As the second Pillar of Islam, Salah is performed by all Muslims across the globe. The mandatory five prayers daily involve uniting mind, body, and soul in worship. On the other side, Muslims who establish regular prayers will also have the reward from Allah.
“Those who believe and do deeds of righteousness, and establish regular prayers and regular charity — they will have their reward with their Lord. On them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve.” – Quran 2:277
In addition to all the religious and spiritual benefits, Salah also comes with physical benefits. The various positions and physical movements in Salah have been scientifically proven to have health benefits.
Before praying, Muslims should engage in ablution or wudu, a ritualistic washing of the hands, nose, face, forearms, hair, ears, the back of the neck, toes, and feet before praying. The purpose of wudu is to ensure physical purity before praying. This is obviously a health benefit, because the washing ritual rids of germs, allergens, and various forms of infections and diseases, which are caused by poor hygiene. Staying in a constant state of cleanliness leads to healthier skin and an overall healthy hygiene.
2. Reduce Lower Back Pain
Most of the body muscles are exercised during Salah. Salah also relaxes the joints, from shoulder joints, elbows, knees, ankles, and the hip. A research from Binghamton University, New York, found that the repetitive physical movements of Muslim prayer rituals can reduce chances of lower back pain if performed properly.
For example, the ruku position. It helps in alleviating pain in the lower back by relaxing the ligaments and muscles. It also helps to ease the pain in the spinal cord and the hip joints. Besides ruku, the position of the body during prostration and bowing helps open up and ease the joints. This is good because regular use of the joints keeps them healthy and functioning.
3. Increases Metabolism
The movements in Salah are similar to exercising on a daily basis. On the other side, routinely doing exercises daily can stimulate and increase metabolism. Thus, good metabolism surely improves the overall functioning of the organs in the body, including to keep the cardiovascular health and regulates the secretion of glands.
4. Improves Blood Circulation
When it comes to blood pressure, people often have a hard time to keep it normal. Sometimes the blood flow is too high or too low to a certain region in the body. The movements and different positions during the Salah help in regulating and improving the overall blood flow to all parts of the body. For example, during the Ruku position, blood flow is regulated in the upper body, and then the blood flow in the lower body is regulated during Tashahud. While in other positions like prostration, the head is in a position lower than the heart. Therefore, the head receives increased blood supply. This surge in blood supply will be giving a positive effect on memory, concentration, and other cognitive abilities.
5. Better Digestion
Some of the positions in salah also help in digestion of the body. The position of men are sitting down with one foot curled underneath them and women sit with both their feet under them for example. According to a study, this position is good for digestion because it relaxes the intestines and has a positive impact for bowel movement. This is why it decreases cases of constipation. Another good news? This position also improves liver functions.
With those health benefits, Salah brings together all aspects in life, including physical and spiritual to create a full circle of harmony in life.
- Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov. Indian Journal of Psychiatry. 2013 Jan; 55(Suppl 2): S224–S230. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3705686/
- Sciencedaily.com. “Proper movements in Muslim prayer ritual can reduce lower back pain.” https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/03/170306154230.htm