Sunan of sleeping and waking

In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

The prophetic traditions related to sleeping and waking will help us realize a full night’s rest in preparation for a productive day of worshiping Allah and performing good deeds.

It is recommended not to sleep before the evening prayer (salat al-isha) nor to stay up late afterwards. Rather, we should utilize the time after the evening prayer for winding down and using the time to rest so we have strength to wake up for the dawn prayer (salat al-fajr).

Abu Barza reported:

رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ كَانَ يَكْرَهُ النَّوْمَ قَبْلَ الْعِشَاءِ وَالْحَدِيثَ بَعْدَهَا

The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, disliked to sleep before the evening prayer and to talk after it.

Source: Sahih Bukhari 543, Grade: Sahih

Aisha reported:

مَا نَامَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ قَبْلَ الْعِشَاءِ وَلَا سَمَرَ بَعْدَهَا

The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, would not sleep before the evening prayer and he would not stay up after it.

Source: Sunan Ibn Majah 702, Grade: Sahih

Therefore, we should go to sleep on time in order to have strength to wake up for the dawn prayer.

It is recommended to pray the voluntary witr prayer (salat al-witr) before sleep.

Abu Ayyub Al-Ansari reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

الْوِتْرُ حَقٌّ عَلَى كُلِّ مُسْلِمٍ فَمَنْ أَحَبَّ أَنْ يُوتِرَ بِخَمْسٍ فَلْيَفْعَلْ وَمَنْ أَحَبَّ أَنْ يُوتِرَ بِثَلَاثٍ فَلْيَفْعَلْ وَمَنْ أَحَبَّ أَنْ يُوتِرَ بِوَاحِدَةٍ فَلْيَفْعَلْ

The witr prayer is a right upon every Muslim, so whoever loves to pray it with five bowings should do so. Whoever loves to pray it with three bowings should do so, and whoever loves to pray it with one bowing should do so.

Source: Sunan Abu Dawud 1422, Grade: Sahih

This prayer can be performed with an odd number of cycles (raka’at) from thirteen to even just one.

At-Tirmidhi said:

الْوَتْرُ بِثَلَاثَ عَشْرَةَ وَإِحْدَى عَشْرَةَ وَتِسْعٍ وَسَبْعٍ وَخَمْسٍ وَثَلَاثٍ وَوَاحِدَةٍ

It has been narrated from the Prophet that he would pray witr prayer with thirteen bowings, with eleven, with nine, with seven, with five, with three, and with one bowing.

Source: Sunan At-Tirmidhi 457

If we are applying this practice for the first time, we can begin by praying only one cycle of witr prayer before sleep and gradually increase our prayer to thirteen cycles or however much can be completed without undue hardship.

It is recommended to perform ablution before going to sleep. By doing so, we will receive the protection of angels and earn forgiveness from Allah.

Ibn Umar reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

مَنْ بَاتَ طَاهِرًا بَاتَ فِي شِعَارِهِ مَلَكٌ فَلَمْ يَسْتَيْقِظْ إِلا قَالَ الْمَلَكُ اللَّهُمَّ اغْفِرْ لِعَبْدِكَ فُلانٍ فَإِنَّهُ بَاتَ طَاهِرًا

Whoever goes to sleep in a state of purity will have an angel over his head and he will not awaken until the angel says: O Allah, forgive your servant for he has slept with ablution.

Source: Sahih Ibn Hibban 1064, Grade: Sahih

It is recommended to perform the prophetic supplications before going to sleep. There is a particular supplication we can say which will guarantee for us that we will die as believers if we were to die in the night.

Al-Bara ibn Azib reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

إِذَا أَخَذْتَ مَضْجَعَكَ فَتَوَضَّأْ وُضُوءَكَ لِلصَّلاَةِ ثُمَّ اضْطَجِعْ عَلَى شِقِّكَ الأَيْمَنِ ثُمَّ قُلِ اللَّهُمَّ إِنِّي أَسْلَمْتُ وَجْهِي إِلَيْكَ وَفَوَّضْتُ أَمْرِي إِلَيْكَ وَأَلْجَأْتُ ظَهْرِي إِلَيْكَ رَغْبَةً وَرَهْبَةً إِلَيْكَ لاَ مَلْجَأَ وَلاَ مَنْجَا مِنْكَ إِلاَّ إِلَيْكَ آمَنْتُ بِكِتَابِكَ الَّذِي أَنْزَلْتَ وَبِنَبِيِّكَ الَّذِي أَرْسَلْتَ

When you go to bed, perform ablution as for prayer, then lie down on your right side and say: O Allah, I submit my face to you, and entrust my affair to you, and commit my back to you, out of hope and fear of you. There is no refuge or place of safety but with you. I believe in the Book you have revealed and the Prophet you have sent.

