Bedtime Routine

In our Sahih Bukhari class today, we learned this hadith, thus completing the Book of Wudhu.

(75)
Chapter: The superiority of a person who sleeps with ablution.
(75)
باب فَضْلِ مَنْ بَاتَ عَلَى الْوُضُوءِ

Narrated Al-Bara ‘bin `Azib:

The Prophet (sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said to me, “Whenever you go to bed perform ablution like that for the prayer, lie or your right side and say, “Allahumma aslamtu wajhi ilaika, wa fauwadtu `Amri ilaika, wa alja’tu Zahri ilaika raghbatan wa rahbatan ilaika. La Malja’a wa la manja minka illa ilaika. Allahumma amantu bikitabika-l-ladhi anzalta wa bina-biyika-l ladhi arsalta” (O Allah! I surrender to You and entrust all my affairs to You and depend upon You for Your Blessings both with hope 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). Then if you die on that very night, you will die with faith (i.e. or the religion of Islam). Let the aforesaid words be your last utterance (before sleep).” I repeated it before the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) and when I reached “Allahumma amantu bikitabika-l-ladhi anzalta (O Allah I believe in Your Book which You have revealed).” I said, “Wa-rasulika (and your Apostle).” The Prophet (sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said, “No, (but say): ‘Wanabiyika-l-ladhi arsalta (Your Prophet whom You have sent), instead.”

حَدَّثَنَا مُحَمَّدُ بْنُ مُقَاتِلٍ، قَالَ أَخْبَرَنَا عَبْدُ اللَّهِ، قَالَ أَخْبَرَنَا سُفْيَانُ، عَنْ مَنْصُورٍ، عَنْ سَعْدِ بْنِ عُبَيْدَةَ، عَنِ الْبَرَاءِ بْنِ عَازِبٍ، قَالَ قَالَ النَّبِيُّ صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏”‏ إِذَا أَتَيْتَ مَضْجَعَكَ فَتَوَضَّأْ وُضُوءَكَ لِلصَّلاَةِ، ثُمَّ اضْطَجِعْ عَلَى شِقِّكَ الأَيْمَنِ، ثُمَّ قُلِ اللَّهُمَّ أَسْلَمْتُ وَجْهِي إِلَيْكَ، وَفَوَّضْتُ أَمْرِي إِلَيْكَ، وَأَلْجَأْتُ ظَهْرِي إِلَيْكَ، رَغْبَةً وَرَهْبَةً إِلَيْكَ، لاَ مَلْجَأَ وَلاَ مَنْجَا مِنْكَ إِلاَّ إِلَيْكَ، اللَّهُمَّ آمَنْتُ بِكِتَابِكَ الَّذِي أَنْزَلْتَ، وَبِنَبِيِّكَ الَّذِي أَرْسَلْتَ‏.‏ فَإِنْ مُتَّ مِنْ لَيْلَتِكَ فَأَنْتَ عَلَى الْفِطْرَةِ، وَاجْعَلْهُنَّ آخِرَ مَا تَتَكَلَّمُ بِهِ ‏”‏‏.‏ قَالَ فَرَدَّدْتُهَا عَلَى النَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم فَلَمَّا بَلَغْتُ ‏”‏ اللَّهُمَّ آمَنْتُ بِكِتَابِكَ الَّذِي أَنْزَلْتَ ‏”‏‏.‏ قُلْتُ وَرَسُولِكَ‏.‏ قَالَ ‏”‏ لاَ، وَنَبِيِّكَ الَّذِي أَرْسَلْتَ ‏”‏‏.‏

Reference : Sahih al-Bukhari 247
In-book reference : Book 4, Hadith 114

The lessons from this hadith struck me and I feel compelled to share it.

In Islam we even have etiquettes in sleeping which are outlined in the above hadith. It is preferred that we go to sleep in a state of Taharah. Sleep is the twin sister of death, during which our souls are taken by Allah, and thus in utter respect and love for Allah, it is preferred that we be in a state of wudhu. If we die in our sleep, wouldn’t we want to meet Allah in a state of Taharah ? That is why it is also preferred not to sleep in a state of janabah. If one cannot make ghusl after being in a state of janabah, at least make wudhu.

