, sins of all kinds and doubtful matters.
Al-Qasim bin `Abdur-Rahman said, “Whoever is gifted with a grateful heart, a remembering tongue and a patient body, will have been endowed with a good deed in this life, a good deed in the Hereafter and saved from the torment of the Fire.”
This is why the Sunnah encourages reciting this Du`a’ (i.e., in the Ayah about gaining a good deed in this life and the Hereafter). Al-Bukhari reported that Anas bin Malik narrated that the Prophet used to say: (O Allah, our Lord! Give us that which is good in this life, that which is good in the Hereafter and save us from the torment of the Fire.)
Imam Ahmad reported that Anas said, “Allah’s Messenger visited a Muslim man who had become as weak as a sick small bird. Allah’s Messenger said to him, `Were you asking or supplicating to Allah about something’ He said, `Yes. I used to say: O Allah! Whatever punishment you saved for me in the Hereafter, give it to me in this life.’ Allah’s Messenger said: All praise is due to Allah! You cannot bear it -or stand it-. You should have said: (Our Lord! Give us in this world that which is good and in the Hereafter that which is good, and save us from the torment of the Fire!) The man began reciting this Du`a and he was cured.” Muslim also recorded it.
All of us, no matter how long we have been Muslim, have ups and downs in our Iman (faith). So we must always strive to improve and not get discouraged when we are feeling our Iman at its lowest. Some people give up trying when their Iman is low, and they may end up losing it completely. Don’t let that happen to you!
The first thing one should do, of course, is to learn how to perform Salah (the formal prayer) properly, and then get into the habit of performing the five daily prayers at their proper times. This means learning a little bit of the Qur’an — at east Surat Al-Fatihah (Chapter 1) and at least one or two short surahs — so that you can pray.
It is better, of course, if you learn more of the Qur’an. So make as much effort as you can to learn a bit each day. Also try to learn how to read the Qur’an in Arabic. Your pronunciation will be much better if you learn Qur’an from the Arabic script rather than from a transliteration into Latin letters. This advice is a “too much thing to do” at the beginning, I understand. At least have it at the back of your mind that it is recommended and a long-term goal. Yet, bear in mind that it is not a must.
Another important step in developing your Iman is to make new friends with devout Muslims and try to spend time with them. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to totally give up the friends you had before you were Muslim. Yet, if you spent your time with your old friends drinking or gambling or doing other negative and haraam (forbidden) things, you will have to avoid those activities. This may or may not mean dropping those friends also. If they are real friends, they should be willing to accept you for what you are now. You can still watch football together, for example, but substitute soft drinks for alcohol. If they’re not willing to do that, they’re not real friends.
You can also increase your knowledge of Islam by reading, attending lessons at the mosque or in homes, and listening to audio files on the Internet or to tapes. Try to find a knowledgeable person who can answer your questions. Beware of those who seem to be knowledgeable, while they are not. Search for scholars through Islamic centers and get close to them. Seek knowledge from them.
Also, try to get information from more than one source so that you get a more balanced view of what Islam is. The hardest thing for new Muslims is to figure out where they fit on the spectrum of Islam — are they liberal, moderate, or conservative? Some people have very strict views of what is right and wrong and always choose the more difficult of two Halaal (permissible) choices. Try to take the middle ground and be moderate. Usually, there is more than a black-or-white choice, with many shades of gray in between.
In learning to practice your new faith, take things slowly. Don’t be over-enthusiastic by plunging in and trying to do many extra acts of worship at once.
It was reported by Al-Bukhari that the Prophet (peace be upon him) told us that Allah loves best the acts that are performed regularly, even if they were little. So choose one new action at a time and become very regular in performing it before adding another one.
Finally, the prayers that can be recommended in times of trial. The best thing to do is to pray from your heart. Ask God for what you need and expose your soul at His attendance. However, the only other prayers that are to be recommended are Prophetic supplications used by Prophet Muhammad and other great Prophets (peace be upon them all) or the great Companions.
Otherwise, it is never recommended to oblige oneself to use specific supplications that one doesn’t feel or develop personally. Supplication is a way to communicate on personal level with the Divine. We can only use the Prophetic example as a role model here, from where we start to launch a deep personal relation.
Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: He among you who sees something abominable should rectify it with the help of his hand; and if he has not strength enough to do it, then he should do it with his tongue; and if he has not strength enough to do it, (even) then he should (abhor it) from his heart, and that is the lowest level of faith. (Muslim)
To ensure that our supplication is answered, we must be firm in our belief that Allah is able to rectify the problem and that He will answer our prayers. If we have little hope that Allah will answer our prayers, then we have poor understanding of His power or little faith in His mercy, or both.
So supplicate and pray for the sake of your brothers and sisters in Islam, as well as for all humanity, as much as you can and have faith that Allah will help them, and help all of us to help them,In Sha Allah.
Hadith – 1
Abu Huraira (May Allah Subhanahu wa ta’ala be pleased with him) reported Allah’s Messenger (May Peace,blessings and mercy of Allah Subhanahu wa ta’ala be on him) as saying: Verily Allah likes three things for you and He disapproves three things for you. He is pleased with you that you worship Him and associate nor anything with Him, that you hold fast the rope of Allah, and be not scattered; and He disapproves for you irrelevant talk, persistent questioning and the wasting of wealth.
Sahih Muslim : Book 018, Number 4255
Hadith – 2
Abd al-Rahman (May Allah Subhanahu wa ta’ala be pleased with him) reported on the authority of his mother’s sister Umm Salama (May Allah Subhanahu wa ta’ala be pleased with her) who said that Allah’s Messenger (May Peace,blessings and mercy of Allah Subhanahu wa ta’ala be on him) said: He who drank in vessels of gold or silver he in fact drank down in his belly the fire of Hell.
Sahih Muslim:Book 024, Number 5128
Hadith – 3
Abu Huraira (May Allah Subhanahu wa ta’ala be pleased with him) reported Allah’s Messenger (May Peace,blessings and mercy of Allah Subhanahu wa ta’ala be on him) as saying: When one of you makes a supplication (to his Lord) one should not say: O Allah, grant me pardon, if Thou so likest, but one should beg one’s (Lord) with a will and full devotion, for there is nothing so great in the eye of Allah which He cannot grant.
Sahih Muslim:Book 035, Number 6478
Hadith – 4
Narrated Abu Musa Al-Ashari (May Allah Subhanahu wa ta’ala be pleased with him) The Prophet (May Peace, blessings and mercy of Allah Subhanahu wa ta’ala be on him) said, “None is more patient than Allah against the harmful and annoying words He hears (from the people): They ascribe children to Him, yet He bestows upon them health and provision .
Sahih Bukhari:Volume 9, Book 93, Number 475
Hadith – 5
Narrated Anas bin Malik (May Allah Subhanahu wa ta’ala be pleased with him) The Prophet (May Peace,blessings and mercy of Allah Subhanahu wa ta’ala be on him) said, “Facilitate things to people (concerning religious matters), and do not make it hard for them and give them good tidings and do not make them run away (from Islam).”
Sahih Bukhari:Volume 1, Book 3, Number 69
Let us try to paint a picture of one day in the life of the Prophet (peace be upon him) of Islam. For certain, he wakes up well before dawn, when the dark curtain of the night still covers everything. As he begins to move, he says: “Praise be to God who has returned my spirit to me, given me physical strength and permitted me to glorify Him.” Consider how he welcomes life, full of optimism: “Praise be to God who has returned my spirit to me.”
The life we are given is a blessing for which we thank God and we must use well. It offers a chance of success for whoever aims to succeed. Yet God reminds His servants of the blessing He has given them in the form of sunrise and sunset: “It is God who has made for you the night in which to rest, and the day to make you see. God is limitless in His bounty to man, but most people do not give thanks.” (40: 61) Great is life when it is coupled with good health. It is then that the body organs can function well, without trouble. A Muslim will then move about to willingly fulfill his duties well. It is for this that we praise and thank God for giving us good health.
We need to reflect on the Prophet’s early words as he praises God for “permitting me to glorify Him”. Can we imagine a more polite way in addressing the Lord? Here is an acknowledgement that a new day means permission to resume worship right at the break of dawn.
