In the Middle of the Night
بسم الله الرحمان الرحيم
السلام عليكم ورحمت الله و بركاته
After the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم died, the Sahabah رضي الله تعالى عنه conquered the world’s greatest armies of that time. Just an example of how sleep affected those battles, the Battle of Al Qadisiyah against the Persians who were 200,000+ and the Muslims were just 30,000 but the Muslims won that battle. On the third day, the Muslims had not lost Muslims in any battle field more than they lost in the Battle of Al Qadisiyah. Towards the end of the battle, a total of 6,000 Muslims were killed shaheed. In the Battle of Uhud, which was maybe a decade before this, only 70 people of the Sahabah رضي الله تعالى عنه were killed but in the Battle of Al Qadisiyah 6000 Muslims of the Sahabah and the Tabi’in رضي الله تعالى عنه were killed. On the last day, they used to fight between morning till Maghrib time, when the sun would set, both armies would go back to their ten because no one would be able into continue fight to the night. And so when the Maghrib time came on the third day, Sa’d ibn Abi Waqqas رضي الله تعالى عنه, the leader of the Muslim army, sent a message out to all the believers, “Isbiru” “Be patient, you will not sleep continue fighting into the night.” And so they didn’t sleep, the whole Muslim army continued to fight; they had not slept the whole day. As they got more tired and more tired, Sa’d رضي الله تعالى عنه kept telling them, “Be patient, be patient for the victory is for the one who is more patient and who can outlast the other.” So, by Fajr time, الحمد الله, the Muslims were victorious in the Battle of Al Qadisiyah. They started fighting the Fajr 24 hours before and they overcame the kuffar because of their discipline in sleep.
Once ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Abbas رضي الله تعالى عنه was sleeping in the house of Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم , he رضي الله تعالى عنه said that, “In the Middle of the night, the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم woke up, rubbed the sleep out of his eyes and started reciting Qur’an and then got up for Qiyam ul Layl. But when he woke up, he woke up naturally.”
When the Angels came to the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم whilst he was sleeping, one of the Angel said to the other Angel, “Your Sahib is sleeping.” Other Angel replied, “Verily, the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم ’s eyes are sleeping but his heart is not sleeping.” [Sahih al-Bukhari]
Allah سبحانه و تعالى does not join two fears upon a person meaning if they feared Allah سبحانه و تعالى in the Dunya, they will not fear Allah سبحانه و تعالى in HereAfter, in other words Allah سبحانه و تعالى will bring safety to them. Taking from this principle, if someone excessively sleeps (meaning that are always partaking in rest and they are not doing their duties) in this Dunya, they will not sleep in the HereAfter.
When the people would ask the Salaf-us-Salih, “Why are you spending all these nights in Qiyam?” They would reply, “So that we can rest on the Day of Judgement.”
Ibn al-Qayyim رحمه الله wrote a book “Zaad al Ma’ad fi Hadi Khayril ‘Ibaad,” in the chapter of The Prophetic Medicine where he mentions how the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم slept, “Sleep is of two kinds, one is natural sleep and the other unnatural sleep.” Natural sleep is like a person who lives in a desert with no electricity, no caffeine, no modern technology, sleeps when the sun goes down and everything goes smoothly. This sleep is the natural sleep. As for the other one, it might result in excessive eating and so forth.
The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said. “O’ Allah! Bless my Ummah in their morning periods!”
The companion who narrated this hadith was Saft al-Ghamdi رضي الله تعالى عنه and he had a business and he would always start his business early in the morning. The other Companions said, “He became a very wealthy person!”
‘Ali رضي الله تعالى عنه and his wife Fatimah رضي الله تعالى عنه were in much difficulty in their life so when there were war spoils and some servants from the spoils, ‘Ali رضي الله تعالى عنه told Fatimah رضي الله تعالى عنه to go and ask for a servant to help them in their affairs. She went to Umm-ul-Mu’minin ‘Aishah رضي الله تعالى عنه and she asked her about the servant. So, ‘Aishah رضي الله تعالى عنه spoke to the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم about it. Then he صلى الله عليه وسلم went to ‘Ali رضي الله تعالى عنه and Fatimah رضي الله تعالى عنه. He صلى الله عليه وسلم saw them lying down on their beds and when they were going to get up, he صلى الله عليه وسلم said, “Remain lying down.” And then he صلى الله عليه وسلم sat between them and said, “Shall I not tell you about something that is better for you than what you asked for? He said to do Tasbih 33 times, Tahmid 33 times and Takbir 34 times that you to go to your bed to do this and its better for you!”
