Do not pray for an easy life, pray for the strength to endure a difficult one
FajrFit is a national initiative aiming to promote and facilitate improved physical & spiritual wellbeing by encouraging Khuddam to meet once a week at their local/regional mosque for congregational Fajr prayer, Dars and intensive exercise. The exercise activities are aimed to be varied and well organised, appealing to Khuddam of all fitness levels and aspirations – but with the overall aim of achieving progression in the fitness & well-being of Khuddam.
In a time where fast food, restaurant dining and computer gaming are becoming increasingly popular, engaging in regular physical activity is becoming increasingly infrequent. It is widely accepted that early morning is the best time to exercise, train your body and reverse the harmful effects of negative eating & lifestyle habits. Many Khuddam also complain that hectic schedules and working long hours prevent them from being able to exercise regularly or attend the mosque. However once committed to the aim of self-reformation both spiritually and physically, most Khuddam should be able to spare an hour or so in the early hours of a Saturday or a Sunday morning as it is only sleep that has to be sacrificed at this time of the week, well worth the benefits we assure you!
It is a commandment of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) that for the spiritual progress of the soul, it is important to look after your physical health. Also, in admonishing the youth for not looking after their health and ‘reaching old age before enjoying our youth,’ Hadhrat Musleh Maod (ra) said, “Therefore, it is the duty of Khuddamul Ahmadiyya to pay special attention to this matter. They should suggest such programmes that involve hard work and that involve physical exercises so that their bodies can gain energy, strength and health.” ‘Steps to Exercise’ by Hadhrat Mirza Tahir Ahmed (ra) Page 31.
We hope that you will join us and participate in your local/regional FajrFit event to help make this new campaign a success Insha’Allah. We hope and pray that this campaign could not only improve fitness among our youth, but also increase our thirst for congregational Fajr prayer and build an unbreakable brotherhood.
For more information contact your local Qaid or email email@example.com
Huzur e Aqdas (aba) gives his views on how we can concentrate on our prayers. He mentions:
If you offer namaz for 5 minutes then most probably only 30 seconds of your attention will be on namaz but the other 4minutes and 30 seconds your mind will be wandering.
When for example, you are reciting surah fatiha, concentrate on its meaning. When you are reciting sura fatiha constantly repeat iyyaka na’bodu wa iyyaka nastaeen which means we worship You Allah and ask for your help. If you constantly repeat this then you will achieve concentration to some level. Then until samiallaho you may still have concentration, but likely that after sajda your concentration will stray again.
In our studies for example, we try hard to pass them by learning relevant information; more so on those subjects we are more interested in personally.
In prayer you may say samiallaho and then your attention has wandered that you need to call your friend for example, then when you reach sajda you realise you lost your concentration. Then in sajda you should pray that Allah please give me the ability to concentrate in namaz. Now this will hapen for some time but after a long while you will have concentration.
There is a story of an old man who used to receive Allah’s revelations. He went to a town and in the mosque joined in with the prayer at the back. After a while Allah began showing him a revelation. Now the Imam who was leading the prayer was a businessman and did trading, and during prayer he started thinking that he will collect items from Delhi, sell them in Culcatta, then move on from there to Mumbai etc. All the Imam’s thoughts were being shown by Allah to the old man who then broke his namaz and moved to offer his own prayer. After prayer some people complained to the Imam that this old man stood with us in prayer but broke the namaz and did his own. The Imam told the man off and called him Kafir. The old man responded that Allah had shown him where his thoughts were and said with you I went to Delhi, Culcatta, Mumbai and Jhata. Further on you would have gone to Roos and Bukhara. I’m an old man, I cant do such a long journey!
So concentration in salat is essential. Hadhrat Masih Maud a.s. has said wherever you falter, resume from there and continue repeating those words and then you should be able to keep concentration.
Are you frustrated by an Alarm clock?
Pressing the snooze button too often?
It happens to all of us, you set your alarm for Tahajjud excited to wake up and reap its benefits. The next morning you wake up by the rays of sunlight hitting your eyes and that deep sense of regret sinks in. You’ve missed Tahjjud and more importantly you are 4 hours late for Fajr !
Here are 13 effective ways taken from the original 13 methods devised by Khalifatul Masih 2nd , Hadhrat Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmood Ahmad (May God be pleased with him) to wake up for Tahjjud without an Alarm Clock.
