Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Comments-Prayers (Solah), Light Sport and the benefits

I received a quite considerable comments on my previous posting. I'm not against any physical exercise but what I would like to stress and further giving meaning to the numbers of research in this area is that prayer or solah can provide relaxation. How? Allow me to explain.

During Solah, we read certain verses of the quran i.e., surah fatihah and the dua's during ruku', sujud etc. There are short du'as and long du'as plus the surahs. This is done in a repetitive manners. These repetition generates exclusive breathing pattern. We attune our breathing pattern to match the length of surahs or du'as that we recite. In completing reciting the du'as in sujud and ruku's for example, we used four seconds or at the count of four. Try it. It is an average of four seconds. In psychotherapy, during relaxation techniques, psychologists teach their clients to breath in and out at the count of four or four seconds. Slowly to breath in, hold it for four seconds and breath out in the counts of four. Slowly yet steadily, the client will feel relaxed and rested.

Muslims pray five times a day. Each prayer takes approximately 5-6 minutes each which could be totalled up 25-36 minutes a day. What do scientists suggest people to do daily. Exercise 30 mins a day keeps the doctor away!!In a study, the researchers analyzed data from 18 controlled studies that investigated the effects of aerobic fitness training on cognitive ability in women and men ages 55-80. They found that exercise had clear but selective benefits (Psychological Sciences, March 2003).
The researchers also found that exercising less than 30 minutes per session had very little impact on cognitive function. Previous studies which I have reported earlier, showed that prayers resonate the frontal, temporal, and parietal regions of the brain. The tissues affected are crucial to memory, learning, and cell communication.

The question is since the prayers are full of benefits but why muslims are so lacking, and so backward? Answers..Allah said...Wa fi anfusikum..afala tubsirun...One might look at the quality of the prayer. Is our prayer is at its highest quality? Wallahu a'lam.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Prayers (Solah), Light Sport and the benefits

Many studies have recorded on the medical benefits of prayer, and I would like to recall some of the benefits that we should be aware of and most importantly enjoy the solitude of prayer and the Delightful of worship. Here are some of the short evidences:

1 - Praying is the best sports i.e., for mental, spiritual, physical, and maintenance of a sound body as to produce the best state of mind – towards mental calmness and stablility. Prayer is in fact, a light sport and useful to address the muscle weakness and physical disability and vulnerability, which affects many people. But please be mindful that improvement takes time. Therefore be patience as the Almighty said: (and seek help in patience and prayer and it was great but to the humble) [Baqarah: 45].

2 - If you want to deal with pain, lower back and legs, you have to pray and to maintain it. Kneeling or prostrating have great benefit for blood vessels and improve blood cycle, therefore improving the performance of the heart, and the dramatic impact that this amazing show is not only with the preservation of the prayers, and here is probably aware of what God has ordered us i.e., to preserve the prayer! The Almighty says: (Guard strictly the prayers especially the middle Solah and stad before Allah with obedience) [Baqarah: 238]. Prayer also beneficial in the treatment of mental disorders especially the fear and anxiety, and the Almighty said: (Those who believe and do good works and establish worship and pay the zakat paid for them with their Lord, nor fear, nor shall they grieve) [Baqarah: 277]. Further Allah says: (( قَدْ أَفْلَحَ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ (1) الَّذِينَ هُمْ فِي صَلَاتِهِمْ خَاشِعُونَ Successful indeed are the believers. Those who offer their Solah with all solemnity and full submissiveness (Al-Mu’minun:1-2) (At some stage I might elaborate this in great details.

3. Finally, prayer is a light-sport and it does not harm the body, such as violent sports that require running and rapid muscle movements and manipulation which could undeniably cause fatigue and excessive burden to one’s muscles. In Islam, prayer is for relaxation and rest and with respect to this, the Prophet may Allah bless him and our Lord said to Bilal: “Make us relax, Bilal”. He (Bilal) then stood up and made the azan. The result? The sahabah prayed and feel rested. In this world, one could hard find any sports that come with it elements of relaxation and rest. Usually, when people involve in sporting activities, they’re sweating and gasping for air as the result of intense used of their body muscles. Would they feel relaxed and rested? I doubt it. Or perhaps fatigue? It could be. So pray and enjoy the art of feeling relaxed and rested.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Memory Blank, Witness and Mukallaf in Islam

Most of us have our earliest memory. Mine is of a dog chase at the age of five. I was outside our rented government bungalow during one vacation when the dog chased me, and I recall running haphazardly before managed to climb a tree and stay there for the whole afternoon. Or did I? New US research is shining a torch on childhood memory and its authenticity. According to the research human memory is incredibly fragile and inventive and we easily create false memories of our past some of which have long term effects on our behaviour. What’s more, we’re surprisingly open to suggestion. In a series of experiments researchers falsely suggested that the participants fell ill after eating egg salad sandwiches as children. Those participants were consequently turned off egg salad sandwiches even though the memory was false.
So what can we trust of our memories? And how do we know which ones are real? It’s hard to distinguish between the truth and what we’ve added to the memory. We might think we have a vivid memory of something, say you were on September 11. But the research has shown that we’re not as good as we think we are ( in fact, research on September 11 memories shows that the personal details around that event are frequently inaccurate). Could some of us susceptible to memory distortion?

Memory is the process by which we encode, store and retrieve information. What we learn becomes our memory if we remember it from tying your shoelaces to recalling where we put our keys. We basically couldn’t function without memory. Remembering the events of our life is called “autobiographical memory” and usually kicks off between the ages of three and four. These memories are generally fleeting and vague, and it’s not until after the age of seven that memories becomes a continuous narrative. Before age three, the brain’s hippocampus (which plays a crucial role in binding memory) is not developed enough. Other say it’s connected to language development; once we can talk, we can shape events into a story that can be retold and remembered.
What is certain is that memories can be incredibly powerful. In a way memories is like a web woven from sounds, smells, tastes, touches and sights. However, memories erode with age. Elderly people and people with dementia do start and to confabulate and so if these elderly people don’t remember the full details, they may fill in the gaps rather than say they don’t know. What has this ‘memory blank’ has to do with Islam? I still remember ( based on recorded materials off course) when I studied Pengetahuan Agama Islam Tinggi in the 80’s at the SMKA Al-Mashoor (L) when my Ustaz (Ustaz Subli-may Allah bless him) stressed on the issue of Mukallaf (the accountable one). Islamically, the accountable person (mukallaf) is the one who is pubescent, sane, and has received the message of Islam. In this respect, children are not mukallaf. Why? I have explained above. Children have weak memory or what scientist called memory blank. Islam does not recognise an account given by children because they are not capable of doing so. They have distorted memory.
Thousand years before the research on memories surface, Islam has place a jurisdiction on not to overwhelm children to come out with details. Isn’t Islam beautiful? Further, in shariah cases, Islam requires four witnesses to give details of any accounts. Four heads are better than one. And these four witnesses have to meet strict witness criteria before judgements were passed.