Saturday, June 29, 2013

Scientific Benefits of Ablution and prayer

Ablution and health purity

Allah says; “O believers, when you stand up to pray, wash your faces, and your hands up to the elbows, and wipe your heads, and your feet up to the ankles.  If you are defiled, purify yourselves…” (5:6)

[ يا أيها الذين آمنوا إذا قمتم إلى الصلاة فاغسلوا وجوهكم وأيديكم إلى المرافق وامسحوا برؤوسكم وأرجلكم إلى الكعبين، وإن كنتم جنبا فاطهروا]    (المائدة 6). 

Ablution is the weapon of the faithful:
·        Ablution is not just cleaning the external organs several times a day before prayers.  The psychological and spiritual impact felt by the Moslem after ablution is more deeper than words can express, particularly when perfecting ablution.  Ablution plays an important role in the life of the Moslem, as it keeps him always in a state of vitality, vigilance and fitness.  The Prophet (PBUH) said; “He who performs ablution, and perfects it, his sins would come out from his body, till they pass out from under his nails.”
·        The process of washing the organs usually exposed to dust is no doubt of a great significance to public health.  These body parts are exposed all day long to numerous numbers of microbes counted in millions in every cubic centimeters of air.  These microbes are in a constant offensive state against the human body at the exposed areas of skin.  In ablution, microbes are taken by a surprise sweep from the surface of the skin, specially with perfect massaging and enough pouring of water, as guided by the Prophet (PBUH).  Following such a process, no dirt or germs are left on the body except what Allah decrees.
·        Rinsing the mouth.  Modern science has proved that rinsing the mouth protects the mouth and throat from inflammation and the gums from suppuration (pyorrhea).  It also protects and cleans teeth by removing food remnants.
·        Sniffing the nose. Washing and sniffing the nose strongly helps keep the nostril clean and free of inflammation and germs, thus reflecting positively on the health status of the whole body.
·        Washing the face and the two hands.  Washing the face and the two hands up to the elbows is of a great benefit in removing dust and microbes as well as sweat from the surface of the skin.  This also cleans the skin from the fatty substance secreted by skin glands, and which is usually a very suitable place for the proliferation and sustenance of germs.
·        Washing the two feet.  Washing feet with massaging lead to a feeling of quietness and complacency that engulfs the Moslem after ablution.
·        Other secrets.  Scientific research has proved that blood circulation in upper limbs from the hands to the forearms, and in  the lower limbs from the feet to the legs is weaker than it is in other organs, being peripheral to the centre of regulating blood circulation, namely, the heart.  So washing these limbs with massaging at every ablution help strengthen the blood circulation in these parts, thus increasing the vitality and activity of the body. 
Science has proved the effect of sun rays, particularly the ultra violet ones, in causing skin carcinoma.  This effect decreases very well with the consequence of ablution, as it constantly dampens the surface of the skin with water, particularly the parts exposed to such rays. This helps protect the surface and internal layer cells of the skin from the harmful impact of rays.

Prayer : a healing for the spirit and the body

Allah says; Seek help with patience and prayer: it is indeed hard, except to those who are humble.” (2: 45)
( واستعينوا بالصبر والصلاة وإنها لكبيرة إلا على الخاشعين ) البقرة 45
      Health benefits in prayers:

  o         Prayers help release the burden of the soul and expand the chest.  In prayers, which are the best deeds, the heart gets connected to Allah the Almighty.  The Prophet (PBUH) said, as narrated by Ibn Majah and Al Hakim on the authority of Thawban; “Be it known to you that your best deeds are prayers.”
  o     Prayers are surely a healing for the soul.  It is confirmed that the Prophet, if afflicted with grief, would hurry to prayer: “ prayer forbids indecency and dishonour.  Allah’s remembrance is greater; and Allah knows the things you work.” (29: 45)
            ( إن الصلاة تنهى عن الفحشاء والمنكر، ولذكر الله أكبر، والله يعلم ما تصنعون) (العنكبوت 45)
  o        Prayers help adjust the ‘rhythm’ of the body.  Modern scientific research proved that Moslems’ prayer timings correspond with that of the  physiological activities of the body.  Thus, prayers are considered as the orchestrator that adjusts the ‘rhythm’ of the whole body. In his book ‘Seeking cure from prayers’, Dr. Zaheer Rabeh indicates that cortisone is the hormone of activity that starts to increase acutely in the human body with the approach of dawn time, and is associated with the rise in blood pressure.  Man feels greatly active after dawn prayer between 6-9 a.m.  Thus the time after prayer is considered the best time for hard work and seeking livelihood.  The Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) was quoted saying; O Lord, give benediction to my umma (nation) at the early morning time.  Ozone, which has an invigorating effect on the nervous system, and muscular and mental activity, reaches the highest levels in air at such a time. 
Contrary to this is the forenoon time (Dhuha), in which secretion of cortisone reach the minimum limits; leading man to feel exhausted with the stress of work, and the need to have rest.  This is almost after 7 hours of early get-up.  Here comes the time of noon (Zuhr) prayer, which gives complacency and quietness to the exhausted heart and body, and following which man seeks to get an hour of sleep that gives him rest and reinvigorates his activity, in what is termed as Qailulah (nap) before (Asr) (afternoon) prayer.  Such a short sleep was mentioned in the Prophet’s saying; Get help with Suhoor (meal before dawn time) for fastingand with Qailulah for Qiyam (night)  prayer.” He also said; Have Qailulah, as satans do not have it.”  It has been proved that the human body at this period generally encounters a hard time, where an increase occurs in an anesthetic chemical substance secreted by the body that has the effect of tranquilizing, and incites man to sleep.  The body, after 7 hours of early wake-up, is at the lowest levels of concentration and activity.  So if man ignores sleeping at that time, much of his neuromuscular compatibility decreases all day long.  
Then comes the Asr (afternoon) Prayer to reinvigorate the body once again.  Adrenalin then raises in the blood; causing activity in the body functions particularly the cardiac one.   Asr prayer has thus a great effect in preparing the heart and the body to accept this sudden state of activity, which can cause serious troubles to cardiac patients due to the sudden transfer of the heart from the inert state to the active state. Allah says; “Be you watchful over the prayers, and the middle prayer, and do you stand obedient to Allah.” (2: 238)
( حافظوا على الصلوات والصلاة الوسطى وقوموا لله قانتين ( البقرة 238
Most of the Quran Commentators agreed that the middle prayer is Asr prayer. With the discovery of the increase of Adrenalin hormone at this time, the reason behind this Quranic remarkable command of the keep-up of Asr prayer becomes crystal clear.  Performing Asr prayer at designated time, alongside with other extra prayers, reinvigorates the heart gradually to function more effectively after an inert state.   So the rest of bodily organs and senses are in deep concentration in prayer, making it easy for the heart and the hormone to adjust the normal rhythm of the body which reaches the climax at that time. 
Then comes the Maghreb (sunset) prayer.  In contrary  to what happens early in the morning, Cortisone decreases and the activity of the body starts to diminish.  With the transfer from daylight into night darkness, melatonin increases  encouraging relaxation and sleep, and causing laziness to the body.  Here prayer comes as a transitional station. 
Prayer of Isha (early night prayer) is the last station in the course of the day, wherein the body is transferred from the state of activity and mobility to a state of seeking sleep with the spread of darkness and the increase of melatonin secretion.  Therefore, it is commendable to delayIsha prayer to the time before sleep so that all man’s preoccupations are finalized, and sleep comes next.  The regular secretion of melatonin is closely related to the sexual and mental maturity, which is the consequence of following a fixed programme and a way of life.  Therefore, we find that adherence to perform prayers on time is the best way that guarantees an integral compatibility with daily activities, thus leading to highly efficient functions of human body systems.
o       Prayer is a prevention from varicose.  Legs varicose is a common dysfunction in the legs veins, which takes the shape of big and zigzag veins filled with blood of a changed colour all along the lower limbs.   Dr. “Tawfiq Elwan”, a Professor in Alexandria Faculty of Medicine (Egypt), indicated that with the meticulous observation of prayer movements, it was found out that prayer is distinguished with a wonderful measure of smoothness, harmony and coordination, represented in standing, kneeling (Ruku’), prostration (Sujood)  and sitting between every two prostrations.  With a scientific study of the measure of pressure exerted on the walls of the saphenous vein at the ankle joint, it was found out that the great decrease in that pressure during kneeling reaches almost the half.   As for the state of Sujood, the average pressure becomes very slight.  Naturally, this decrease is a full rest to that vein, which is greatly exhausted due to the severity of pressure all along the periods of standing.  The position of Sujood helps the blood circulation work in the same direction of earth gravity, as blood which always suffers the bitter creep from the feet soles to the cardiac muscle, now pours smoothly and easily from top to bottom.  This process reduces much of the vein pressure over the feet dorsum around 80 times (from the state of standing to the state of Sujood).  Consequently, the risks of having varicose, which rarely affects those performing prayers regularly and properly, are diminished.
  o    Prayer for strengthening bones.  Bones pass with two consecutive stages : the stage of anabolism followed by the stage of catabolism and so on in a continuous manner. In the phase of youth and growth, man’s anabolism increases, so bones become longer and stronger.  After the phase of maturity and with the advance of age, catabolism takes the lead, with the amount of bone decreasing and becoming more fragile, and the spine bows due to the vertebra’s collapse, shortness and weakness.   The activity and the strength of bones are the outcome of :   
 i.     Powers of pressure and pulling exercised by the muscles and tendons, which sticks to bones, during flexion and extension.   
It has been recently proved that an electric current with two different poles runs inside the bones; affecting the distribution of cells functions such as anabolism and catabolism cells.  The current also determines at large the aspects of these cells activities.  The experiments proved that in case of laziness and rest, the electric current is diminished, leading the bones to lose the componential materials, thus they become thin and weak.  Experiment also revealed that during travel to space where gravity is totally absent, muscles become weak and bones become thin due to the inability to resist the burden of the earth gravity.  It is therefore deduced that complete rest causes the bones to shrink, as the absence of movements activates catabolism cells, and weakens anabolism cells, hence a reduction of the bony material occurs.


