Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Medical Benefits of Taraweeh Prayers

Muslims derive therapeutic and spiritual benefits starting from the Wudu to the physical movements in the Salat-Takbir, Qiyam, Ruku, Sajda, Jalsa, and Tasleem. We perform five daily contact prayers (Salat) and voluntary prayers (Sunnah, Nafl) throughout the year and Taraweeh prayers during the month of Ramadan. This results in moderate physical exercise particularly to every muscle in the body. Some muscles contract isometrically (same length) and some contract in approximation or isotonically (same tension). The energy needed for the muscle metabolism increases during the performance of Salat, resulting in a relative deficiency of oxygen and muscle nutrients. In turn this deficiency causes vasodilatation - an increase in the caliber of blood vessels, thereby allowing blood to flow easily back to the heart. The temporarily increased load on the heart acts to strengthen the heart muscle and to improve the circulation within the heart muscle.

During the month of Ramadan, additional prayers are performed after salatul Ishaa, called Taraweeh prayers which vary from eight rakat to 22 rakat. There's a few minutes break after every four rakat for chanting and extolling the Majesty of Allah. After Iftar the blood glucose level continues to rise from the food ingested. Just before the Iftar meals, the blood glucose and insulin levels are at their lowest level. After an hour or so after the Iftar meal, the blood glucose begins to rise and also plasma insulin. The liver and the muscles take up the circulating glucose. The blood sugar reaches high levels in an hour or two and the benefits of Taraweeh prayers come into effect. The circulating glucose is metabolized into carbon dioxide and water during the Taraweeh prayers.

Hence, the Taraweeh prayers help in expanding the extra calories and improve flexibility, coordination, reduce stress-related autonomic responses in healthy persons, and relieve anxiety and depression.

Physical and Emotional Well-being

The gentle exercises performed in Taraweeh prayers improve physical fitness, emotional well-being and increase the longevity of the Namazi (one who performs the Salat or Namaz). When a little extra effort is made, as in performing the Taraweeh prayers, there will be a betterment in the endurance, stamina, flexibility and strength. It was noted that the five daily prayers (salat) produce the same physiological changes without any undesirable side effects as those produced by jogging or walking at about three miles per hour. Recent research studies performed on 17,000 Harvard alumni who entered college between 1916-1950 gives strong evidence that only moderate aerobic exercise, equivalent to jogging about three miles a day, promotes good health and may actually add years to life. Men who expended about 2000 kcal of exercise on a weekly basis (equal to a daily 30 minute walk, run, cycle, swim, etc.,) had one-quarter to one-third lower death rates than classmates who did little or no exercise. In addition to the health-boosting qualities of the salat (Namaz), the Namazi will be trained to be ever-ready for any unexpected physical exertion such as sudden lifting of children, chairs, or catching a public transportation vehicle. The elderly will accomplish this more securely and efficiently. Hence, this is an advantage for the elderly to maintain their physical fitness for a longer period of time. It has been observed that those who fast and perform the Taraweeh prayers report feeling much convalescing and robust.

Elderly

As human beings grow older, their physiological activity diminishes. As a result, their bones become thinner, and if not taken care of, will suffer from Osteoporosis. This condition causes the fractures of the bones in the elderly when they fall due to a loss of bone mineral content and consequent sponginess of the bones. The bone then becomes structurally unstable, brittle and susceptible to fractures. Primary osteoporosis is most common among postmenopausal (due to reduction in estrogen) women or those who have undergone a bilateral ocphorectomy (both the ovaries removed).

Women are six times more likely than men to develop Type I osteoporosis. The three major prevention strategies of osteoporosis are a high dietary intake of calcium and vitamin D, regular exercise and estrogen replacement in postmenopausal women. The skin also becomes fragile and crinkled. The repair processes of the body become slower and immune responses are decreased. In the elderly, their physical activity is reduced. As a result, they have lower levels of Insulin Growth Factor 1. Reserve functions of all vital organs decrease and the elderly are more susceptible to mishaps and ailments. Because of repeated and regular movements of the body during salat, the muscle strength, tendon power, joint, flexibility and the cardiovascular reserve are improved.