The Prophet said further:

وَاجْعَلْهُنَّ مِنْ آخِرِ كَلاَمِكَ فَإِنْ مُتَّ مِنْ لَيْلَتِكَ مُتَّ وَأَنْتَ عَلَى الْفِطْرَةِ

Make these your last words. Verily, whoever said this and died in the night will have died upon natural instinct (al-fitrah).

Source: Sahih Muslim 2710, Grade: Sahih

We should make this the last supplication we say before laying down to sleep. However, there are other shorter supplications we can say if this one is too difficult to remember.

Abu Dharr reported: When the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, would go to sleep at night he would say:

بِاسْمِكَ نَمُوتُ وَنَحْيَا

In the name of Allah we die and we live.

Source: Sahih Bukhari 6960, Grade: Sahih

It is recommended to recite something from the Quran before sleep, as the Prophet would make it a habit to recite some chapters and verses before he went to sleep.

Jabir reported:

النَّبِيَّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ كَانَ لا يَنَامُ حَتَّى يَقْرَأَ الم تَنْزِيلُ السَّجْدَةِ وَ تَبَارَكَ الَّذِي بِيَدِهِ الْمُلْكُ

The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, would not go to sleep until he had recited, “The revelation of the Book…” (32:1) and, “Blessed is He in whose hand is the dominion…” (67:1)

Source: Al-Adab Al-Mufrad 1207, Grade: Sahih

Aisha reported:

كَانَ النَّبِيُّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ لَا يَنَامُ عَلَى فِرَاشِهِ حَتَّى يَقْرَأَ بَنِي إِسْرَائِيلَ وَالزُّمَرَ

The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, would not sleep in his bed until he recited the chapter of the children of Israel (surah bani isra’eel) and the chapter of the throngs (surah az-zumar).

Source: Sunan At-Tirmidhi 2920, Grade: Hasan

Aisha reported:

رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ كَانَ إِذَا أَخَذَ مَضْجَعَهُ نَفَثَ فِي يَدَيْهِ وَقَرَأَ بِالْمُعَوِّذَاتِ وَمَسَحَ بِهِمَا جَسَدَهُ

The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, would get ready for sleep, he would blow into his hands, recite the two chapters of refuge (surah al-falaq and surah an-nas), and he would wipe his hands over his body.

Source: Sahih Bukhari 5960, Grade: Sahih

Abu Mas’ud reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

مَنْ قَرَأَ بِالْآيَتَيْنِ مِنْ آخِرِ سُورَةِ الْبَقَرَةِ فِي لَيْلَةٍ كَفَتَاهُ

Whoever recites in the night the last two verses of the chapter of the cow (surah al-baqarah) will be sufficed by them.

Source: Sahih Bukhari 4723, Grade: Sahih

Other verses that are preferred to be recited are the verse of the Throne (ayat al-kursi), the chapter of purity (surah al-ikhlas), and the chapter of the unbelievers (surah al-kafirun), although it is good to recite any verse from the Noble Quran.

It is recommended to clean the bed, lie down on the right side, and say additional supplications.

Abu Huraira reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

إِذَا أَوَى أَحَدُكُمْ إِلَى فِرَاشِهِ فَلْيَأْخُذْ دَاخِلَةَ إِزَارِهِ فَلْيَنْفُضْ بِهَا فِرَاشَهُ وَلْيُسَمِّ اللَّهَ فَإِنَّهُ لَا يَعْلَمُ مَا خَلَفَهُ بَعْدَهُ عَلَى فِرَاشِهِ فَإِذَا أَرَادَ أَنْ يَضْطَجِعَ فَلْيَضْطَجِعْ عَلَى شِقِّهِ الْأَيْمَنِ وَلْيَقُلْ سُبْحَانَكَ اللَّهُمَّ رَبِّي بِكَ وَضَعْتُ جَنْبِي وَبِكَ أَرْفَعُهُ إِنْ أَمْسَكْتَ نَفْسِي فَاغْفِرْ لَهَا وَإِنْ أَرْسَلْتَهَا فَاحْفَظْهَا بِمَا تَحْفَظُ بِهِ عِبَادَكَ الصَّالِحِينَ

When one of you goes to his bed, he should take hold of his lower garment and clean his bed with it. Then he should mention the name of Allah for he does not know what he left upon his bed. When he intends to lie down, he should lie upon his right side and say: Glory be to Allah, my Lord. It is with you that I place my side and it is with you that I arise. If you take my soul, then forgive me. If you return my soul, then protect me with the protection given to your righteous servants.

