6,000 at Istana Nurul Iman
By Azaraimy HH & Azrol Azmi

Some 6,000 guests and citizens attended the event to observe Isra' Mi'raj held at the Istana Nurul Iman yesterday.

Gracing the event were Her Majesty Raja Isteri Pengiran Anak Hjh Saleha and Her Royal Highness Pengiran Isteri Azrinaz Mazhar and HRH Paduka Seri Pengiran Anak Isteri Pengiran Anak Sarah and members of the royal family.

Among the highlights was a religious talk by an esteemed speaker, Brigadier General Jamil Khir bin Baharom, Director of Religious Corp of the Malaysian Armed Forces.

Among others, he said of the health benefits of performing the five times prayers (solat) a day and the practice of ablutions (wudu') of ritually washing the face, hands, and feet.

He said science stated that the main door for germs to enter the human body is through the nose, mouth and also feet. Before praying Muslims are told to clean themselves through wudu. He said we are actually and literally cleaning ourselves of hazardous substances five times a day when we follow the teachings.

He said ablution comprises the washing of the hands, arms right up to the elbow, face, mouth, nostrils, and feet up to the ankles, each three times. The inside and behind the ears, as well as the part of the head above the forehead is wiped once.

Not only that, the performing of the prayer itself also carry health benefits.

When performing solat at the mosque, prayers are aligned in parallel rows behind the imam, who directs them through the rak'as (prescribed postures and recitations).

Islamic prayer begins in a standing position and moves through several simple postures until the supplicant is kneeling. Specified recitations are said with each posture.

He said for instance, one of the movements in the prayer, the sujud, actually helps blood flow to the brain.

He also called for Muslims to perform the prayer five times a day if they are able to, saying that some pray only at night, while some only pray during Friday prayers.

He also told Muslims to appreciate the sacrifices of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) who had asked Allah (swat) to reduce the number of prayers in a day, so that his people would be able to perform them.

In Islamic tradition, the Isra' and Mi'raj are the two parts of a journey that Muhammad took in one night. Isra' is an Arabic word referring to what Muslims regard as Muhammad's miraculous night's journey from Mecca to Jerusalem -- specifically, to the site of Masjid al-Aqsa. Mi'raj is an Arabic word referring to the second part of the journey, particularly the ascension of Muhammad from Masjid al-Aqsa to the heavens.

This year's theme of the Isra' and Mi'raj celebration is "Memperkasa Iltizam Kehidupan Berugama". - Borneo Bulletin (12th August 2007)