Hence, salat and Taraweeh prayers enable the elderly to enrich the quality of life and to meet with unforeseen difficulties such as falls which could injure their bodies. Therefore, Taraweeh prayers will improve their endurance, self-respect and self-confidence in being self-reliant.

Adrenaline is secreted even by minor activity. The secretion outlasts the incitement. Even after the Taraweeh prayers are over, the effects of adrenaline and noradrenaline are manifest. Adrenaline, also called epinephrine, is produced by the adrenal glands. The middle part of these glands, the adrenal medulla, secretes the hormone, which is chemically almost identical to the transmitter substance noradrenaline produced at the ends of sympathetic nerves. Adrenaline secretion into the bloodstream in stress causes acceleration of the heart, constriction of arterioles, and dialation of the pupils.

In addition, adrenaline produces a marked increase in metabolic rate thus preparing the body for emergency. Even the thought or the intention of performing the Taraweeh prayers is sufficient to activate the sympathetic nervous system. Sympathetic nervous system (thoraco-lumber nervous system) is one of the two divisions of the autonomic nervous system, which supplies motor nerves to the smooth muscles of internal organs and to the heart muscle. Sympathetic nerve fibers arise via spinal nerves in the thoracic and lumbar regions. Their endings release mainly noradrenaline, which increases heart rate and breathing rate, raises blood pressure, and slows digestive processes, thereby preparing the body for "fight or flight" and antagonizing the effects of the parasympathetic nervous system. The adrenaline would re-distribute the blood in the body to the active muscles, mobilize liver glycogen if necessary in order to provide glucose for the active tissues, diminish fatigue in skeletal muscles, facilitate alveolar ventilation by relaxing bronchiolar muscle, and would initiate cardiovascular changes. Exercise induces a more effective functioning of beta-adrenoreceptors located on cell membranes.

Metabolic Effects

Salat and Taraweeh prayer improve body weight control and expand calories without proportionate increase in appetite. A combination of moderate dietary restriction, both at the Sahur and Iftar meals, accompanied by the Taraweeh prayers, should achieve weight reduction. This will also reduce both fat and body weight, but fat-free weight will remain constant or may even increase slightly. Hence, during Ramadan one should not over eat at the Sahur and Iftar meals and continue to perform Salat and Taraweeh prayers in order to lose some of the excess weight.

It is well known that exercise prevents coronary heart disease (CHD), increases high density lipo-proteins (HDL or healthy Cholesterol), increases maximum oxygen intake, slows the heart, lowers the B.P. slightly, decreases ventricular ectopic activity, enlarges the lumen of the coronary arteries and increases cardiac output. Exercise also improves carbohydrate tolerance and improves late-onset diabetes, and helps cases of chronic respiratory diseases. Beneficial changes have been recorded in the lipid profile, B.P. clotting factors, weight reduction and insulin sensitivity of muscles and other tissues in persons who exercise regularly. Growth Hormone secretion is elevated by fasting and it is further elevated by Taraweeh prayers. As Growth Hormone is necessary for collagen formation, this may be an important factor as to why the skin of those who fast regularly during Ramadan and perform the Taraweeh prayers do not get wrinkled, even when they grow old.

Mental Health

It is a known fact that exercise improves mood, thought and behavior. Exercise improves the quality of life, induces greater sense of well-being and energy, reduces anxiety and depression, influences mood favorably and contributes to self-esteem and an aura of confidence; improves memory in the elderly especially with constant repetition of the ayat (verses) from the Glorious Qur'an and other Ayaat which exalt His Glory. This constant repetition of the Qur'anic Ayaat would help to screen the mind from the incoming thoughts. It has been found by a Harvard University researcher. Dr. Herbert Benson, that repetition of a prayer, ayat of the Qur'an or remembrance (Dhikr) of Allah or muscular activity coupled with passive disregard of intensive thoughts cause a "relaxation response" that leads to the lowering of Blood Pressure and decreases in oxygen consumption and a reduction in heart and respiratory rates. All these are combined in the Taraweeh prayer which is an ideal condition for "relaxation response." It combines repeated muscular activity with repetition of salat, chanting of words of glorification of Allah and of supplications.

