Physical Benefits of Worship
By: Muhammad Baqir Qarashi
In addition to the elevation of morals, disciplining of mentalities, and connection to the Creator, the Islamic rites aim at amending health, training the body, activating the muscles, and empowering the will.
Prayer is the believers’ ascent and the offertory of the pious. It is the sole sanctuary when ideas, grieves, and pains seize the mentalities. Prayer enables the minds to connect directly with the Creator, shunning the thorough material and personal interests. That saves against the destroying depression and the terminating anxiety. Prayer, fundamentally, implies mind inclination and mental turnout. Prayers lose essence and factuality if they lack those two items. God threatens those who perform the prayers physically while they are unaware of its purport and factuality:
So, woe to the praying ones, who are unmindful of their prayers.
The performance of prayers while the soul is tending, succumbing, and calming to God and His potentiality will certainly save against the life pains that foist diseases and misfortunes to the body. Many reports have asserted that the prayer brings about health in addition to the innumerable benefits in this world and the Hereafter and large powers of athletic advancements. As the late imam Mohammed Hussein al-Kashiful-Ghitta, discusses the clinical and physical advantages of prayers, he says, “The required in all of the movements and stillness of prayers is settlement and stability. In standing erect or sitting, each organ should be stabilized in its exact position along with performing all of the movements that activate the whole knuckles and organs with a new movement. Standing erect, sitting, bending, prostration, various conditions of raising the hands and conjoining the arms intervened by suppliant sayings, recital and praises in definite times of universal peculiarity, like dawn, midday and sunset. All these are objects to learn lessons and refer to the signs of the excellent creation and the Supreme Creator, along with various fields of thinking. Each of these movements has physical advantages. The genuflection, for instance, empowers the abdominal membrane because of causing it to reduce, prevents its relaxation, and alerts the viscera and the intestines to the straight pulses. This saves the body against tense constipation. Besides, there are many other advantages. The ritual prostration is another example. It reduces the muscles and bones of the breast more tensely, activates the diaphragm, alerts the stomach to throw its contents, and saves it from symptoms of the painful extension. Subsequently, all these activities and certain conditions, which are orderly arranged, are athletic movements that greatly influence the activity of the organs and the reduction, power, and cohesion of the muscles. They also play a considerable role in alerting the sensitive nerves, stimulating the blood circulation, igniting the instinctive heat that prepare a consonant internal environment and animating the powers of sound reasoning. It is commonly familiar that the functions of the muscles are not only activating the body movement to other places. They surely have more significant and communal functions, which are influencing all of the limbs and systems of analysis and respiration, and alerting the digestive system and the spine. Those movements are healthy exercises and natural sport that influence each organ distinctively. They are designed so regularly in definite times per day. They are clinical prescriptions and magnificent models of immunity for the knuckles, the nerves, the heart, the lungs, the stomach, and the head. The ritual prayer is physical, mental, moderate, and quiet sport that grants, if performed in their exact times, willpower, time respect, order, fulfilling the pledge, keeping the promise, and the like good manners. These sports are highly elevated from those childish sports. The prayer is only cleanness, purification, lessons, thinking, athletic activities, mental efforts, and spiritual disclosure. The simplest result of prayers, if performed properly with their functions and practices, is guaranteeing the performers’ enjoining the good and forbidding the evil.”
Dr. Mustafa al-Haffar, the specialist in the diseases of the digestive system, was asked about the advantages of the ritual genuflection and prostration of the prayers. He answered, “The genuflection capacitates the muscles of the abdominal membrane and helps in contracting the stomach for performing its digestive function properly. It also helps the intestines in emitting the digestive residuals naturally. The ritual prostration pushes the air in the stomach to the mouth to release it from extension that causes digestive pains and cardiac reflections.” Dr. F. Azure, the specialist in the nervous diseases and knuckles, exposes the physical benefits of the prayer. He says, “Prayers of Muslims, altogether with the genuflection and prostration, strengthen the back muscles and tender the vertebrae, especially if the prayer is performed in early age. Moreover, it materializes immunity from the diseases of muscles that exceed the spine. Different sorts of nervous defects, that cause tense pains and muscular spasm, may occur due to the weakness of muscles.”
Hadiths have stressed that fasting protects against the hell-fire and its chastisement. It is actually the most influential means of spiritual sports, willpower, and customs of endurance. It is the healthiest means of reforming the digestive system. Dr. A. Ismail states that the fasting is the only remedy that protects against many diseases, and the best prescription of the following defects:
-The fasting is prescribed for treating the chronic disorders of the intestines that are associated by fermentation of the albuminous and amyloid materials. Fasting -which is the abstinence from water and food from dawn to sunset- is the most successful way of purifying the intestines and treating the states of fermentation.
- It is also prescribed for treating the excessive fatness that is the result of overeating and the paucity of activities. In this case, fasting is the best curable method provided that it is accompanied by moderation during having the meal of breaking the fasting, and drinking water during the post-midnight meal.
- It is also prescribed for treating the spontaneous blood pressure. This disease is increasingly spreading due to luxury and psychic agitations. In such cases, Ramadhan is the month of grace and bless, especially for the excessively weighty.
- It is prescribed for treating diabetes. This disease spreads with the pressure of blood. It is often associated by the excessive weight. Hence, fasting is the beneficial treatment since the proportion of saccharine decreases with the retreat of the weight. Five hours after having a meal, the sugar in the blood reaches lower than the natural term in cases of slack saccharine urination. Ten hours later, it reaches lower levels. Before the discovery of the insulin, fasting, with some nutritious notices, was the best treatment of this disease, especially for the fat.
- It is prescribed for treating the tense and chronic nephritis that is associated by exudation and tumefaction.
- It is prescribed for treating the heart troubles that are associated by tumefaction.
- It is prescribed for treating the chronic arthritis, especially for the fat, such as the forty year old ladies. It has been noticed that fasting was the best cure, for this disease, since it has exceeded the other means of electricity, injections, drugs, and modern medicine.
It may be cited that fasting, in these cases, needs clinical prescription, while it is imposed on the healthy only. This is quite correct, but fasting protects against these diseases.
The Prophet (s) said, “Fast, so that you will be healthy.” Fasting protects against many diseases and leads to mental disciplinary and good traits.
Rites of the pilgrimage are considerable activities that strengthen the muscles, activate the bodily movements, and alert the organs. It is also the most notable Islamic conference by which Muslims would benefit greatly if they take as the occasion of discussing their political and economic problems.