Source: Sahih Muslim 2714, Grade: Sahih

If we experience any bad dream or nightmare during sleep, we should seek refuge in Allah through supplication and turn to the other side.

Jabir reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

إِذَا رَأَى أَحَدُكُمْ الرُّؤْيَا يَكْرَهُهَا فَلْيَبْصُقْ عَنْ يَسَارِهِ ثَلَاثًا وَلْيَسْتَعِذْ بِاللَّهِ مِنْ الشَّيْطَانِ ثَلَاثًا وَلْيَتَحَوَّلْ عَنْ جَنْبِهِ الَّذِي كَانَ عَلَيْهِ

If one of you sees a dream he dislikes, let him blow to his left three times and seek refuge in Allah from Satan three times and let him turn from the side upon which he was sleeping.

Source: Sahih Muslim 2262m Grade: Sahih 

It is recommended to perform night prayer (tahajjud) during the last third of the night when possible.

Abu Huraira reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

 يَنْزِلُ رَبُّنَا تَبَارَكَ وَتَعَالَى كُلَّ لَيْلَةٍ إِلَى السَّمَاءِ الدُّنْيَا حِينَ يَبْقَى ثُلُثُ اللَّيْلِ الآخِرُ يَقُولُ مَنْ يَدْعُونِي فَأَسْتَجِيبَ لَهُ مَنْ يَسْأَلُنِي فَأُعْطِيَهُ مَنْ يَسْتَغْفِرُنِي فَأَغْفِرَ لَهُ

Our Lord descends to the heaven on the last third of every night and He says: Who is calling upon me that I may answer him? Who is asking from me that I may give him? Who is seeking my forgiveness that I may forgive him?

Source: Sahih Bukhari 1094, Grade: Sahih

This is undoubtedly a great prophetic tradition (sunnah). However, this is a voluntary action and a Muslim should perform it only if he is certain he will be able to wake up for the obligatory dawn prayer. It is not permissible to perform a voluntary action at the expense of an obligatory one.

It is recommended for a man to wake up his wife and to perform the night prayer together if this will not cause her hardship. The spouses who do so regularly will be recorded among those who always remember Allah.

Abu Sa’eed Al-Khudri reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

مَنْ اسْتَيْقَظَ مِنْ اللَّيْلِ وَأَيْقَظَ امْرَأَتَهُ فَصَلَّيَا رَكْعَتَيْنِ جَمِيعًا كُتِبَا مِنْ الذَّاكِرِينَ اللَّهَ كَثِيرًا وَالذَّاكِرَاتِ

When a man awakens during the night and he wakes his wife and they pray together two bowings, then they will both be recorded among the men and women who remember Allah often.

Source: Sunan Abu Dawud 1451, Grade: Sahih

It is recommended to wake up early enough to perform the two voluntary cycles of prayer before congregational dawn prayer.

Aisha reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him said:

رَكْعَتَا الْفَجْرِ خَيْرٌ مِنْ الدُّنْيَا وَمَا فِيهَا

Two bowings of prayer before the dawn prayer are better than the world and whatever is in it.

Source: Sahih Muslim 725, Grade: Sahih

It is recommended to praise Allah, to remember the Hereafter, and to perform supplications after waking up.

Abu Dharr reported: When the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, woke up he would say:

الْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ الَّذِي أَحْيَانَا بَعْدَ مَا أَمَاتَنَا وَإِلَيْهِ النُّشُورُ

All praise is due to Allah who has given us life after our death and to Him is the resurrection.

Source: Sahih Bukhari 6960, Grade: Sahih

These are some of the prophetic traditions we should apply when going to sleep and waking up. By practicing these traditions we will achieve their blessings and be prepared to make the most of our day by worshiping Allah and performing good deeds.

Success comes from Allah, and Allah knows best.