What Did Night Look Like for the Prophet SAW?


taught by Sh Omar Suleiman on ILMFLIX

What did night look like for the Prophet saw?

They’d spend little of the night sleeping. Anas and Hasan Basri said that the sahabah would start praying their nawaafil between maghrib and Ish,  but  the Prophet saw used to delay Isha late into the night. Abu Hurayrah narrates that Prophet saw said, “If it were not a hardship on my ummah I’d have ordered you to delay Isha till 1/3 of night has passed or its ½.” The best time for Isha  is between 1/3 – midnight.

Ibn Abbas said “One time Prophet saw delayed Isha so much that Umar got up and called “The salat Yaa Rasulullah! All of our wives and children are sleeping now. “

Prophet saw came out and water was dripping from his head and said, “This is the best time of Isha if I didn’t want to make it hard on my ummah.”

He’d (saw) not delay it past midnight, that’s when it becomes makruh. Some scholar likened this to praying Fajr after sunrise.

Habits before Sleeping

Prophet saw was incredibly disciplined with his time. He wouldn’t sleep at a different time every night. When you lose that discipline, you’re going to find yourself in trouble. So it’s important to make sure you have a set time for sleeping. We have multiple narrations about what the Prophet saw used to do at night from different people. It’s most probably about different nights. But He had a routine every night.

Hadith : “Traveling is a form of punishment.” It disrupts your routine, sleeping, qiyam, eating habits. That’s why Prophet saw disliked traveling. You have to travel a lot to understand what this hadith means.

Narrated in Bukhari : Prophet saw used to hate sleeping before at 3atama (Isha). Prophet saw used to stop sahabah from talking after Isha. Back then, that time was time of sleep, naturally there was no lighting. Prophet saw wanted people to sleep with zhikr of Allah and not engage except in beneficial talk. It wasn’t healthy for their iman.

Anas said, (also narrated by Aisha) that Prophet saw would visit his wives and stay in home he was sleeping in. Before you start talking about turning your prayer at night into ibadah, turn your sleep into ibadah first.

Muazh said “ I seek the reward for my sleep the exact same way I seek reward for my qiyam.” The way you sleep is a form of ibadah in and of itself.

Prophet saw is basically teaching us to prepare ourselves for death. We mention words of death, lay down on right side, making wudhu (like ghusl) you’re anticipating waking up for prayer, and you’re dying with Allah’s name on your lips.

Hadith of Baraa: “The believer, when he sat up in his grave, before he’s asked “man rabbuk..,’ he asks about his salat.” Because he’s so used to going to sleep and waking up to pray. Even with angels in front of him in that horrific scene, the first question in his mind is “Is it time to pray, do I need to pray?”

Hadith of tasbih : Fatima lived in poverty and finding it very difficult, her hands had blisters. She was embarrassed to ask Prophet saw for a servant, so Ali went to ask Aisha and Aisha asked Prophet saw. Ali said that Prophet saw came to them that night, and they were getting ready for bed and Prophet saw said, “Stay seated, don’t get up.” Prophet saw sat down between them, and said, “Should I not guide you to what is better for you than a servant?” Before you sleep say Subhanallah 33 times and Alhamdulillah 33 times and Allahu Akbar 34 times, that is better than what you’re asking for. Ali said “I never left those tasbih except on night of battle of Siffeen. I remembered later on in the night and I did it.”

Recitation of certain surah and ayaat of Quran.

  1. Ayat kursi [the surah that Abu Hurayrah was told to recite as a means of protection]
  2. Surah mulk and sajdah [reminders of death and yawmul qiyaamah] they both mention qiyam
  3. Last 2 ayaat of Al Baqarah
  4. Last 3 quls

Prophet saw never left recitation of these. You can recite these before you get to bed. Ibn Qayim said, “If you want to test how your battle with Shaytaan is going, trying remembering Allah when you’re going to bed.” Ulama specifically mention that and some even hinted that that is the sunnah that Prophet saw would do it at night before he laid down in bed . Abdurrahman ibn Yazid “ I saw Abu Masood while he was doing tawaf at night and he was reciting last 2 ayaat of surah AlBaqarah over and over again until I asked him about that. He said, “I heard Prophet saw say ‘Whoever reads these 2 ayaat at night it would be enough protection for him.’ [authentic narration in Abu Dawud]

