We may continue to avoid the
prayers thinking that we might start doing it some day because we still have
many years to live. What's the hurry? But, who can guarantee that we would live
the other day whatever stage of life we may be be in. However, how can we forget
that Prayer is obligatory, and nothing can compensate for our fard (farz)
prayers. Quran 21:35Every living being has to taste death, (*37) and We are putting all of you to trial by passing you through good and bad
conditions, (*38 )and ultimately you shall return to Us,
*37 This is a brief answer to all those warnings and curses with which the
Holy Prophet was being threatened and the conspiracies which the Quraish
were hatching against him day and night. On the one hand, the women of the
Quraish cursed him because according to them he had ruined their home life
by enticing away their kith and kits; while on the other, the chiefs of the
Quraish threatened hits with horrible consequences for the propagation of
Islam. After the emigration to Habash especially, which almost affected
every home of Makkah, these curses and threats increased alI the more. This
verse is meant to comfort and console the Holy Prophet as well so that he
should continue his mission without any fear of their threats.
*38 That is, Allah is always putting human beings to test and trial both
through adversity and affluence. This is to judge whether prosperity makes
them proud, cruel and slaves of their lusts or they become grateful to
Allah. On the other hand, He inflicts adversity upon them in order to see
whether they remain within the prescribed and lawful limits or become
low-spirited and down-hearted. A sensible person therefore should not be
deluded by prosperity and adversity, but should keep their trial element in
view and try to pass through it gracefully. Quran 29:57Every being shall taste death, then it is to
Us that you shall be sent back. (*95)
*95 That is, "Do not be anxious for your life: one has to die sooner or
later. No one has come to live for ever in this world. Therefore, your
real problem is not how to save life, but your real problem is how to
save your Faith, and fulfil the requirements of God-worship. You have
ultimately to return to Us. If you lost your faith for the sake of
saving your life the result in the Hereafter will be different, but if
you lost your life for the sake of saving your faith the result will be
just the opposite. Therefore, you should be anxious only about what you
will bring when you return to Us. Will you come with a faith sacrificed
for the sake of life, or a life sacrificed for the sake of the faith?"
-------- Holy Quran 22.78 --------------
And strive in His cause as ye ought to strive, (with sincerity and under
discipline). He has chosen you, and has imposed no difficulties on you in
religion; it is the faith of your father Abraham. It is He Who has named you
Muslims, both before and in this (Revelation); that the Messenger may be a
witness for you, and ye be witnesses for mankind! So establish regular Prayer,
give regular Charity, and hold fast to Allah! He is your Protector - the Best to
protect and the Best to help!
Allaho Akbar !
God Is Great !
The Yoga of
By Karima Burns, MH, ND
Called "one of the oldest systems of personal development encompassing body,
mind and spirit" by the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, yoga has
become one of the fastest growing health trends today. It has been renowned for
centuries for its curative powers of movement.
Yoga consists of a number of "asnas," or body positions, which one retains for a
desired length of time while either reciting "mantras" or breathing in a
rhythmic manner. Its benefits have been researched by many doctors who now
recommend it to their patients, by many medical schools such as Harvard, and by
many foundations such as the Menninger Foundation.
In fact, yoga has become so popular that secretaries have developed a simplified
sitting version that they can do at their desks. The elderly, pregnant women and
athletes also have their own versions.
Interestingly, for the millions of people enrolled in yoga classes, the Islamic
form of prayer has provided Muslims for fourteen centuries with some of yoga's
same (and even superior) benefits. This simple form of "yoga" offers physical,
mental, and spiritual benefits five times a day as Muslims assume certain
positions while reciting Qur'an and athkar (remembrances).
Of course, not all the yoga positions are found in the Islamic prayer. However,
hospital researchers have concluded that patients benefit from even a simplified
version of yoga, and most hospital yoga programs, such as those at the Spaulding
Rehabilitation Center in Massachusetts, consist of only five to seven positions.
The Muslim prayer has five positions, and they all (as well as the recitations
we make while performing the prayer) have a corresponding relationship with our
spiritual and mental well being, according to modern scientific research. The
benefits of performing specific movements and recitations each day come from the
correct rendition of the position or action itself, the length of time the
position is held, and from careful and correct recitation techniques.
Each of the five prayer positions has a corresponding yoga position, and the
positions together "activate" all seven "chakras" (energy fields) in the body.
The idea of activating a chakra may sound linguistically strange, but it is
easier to understand once one translates that word into more familiar language.