·       The performance of 17 units (Rak’ah) of obligatory prayers, and some more of extra prayers, strengthens man’s bones, and forces him to do a bodily movement not less than one hour daily.  This happens all along the life of the Moslem, who never abandons prayers.
·    Prayer is a regular simple exercise at different times, and helps keep the viability of the body specially the cardiac system and blood circulation.
·   Prayer is a psychological therapy that helps calm the soul and relieve all tension for many reasons, of which the most significant is: man feels that all his problems are very small in the face of the Greatness and Capability of the Creator Who handles this large universe.  The Moslem, after finishing his prayer, has thrown all he has of problems and worries, as he has deputized the Merciful Lord to manage and relieve him of such troubles.  Prayers help remove all sources of tension due to the constant change of movements.  It is known that such a change leads to an important physiological relaxation, therefore, the Prophet commanded that the Moslem when afflicted with a state pf anger, should resort to prayers.  It has been proved that prayer have an immediate effect on the nervous system, as they calm agitation and maintain balance.  They are as well a successful treatment for insomnia resulting from the nervous dysfunction.

Movements in prayer:
1.       Qiyam - standing upright
2.        Ruku'
3.        Sujood
4.        Sitting between two sujood
5.        Sitting Tahayatul Awal
6.        Sitting Akhir


The study about the benefits of prayer from science perspective has been done by Biomedical Engineering Department of University Malaya. It is conducted by Dr. Fatima Ibrahim, Professor Dr Wan Abu Bakar Wan Abas and Ng Siew Chok. It is proved that prayer gives a lots of benefits in term of physical and mental. They are:
1.    Qiyam (standing upright)
-  Several studies have been made ​​about the movement of the muscles when we start standing up, then                 raising both hands placed on the takbir and put on the stomach can enlarge the chest cavity & lungs will         feel spacious and move the muscles in both hands. 
- Brain signals are in the most relaxed (alpha). [Ng Siew Chok]

2.    Ruku'
- When bow, the body bent forward, and his hands were on top of the knees and hips parallel to the floor.
- This position is capable of moving the segmentation spine, collarbone, and pelvis.
- Ruku’ in right posture can slow the aging process; improve water balance in the body and smooth the                function of the kidneys.
- The movement of the right bow can prevent, treat and rehabilitate back pain. This is because when bent,         lumbar muscles located in the back of the body will contract and rest when the body is fully bent.
- Ruku’ can also reduce the risk of nerve compression thus promoting flexibility of the spine.