Khalifatul Masih 2nd said the following regarding Tahajjud:
“One way—not very useful in my opinion—is to use the alarm clock. It creates dependency, and fails to produce the resolute will. If you go to sleep having resolved to get up for Tahajjud, you will be in a state of worship all night. Being determined, you will get up. Those depending on the alarm clock, but lacking determination, will often shut the alarm clock to go back to sleep.”
So here they are 13 effective methods – Enjoy :
1. Stay put: “Perform Zikr (remembrance) for a while after Isha Prayers. The more you perform, the earlier you will get up for Zikr before the morning.”
2. No talking! “Do not talk to anybody after Isha Prayers. Although sometimes the Holy Prophet(saw) continued his conversation after Isha, as a general rule he had forbidden it. There are two reasons: a) If you start talking, you will sleep late and will not be able to get up early in the morning. b) If the conversation concerns things other than faith, your attention will be diverted. It is not forbidden to carry out office work or other important assignments after Isha. … In that case it is better to spend some time in Zikr before going to sleep”
3. Let’s freshen up: “Perform Wudu before going to bed, even if you are already in a state of ablution. It affects the heart and creates a special kind of freshness. If you go to sleep in that state of freshness, you will get up in the same condition. Someone smiling at bedtime is generally smiling when he gets up; one, who is crying, will wake up crying. With ablution you will be fresh at the time of sleep and fresh when you wake up.”
4. Lights out: “Recite some Zikr before falling asleep; this will cause you to wake up again forZikr during the night. The Holy Prophetsaw used to perform Zikr in the following manner before going to sleep:
a) He recited Ayatul-Kursi (verse 2:256)
b) The last three chapters of the Holy Qur’an.
c) He then gently blew upon his hands and lightly passed them over his body three times.
d) Then he turned towards his right and said:
“O Allah, I put myself in Thy protection, and turn my face towards Thee and assign all my affairs to Thee, with complete inclination and fear of Thee. There is no refuge or protection from Thee except towards thyself. I believe in Thy Book, which Thou hast revealed, and Thy Prophet that Thou hast sent.”
5. Mind power: “ Resolve firmly at bedtime to get up for Tahajjud. God Almighty has given man the power to make his mind obey his will … Decide firmly that you will get up for Tahajjud. While your body sleeps, your mind will be alert. It will wake you up exactly at the desired time.”
6. True grit: “The sixth method is only for those who are really strong in faith. Instead of performing Vitr (three Raka’at prescribed as essential) after Isha, leave Vitr for Tahajjud time … if the Vitr are still due, the soul will be restless and will awaken him. Only the strong in faith should practice this method; the weak ones may deprive themselves even of the Vitr.”
7. Spiritual workout: “The seventh method is also for those who have excelled in spirituality. They should start offering Nawafil after Isha Prayer and continue until they begin to doze off in Prayers and are overpowered by sleep. Even though the total amount of their sleep will be reduced, they will find themselves awake at the time of Tahajjud.This method is an exercise for the spirit”
8. Bed or the floor?: “The eighth method has been practiced by many Sufis. I have not felt the need for it myself; but it is beneficial. If you get into the habit of oversleeping, then change the soft bed to a hard one.”
9. Easy on the calories : “Take dinner several hours before going to bed. Eat before MaghribPrayer or immediately after it. Sometimes the spirit is active, but the body is not. The body acts like a yoke: if the yoke is too heavy, it strangles the spirit. The stomach should not be full at bedtime. It has an adverse effect upon the heart and makes a man lazy.”
10. Cleanliness is half of faith: “Do not go to bed unclean. Angels associate with those who are clean…. Angels abhor filth. Once Hadhrat Khalifatul-Masih the 1st (ra) went to bed without washing his hands after dinner. He saw a dream. His elder brother wanted to present him the Holy Qur’an, but when he was about to touch it, his brother withdrew it and said, “Do not touch the Holy Qur’an; your hands are not clean.” Physical cleanliness affects purity of the heart. Those who are clean will have the help of angels to get up; the unclean will not be approached”
11. How clean is your bed?: “ The bed should be clean. Many people ignore this matter. Remember that spirituality is directly influenced by cleanliness of the bed. Take special care in this respect.”
12. Couples: “Husband and wife should avoid going to sleep in the same bed. Amongst ordinary Muslims, this habit can harm spirituality, but it does not affect the spiritually advanced. The Holy Prophetsaw slept in the same bed with his wives. He possessed a lofty spiritual status and his spirituality could not be compromised. People with self-control will not suffer by sleeping together, but ordinary Muslims may find that it keeps their minds inclined towards passion. That … prevents them from getting up.”