Eastern healers believe that each of the chakras correlate to major nerve
ganglia that branch forth from the spinal column. Thus, the concept of
activating these nerve centers is akin to getting a chiropractic adjustment or
installing a medical stimulating device on the spine to correct corresponding
bodily malfunctions. In layman's terms, the idea of chakras can be understood by
thinking about how the sense of "feeling" functions. One notices, when touching
any part of the body, that that part responds by being more "awake" and aware.
Another part of the body that was not touched, but is along the same nerve
pathway, may also respond.
When a person is sitting, for instance, they may not be thinking about their
legs, which are momentarily at rest; however, if someone touches them, they will
again be "aware" of them. Chakras work in much the same way. Studies have found
that varying areas of the body, when activated by touch, movement or thought,
evoke specific emotional and physical responses in much the same way that a
smile can evoke the feeling of happiness, and actually increase circulation
even if one was feeling sluggish and unhappy before smiling. This is one of the
reasons that it is so important to perfectly perform all of the movements of the
Islamic prayer, rather than haphazardly rushing through them.
The Takbir and Al Qiyyam together are very similar to the Mountain Pose in yoga,
which has been found to improve posture, balance, and self-awareness. This
position also normalizes blood pressure and breathing, thus providing many
benefits to asthma and heart patients.
The placement of the hands on the chest during the Qiyyam position are said to
activate the solar plexus "chakra," or nerve pathway, which directs our
awareness of self in the world and controls the health of the muscular system,
skin, intestines, liver, pancreas, gallbladder and eyes. When the hands are held
open for du'a, they activate the heart "chakra," said to be the center of the
feelings of love, harmony, and peace, and to control love and compassion. It
also governs the health of the heart, lungs, thymus, immune system,
and circulatory system.
Muslim researchers have shown that when Muslims recite the Qur'an, old thoughts,
feelings, fears and guilt are released or healed, and blood pressure and stress
levels are reduced. Virtually all of the sounds of the Arabic language are
uttered while reciting Qur'an, creating a balance in all affected areas of the
Some specific sounds, in fact, correspond to major organs in the body. In his
research and creation of eurhythmy, Rudolph Steiner (founder of the Waldorf
Schools), found that vibrations made when pronouncing the long vowels, 'A', 'E'
and 'U,' stimulated the heart, lungs, and the thyroid, pineal, pituitary, and
adrenal glands during laboratory tests.
The position of Ruku is very similar to the Forward Bend Position in yoga. Ruku
stretches the muscles of the lower back, thighs, legs and calves, and allows
blood to be pumped down into the upper torso. It
tones the muscles of the stomach, abdomen, and kidneys. Forming a right angle
allows the stomach muscles to develop, and prevents flabbiness in the
This position also promotes a greater flow of blood into the upper regions of
body particularly to the head, eyes, ears, nose, brain, and lungs allowing
mental toxins to be released. Over time, this
improves brain function and ones personality, and is an excellent stance to
maintain the proper position of the fetus in pregnant women.
The Sujud is said to activate the "crown chakra," which is related to a person's
spiritual connection with the universe around them and their enthusiasm for
spiritual pursuits. This nerve pathway is also
correlated to the health of the brain, nervous system, and pineal gland. Its
healthy function balances ones interior and exterior energies.
In Sujud, we also bend; thus activating the "base chakra," which controls basic
human survival instincts and provides essential grounding. This helps to develop
levelheaded and positive thinking along with a highly motivated view of life,
and maintains the health of the lymph and skeletal systems, the prostate,
bladder, and the adrenal glands. We also bend the "sacral chakra" during Sujud,
thus benefiting and toning the reproductive organs.
The position of Al Qaadah, (or Julus) is similar to the Thunderbolt Pose in
yoga, which firms the toes, knees, thighs, and legs. It is said to be good for
those prone to excessive sleep, and those who like to keep long hours.
Furthermore, this position assists in speedy digestion, aids the detoxification
of the liver, and stimulates peristaltic action in the large intestine.
Last, but not least, the "throat chakra" is activated by turning the head
towards first the right and then the left shoulder in the closing of the prayer.
This nerve path is linked to the throat, neck, arms, hands, bronchials, and
hearing effecting individual creativity and communication.
It is believed that a person who activates all seven nerve pathways at least
once a day can remain well balanced emotionally, physically and spiritually.
