Will you give information about material and spiritual virtues of prayers? What are the benefits of prayer? What does prayer gain man?

Details of the Question

Will you give information about material and spiritual virtues of prayers? What are the benefits of prayer? What does prayer gain man?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

Prayer, which is the most important part of Islam after kalima ash-shahada, is a duty for every male and female Muslim at five separate times of the day.

It is stated in various places that the prophets before Hz. Muhammad (pbuh) were also ordered to perform prayers. (1) Thus, it is understood that prayer is not something peculiar to the ummah of Muhammad (pbuh) and that it existed in the previous religions too.

When it is considered that prayer was also ordered in the previous religions, it is understood that prayer has a function related to showing resistance in the face of hardships along with its numerous wisdoms. As a matter of fact, the following is stated in a verse:

“O ye who believe! Seek help with patient perseverance and prayer...” (al-Baqara, 2/153)

Prayer is the greatest means of remembering Allah all the time. As a matter of fact, the following is stated in a verse:

“...So serve thou Me (only), and establish regular prayer for celebrating My praise.” (Taha, 20/14)

The fact that Allah Himself gave the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) himself the order of performing prayers on the night of Miraj (Ascension), not by sending the angel to the earth (2) shows the importance and meaning of this deed of worshipping in terms of a Muslim’s religious and spiritual life. Therefore, the statement “Prayer is the Ascension of the believer” is often used in the religious literature in order to describe this aspect of prayer, that is, in order to state that prayer is an important means of attaining Allah for the slave in prayer; the common consciousness and evaluation of the ummah related to prayer is virtually summarized by that statement.

WHAT PRAYER GAINS THE INDIVIDUAL AND THE COMMUNITY

Prayer disciplines the life of the believer

Prayer performed five times a day plays an important role in disciplining the life of the believer. Performing it at certain times every day gains him spiritual and material discipline.  Following the imam in congregational prayers gains believers military discipline. When the imam says “Allahu Akbar”, he speaks and takes refuge in his Lord aloud. The imam acts as a proxy for the believers. The orders of the imam makes the whole congregation sit, stand up, etc. From this point of view, there is spiritual, high and lofty discipline in congregation. It is possible to find the highly disciplined forms of an ideal congregation and a believing community only in the prayer that is performed five times a day. This discipline is definitely a spiritual and mental discipline. Every deed of worship gives man a cozy feeling and discipline. And this deed continues throughout life. 

Prayer prevents man from shameful deeds

Allah states the following in the Quran:

“...for Prayer restrains from shameful and unjust deeds...” (al-Ankabut, 29/45)

Shameful and unjust deeds will drive the believer away from his Ascension and closeness to Allah with their evil aspects. As it is stated, "There is a way leading to unbelief in every sin." As a sin is committed continuously, it makes unbelief easy. However, prayer is closeness to Allah; therefore, it protects man from all sins like a lightning rod if it is real prayer of course. As it is stated in the verse above, a prayer that is performed in accordance with its real meaning and spirit keeps man away from all kinds of evil, immodesty, naughtiness and transgression. A deed of worshipping that is performed without this consciousness cannot protect man so strongly.

As a matter of fact, Allah states the following in the chapter of al-Maun:

“So woe to the worshippers - Who are neglectful of their prayers.” (al-Maun, 107/4-5)

Thus, there is a power that protects man from bad deeds in prayer; if it is not performed properly, a slave makes himself vulnerable to risks. Prayer represents closeness to Allah; therefore, it necessitates loyalty at a high level. The meaning of it is as follows: The more a person acts loyally, carefully and enthusiastically toward prayer, the more prayer acts loyally toward him and the more it blinds his feelings leading to shameful deeds and evil. That is, mutual loyalty is in question in prayer.

Prayer ensuring peace in the heart

When the believer performs his prayers consciously, his prayers will make his irregular life regular and his disorganized heart organized and balanced; prayers will also correct his messy feelings and shed light on his blurred aspects. Thanks to it, the believer will be able to see, think and speak correctly. Prayer performed in the presence of the Lord with consciousness can definitely make man gain those characteristics with the permission of Allah. Prayer has those meanings and guarantees them.

Yes, the prayer that the believer performs in awe and peace will be real prayer. However, there are some conditions to ensure awe in prayer: First of all, peace in the heart is necessary; after that, understanding, realizing the issue and then reliance on the Lord with hope; finally, entering in the presence of Allah timidly and shyly.  

Firstly, what is peace in the heart? Peace in the heart means not to go out of those meanings in prayer. It means to have your heart with you in prayer just like you have your wallet with you when you go to the market. For, the coin of the realm in the eye of Allah is the heart. You will give your heart to Him and get His mercy and consent in return.

Prayer being a social deed of worshipping

Apart from being an individual and spiritual deed of worshipping, prayer also has a socializing aspect. The necessity of performing fard prayers in congregation is important in that it shows the dimension of it social content. Mosques have played an important role in the socialization of Muslim individuals throughout history. For, mosques were not built only for the performance of prayers by individuals. When the Prophet (pbuh) built the mosque in Madinah after the Migration, all of the plans and projects of the Muslims, their individual, familial, social and international (in terms of the relationships with other tribes and states) issues were discussed, consulted and decided in the mosque. In the following centuries, mosques became centers of academic and scientific studies. The seeds of science and civilization were sown in mosques.

