The prayer movements would enhance flexibility and general muscular fitness. This results in moderate physical exercise particularly to the large muscle group and encourage health and wellbeing. Besides being an excellent form of exercise, physical activity breaks the monotony of chores. Salah (Arabic term for Muslim Ritual/Islamic prayer) is a spiritual practice performed by Muslim believers which must be performed at least five times a day. There is a lot of discussion on the spiritual significance of Salah. The physical significance, however, is often overlooked. This article look into the way Muslims pray. As an activity of Daily living, salah (prayer) is performed by Muslim believers at least 5 times a day; each prayer comprising of a certain number of repetitive units called Rakʿah .A practicing Muslim if he offers FARD (Compulsory) Salah alone, repeats these Rak’ah a minimum of 17 times every day. The number of total Rakʿah is approximately 48 Raka’a per day which includes all mandatory and Optional Rak’ah. Table 1 summarizes the each daily prayer and different number of obligatory Rakʿah. Health significance of prayer postures Salah involves continuous gentle muscle contraction and relaxation with perfect harmony and balance. It involves different types of stretching and isometric contraction exercises. These gentle & simple exercises are suitable for all ages & conditions. University of Malaya Medical Centre (UMMC) Cardiology Consultant Specialist Prof Dr Wan Azman Wan Ahmad stated that “12 ‘Rakʿah’ (unit for a set of actions in a prayer) equaled to 30 minutes of light exercises daily as recommended by health experts.” (zurairifm.wordpress.com/2009). Other beneficial activities can be combined with prayer, such as walking to the local mosque. This can help patients achieve the recommended weekly exercise levels of 30 minutes a day, at least five times a week. (Department of Health, 2004). For Muslim populations, higher ROM is required as their religious activities demands greater flexion of the joints in the lower limbs. Muslims need to adopt several postures that require deep flexion of the knee and hip to perform this daily obligation. The various postures of Salah were studied. Range of motion (ROM) were measured by Goniometer (An instrument which measures the available range of motion at a joint). Ibrahim and Siti, (2012) describes that three postures in Salah have been investigated and compared to similar stretching exercises, which were Takbir, bowing and prostration. This suggest that Salah has musculoskeletal effect like stretching . Ruk’u/forward bending: Health benefits Ruk’u is forward flexion of lumbar spine and flexion at hip joint whereas, knee joint bears load in extension. The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommends loading exercises (for example weight bearing in Ruk’u) to maintain bone health which helps in minimizing the risk of Osteoporosis. This position stretches the para spinal muscles of lumbar spine, hamstrings, and calves (gastrocnemius & soleus) muscles See figure 3. It strengthens the back, extends the spine and increases the flexibility of hips and hamstrings. It relieve the stiffness at spine, neck, and back and help to improves posture as well as balance and co-ordination. Ruk’u is good for the lower vertebral column, trunk stability and provides a gentle distraction at vertebras. This posture is useful to treat backache and vertebral column related diseases . It reduces the risk of nerve compression and promotes the flexibility of the spine in healthy people. Jalsa/Tashahhud/Sitting: Health benefits Jalsa involves sitting on the floor directly on the ground, while both legs are folded in such a manner that the heels touch the gluteal region and the hands are placed on the knees. See figure 6. In this pose muscles at the front of the ankle and foot are stretched. It stretches the tibalis anterior, the extensor hallucis longus (with toe extended), the quads and gluteus muscles (while knees and hips are flexed). The full inner range of motion on knee joint is achieved and it prevents restricted joint range which is most commonly seen in patients with degenerative knee problems. The knee joint is noted to attain maximum flexion during the sitting posture, which was higher compared to the passive knee ROM .Sitting with lower back in good posture will help to strengthen core muscles. Core strengthening has a strong theoretical basis in treatment and prevention of LBP .Jalsa sitting in kneeling position - not only helps to maintain the good posture but also improves flexibility, and strengthens ligament . Sajdah/Sujud/Prostration: Health benefits The position of maintaining the lower back flexed and forehead resting gently on the floor allows the postural neck muscles to be activated in order to control the neutral head position in lowering down, and while lifting it from the floor. The hands are also stretched out in a manner that allows the forearm as well as the arm muscles to bear weight. Figure 5. The toes, entire vertebral column and upper and lower spinal muscle experiences a stretch. The knees forming a right angle allow abdominal muscles contraction to be activated and prevents flabbiness . The hip joint was in maximum flexion during the prostration posture, which was much lower than the measured passive ROM . The stretch felt in the length of spine as the individual curls the torso over the legs also creates a space between the dorsal surfaces of the vertebra of the spine and aids spinal distraction as well as allowing neural glides and the lengthening of the nerves . This posture combined with other exercises opens the lower lumbar facet joints may help to reduce the lower back pain and sciatica can be used to treat spinal stenosis and other degenerative disc diseases. Salaam/Neck Turns: Health benefits Salam is an excellent form of neck and upper vertebrae exercise. The head performs rotational movements over the cervical vertebra. This improves the range of motion of the neck and whilst stretching the trapezius fibers. It also helps to mobilize the upper back and the thoracic muscles. These gentle neural stretches at cervical rotation are effective and may reduce the symptoms of cervicogenic headache. Al- Gazal and Ayad et al. (2008) stated that the neck muscles, in particular, are strengthened such that it is uncommon to find a person offering regular Salah prostrating at least 40 times a day to suffer from cervical spondylosis or myalgias. Salah & yoga This is suggested that, salah movements can be another alternative to the existing exercises, like yoga and pilates. Salah has become an integral part of Muslims daily activities since the seventh century and whilst salah is performed as a religious obligation, it is suggested that salah postures can simultaneously give all the benefits of yoga. Salah postures are similar to some yoga postures . An attempt is made below to discuss semblance in yoga & salah posture. In salah, a Muslim is required to focus during prayers and leave out all life distractions and connect with Allah during that time. During meditation in yoga the mind is clear, relaxed, and inwardly focused, the individual is fully awake and alert, but the mind is not focused on the external world or on the events taking place around the individual. Prayer movements outside of worship, have many physical & physiological advantages. The body goes through a unique exercise routine during the Salah therefore these postures help to maintain fitness in the healthy individuals, leading to improved flexibility, muscle strength (ability of muscle to exert force) and muscle endurance (refers to the ability to perform many repetition). Over the years many have suggested that the Islamic prayer contains benefits associated with yoga and however it would be more correct to say that these health regimes incorporate many of the health benefits contained in the prayer . If performed properly and regularly, the praying postures can also be very useful to aid rehabilitation in a variety of conditions. As part of spiritual act, the doers also perform slow and moderate exercise at the same time which could benefit their health. Public health awareness is crucial in order to gain maximum physical health benefit associated with Prayer Postures among the Muslim population. Further studies are required to help the healthcare providers to formulate an effective exercise program for patients with medical considerations that may interfere with prayer posture. By: https://www.heighpubs.org/jnpr/jnpr-aid1020.php.
Awesome Mam... I'm impressed and Happy To see this posts..! Proud To Be Muslim... Alhamdulillah..
Very excelleent. I,m moslem and sheie12emam Thanks you and good luck dear my colageau