13. Love for all, hatred for none: “The last method is really superior. It helps in getting up forTahajjud and saves one from many sins and weaknesses. Before retiring for sleep, ponder if you have any malice or harbor any rancor or prejudices against anybody. If so, remove it. The purification achieved by this exercise will enable you to get up for Tahajjud.”
So there you have it, 13 effective methods to wake up without setting a single alarm
No more excuses
The ‘Ruku’ position starts to increase the blood movement in the body; it activates muscle fibres which were not being used during the Qiyam. The knees are hyperextended, much like when an athlete performs a hamstring stretch. This hyperextension of the knee allows muscles, tendons and ligaments on the back of the leg to be nourished with oxygenated blood.
According to the sports injury clinic “hamstrings are probably the most commonly tight muscles and this can contribute to lower back pain”.23 Apart from this, it is common for the hamstring muscles to be injured due to muscle tightness. This is where there is insufficient flexibility within the muscle fibres due to lack of movement. However, by going down into ruku, a muslim is constantly increasing and maintaining the flexibility within his hamstrings, thus preventing injury.
The ruku position is also beneficial for lower back problems. The lower lumbar is engaged during ruku which strengthens the muscles fibres in that area. This is intensified when one raises into the I’tidal position as all the weight is focused to the lower back rising.
23 sports injury clinic www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL313C8904D1BC0017
The Sajdah is a very unique stance that occurs thirty-four times throughout the day in obligatory prayers (excluding sunnah and vitr).
The Holy Prophet has said “the nearest a servant comes to his Lord is when he is prostrating himself, so make supplication.” 24
If attention is given, we can see that the Sajdah is also filled with biological changes that occur in the human body that provide medical benefits.
Firstly, I would like to draw your attention to the fact that the human body goes through various electro-static charges in the course of the day when it comes in contact with different objects. This occurs due to different electrical gradients within objects that come in contact with our skin. These objects pass on electrons to the body. These electrons are then gradually super-saturated in the central nervous system and need discharging because ‘excessive static electricity often results in anxiety, headache , chest tightness , shortness of breath and cough’ .25
Now, one common way to discharge objects or prevent the build-up of electrostatic charges is ‘Grounding’. Take for example a three pin plug; it has three pins, one which is live the second which is neutral and a third for grounding (in other words to prevent the accumulation of extra electrons). In the same manner, when the forehead and hands and feet are placed onto the floor during Sajdah, all the excessive electrons which had negatively charged the body are released to the earth (which has a lower electrical gradient). Thus, Sajdah continuously prevents the onset of ailments throughout the day.
Sajdah is the only position where the brain becomes lower than the heart and at this point blood gushes towards the head without having to work against the force of gravity. Even if one is lying down, this full force gush of blood to the brain cannot be achieved. Hence, at the Sajdah position the brain’s blood circulation is improved which provides an increased amount of nutrients and oxygenated blood that removes mental stress and tiredness.
To sum up how an increased blood flow to the brain helps, I would like to quote science daily ;
“A steady, healthy flow of blood to the brain achieves two things. First, the blood brings oxygen, glucose and other nutrients to the brain, which is vital for the brain’s health. Second, the blood washes away brain metabolic wastes such as amyloid-beta protein released into the brain’s blood vessels. Amyloid-beta protein has been implicated in the development of Alzheimer’s disease.”26
The Balasana (child’s pose) in yoga is almost the same as a Sajdah. The Balasana has many medical benefits, for example; 27
- Releases tension in the back
- Recommended for fatigue and dizziness
- Flexes the body’s internal organs keeping them supple
- lengthens and strengthens the spine
- Relieves neck and lower back pain when performed with the head and torso supported (a lot like Sajdah)
- Stretches muscles tendons and ligaments in the knee joints
- Encourages strong and steady breathing
The weight of the upper torso is mainly supported by the hands during Sajdah with the forearms being raised off the ground. The Holy Prophet also has stated that one should raise his forearms off the floor. He said,
“Do the prostration properly, and do not put your forearms flat with elbows touching the ground like a dog.” 28
This position therefore puts pressure on the triceps, forearm muscles and the pectoral major/minor allowing muscle to tone, especially when one pushes up to the ‘Jalsa’ position.The shoulder joints are also nourished with blood during this movement.
24 Sahih Muslim- The book of Prayer, No. 979
26 Science daily 12.April.2011
28 Bukhari Chapter 10, The Book of Times of the Prayers, No.509
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