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Hayya ‘ala-s-Salah. Hayya ‘ala-l-Falah

by Amina Aslam
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Amina Aslam

Greetings to you, and a reminder to heed the call to prayer: Hayya ‘ala-s-Salah. Hayya ‘ala-l-Falah. In times of distress, anxiety, and the myriad challenges that test our well-being, there is solace in turning to Allah SWT. The act of prayer, Salah, a fundamental pillar of Islam, holds the key to both mental and physical well-being. Let’s explore the remarkable benefits it offers.

Physical Well-Being Through Salah:

Salah is more than just spiritual devotion; it encompasses physical movements that contribute to our overall health:

Physical Exercise: The rhythmic motions of standing, bowing, and prostrating during Salah stimulate blood circulation, enhance strength, and promote flexibility, supporting a vibrant lifestyle.

Posture Maintenance: Salah’s prescribed postures, like standing upright, bowing, and prostrating, foster correct spinal alignment, relieving discomfort in the back, knees, hips, ankles, and toes.

Takbir and Sajdah: The Takbir raises hands, promoting chest expansion and aiding respiratory function. Prostration (Sajdah) lowers the head below heart level, reducing blood pressure and relieving headaches.

Energy Expenditure: Salah contributes to metabolic function, helping burn calories (an estimated 80 calories daily for the average person), thus promoting fitness.

Qayam and Salam: The standing posture (Qayam) aids lower body circulation and spine extension. The concluding Salam exercise benefits the neck and spine.

Mental Well-Being Through Salah:

The mental health benefits of Salah are profound and backed by research:

Enhanced Mental Health: Regular Salah correlates with improved mental health, as shown by a study (Ijaz, Khalily, & Ahmed, 2017) linking mindfulness and prayer education to mental well-being.

Psychotherapy-like Effects: Salah serves as a form of psychotherapy, connecting believers with Allah SWT, relieving stress, and offering solutions to life’s challenges (Henry, 2013).

Cognitive Functioning: Studies (Bai et al., 2012) reveal that regular Salah, coupled with physical activity, supports cognitive function, especially among elderly Muslims.

Stress Reduction and Emotional Balance: Salah offers respite from daily worries by fostering a spiritual connection and enabling emotional processing and tranquility.

Wudu (Ablution) Benefits:

Wudu, the ritual cleansing preceding Salah, provides additional health benefits:

Skin Health: Wudu cleanses the skin, opening pores and removing fatigue, contributing to a youthful appearance.

Stress Reduction: Wudu holds therapeutic potential, particularly for depression patients, aiding relaxation and promoting restful sleep.

Oral Hygiene: Rinsing the mouth during Wudu ensures oral hygiene, cleansing teeth, gums, and tongue for fresh breath.

Germ Removal: Water in the nostrils during Wudu cleanses nasal follicles, minimizing germ entry.

Blood Flow and Mental Health: Wudu improves blood circulation and mental well-being.

Quranic References:

The Quranic verses beautifully resonate with the physical and mental benefits of Salah and Wudu:

Surah Al-Baqarah, Ayat 238: “Maintain with care the [obligatory] prayers and [in particular] the middle prayer, and stand before Allah, devoutly obedient.”

Surah Al-Alaq, Ayat 19: “No! Do not obey him. But prostrate and draw near [to Allah].”

Surah Al-A’la, Ayat 14-15: “He has unquestionably succeeded in purifying himself. and mentions the name of his Lord and prays.”

Social and Spiritual Benefits of Salah:

Community Bonding: Congregational prayers foster unity, brotherhood, and emotional support within the Muslim community.

Moral Development: Daily Salah reinforces moral values, guiding us to apply these principles in our daily lives.

Empathy and Forgiveness: Self-reflection during Salah enables understanding, self-improvement, and compassion for others.

In the words of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), “Performing prayer in congregation is 27 times better than prayer performed individually.”

In summary, the holistic benefits of Salah and Wudu encompass physical vitality, mental resilience, community cohesion, and spiritual growth. Let us embrace these practices, strengthening our connection with Allah SWT and enhancing our well-being. May Allah guide us to steadfastness in both obligatory and voluntary prayers. Ameen.

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