Muslim prayers have physical benefits: study

not that we need a study to tell us of these benefits, but an interesting read nevertheless…

13 December 2006

KUALA LUMPUR – A top Malaysian university has discovered that the postures used during the Muslim prayer, or solat, have significant physical benefits, according to a report on Tuesday.

Initial results from a research project by Universiti Malaya’s biomedical engineering department show the Muslim style of praying benefits the heart and spine, while increasing the capacity for memory and attention.

Muslims pray five times a day, with each solat beginning in a standing posture, followed by a deep bow and then progressing to a sitting position on knees. The person then touches their forehead to the ground, sits up and repeats the process before finally standing again.

Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said the study affirmed the power of prayer in a person’s life, the New Straits Times reported.

“The study investigates the physiological interactions and effects of the solat postures on the human body,” said Abdullah, who likened solat postures to those practised in yoga.

“Since the majority of our population are Muslims, it is both of interest and importance that we not only understand the spiritual benefits of solat, but also … its biological and medical effects,” he said.

Abdullah, who champions a moderate form of Islam called Islam Hadhari, has been encouraging Muslims worldwide to give equal importance to education, science, technology and development alongside the spiritual aspects of the religion.

Malaysia’s population of 26 million is made up of 60 percent ethnic Malays who are mainly Muslim and significant minorities of Indians and Chinese who practice Buddhism, Hinduism and Christianity.