The Islamic civilization can also be called a civilization of temples (mosques). Temple means a place of worshipping but the places of worshipping in congregation had basic functions in the socialization of Muslim individuals and in the acquisition of a public consciousness.  From this point of view, prayer is not only a deed of worship in Islam. It has played an important role in the socialization of individuals and in the formation of the first cities and towns. As it is known, the first cities were founded around mosques in Islam.  

Prayer ensures equality among people

One of the aims of the Islamic worship system is to form a social model that equals people through modesty and humbleness by refusing groups of different social status and class structures, and to enable the poor and the rich, the master and the slave, the scholar and the ignorant person, the aristocrat and the middle-class, the official and the civilian, the president and an ordinary citizen to have equal status as if they are beads in the same string. How did the conflicts of class struggles cause bloody incidents in the history of humanity and allow the formation of political, cultural and ethnic ghettos. We know this from the history of the West. A conflict and differentiation like that cannot be seen in the history of Islam. One of the reasons for this and perhaps the most important one is the spirit of brotherhood and equality earned by individuals in prayers made in congregation. For, every believer, no matter what his cultural and social position is, acquires unity, solidarity, common thought and pleasure through these prayers.

Prayer is the Ascension (Miraj) of the believer.

Prayer is a luminous spiral leading man to real humanity. Prayer is the Ascension of the believer. We ask from Allah to realize the following explanations in order to understand the place and importance of the prayer in the life of a Muslim, the concentration before a prayer and what kind of an ascension it is.   

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PRAYER

The benefits of prayer for the health of the body are divided into two. The first one is the aspect of cleanliness and the second one is the aspect of exercise.

THE ASPECT OF CLEANLINESS OF PRAYER

It is not possible to enter into the presence of God Almighty with the dirt of the body; it is also not possible to perform a prayer without making wudu. The body of a person who performs prayers is very clean; and this cleanliness is repeated five times a day. A person who performs prayers has to clean his body in the best way. There is no impurity in his ears, nose and navel. Since prayer is the Ascension of the believer and elevation to the presence of God Almighty, it is necessary for a person who will enter into His presence to be clean in terms of his body, thoughts and spirit. 

THE ASPECT OF EXERCISE OF PRAYER

A believer who prostrates twice in every rak'ah prostrates and sits up eight times in forty rak'ahs of prayer. No gymnast repeats those actions eighty times a day regularly. Gymnasts generally do twenty or thirty movements in the morning. The movements they do are fast and generally tire their hearts and bodies. They do not move during the remaining part of the day; therefore, they cannot prevent the accumulation of calories and fattening. The movements are slow in prayer. They do not tire the heart and since they are repeated at various times of the day, they keep a person vigorous. They prevent fattening and the accumulation of calories.

Blood, which can be called “our organ in liquid form”, is cleaned in lungs and kidneys; it is added oxygen and goes to the heart to be pumped. The heart pumps the blood so that it will reach even the farthest places of the body. However, man needs to do some movements to help the heart send the blood. The cells in the organism need to get blood well in order to live and remain vigorous.

The amount of blood pumped to the head of a person who walks around like a stick all day without performing any prayers and the amount of blood pumped to the head of a person who performs prayers and puts his head on the ground eighty times a day is definitely not the same. It means the cerebral cortex on the brain of a person who performs prayers gets blood eighty times more than the cortex of a person who does not perform prayers.

Similarly, the frontal lobe, which is related to memory and personality, of the brain of a person who performs prayers gets blood eighty times more.

Personality disorders are seen rarely in people who perform prayers. They live longer and they do not suffer from dementia. This frontal lobe is removed in the surgical treatment of early dementia. If the brain of a person gets blood eighty times a day, he will not suffer from dementia. Therefore, the people who perform prayers do suffer from dementia when they get very old. The people who cannot go out of bed though they are not very old and who dirty their beds and who show signs of dementia are generally the people who do not perform prayers.   

On the other hand, the parietal lobe, which is the center of voluntary movements and walking, and the occipital lobe, which is the center of seeing, hearing, smelling and tasting, also get blood eighty times more in people who perform prayers. The nucleus called “capsula interna” in the brain contains the extrapyramidal centers that controls man’s involuntary movements. Thus, capsula interna of a person who performs prayers gets more blood in the same way. One does not have to be a doctor in order to understand how valuable cerebellum and brainstem, from which cranial nerves come, are.

The eyes of those who perform prayers also have a strong blood circulation. Thus, their intraocular pressure does not increase and the liquid in the front camera changes all the time. This is the reason why glaucoma and other severe eye illnesses are seen less in those who perform prayers. 

The ears getting ample blood prevent the formation of sinusitis.

The rhythmic movements of the prayer increases the peristalsis of the intestines; therefore, the intestines are emptied easily and constipation is prevented. The hips, knees and ankles of the people who perform prayers and their shoulders, elbows and wrists are like a machine that operates all the time; therefore, they are protected from all kinds of rheumatism and degenerative diseases that occur in joints. Besides, those diseases are seen more in the people who are not related with the religion of Islam, Christians and those who do not perform prayers. The prayer’s preventing man from the diseases of joints is one of the miraculous aspects of prayer.

Volumes of books are necessary in order to write the benefits of prayer for our organism; therefore, I regard it appropriate to leave it to the specialists of each organ. Every research that will be done regarding the issue will prove that fact that prayer is “the pillar of the religion” again.

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