Those who read about the Prophet’s guidance concerning being awake and concerning sleep will find that his sleep was the best and most beneficial for the body, the organs, and one’s strength. He used to sleep in the early part of the night and would wake up at the beginning of the latter part, use siwak (natural toothbrush), perform ablution, and pray as much as Allah permitted him. Consequently, the body, the organs, and one’s strength will acquire their fair share of sleep, rest, and physical activity, along with acquiring complete rewards (from Allah). This method ensures the righteousness of the heart and body in this life and the Next Life. The Prophet * did not oversleep or deprive his body of necessary sleep, making his method in this regard the most perfect. He used to sleep when sleep is warranted and would lie on his right side and remember Allah in supplication until sleep overwhelmed his eyes. In addition, his body would not be burdened with overeating or overdrinking. He neither slept on the bare floor, nor on high beds. Instead, he had mats made of leaves, used to lean on a pillow, and would sometimes place his hand under his cheek. We will now elaborate on the beneficial and harmful methods of sleep.

Sleep is a condition during which the body’s instinctive heat becomes idle so that the body gets some rest. There are two types of sleep, normal and abnormal. Normal sleep entails resting the inner powers and the senses. When these powers are idle, the body refrains from its usual activity and thus the vapors and wetness that were moving and decomposing while awake would ascend to the brain which is the residence of these powers. The brain then becomes idle, and this is the normal type of sleep. ‏ا Abnormal (i.e. Heavy) sleep occurs because of an accident or a disease. In this case, the excess wetness will take over the brain in a manner that prevents the person from waking up easily. Or, excessive amounts of vapor and moisture ascend to the brain, just as what happens in the aftermath of overeating and overdrinking, and cause the brain to relax and thus the person goes to sleep.

There are two benefits of sleep: the senses get to rest from the fatigue that overtakes them, in this case, the senses will rest from the tiresome activity that occurs when one is awake. The second benefit is digesting food and leading the various mixtures, conditions, or temperaments to maturity (processing bodily wastes).

While one is asleep, his instinctive energy or heat concentrates on the digestion process and this is why the body gets cold and needs a cover while one is asleep. The best type of sleep is one to sleep on his right side so that the food sits in the stomach comfortably, in the stomach leans to the left side as we have stated. One could lie on his left side a little so that digestion is made faster because the stomach leans on the liver. One should then turn again on his right side to help the stomach push the food down the stomach and this way one starts and ends his sleep while lying on his right side, Sleeping on the left side regularly harms the heart because the organs of the body will pressure the heart with their weight.

One of the worst types of sleep is on the back, although resting while lying on the back without going to sleep is not harmful. Sleeping on the stomach is the worst way to sleep, Ahmad and Ibn Majah narrated that Abu Umamah said:

“The Prophet passed by a sleeping man in the mosque who was lying on his face (stomach) and he touched him with his foot, saying.

‘Sit up, for it is a Hellish sleep.”

Good habits of sleeping help the natural powers of the body to fulfill their tasks and strengthen the psychological health of the person. Sleeping during the day is bad for health and causes humid ailments, makes the color pale, ails the spleen, softens the nerves, causes laziness, and weakens desire, except during the summertime around noon. The worst type of sleep occurs in the early hours of the day and in the afternoon. Ibn Ab’ass once saw his son sleeping in the early morning and said to him, “Wake up! Do you sleep at the hours during which sustenance is being divided,” it was said that sleeping during the day is of three types: good habit, which entails sleeping around noon, careless habit, which occurs in the new morning and keeps one busy from matters of this and the Next Life; and madness, which occurs after ‘Asr (afternoon). This is why some of ours said, “Those who sleep after ‘Asr (prayer) and lose their minds should only blame their own selves.”

Sleeping during the early morning prevents sustenance from coming, in that the early morning is the time when the creation goes out to seek their sustenance. Being asleep during this time in which sustenance is being divided causes one to miss out on this chance of gaining sustenance, except when one sleeps for a necessity or a need. This type of sleep is In addition very harmful the body because it causes numbness in the senses and spoils the stomach’s contents that should be being decomposed through physical activity.

Further, sleeping in the early morning hours causes numbness and general weakness in the body, especially if one goes to sleep before relieving himself (using the toilet), moving about, performing physical activity, and before having the stomach busy (by eating some food). This itself is a difficult ailment that even leads to more ailments.