3.     Sujood
- During sujood, many of the muscles and joints can be moved.
- The entire body weight is supported on the muscles of the hands, legs, chest, stomach, back, neck and leg         muscles. 
- Sitting between the two sujood will move the heel, hip, groin, toes and other.
- The habit of bending the toes while sujood can increased rates of fat burning in the body and lowers the         risk of heart disease.
- Research shows sujood position is useful for someone who suffers from high blood pressure. This is                     because when sujood; heart rate is low, and this can reduce the blood pressure.
- Done sujood, we will sit between the two sujood and again will fall down and get up qiyam; this movement     will automatically move a large number of muscles in the chest, shoulders, arms, abdomen, buttocks,             thighs, and legs. 

4.    Sitting between the two sujood, sitting Tahayatul Awal & sitting Tahayatul Akhir

- The pattern of bending the toes while sitting between the two sujood, sitting Tahayatul Awal and    Tahayatul Akhir are able to increase the rate of fat burning in the body and lowers the risk of heart disease. 
- The right heel bent and the other feet weight is on it. This position helps remove poisons (toxins) from the     body and move the muscle in the colon. 
- This position enables the body to comfortably rest and help in digestion.

As a conclusion, prayer from the perspective of Islam is the way for us to showing our gratitude to Allah while prayer from a scientific viewpoint is a perfect body care practices. Movement in prayer if done in the proper position is able to prevent, treat and rehabilitate a numbers of diseases.

If prayer is practiced to perfection
, Insya Allah this practice can nourish the heart, strengthen the kidney, treat impotence for men, improve the quality of sex and genital muscle recovery.

Sujood and Mental Health

In his book, Sujood (Prostration), Dr. Ahmed Sakr states, "In Islam the concept and action of prostration (al-Sujood) is very important. It is important physically, medically, morally, spiritually and biologically. Prostration has been mentioned in the Qur'an 92 times in 22 different forms and in 32 different surahs. In the Qur'an Surah Al-Sajdah (prostration) says, "Only those believe in Our Signs who, when they are recited to them, fall down in prostration, and celebrate the praises of their Lord, nor are they puffed up with pride." (Qur'an 32:15)
With the advancement of science and technology, and the whirl that existence in the west can be, one feels obligated to mention one method that brings peace, harmony, accord, tranquility, and happiness. This practice is Sujood or prostration!
People today are exposed to many daily frustrations. They are also propounded with many electrostatic charges from the atmosphere. These charges are precipitated on the central nervous systems (CNS) which becomes supersaturated. One has to get rid of these extra charges, otherwise, there is the possibility of headaches, neck aches, muscle spasms, etc. The use of anti-depressants, tranquilizers and other mood altering drugs could be reduced or eliminated with the practice of Sujood.
The best way to rid oneself of these extra electrostatic charges is by dissipating them and discharging them from the body. In the same way that an electrical appliance needs to be grounded by the use of an electric cord, a person will find it helpful to do likewise.
The frontal areas of the brain are those that control abstract thought, creativity, conscience, and personality. Therefore, "grounding" oneself by putting the forehead (the frontal portion of the brain) on the ground during Sujood has beneficial medical (grounding) properties. The action of putting the forehead, nose, hands, knees, and toes all in contact with the ground at the same time during Sujood will result in a calming feeling resulting from dissipation of the electromagnetic energy."
Drs. Abdul Ahad and Mehdi Hassan in their article "Some Medical Aspects of Al-Salat" say about prostration, "During Sajdah, a person has to support his body on knees, hands, and forehead. This posture has its effect on the intervertebral joints, especially cervical and other spinal diseases. During sajdah, while the person lays his body weight on legs flexed at knees, these muscles are put in action to various degrees which aids venous return and acts as a massage for these muscles."
During prostration, muscles are exercised, blood flow is increased, lung capacity is utilized...all leading to better physical health. This in turn results in better mental health, not only because of the physical activity, but due to the spiritual process also.

