The final position in Salat is the sitting position where one recites his final prayers. The worshipper sits with his knees flexed; one foot is on its side and the other upright according to the practice of the Holy Prophet. Here, the tendons and ligaments in the knee and ankle joints are stretched which reduces the risk of daily to day injury.29 Another interesting point is that the cartilage within the knee and ankle joints receives blood and nutrients whilst in this position because “unlike other connective tissues, the cartilage does not contain blood vessels”. 30
Yoga practitioners often sit in the ‘Rock Pose’ because as the legend goes, sitting in this position will gradually enable one to digest a rock, as this position supports digestion.31 Therefore, the Jilsa position aids in the digestion of food.
The Salat is finished by turning the neck to the right and left stretching the muscles.
This stretch mimics stretching athletes do to warm up their muscles before practice, in order to avoid injury.
According to a Muslim scholar, as reported the monthly urdu magazine, Tahazibul Akhlaq, Aligarh, India, a Muslim who offers Salat regularly has very little chance of getting arthritis as we exercise our bones and joints as well while we offer Salat. 32
The timings of Salat also have a positive effect on the body as well. Dr. Noori , a renown heart specialist doctor who works in the Tahir Heart Institute in Pakistan, has stated that a heart attack usually occurs in the early hours of the day whilst people are usually asleep. This is due to the inactivity of the heart. However, if one is awake the chances of a heart attack are extremely low and thus Allah, the All-Knower, with his infinite wisdom has placed the Fajr salat during this time. The Isha prayer is set late in the evening when physical activity reduces and one prepares to sleep. At this time it is vital not to sleep on a heavy stomach as this is detrimental for health, and so a little physical movement aids in the digestion of food at this crucial time.
The repetitions of prayers in Salat not only have deep meanings but also aid in relaxation as Dr. Herbert Benson found out in his study. They also change brain waves to a more relaxed and peaceful state, as we have discussed before.
When one glances over the movements in Salat it is easy to depict that this form of worship is like none other; it is almost like a mini-workout in itself which is not too taxing as elders and children can also perform it. It is a small period of mild-to-moderate psychological, physical and brain activity. Research supports the fact that even a small amount of physical activity can have long term health benefits.33
The true purpose of Salat however still remains, which is to develop a connection with our creator, to ask for his forgiveness and bounties. If Allah The-Wise commands us to do anything we should ‘hear and obey’ and leave our trust in Him because He alone knows what is hidden.
يَعۡلَمُ مَا بَيۡنَ أَيۡدِيهِمۡ وَمَا خَلۡفَهُمۡۖ
He knows what is before them and what is behind them 34
29 The impact of stretching on sports injury risk – SB Thacker, J Gilchrist, Donna F. Stroup, and DEXTER KIMSEY
32 Tahazibul Akhlaq, Aligarh, India
33 American Heart Association & The Comparison between Listening to Al-Quran and Listening to Classical Music on the Brainwave Signal for the Alpha Band- Fac. of Electr. Eng., Univ. Teknol. MARA Malaysia, Shah Alam, Malaysia Kadir, Ros Shilawani Sheikh Abd; Murat, Zunairah Haji;Isa, Roshakimah Mohd P 181 – 186
34 Holy Quran Chapter 2 , Verse. 256