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Duty for Each Articulation of the Body
Jul 1, 1997

At a time when little was known about the anatomy of man, the Prophet Muhammad, upon him be peace and blessings, declared:

Every human being is created of 360 articulations. Therefore, whoever glorifies God, praises Him, declares His Unity, asks Him forgiveness, removes stones, bones or similar things from the roads where people walk or enjoins good and forbids evil, and if such good deeds of his amount to 360, he reaches evening freed from Hellfire.

In another of his sayings, the Prophet stated:

Every day man has a duty of thankfulness (to God) for each of his articulations. Judging between two people justly is an act of thankfulness; helping someone mount his horse or puffing his saddle or load on it is an act of thankfulness. Speaking to one gently is an act of thankfulness. Each step you take toward the mosque is an act of thankfulness.

Removing the things causing trouble to people from roads is an act of thankfulness.

These Traditions recorded in Sahih al-Bukhari and Sahih al-Muslim mean that there is a substantial relation between mans anatomy and individual and collective servanthood to God.

An articulation is the connection between bones or limbs: In medicine, articulations are classified as movable articulations (for example: knee caps, elbows, shoulders, hips. wrists and ankles) or immovable articulations or those moving a little (for example: backbone, carpals and tarsals.) Immovable articulations are also classified as those connected to each other with mesophelial tissue, those connected with cartilaginous tissue and those connected with bone tissue.

It is very difficult for even a trained expert, let alone a layman, to observe and count all 360 articulations in the human body. Many of the articulations are fused joints (there are 90 in a human skull), others are of cartilage or other matter which decays after death so that they cannot be observed at all in a bare skeleton. How then could the Prophet, an unlettered man, upon him be peace and blessings, have known 14 centuries ago, that there are 360 articulations, unless he had been given the knowledge thereof by God through revelation?

The duties the Prophet mentioned as acts of thankfulness in his sayings, quoted or not quoted, for the articulations are as follows:

Glorifying God, extolling and praising Him and declaring Him free from all defects and exempt from having partners.

Enjoining good and forbidding evil.

Performing a prayer of two rak’a in late morning (the time between about forty- five minutes after sunrise and before noon).

Declaring Gods Unity, saying There is no god but God.

Asking God for forgiveness.

Removing obstacles from roads.

Judging between two people justly.

Helping someone mount his horse or puffing his load or saddle on it.

Speaking to people gently or in a way pleasing to them.

Going to the mosque to perform prescribed prayers.

As articulations join the body’s parts to each other, so the acts the Prophet mentioned are of the kind to establish good relations between people and make them near to God. If the members of a society follow the advice of the Prophet, upon him be peace and blessings, if they do the acts required of them to do as acts of thankfulness for their articulations, they can find such contentment as if they were living in Paradise. God’s good pleasure, which is the source of happiness for man in both worlds, lies in mans servanthood to him both as an individual and as a member of human community.