Sleeping under the sun excites otherwise dormant ailments, and such is the case with sleeping while a part of the body is under the sun and a part of the body is under the shade. Abu Dawood narrated that Abu Hurayrah said that the Messenger of Allah said:

“If one of you was in the shade and then the shade recedes and exposes a part of the body to the sun while the other part is still under the shade, let him move from that place.” [AI-Hakim].

Ibn Majah and Abu Dawood a so narrated:

“The Messenger of Allah b disallowed sitting between the shade and the sun.”

This Hadith indicates that it is not allowed for one to sleep while partially in the shade and partially in the sun. Further, in the Sahihain it is narrated that AlI-Bara bin ‘Azib said that the Messenger of Allah said:

“Whenever you go to bed perform ablution like that for the prayer, lie on your right side and say, ‘O Allah! I surrender myself _to You turn my face towards You, entrust all my affairs to You, and depend upon You for Your Blessings both with hope (in You) and fear of You. There is no fleeing from You, and there is no place of protection and safety except with You O Allah! I believe in Your Book (the Qur’an) which You have revealed and in Your Prophet (Muhammad) whom You have sent.’

Make these words the last of your speech, because if you die on that very night, you will die on the Fitrah (i.e., or the religion of Islam).”

In addition, AI-Bokhary narrated that ‘Ayesha said:

When the Messenger of Allah would pray the two (voluntary) Rak’ah of Dawn, he would lie on his right side.”

It was said that the wisdom behind sleeping on the right side of the body is that the person does not oversleep. Since the heart leans towards the left side, then sleeping on the right side prevents the heart from residing in its normal place, thus causing the sleeping person to wake up when he feels restless. Sleeping on the left side makes the heart comfortable and thus the person oversleeps and misses out on the affairs of his life and religion.

Since seeping is similar to death, it is not possible or suitable for the Ever-Living Who does not die. Further, sleeping is not suitable for the resident: of Paradise. In addition, while asleep, people need to be protected from every type of harm or affliction, and sin only Allah is able to fulfill this need, the Prophet taught us to supplicate to Allah with words of fear and eagerness before going to sleep. With these words, one invokes Allah’s perfect protection for himself and for his body, The Prophet directed us to remember our faith in Allah and make such words the last of our speech at night. Since one might die in his sleep, he then will enter Paradise if these words of faith were the last words he uttered in this world. The Prophet’s guidance in this regard has included the benefits of the heart, body, and soul while awake and asleep and for this life and the Next Life. Allah’s peace and blessings be on him whose nation has acquired all types of good through him.

The Prophet’s statement:

“I submit myself to You.” This means I surrender myself to You, just as the owned slave surrenders his freedom to his master. Further; turning the face towards Allah means directing one’s full attention to the Lord with sincerity with intention and while affirming being a slave, humble, and obedient to Him. Allah said:

Muhammad says; “I have submitted myself to Allah (in Islam)”So if they dispute with you (Muhammad says; “I have submitted myself to Allah (in Islam), and (so have) those who follow me.”(3:20)

The face is the most honorable part of the body and the residence of the senses and awareness. Referring matters to Allah means submission and contentment in the heart while being pleased with what Allah decides an¢ choosing of what He wills and what He is pleased with. Referring all affairs to Allah is one of the honorable parts of slavery to Allah.

Leaning one’s back to Allah indicates the strength of one’s depending on and trust in Him. He who leans his back to a firm foundation will not have a fear of falling down, The heart has two types of strength, seeking, which is In addition to eagerness, and running away, which is fear. The slave seeks his interest and runs away from whatever might harm him. Therefore, the Prophet has joined both powers in this Hadith by saying, “With eagerness and fear.”

The Prophet then praised the Lord and states that the slave has no refuge or resort from Allah except Allah. Allah is the One Whom the slave seeks refuge with so that He saves him from Himself, and another Hadith, the Prophet said:

“I seek refuge with Your Pleasure from Your Anger, and with Your Pardon from Your Torment, and [ seek refuge from You with You.”

Therefore, Allah Alone grants refuge to His slave and saves him from His torment, which so occurs by His will. Torment and Favor is both from Allah Alone.

Further, the slave asks Allah for support against what He has (of Torment and trials) and seeks Him Alone for his safety. He Alone is the Lord of everything and nothing occurs except by His will.

‎”And if Allah touches you with hurt, there is none who can remove it but He…” (10: 107)

“Say:Who is he who can protect you from Allah if He intends to harm you or intends mercy on you?’


The Prophet then ended the supplication by affirming faith in Allah’s Book and Messenger, which holds the key to the ultimate safety and success in this life and the Next Life. This is the Prophet’s guidance concerning sleep.

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