Te prophet salllaallahu alayhi wasallam instructed for us to sleep on the right side. In class, it was mentioned that sleeping on the right side has physical and medical benefits as well, though as believing Muslims we don’t need science to prove the sunnah. If we have belief in what we should believe in, having it stated by the prophet salllaallahu alayhi wasallam should be more than sufficient for us. I decided to google this and find out for myself yet not spend too much time researching it, and I found this article which states that sleeping on the right side slows the sympathetic nervous system, which in turn lowers blood pressure and slows heart rate. I also found this blog post which presents the medical benefits of sleeping on the right side. Whatever it is, if Allah is the one who created us, He knows what’s best for us, and out of His love and mercy, He sends scriptures and messengers to show us how to live the best way of life for our own good in this life and in the hereafter, therefore, if His prophet (saw) says to sleep on the right side, for sure there is benefit in it. Scientific studies can keep on researching proving and disproving. But our matter has been made simple ; just follow the sunnah.

For mothers, we should also train our babies to sleep on their right side, maybe keep turning them, but at least start with the right side.

Another thing that really really touched me in this hadith is the dua. I have maybe vaguely heard of this dua before but never really paid attention to it because it’s long (I know, a pathetic excuse). But subhanallah, after listening to Sr. Taimiyah expound on it in class, I am throwing my pathetic excuse out the window.

sleepdua

“Allahumma aslamtu wajhi ilaika, wa fauwadtu `Amri ilaika, wa alja’tu Zahri ilaika raghbatan wa rahbatan ilaika. La Malja’a wa la manja minka illa ilaika. Allahumma amantu bikitabika-l-ladhi anzalta wa bina-biyika-l ladhi arsalta” (O Allah! I surrender to You and entrust all my affairs to You and depend upon You for Your Blessings both with hope 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).

In this dua, 3 things are mentioned:

  1. face – وَجه
  2. affair – امر
  3. back/side – ظَهر

As we retire for the day, we are saying to Allah that we are handing over these 3 things to Him. Think about it. Insomnia is a real problem for most women. And sometimes, what keeps you at night are things lingering on your mind, problems, tomorrow’s plans, next year’s plans, next decade’s troubles. Sometimes, it’s just that we are not sleepy. Our body betrays us and refuses to let us sleep. Subhanallah. How de-stressing it is to go to bed at night everyday handing all our troubles, affairs, etc to Allah, while having hope AND fear of Him [رَغبَة وَ رَهبَة إلَيكَ]. It is amazing that these two wings of a bird of iman are mentioned in this beautiful dua. After doing this, the dua proceeds where we acknoweldge with humility that the only place of refuge and safety is with Him, and that we affirm our belief in the Quran and the prophet salllaallahu alayhi wasallam. With that, we shut our eyes and sleep.

This dua, as I learned in class today, should  be the last thing we utter before going to sleep. All the recitations at bedtime, like Surah Sajdah, Al Mulk, Ayatul Kursi, last 2 ayaat of Surah Al Baqarah, the 3 quls, and any azhkaar, should be said before this dua. This dua should be the last speech we make,  because we never know if we will wake up the next morning. Subhanallah.

Another lesson that Sr. Taimiyah extracted from this hadith is the ettiquette of learning. This also struck me, subhanallah. In this hadith, Baraa Ibn Aazib was the one who was interacting with the prophet salllaallahu alayhi wasallam. Towards the end of the hadith, Baraa repeated the dua to the prophet saw, and instead of saying وَنَبِيِّكَ, he said وَرَسُولِكَ. The prophet salllaallahu alayhi wasallam corrected him.

There are several lessons to be learned from this exchange between Baraa and the prophet sallallahu alayhi wasallam. First, learning is not just about listening and taking in information. It’s also to repeat after, or test one’s understanding either by attending group study, discussion, or taking tests and doing assignments. If a student just comes to class, sits and listens and takes notes, she may not know if she has understood the material correctly without attending group discussion or doing an assignment or test. As Sr. Taimiyah said, these study aids (discussion, tests, assignments) are half of one’s learning. Subhanallah, what came to mind when she mentioned this was the difference between being a listener or a registered student in a course. I personally do not like the concept of a test especially when it involves grades, but I do see the wisdom and benefits of tests and assignments, as it engages our mind to apply what we have learned. If the test is designed properly, it shouldn’t also just be a regurgitation of information, but rather, application of the knowledge in real life situations. Of course, the best tests are real life experience, but sometimes depending on the nature of the knoweldge or information, it has to be on paper.

Imam Bukhari ended the Book of Wudhu with this hadith. It’s an encouragement for us to be in a state of Taharah all the time even when going to bed so that even our sleep becomes an act of worship, subhanallah! May Allah give us tawfeeq to understand His commands in His book and obey Him and His prophet salllaallahu alayhi wasallam by not belittling the sunnah but rather following them with  understanding. Ameen!

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