Friday, 7 December 2007

The Medical Advantages of Sajadah (Prostration)

Source: Dr. Muhammad Karim Beebani, The Saudi Gazette

Sajadah (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 ultimately to please Allah SWT and to fulfill His commandment; and is not to provide an exercise for people - yet it is being increasingly recognised that it has plenty of medical advantages for the human body.

Here it is worth mentioning that the Holy Prophet Muhammed SAW has mentioned in a Hadith which has been narrated by Imam Ibn Majah RA:

"That prayer is a cure for many diseases."

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 a Hadith a Muslim is nearest to Allah in this position.

The Messenger of Allah SAW 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 RA, the Holy Prophet Muhammad SAW advised Muslims to perform Ruku' (bowing) and Sajadah (prostration) properly.

In another Hadith, the Prophet SAW advised to perform Sajadah (prostration) and Ruku' (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 Sajadah (prostration) is that he comes nearest to Allah and hence - in that condition he may 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 agonising problems experienced in this Worldly life.

When a person goes to the position of Sajadah (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 bear the weight in the Sajadah (prostration) position. It gives good exercise to the muscles of the upper limb.

In one Hadith, the Prophet Muhammad SAW advised not to put the forearms flatly on the ground but to keep them elevated above ground and this is medically better for the forearm and arm muscles.

Sajadah (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) - the brain is above the heart when it has to work against gravity to send blood to the brain.

In the position of Sajadah (prostration), due to the increased blood supply - the brain receives more nourishment and this nature created by Allah Almighty has good effect on the memory, vision, hearing, concentration, psyche and all other cognitive abilities.

Thus, 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 Sajadah (prostration) 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. One can note the tense pressure 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. one inch above the ground) and it will be noticed that they are in a very active motion.

Much stronger cervical muscles means that the cervical vertebra will be better protected. Strength of cervical muscles is important as the head rests upon the cervical vertebra supported by cervical musculature. In fact, the head performs rotary movements over the cervical vertebra. In any accident, cervical neck examination is especially important to physicians because of its vital importance. It is uncommon that a person who offers his prayers regularly will get the usual neck myalgias or cervical spondylosis, due to the fact that the neck muscles in particular become very strong due to the thirty-four (34) Sajadahs (prostrations) offered daily in our five times daily prayers.

On top of that, the unique position of Sajadah (prostration) also has positive effects upon the back muscles when a person goes into Sajadah; and the same sensation is experienced whilst getting up from it, asthe back muscle contract actively and become stronger. It is well noted that this is perhaps one of the main reasons why a Muslim who is regular in his/her prayers (rarely) experiences backache.

To conclude, this short post wishes to remind that even though there are a lot of medical advantages associated with Solat, we should put in the intention of making it a physical exercise. Still the best blessing is the peace of the mind, which a person derives by the accomplishment of his/her duty to Allah by fulfilling the obligations as Muslims.

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