Since time immemorial man has worshipped a ‘higher being’ for his spiritual assistance. These acts of worship are carried out in an exceedingly diverse manner, Christians pray silently while Hindus chant in front of idols. Many African tribes dance, sing and chant as their form of worship whilst shaolin monks simply meditate hours on end.
1400 years ago a humble man of Arabia totally revolutionised the concept and way of worship. This form of reverence would not only benefit the believer spiritually but would also enhance his well-being and physiology. His name was Muhammad, his religion was Islam, and his way of worship was Salat, the Muslim way of worship.
Salat is one of the five fundamental requirements that a Muslim is obligated to perform. The Holy Quran highlights this:
إِنَّ ٱلصَّلَوٰةَ تَنۡهَىٰ عَنِ ٱلۡفَحۡشَآءِ وَٱلۡمُنكَرِ وَلَذِكۡرُ ٱللَّهِ أَڪۡبَر
“Prayer restrains one from indecency and manifest evil, and remembrance of Allah indeed is the greatest virtue”.1
Therefore, it should be understood that the first and foremost purpose of Salat is to elevate the spiritual condition of man, making him closer to his Lord. Salat should be performed with this purpose in mind, that one is meeting his Lord. The physical benefits are supplementary to the real purpose of Salat and have been bestowed by The Gracious and Merciful Allah.
The Promised Messiahas has described the positions in Salat in the following manner; “ The various postures of the Salat demonstrate respect, humility and meekness. In Qiyam ( the standing posture) the worshipper stands with his arms folded as a slave stands respectfully before his master and king. In Ruku (bowing) the worshipper bends down in humility. The climax of humility is reached in Sajda (prostration), which indicates extreme helplessness”.2
The movements in Salat are diverse and use multiple joints at one time. The worshipper recites various prayers at each stage which creates a dynamic form of worship, unlike any other.
In fact the Holy Prophet has emphasised physical benefits of Salat in the following hadith
It was narrated that Hadhrat Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him) said: “The Holy Prophet set out in the early morning and I did the same. I prayed, then I sat down. The Prophet turned to me and said: ‘Do you have a stomach problem?’ I replied: ‘Yes, O Messenger of Allah’. The Prophet said, ‘Get up and pray, for in prayer there is healing.’”
There are 5 main positions in Salat where a Muslim recites various prayers. These stages have a huge impact on the physical body, increasing ones well-being and longevity. These consist of:
- Qiyam (standing)
- Ruku (bowing)
- I’tidal (after rising from the bow)
- Sajdah (prostration)
- Jilsa (sitting position)
Please follow the links above to learn more about each stage and position of Salat. Also see link to learn about the science behind Wudhu (Ablution).
We have highlighted research and studies which have proved the Islamic way of worship to have an astounding positive affect on the human body.
1 The Holy Quran, Chapter 29, Verse 46
2 The Promised Messiah (Speech at the Annual Conference, 1906, pp. 6–8)