The Taraweeh prayer puts the mind in a relaxed state. This calm state of the mind may be partly due to the release of encephalins, beta-endorphins (endogenous morphines) and others into the blood circulation. Endorphins are any one of the neuropeptides composed of many amino acids, elaborated by the pituitary gland and acting on the central and peripheral nervous systems to reduce pain. Endorphins are categorized as alpha-endorphin, beta-endorphin, and gamma-endorphin which produce pharamacologic effects similar to morphine. Beta-endorphin found in the brain and GI (gastro-intestinal) tract is the most potent of the endorphins and is a powerful analgesic (pain killer) in humans and animals. For example, during childbirth many women release endorphins reducing a woman's sensation of pain.

The release of endorphins is associated with an euphoria. During childbirth, women who give birth with little or no medication sometimes label this euphoria a "birth climax".

Conclusion

Islam is the only religion in which physical movements of salat and Taraweeh prayers are combined with spiritual exercise. When salat and Taraweeh prayers are practiced throughout a person's life, recurring every few hours or so, it trains a person to undertake the difficult task of meditation during physical maneuvers of salat and Taraweeh prayers, so that the Namazi (one who performs the salat) benefits both from spiritual as well as physical exercise. Salat and Taraweeh prayers are unique in that tension builds up in the muscles during physical maneuvers on the one hand, while tension is relieved in the mind due to the spiritual ingredient, on the other hand.

The following benefits have been noted among those who perform the Taraweeh prayers: burning off calories and losing weight, maintaining muscle tone and body composition, joint flexibility (stiff joints are often the result of disuse, not arthritis), increasing metabolic rate, improving circulation, improving heart and lung function and aerobic capacity, decreasing heart disease risk profile, increasing your sense of self-control, reducing your level of stress, increasing your ability to concentrate, improving your appearance, reducing depression and resistance to depression, helping you sleep better and suppressing your appetite. Evidence is also accumulating that those who perform regular Salat along with voluntary prayers can conserve and actually retard the loss of bone mass in the elderly, thus starving off the ravages of osteoporosis that afflicts both men and women. It is also possible to retard the aging process and confer some protection to health in later life.



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Islamic / Muslim Festivals and Holiday 2019

Islamic Events and Holiday 2019

English Date Islamic Date
We have listed the important Islamic Festivals, Holidays and Events for the year 2019 as per the calender year 2019. These muslim religious holiday can vary as per the sighting of moon and the lunar calendar.
#Urs Khawjah Gharib Nawaz, Ajmer Sharif 14 March, 2019 - Thursday 6th Rajab 1440
#Lailat-ul-Meraj #Shab-e-meraj Night of Apr 3, 2019 - Wednesday 26-Rajab-1440
#Shabe-e-Barat April 20, 2019 - Saturday 14th Sha'baan 1440
#Start of Fasting Month (#Ramadan) May 7, 2019 - Tuesday 1st Ramadan 1440
#Jummat-ul-Wida 31 May 2019 - Friday Last Friday of Ramadan 1440
#Lailat-ul-Qadr (#Shab-E-Qadr) June 1, 2019 - Saturday 27 Ramadan 1440
#Eid-ul-Fitr June 5, 2019 - Saturday 1st Shawwal 1440
#Hajj August 11, 2019 - Sunday 9th Dhul-Hijjah 1440
#Eid-ul-Adaha #Bakrid August 12, 2019 - Wednesday 10th Dhul-Hijjah 1440
#Islamic New Year September 1, 2019 - Sunday 1st Muharram 1441
#Yaum al-Ashura September 10, 2019 - Tuesday 10th Muharram 1441
#Eid Milad-un-Nabi Nov 10, 2019 - Sunday 12th Rabi-al-Awwal 1441
#Urs Haji Ali Baba Mumbai 13 December, 2019 - Friday 16 Rabi Ul Akhir 1441
714th Urs Sharif Of Hazrat Khwaaja Syed Nizamuddin Aulia Mehboob-e-elahi Rahmatullah Alayh 16 December, 2019 - Monday 19 Rabi Ul Akhir 1441