Sujood and Du'a

The word Du'a means supplication. It is a communication and dialogue between a believer and Allah. One may make Du'a in any place, in any language, and in any position. The best position to ask Allah (swt) from and to make Du'a in, is while making Sujood. During Sujood, the Du'a is more often accepted by Allah. The best position for dialogue with Allah is during Sujood. The best position to meet Allah in (i.e., death) is while in Sujood. The best way to thank Allah and to praise Him is while prostrating. For this reason the Prophet (pbuh) said: "The closest position that a person can be from God is at the time of Sujood; hence increase your Du'a'." (Ahmad, Muslim, Dawood)
While prostrating in Salat, a Muslim says three times: "Glory be to my Lord the Highest; and gratitude be to Him." The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said, "Perform Sujood in abundance. Anytime you prostrate to Allah one Sujood, Allah will elevate you one step and erase one mistake for you."
The real Du'a' in Sujood is when a person feels and lives a few moments of their life in communion with Allah. When a person is engulfed in the spirituality [and physicality] of Sujood they are momentarily outside of this world. The Du'a' comes not only from the lips but from the totality of their being...the organs, the bodily systems, the cells, molecules, atoms, nuclei, electrons, neutrons, protons...every part and parcel of that person is with Allah at that moment. When a person reaches this level of communication (called Tadarru) they are not aware of anything else around them. They are taken out of themselves spiritually and their bodies are manipulated in physically beneficial movements.
A person suffering from depression or stress is relieved on all levels through Sujood. They do not have to go through hypnosis to remember subconscious ideas, to find a source of relaxation or to feel at peace. The communion with Allah puts them mentally in a relaxed and peaceful state without yoga. The need for drug therapy with possible side effects can be re-examined. Submitting oneself to Allah relieves the stress of the unknown and turns it all over to Him thereby relieving the individual of undue worries over the future.
Through the process of Sujood a person will be absorbed with the infinite, with the immortal and with the outer hemisphere. When a person reaches such a state of complete communion with the Almighty, to the point that trembling, shaking, crying, or shuddering takes place, it is said that their Du'a' is being accepted by Allah. It is also said that they are being forgiven by Allah for their mistakes, and finally, that their bodily diseases and especially their mental, neurological and psychological problems will be relieved with the Mercy and Will of Allah. All creatures prostrate to Allah.
They glorify Him, exalt Him, and praise Him. Surah Al-Hajj states: "Seest thou not that to Allah bow down in worship all things that are in the heavens and on earth - the sun, the moon, the stars; the hills, the trees, the animals; And a great number among mankind?" (Qur'an 22:18)
And in Al-Isra': "They fall down on their faces, weeping, and it increases humility in them." (Qur'an 17:109)
And this promise from Allah, "O, you who believe! Bow down and prostrate yourselves, and worship your Lord, and do good, that happily you may prosper." (Qur'an 22:77)
Prostration is good for us mentally, physically, and spiritually. We are the beneficiaries of performing Sujood. As in all aspects of Islamic life, the Holy Quran has answers for all problems and conditions of mankind.
[Specific Areas: Brain areas are associated with specific functions...For example; the occipital lobe is associated with vision, and the cerebellum with balance and coordination. Touch and pressure sensation is perceived within the post central gyrus. Muscle movements are controlled from the precentral gyrus, speech is controlled from an area in the frontal lobe of the dominant hemisphere.]

[Lobes: are broad surface regions of each hemisphere that are named after the overlying bones of the skull. The four main regions are the frontal, parietal, temporal, and occipital lobes.]

A side note regarding Circumcision (Removal of Foreskin) Foreskin acts as a Trojan horse for the outside viruses and welcomes viruses like HIV/AIDS. Science has discovered now the medical benefits of circumcision or removing of the foreskin. To this day, all Muslims practice circumcision. The "sign and seal" (Romans 4:11) of the Abrahamic covenant.. God's covenant of circumcision with Abraham was fulfilled in Ishmael long before the birth of Isaac. Circumcision is also ordered in the Bible in Acts 7:8 John 7:22 Luke 2:21. Jesus (pbuh) was circumcised. Circumcision is 1 of the 5 fitrah in Islam, so Muslim men are required to be circumsised. According to the Bible in Luke 2:21, Jesus was eight days old when he was circumcised. In the Torah, Allah/God stated to the Prophet Abraham (pbuh) that it is an "Everlasting covenant" (see Genesis 17:13). In the Qur'an verse 16:123 Muslims are required to follow the religion of Abraham.  
       Quran 3:67. Abraham was not a Jew nor yet a Christian; but he was true in Faith, and bowed his will to Allah.s (Which is Islam), and he joined not gods with Allah.
       The Prophet Muhammad (saws) said, "The Prophet Abraham circumcised himself when he was eighty years old." (see Sahih hadith Bukhari, Muslim, and Ahmad).

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