Muazh ibn Abdillah ibn Khubaydh who says that his father said that we went out on a rainy dark night looking for Prophet saw so he could lead us in salah. I met Prophet saw but I didn’t say anything and Prophet saw didn’t say anything but said “Qul.” I said to Prophet saw, what should I say? Prophet saw said qul. What should I say? Huwallahu ahad. Recite al ikhlas and the 2 muawwizhaat. If you recite these 3 times they will protect you from everything. [Tirmidhi] Many ahadeeth about ruqyah was before revelation of these 3 surah and after these revealed Prophet saw abandoned everything else and stuck to these 3 surah as protection.

How did Prophet saw recite them?

In Bukhari – Prophet saw used to lay on his bed and would put his hand together like making dua, blow into his hand and recite 3 qul and wipe face to where he can reach (up to his knees) and repeat 3 times.

Physically protect ourselves from harmful things. Hadith in Tirmidhi and Muslim “Whoever says 3 times aoozhubilkalimatillahi tammati min sharri ma khalaq, no poisonous insect will harm him that night and nothing will be able to cause an infection to him.”

Suhayl says, “Our family used to learn it every single night and I had a daughter who was stung one after reciting it and didn’t feel any pain.”[Tirmidhi]

A man came to Prophet saw and said, “Last night a scorpion stung me. Prophet saw said had you recited aoozhubilkalimatillahi tammati min sharri ma khalaq it would have protected you from all of that. [Muslim]

Go through and make sure you read all the azhkaar from fortress of the Muslims before you sleep

[Authentic hadith in At Tabarani ]Ibn Abbas said that Prophet saw said, “Purify these bodies and Allah will purify you.”

Making wudhu before bed is one of essential sunan of Prophet saw

“Make wudhu the way you make wudhu for salah.” Prophet saw said, “There is no slave of Allah who sleeps at night in state of wudhu except that Allah sends an angel sitting at his head and every time he turns over at night the angels say, “Oh Allah forgive your servant because he went to sleep in a state of purity.”

When you wake up at night, Hadith of Muazh in Abu Dawud : “There is no Muslim who goes to sleep remembering Allah and in state of wudhu except that every time he turns over and he asks Allah for good in this world and the next that Allah will give it to him. If he gets up to pray, Allah will accept it.” If you wake up at night, make dua.

Hadith that we often overlook : Abu Hurayrah said that one time Prophet saw was speaking to Bilal and said “Tell me something that you do that give you the greatest hope of attaining jannah after becoming Muslim. I heard the sound of your footsteps in Jannah.” Bilal said, “I don’t consider any act of mine to give me more hope except that when I make wudhu in any hour in the night of the day, I immediately perform salah as long as it was destined for me to perform. “

He didn’t specify 2 rakaat. Even if you want to wake up at night, when you make wudhu, you’re already refreshed.

So just pray 2 rakaat before going to bed. Prophet saw approved it, he was not said to have done it, but he (saw) approved it. You would get the reward of Qiyam too.

Ibn Umar said that Umar came to Prophet saw and said, “What if a person is junub at night?” Prophet saw said, “Just do wudhu and go to sleep.” This type of wudhu doesn’t have to have legal implication. They would still have that reward that that hadith was mentioning even if they hadn’t done ghusl yet.

Ibn Abbas narrated “When Prophet saw would wake up at night, if he wanted to use restroom, he would use restroom wash his face and hands and go back to sleep.” [Abu Dawud]. Don’t have to make wudhu over and over again.

Laying on the right side. He’d extend his right arm and sleep with his head on right arm. There are many condemnations on person sleeping on stomach or left side. “When anyone of you goes to bed let him sleep on right side.”

Many ahadeeth mention dua after person lay on right side.