Muhammad, God’s ever grateful servant, begins his praises using words that impart certitude of faith and pure love in every letter. He says these words morning and evening: “My Lord, I pray You to grant me sound health in this life and in the life to come, to forgive me and to give me purity in faith, life, family and property. My Lord, grant me a cover of my flaws and reassurance in time of fear. Protect me from what lies ahead of me, behind me, to my right, to my left and above me. I appeal to Your greatness to protect me from any danger that lies beneath me.”
The Prophet urged every Muslim to say as he begins or ends his day: “My Lord, You know all that is beyond human perception and all that is witnessed by anyone; You are the Originator of the heavens and the earth; You are the Lord and owner of all. I bear witness that there is no deity other than You. I seek refuge with You from the evil that is within me and from the machinations of Satan.”
As they start their day, the Prophet and his companions say: “We have started this day in the original state of submission to God, with the pure word of faith, following the religion of our Prophet Muhammad and the creed of our father Abraham who followed the pure faith and never associated partners with God.”
That the Prophet’s companions should assert that they follow the religion of Prophet Muhammad is perfectly understandable. Why does the Prophet himself say the same? This occurs in many supplications the Prophet used to say, always asserting his belief in his prophethood or in the truth of his message. I feel that this serves more than one purpose. The first is that it confirms his commitment to implement what he preaches. Many are the religious leaders who appear to consider that their task is to teach others what to do. As for themselves, they consider themselves above accountability. Another purpose is to spite unbelievers by asserting that Islam is the faith of unquestionable truth. Moreover, it is an acknowledgement of the grace God has bestowed on His messenger, and an expression of gratitude and happiness for being chosen for this noble task.
-By SHEIKH MUHAMMAD AL-GHAZALI
[ALLAH’S Quran – 40:6] “Invoke Me,” says Allah, your Creator, “I respond to your invocation.” “Meanwhile those who are too proud to pay reverence to Me and do not display adoration with appropriate acts and rites, shall take up their abode in Hell, plunged into infamy and humiliation.”
Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) has said:
[Muslim, Book #035, Hadith #6595] “Abu Huraira reported Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: The supplication of the servant is granted in case he does not supplicate for sin or for severing the ties of blood, or he does not become impatient. It was said: Allah’s Messenger, what does:” If he does not grow impatient” imply? He said: That he should say like this: I supplicated and I supplicated but I did not find it being responded. and then he becomes frustrated and abandons supplication.”
ONE’S heart should always be filled with the remembrance of Allah. Forgetfulness and negligence are the main weaknesses of human beings. The only remedy is that the believer should develop God-consciousness and be constantly aware that Almighty Allah watches him. All acts of worship aim at drawing man closer to Allah.
The Qur’an asks us to establish prayers. (Ta-Ha 20:14). The Friday sermon, too, constitutes the commands and remembrance of Allah (Al-Jumuah 62:10). But we must be clear that the remembrance of Allah is not restricted to certain acts of formal worship. The point is that one should always remember Him standing, sitting, and lying on one’s sides. (Aal Imran 3:191). Thabit Al-Banani (may Allah have mercy on him) once exclaimed, “I know when my Lord remembers me.” Upon hearing this, those present trembled in fear and asked him how he knew this. In response he recited from verse 152 of Surat Al-Baqarah, (Therefore Remember Me (by praying, glorifying). I will remember you and be grateful to Me . . .)
It is recorded in the Hadith: I come up to the expectations of My servant. I am with him when he remembers Me. When he makes mention of Me in his heart, I make mention of him to Myself. When he mentions Me in a gathering, I mention him in a better gathering (of the angels). (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)
It is the height of felicity for a human being that Allah remembers him and mentions him in the blessed gathering of the angels.
We have taken note of the important and blessed nature of the remembrance of Allah. By the same token, one’s neglect of it is fatal, bringing disgrace upon oneself. Those who forget Allah are forgotten by Him (At-Tawbah 9:67). Allah then lets them wander in the web of their own self (Al-Hashr 59:19). One’s disregard for Allah culminates in the ruin of the self.
It is worthy to note that everything in the universe is preoccupied with remembering and glorifying Allah. This point is explicitly made in the first verse of Surat Al-Hadid (Surah 57) and in many other places in the Qur’an. As one is engaged in remembering, praising and glorifying Allah, one becomes at one with the entire universe and the gate for all goodness and success is opened.