City of Brass

City of Brass


muslim pseudoscience: prostration

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

It took a profound atheist like Douglas Adams to recognize and succinctly state what should be obvious to any believer: “proof denies faith“. The essence of faith is to believe, and proof essentially makes the process of belief irrelevant. Thus I have a history of arguing with others, muslim or otherwise, who purport to have proved the unprovable.

pseudoscience is a closely related endeavour – instead of proving God, it seeks to wrap religion in th elegitimacy of science. In doing so, the very essence of religion is again denied, implying that it needs science to be valid. Unfortunately, the quality of the science itself is so poor as to be nonsensical, invariably. Thus I am doubly offended by such efforts, as a man of faith and as a scientist.

Unfortunately I tend to get most of this kind of thing from my friends and family, via email. Rather than annoy them with my snotty attitude about why its all wrong, I’m using the blog as an outlet. So, consider this the inauguration of a series of sorts.

This is a slideshow I have received from multiple sources, purporting to explain how the act of protration (sajda) in the muslim prayer is actually beneficial from a health perspective, because it spposedly discharges harmful electromagnetic energy built up in our bodies, harmlessly into the ground.

The flaws in the argument are numerous but let’s start with some of the most egregious: the human body does not accumulate charge internally like a capacitor, though we can acumulate some (much lower voltage) of charge on our outer surfaces. In other words, the normal static shock that we all get from walking across a shag rug. The ambient electric field from our myriad gadgets and neon lights and whatnot do not contribute any charge to our bodies in the slightest, however. Let’s also note for the record that on teh surface of a sphere like teh Earth, ANY point on the surface is technically and literally the “center”, so the point about Mecca being the “true” center of the world is also essentially meaningless (though not exactly untrue).

Anyway there is surely a LOT more I could nitpick with this one but I’ll leave it at that.



  • http://amuslimanon.blogspot.com A Not Yet Woolen Muslim

    Succintly put. I agree.
    But some people could point to other benefits of prostration. I.e. gastrointestinal alignment, mental effect of prostrating while proclaiming the greatness of Allah, or effect of daily repetitive motion. You could actually make mildly more logical arguments for those (a lot more in the case of the second). Do those offend you as much?

  • Lukmahn

    You do have a good point there brother…rather strong, but a point none the less! So science agrees with Islam, so what…in the science of its inception, many would have written off the prophet (SAW) as a mad man, and there’s no evidence that the discoveries of the future may/ may not take a slight twist from today’s!!
    But on the other hand, as a scientist, I’m sure you too must be intrigued by the wealth of knowledge, especially of scientific bias that can be found in Qur’anic text. Especially since there is alot of criticism against Islam and its scripture form non-believers and here we have their most reputed/ celebrated body of knowledge in constant agreement with the same religion. Further more, since almost all other scriptural text only seem to garner inconsistency!! It smacks of full back-handed sarcasm.
    I can personally can vouch that even though I was born and raised in a Muslim family and never doubted my faith till then, but it was until I began to have some interest in academics (and sciences in particularly) and reading the Qur’an more contemplatively that my conviction and confidence in Islam really started to grow. I mean these are both bodies of knowledge and to find corroborative growth in both must be a source of great encouragement to anyone on a truth quest.
    It is rather irritating to see people derive inspiration in faith from scientific progress (proofs), but if they just happen to be true … where’s the harm in having a perspective?

  • Doubt the Doubter

    I don’t know if Mecca is the center or not, but Earth is certainly not a Sphere. So NO, any point on the surface cannot be taken as the ‘center’ as mentioned in your article.

  • http://authenticatevideo.blogspot.com Meredith Lam

    Very interesting writing. Truely.

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