Sunday, October 23, 2011

SALAT : A Healing Balm for the Bruised Soul


In his Friday Sermon of October 21, 2011 Khalifatullah Hadhrat Munir Ahmad Azim Sahib continued the subject of Islamic prayer and reflected upon the psychological benefits of Salat. Drawing upon the latest trends in psychiatry and the treatment of mental illnesses, Hadhrat Khalifatullah sketches down the ways in which recourse to Salat and its postures would be beneficial. 

Read the extracts from the Sermon:

“A good doctor will utilise the three aspects of therapy to effect a cure:

 (1) Drugs, to actually combat the illness or relieve pain.

 (2) Food to strengthen the defences of the body and,

 (3) Fear, hope, joy or grief are emotions which the doctor should evoke by counselling the patient to conquer his illness.

If a man is engaged in worship, he will feel apprehension, fear and hope, nervousness and love. And when he takes thought of the next life, he will strengthen the faculties, delight the heart and drive away disease by this very means.

The latest trends in psychiatry, both in causation and therapy, postulate a biochemical basis for mental illness. Salat and indeed Zakat can produce mental changes and even psychotic behaviour has been determined most positively. The converse would also apply. The latest trends in psychiatry regarding the causation of depressions and even Neuroses as well as psychoses reveal that anti-Sunna behaviour is implicated. 


This anti-Sunna activity ranges from error in diet to faulty nutrition (Example, lack of Nicotinic Acid Vitamins etc. causes dementia) and to anti-social activity like isolation, lack of social companionship and lack of orientation. All these factors which represent in the various aspects of Salat, (whereby Salat in congregation leads to a fostering of brotherly feelings and companionship) can prevent mental illness. 


The other forms of mental illness, the neuroses, which stems from fear and insecurity can be alleviated and indeed prevented by the recitation of the various Surahs (chapters) of the Quran.

In this respect, the Muwazathian, that is the Surah Al-Falaq and An-Nas have been recommended by the Hadith. Ibn Walid once complained of nightmares and was prescribed certain Ayats (verses of the Quran).

The Salat engenders a state of homeostasis in the body. During periods of worry, aggression and the activities of daily life, stress hormones are secreted by the body. These hormones, of which cortisone is the main type, cause a rise in blood pressure and increased secretion of insulin which mobilises sugar from the stores. All these reactions if not curbed, create programmed responses in the body which could lead to disease like hypertension, strokes and heart attacks. The interruption prescribed by the performance of the five prayers causes a break in these stress reactions, and enables the body to recover.

Even problems can be solved during the Salat; that right guidance will enter when a person is engaged in Salat. In the mental sphere, Salat and a reliance on one’s Creator will prevent and cure most, if not all, of the neuroses, depressions and major psychoses. The foetal position of the Sajda, e.g. is used by some psychiatrists to instil security and freedom from fear.

Starting from the Wudu, which requires the washing out of the mouth and nostrils, we can postulate a lowered incidence of diseases which are caused by oro-nasal pathogens like streptococcal throat infection, rheumatic fever, with its valvular complications with a lowered incidence of Endocarditis (SBE) Nephritis.

Washing of the skin, the largest organ of the body, can also lead to a lessening of pathogens resident here. The brushing of teeth, described by Ibn Abbas; something that no modern dentist could excel. The benefits of the prayer itself assist and hasten digestion and evacuation, a lowered incidence of constipation. A better digestion will lead to better utilisation of food. The physical acts exercise every joint and muscles in the body, and physiotherapy has proven that exercise is of benefit even to those suffering from arthritis, and muscular ache and pains.

The Sajda prevents sinus headaches and even head-colds. The diseases due to circulation like vertigo and dizziness can be benefited and thinking can also derive assistance from one’s Creator. It has been shown that cardiac output increase, improves the heart. The anti-stress factor leads to homeostasis which can prevent hypertension and associated diseases like strokes and heart attacks….”

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