The Sajadah(Prostration) is a unique position in Solat, which a Muslim is supposed to offer at least five times a day.
Of course, let it be known at the beginning of this article that the basic purpose of Solat is not to provide a physical exercise for people. This post is just intended to inform of just some of the plenty medical benefits solat does for the human body. We make syukur to Allah SWT that out of His endless bounties, even direct worship, which is meant to be a humble, submissive act, is also means of good health.
It is worth mentioning that Holy Prophet Muhammad SAW has mentioned in a hadith (mafhum):
"The prayer is a cure for many diseases." (Riwayat Ibn Majah)
There is no doubt that, the position of Sajadah 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 Hadith, any Muslim is nearest to Allah in this position.
Rasulullah SAW said:
"The nearest a servant comes to his Lord is when he is prostrating himself (making sujud), so make supplication (in this state)."
In another Hadith narrated by Anas bin Malik RA, the Holy Prophet SAW advised Muslims to perform Ruku' (bowing) and Sajadah (prostration) properly. Relating to this, in another Hadith, Rasulullah SAW has advised us to perform Sajadah (Prostration) and Ruku' (Bowing) calmly; and to get up only when the body has come to ease (i.e. when the body is relaxed). Hence the first positive effect upon a person who prostrates or does Sajadah is that he / she comes nearest to Allah and hence in that condition he / she can supplicate.
Medical research has proven that there is great psychological advantage in the performance of the act of Sajadah and it gives relief to the person concerned, as life is full of worries and in this position he / she gets at least a transient refuge from the agonising problems.
Going into the physical benefits of sajadah mainly- when a person goes to the position of Sajadah, his / her 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 /her forehead on the ground while the 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 Sajadah position. It gives good exercise to the muscles of the upper limb. We can further recall a related advice from the Prophet SAW in a hadith - where he (SAW) has 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.
Sajadah - is a unique position as this is the only position in which the brain, or even the head for that matter 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 in the lying position), the brain is above the heart when it has to work against gravity to send blood to the brain.
In the position of Sajadah due to the increased blood supply, the brain receives more nourishment and this has good medical effects upon memory, vision, hearing, concentration, psyche and all other cognitive abilities.
It is for this reason that we can even see in a Muslim society that generally - people who offer their prayers regularly have more will power and can cope with the difficulties of life in a much better manner, as compared to other Muslims who do not observe Solat. Muslims who observe Solat have less incidence of headaches, psychological problems and other defects of cognitive function.
In the unique position of Sajadah, the neck muscles get the best exercise. They have to bear the load when the forehead lies at the ground, and hence the neck muscles become stronger. Anyone who observes solat properly can note the tense pressure felt at the neck muscles in the position of Sajadah (Prostration), especially the active motion of the neck and the facial muscles when the head is being lifted (e.g. by lifting about one inch above the ground).
More strong cervical muscles would mean the cervical vertebra will be better protected. The strength of cervical muscles is important as the head rests upon the cervical vertebra supported by cervical musculature. In fact, the head performs rotatory movements over the cervical vertebra. In any accident cervical neck examination is especially important to the physicians because of its extraordinary importance. It is infact very uncommon for a Muslim who offers five time daily prayers will get the usual neck myalgias or cervical spondylosis, as the neck muscles particularly become very strong due to the 34 sajadahs offered in the five daily prayers.
The unique position of Sajadah also has positive effects upon the back muscles. This is because - while going into Sajadah 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 solat will rarely get backache.
Finally, let us again be reminded that prayer is not meant to be just an exercise. We do it because it is a command of Allah, and it is only through Allah's great bounty that we are able to receive plenty medical advantages associated with it. Still, the best blessing is the peace of mind, which a person derives by the accomplishment of his / her duty to Allah by fulfilling an obligation.