Since this is the goal of all sincere Muslims, we
all should strive to attain the perfection of stance, recitation, and breathing
recommended in the Hadith while performing our prayers the very same
techniques of perfection taught in popular
yoga, Tai Chi, and many other exercise classes.
A short Story (not part of the
book - "Prophet's Prayer")
He remembered his grandmother' s warning
about praying on time:
'My son, you shouldn't leave prayer to this late time'. His grandmother' s
age was 70 but, whenever she heard the Adhan, she got up like an arrow and
He, however could never win over his ego to get up and pray. Whatever he did,
his Salah was always the last to be offered and he prayed it quickly to get it
in on time. Thinking of this, he got up and realized that there were only 15
minutes left before Salat-ul Isha. He quickly made Wudhu and performed Salat-ul
While making Tasbih, he again remembered his grandmother and was
embarrassed by how he had prayed. His grandmother prayed with such
tranquillity and peace.
He began making Dua and went down to make Sajdah and stayed like that for a
while. He had been at work all day and was tired, very tired. He awoke abruptly
to the sound of noise and shouting.
He was sweating profusely. He looked around. It was very crowded. Every
direction he looked in was filled with people. Some stood frozen looking around,
some were running left and right and some were on their knees with their heads
in their hands just waiting. Pure fear and apprehension filled him as he
realized where he was. His heart was about to burst.
It was the Day of Judgment.
When he was alive, he had heard many things about the questioning on the Day of
Judgment, but that seemed so long ago. Could this be something his mind made up?
No, the wait and the fear were so great that he could not have imagined
this. The interrogation was still going on. He began moving frantically
from people to people to ask if his name had been called. No one could answer
him. All of a sudden his name was called and the crowd split into two and made a
passageway for him.
Two angels grabbed his arms and led him forward. He walked with unknowing eyes
through the crowd. The angels brought him to the centre and left him there. His
head was bent down and his whole life was passing in front of his eyes like a
movie. He opened his eyes but saw only another world. The people were all
helping others. He saw his father running from one lecture to the other,
spending his wealth in the way of Islam. His mother invited guests to their
house and one table was being set while the other was being cleared. He pleaded
his case, 'I too was always on this path. I helped others. I spread the word of
Allah. I performed my Salah. I fasted in the month of Ramadhan.'
'Whatever Allah ordered us to do, I did.'
'Whatever he ordered us not to do, I did not.'
He began to cry and think about how much he loved Allah. He knew that whatever
he had done in life would be less than what Allah deserved and his only
protector was Allah He was sweating like never before and was shaking all over.
His eyes were fixed on the scale, waiting for the final decision.
At last, the decision was made.
The two angels with sheets of paper in their hands, turned to the crowd.
His legs felt like they were going to collapse. He closed his eyes as they
began to read the names of those people who were to enter Jahannam.
His name was read first.
He fell on his knees and yelled that this couldn't be, 'How could I go to
Jahannam? I served others all my life, I spread the word of Allah to
others.' His eyes had become blurry and he was shaking with sweat. The two
angels took him by the arms. As his feet dragged, they went through the crowd
and advanced toward the blazing flames of Jahannam. He was yelling and wondered
if there was any person who was going to help him. He was yelling of all the
good deeds he had done, how he had helped his father, his fasts, prayers, the
Noble Qur'an hat he read, he was asking if none of them would help him.
The Jahannam angels continued to drag him.
They had gotten closer to the Hellfire. He looked back and these were his last
pleas. Had not Rasulullah [SAW] said, 'How clean would a person be who bathes in
a river five times a day, so too does the Salah performed five times cleanse
someone of their sins?'
He began yelling, 'My prayers? My prayers? My prayers?'
The two angels did not stop, and they came to the edge of the abyss of
Jahannam. The flames of the fire were burning his face. He looked back one last
time, but his eyes were dry of hope and he had nothing left in him.
One of the angels pushed him in. He found himself in the air and falling
towards the flames. He had just fallen five or six feet when a hand
grabbed him by the arm and pulled him back. He lifted his head and saw an old
man with a long white beard. He wiped some dust off himself and asked him,
'Who are you?'
The old man replied, 'I am your prayers.'
'Why are you so late?! I was almost in the fire! You rescued me at the
last minute before I fell in.' The old man smiled and shook his head, 'You
always performed me at the last minute, did you forget?'
At that instant, he blinked and lifted his head from Sajdah. He was in a
sweat. He listened to the voices coming from outside. He heard the Adhan for
Salat-ul Isha. He got up quickly and went to perform Wudhu.