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The Islamic etiquettes of sleeping

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It is possible for a person to worship Allah through the whole day and night.  This does not mean that we spend 24 hours of the day in prayer, rather that we follow the Islamic etiquette for different tasks in whatever we do and this is our worship of Allah.  Sleeping is no different, and given the amount of time we spend sleeping, a person should be keen to follow the etiquette of sleeping so as to spend these many hours worshipping their Lord. 

The following points constitute the manner of sleeping that was practiced by Prophet Muhammad (PBUH): 

Summary

The Islamic etiquettes of sleeping emphasise:

  • Protecting oneself from the Shaytaan (Satan) whilst sleeping by performing acts (such as making wudu (ablution) before sleeping),  making dua'a (supplications) and reading verses of the Qur'an

  • Ensuring one's safety by removing anything harmful from the bed covers and extinguishing lamps and fires

  • Remembering Allah upon going to sleep and waking

  • Saying Shahada (declaration of faith) as the last words before sleeping

  • Sleeping on one's right side facing the Qiblah (in Mecca) and not sleeping lying on one's stomach or naked

  • Special etiquettes with regard to having a bad dream

  • Children who have come of age not sharing beds with others

  • Respecting people's privacy when they are in their bedrooms

 

Before sleeping a person should:

  • Pray the witr prayer if one cannot be sure of waking before dawn to pray it

  • Perform wudu (ablution), since it will help the dreams of the person be more true, protect him/her from the Shaytaan (Satan) and be better should the person die whilst sleeping

  • Shake the bed covers three times, and repeat this should s/he get up in the night and return to the bed, in case anything dangerous is in the bed covers (e.g. spiders, scorpions etc) 

  • Extinguish any lamps so that the Shaytaan (Satan) will not cause mischief whilst people sleep.

"A mouse (or rat) came and started dragging the wick (of the lamp). It threw it in front of the Messenger of Allah  (PBUH), onto the mat on which he was sitting, and it burnt a hole the size of a dirham (a coin). He said, "When you go to sleep, extinguish your lamps, for the Shaytaan will tell creatures like this to do something like this so that you will be burned."

  • Read the 3 chapters of the Qur'an that give protection from the Shaytaan (Satan): Surah Iklas, Surah Falaq, Surah Naas, cup his/her palms and blow gently into them, and then pass his/her hands over as much of his/her body as possible 3 times

  • Say "Subhaan-Allah" (Glory be to Allah) 33 times, "Alhamdulillah" (Praise be to Allah) 33 times, and "Allahu Akbar" (Allah is the greatest) 34 times. 

  • Lie on his/her right side and place the right hand under the cheek so that s/he is facing the Qiblah (direction of the Kaba in Makkah (Mecca)).  Note: In practice, Muslims will often try (where possible) to position their beds in such a way that when they lie on their right side they will face the Qiblah.

  • Read the verse of the Qur'an known as Ayat al-Kursi (Al-Baqarah 2:255).  Whoever reads this when lying down to sleep will be protected from Satan until s/he rises in the morning.

  • Read one or more of the many dua'a (supplications) that may be said before sleeping.  A few examples are:

    Allahumma qini 'adhaabaka yauma tab'athu 'ibaadaka[recite 3 times] 

    ("Oh Allah, save me from Your punishment on the Day of Your slaves' rising")

    or  

    Bismika Allahumma amootu wa ahya 

    ("In Your Name, Oh Allah, I die and I live") Note: Here, "die" and "live" are metaphors for sleep and wakefulness, respectively

    or

    Bismika Rabbi wada'tu janbi, wa bika arfa'uhu, fa'in amsakta nafsi farhamha, wa in arsaltaha fahfazha, bima tahfazu bihi 'ibaa-dakas saaliheen

    ("With Your Name my Lord, I lay myself down; and with Your Name I rise.  And if my soul You take, have mercy on it, and if you send it back then preserve it as You preserve Your righteous slaves.") 

     

  • Finally, the person should recite the shahada (declaration of faith) lest they should die in their sleep and then these would be their last words.

 

If a person wakes up at night and turns over they should say:

 La ilaha illallahul wahidul Qahhara, Rabbus samaawaati wal ardi wa ma bainahumal Azeezul Ghaffaru 

("There is no God but Allah, the One, the Victorious, Lord of the heavens and the earth and all that is between them, the All-Mighty, the All-Forgiving.")

 

If a person has a bad dream they should:

  • Spit to his/her left (three times) in such a way that no saliva is spat, rather it is a 'dry spit'
  • Seek refuge in Allah from the devil and from the evil of what s/he saw in the dream by saying:

A'udhu billahi mina shatytan nir rajeem 

(" I seek refuge in Allah from Satan, the accursed") 

  • Say:

A'udhu bikalimaatil lahit taamaati min ghadabihi wa 'iqaabihi, wa sharri ibaadihi, wa min hama-zatish shayaateeni wa an yahdurun 

("I seek refuge in the Perfect Word of Allah from His anger and His punishment, from the evil of His slaves and from the taunts of devils and from their presence") 

  • Not speak to anyone about the dream
  • Turn over onto his/her other side
  • Get up and pray if desired

When a person wakes from sleeping they should:

  • Say one or more of the dua'a (supplications) for waking.   Examples are:

 Alhamdu lillahil-ladhi ahyaana ba'da ma amaatana wa ilaihin nushur 

("Praise be to Allah Who brings us life after He has brought us death and unto Him is the return.")

or

Alhamdu liallahil-ladhi aafaani fi jasadi wa radda alayya roohi, wa adhina li bidhikrihi 

("Praise be to Allah Who gave strength to my body, and returned my soul to me and permitted me to remember Him.")

 

Other etiquette relating to sleeping:

  • It is not permissible for a male child who has reached the age of puberty or ten years of age to sleep in the same bed as his sisters, mother or any other female.  The same applies to female children who have reached puberty or ten years of age regarding sleeping with males.  This is to avoid any kind of temptation or evil and to safeguard honour.

  • If a child is approaching the age of puberty then they must seek to enter permission their parents' room at three times of the day: before morning prayer, when adults have their rest after noon prayer, and after night prayer.  This is because it is at these times that the parents are more likely to be removing their clothes and are entitled to their privacy at these times and the child has begun to become aware of private parts and son.  Once the child reaches the age of ten, or puberty, they must seek permission at all times of the day to enter the bedroom.

  • It is not permissible for a person to sleep on their stomach (unless they must due to illness) since this is hated by Allah and it is how the people of Hell lie.

  • It is disliked for a person to sleep naked since their private parts may become uncovered   

  • It is better to avoid sleeping after Asr (afternoon prayer),  since after Asr prayer there is great reward in making dua'a (supplications) and prayers are more likely to be answered at this time.  For this reason, it is better if a person is awake rather than sleeping so that they might get the benefit of this.

     

     

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