Wa `alaykum As-Salamu wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh.
In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.
Dear brother in Islam, thanks for your question, which emanates from a God-fearing heart, since it shows your commitment to da`wah, the basic duty of every Muslim. We’d would like to commend your pursuit of Islamic counseling.
Answering your question, the American Muslim scholar, Sheik Yusuf Estes, Director of islamtomorrow.com, and National Chaplain WAMY, states:
“I would like to first congratulate you on your efforts for da`wah or the call to Islam. First of all, praise be to Almighty Allah Who made us Muslims, and entrusted us with the task of propagating this precious way of life. Keep in mind that Islam is more than just a religion. In fact, as you well know, Islam is a complete way of life for all people, in all places and all times.
Next, I would like to make the observation that giving da`wah has certain hard and fast rules that must be taken into consideration at all times. If you want to convince someone to become a Muslim and you try to show him that performing Prayer will somehow give him or her a physical benefit in this world, you need to demonstrate a cautious approach.
There are many things that we do everyday that do not necessarily have any scientific proof indicating physical benefit. One clear example is performing Hajj (Pilgrimage) to the House of Allah. Could you tell me any scientific proof that there is a physical benefit behind gathering 5,000,000 people to go to the same place at the same time in a place that normally holds only around 200,000? There is no physical benefit according to “modern science” for performing Hajj. So this type of argument would only take a person farther from the truth of Islam.
Concerning the “benefits” which “science” has made clear that one derives from physical positions or movements one assumes in the salah (Prayer), you might note the following:
Standing up straight is a correct position for the spine.
Bowing at a right angle allows a flow of energy from the pituitary gland in the back of the head.
Placing the head on the ground in sujud (prostration) allows a large amount of blood to enter into the brain.
Sitting in the jalsah (sitting position) to say the Tashahhud with the back straight and focusing all one’s attention on the right finger while moving it helps in enhancing the concentration.
I recall back in the 1960’s a program on television called “Today Show”. It had a segment on overcoming a deficiency in proper mental development. The doctor, host as a guest speaker in the program, explained that in modern society, given the fact that people were not getting enough time during the early years of development as a baby to crawl on the ground, he had developed a special exposure and women would be crawling around on the floor doing this exercise which, according to how it was demonstrated on the show, meant their heads were hanging down. He said that this was a necessary part of the proper development of the brain and mental well being.
However, I don’t advise that you use this type of approach in your da`wah. The reason is that it is not established from the Qur’an or the Sunnah of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) that you need to give scientific proofs to call people to Islam. Guidance is the main issue in calling to Islam. It is only Allah who guides and it is only Allah who misguides. So, explain Islam the same way that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) did and then pray to Allah to guide them.
This can be clarified more further through the hadith narrated by Ibn `Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) sent Mu`adh to Yemen and said, "Invite the people to testify that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah and I am Allah's Messenger, and if they obey you to do so, then enlighten them that Allah has enjoined on them five Prayers in every day and night (in twenty-four hours), and if they obey you to do so, then teach them that Allah has made it obligatory for them to pay the Zakah from their property and it is to be taken from the wealthy among them and given to the poor." (Reported by Al-Bukhari)
May Allah guide you to the straight path and direct you to that which pleases Him, Ameen.”