‘Aishah رضي الله تعالى عنه mentioned, “When the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم would get up for Fajr, he would jump out of his bed.”
The Sunnah of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم in regards to sleep:
1)He صلى الله عليه وسلم used to teach the companions how to sleep.
He صلى الله عليه وسلم went to a companion Al Baraa’ ibn ‘Azib رضي الله تعالى عنه and said, “When you go to bed, perform ablution like the way you make wudu’ for your Salah and lie on your right side and say, ‘Allahumma Aslamtu Wajhi ‘Ilayk Wa Fawwadtu Amri Ilayk Wa Aljahtu Zhahri Ilayk Raghbatan Wa Rahbatan Ilayk La Majla’ Wala Manja’ Minka Illa Ilayk Allahumma Aamantu Bi Kitabi Kaldhi Anzalt Wa Nabiyi Kaladhi Arsalt.’” When the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم did this, the companion repeated after him صلى الله عليه وسلم . But when Al Baraa’ ibn ‘Azib رضي الله تعالى عنه reached the part Wa Nabiyi Kaladhi Arsalt he said, “Wa Rasuli Kaladhi Arsalt” And the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said, “Don’t say that but say Wa Nabiyi Kaladhi Arsalt.”
2)The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم used to pray in the place of his sleep.
3)The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم used to dislike sleeping before ‘Isha’
4)The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم used to dislike talking after ‘Isha’ or doing any work after it.
5)The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم used to sleep immediately after ‘Isha’
6)The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم used to get up in the middle of the night and pray Qiyam-al-Layl.
‘AbduLlah رضي الله تعالى عنه said, “Everybody would go to the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم and tell him صلى الله عليه وسلم their dreams.” He wished that he could see an interesting dream at night so he could tell the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم. So once when he told his dream to the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم , he صلى الله عليه وسلم said, “’AbduLlah is righteous man oh! How I wish he would get up for Qiyam-al-Layl.” Till the day he died, ‘AbduLlah رضي الله تعالى عنه never missed Qiyam-al-Layl.
7) The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم would fluctuate the time of ‘Isha’ meaning he would no pray the same time every single day
The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said, “Had it not been a burden on my Ummah, I would have made praying ‘Isha’ in the middle of the night.”
8) The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلمused to pray Qiyam-al-Layl and would sleep about an hour before Fajr.
9) The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم used to stay awake after Fajr till the sunrise.
One of the Companions saw his son sleeping in that time and said to him, “Get up, this is not the time to sleep. This is the time when Allah سبحانه و تعالى divides the provision amongst His ‘Ibaad.”
10) The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم use to make wudu’ before he used to sleep.
The Makruhat regarding sleeping:
1) The Sahabah and the Tabi’in used to dislike sleeping in the morning hours.
2) A person should not sleep on the stomach.
Narrated Abu Hurairah رضي الله تعالى عنه that the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم saw someone sleeping on his stomach and he صلى الله عليه وسلم said, “This is a reclining that is not loved by Allah سبحانه و تعالى.”
3) To have a successful sleeping pattern, one has to stay away from the disobedience of Allah سبحانه و تعالى.
Sufyan ath-Thawri رحمه الله said, “I was denied of Qiyam-al-Layl because of the that I committed 5 months ago.”
4) To sleep after ‘Asr.
One ‘Alim said, “Whoever sleeps after ‘Asr and because of that he is robbed of his intelligence, has no one to blame except himself.”
5) A person shouldn’t spend excessive time on the road.
The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said, “Journey is a piece of punishment because it disturbs one’s sleep patterns, eating and drinking so when one of you fulfils his job, you should hurry up to your family.”
1)You should try to make ‘Isha’ the last thing you do in the day.
2)You should never sleep later than half the night.
3)You should recite Ayat al-Kursi to get protection of Allah سبحانه و تعالى from shaytaan, recite Surah al-Ikhlas, Surah al-Falaq and Surah an-Nas thrice and dry spit in your hands thrice and with it wipe your body.
4)You should do Tasbih, Tahmid, Takbir and contemplate upon them.
5)After you make the du’a, don’t say anything but just sleep and if you do so, then say it all over again.
The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said, “Don’t make the last thing that you say the du’a after that.”
6)When you wake up say, “Alhamdulilahi Ladhi Ahyana Ba’da Ma Amatana Wa Ilayhi Nushoor,” make wudu’ and offer Raka’atyn as soon as you get up.
7)Do no sleep after Fajr.
8)During the day, sleep the Qailula which is the Sunnah of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم which is sleeping between Dhuhr and ‘Asr.
From the lecture, “In the Middle of the Night,” by Shaykh Muhammad AlShareef خفظ الله