Bismika rabbi wadha3tu jambi wabika arfa3u in amsakta nafsi far7amha wa in arsaltahaa fahfazhhaa bima tahfazhu bihi ibadaka saaliheen

  • بِسمِكَ رَبِّ وَضَعتُ جَنبِ وَبِكَ ارفَعُ إن امسَكتَ نَفسِي فَارحَمهَا وَ إن ارسَلتَهَا فَاحفَظهَا بِمَا تَحفَظُ بِهِ عِبَادَكَ الصَالِحِين

[In Your name Oh my lord, I lay myself down and get up again. If You take my soul then have mercy on it and if You send it back then protect it like You protect Your righteous servants]
Al Baraa said that Prophet saw came to me and said when you go to bed and lay on your right side and you make wudhu as if you’re going to pray, say Allahuma aslamtu wajhi ilayk wafaradhtu amri ilayka wa alja2tu zdhahri ilayka raghbatan warahbatan ilayka, laa malja2a wa laaa manja3a  illa ilayka. Allahumma amantu bikitaabika llazhee anzalta wabinabiyyika lazheen arsalta… [Baraa was repeating behind Prophet saw and at wabinabiyyak, he said wabirasuulik and Prophet saw put his hand on his chest and said wabinabiyyik.] it shows you that these dua need to be memorized verbatim.
الّلَهُمّ اسلَمتُ وَجهِ إلَيكَ وَفَرَّضتُ امرِي إلَيكَ وَالجَأتُ ظَهرِ إلَيكَ رَغبَة وَرَهبَة إلَيكَ لاَ مَلجَأَ وَلاَ مَنجَأَ إلاَّ إلَيكَ الّلَهُمَّ امَنتُ بِكِتَابِكَ الَّذِي انزَلتَ وَبِنَبِيِّكَ الَذِي ارسَلتَ

Then Prophet saw would say 3 times “Allahumma qeeni 3azhaabak yauma tab3athu ibaadak” [Abu Dawud]
الّلَهُمّ قِنِي عَذَابَ عَذَابَك يَومَ تَبعَثُ عِبَادَك
The last thing he (saw) would say before sleeping bismikallahuma amoot wa ahyaa. بِسمِكَ الّلَهُمَّ امُوتُ وَ احيَا Make the intention at that moment. The Prophet saw said, “Whoever goes to bed intending to wake up at night and his sleep overcomes him, Allah will write for you what you intended and his sleep was a sadaqah from His lord[Sunan Abu Dawud narrated by Abu Dardaa]. The same wording was used for Prophet saw in Ramadan (when you accidentally eat during fasting). It was a charity from Allah. How merciful is Allah! You wake up fresh and that sleep is sadaqah from Allah and Allah says “I’ll take care of your qiyam as well.”
When you sleep and dream (true and hadith nafs (regurgitated thoughts during the day) ). The true dreams tend to come in the later part of the night. If you were all night long staying up watching movie or doing senseless things, it’d be more likely to have those stuff in your dream. If you go to bed with all that ibadah, there is more chance you will dream about something that relates to ibadah and if you wake up , you’d be more like to at least make dua. All of these are effective ways to prepare yourselves for qiyam.

Not from sunnah (Sheikh Omar doesn’t know if there is a hadith that specifically alludes to this):- Drink a lot of water before you go to sleep. Your bladder is more effective than your alarm clock. Hadith of Ibn Abbas where Prophet saw woke up and went to the restroom kind of alludes to that.

You wake up at night and in bed, [Bukhari] Ubaada ibn Saamit narrated that the Prophet saw said, “Whoever turns over at night and says, lailaaha illallaah wahdahu la sharikalah lahul mulku walahul hamd wahuwa ala kulli shay 2in qadeer Alhamdulillah wa subhanallah wa Lailha illallaah wallahu akbar walahawla wala quwwata illah billaah and then says allahumaghfirli or makes any dua, it will be answered. And if he gets up and prayed, his salah will be accepted.

لاَ إلَهَ إلاَّ اللَهُ وَحدَهُ لاَ شَرِيكَ لَه لَهُ المُلكُ وَلَهُ الحَمدُ وَهُوَ عَلى كُلِّ شَيئِ قَدِير الحَمدُ لِلَّه وَسُبحَانَ اللَه وَ لاَ إلَهَ إلاَّ اللَه وَ اللَه اكبَر وَلاَ حَولَ وَلاَ قُوَّةَ إلاَّ بِااللَّه

Allahumaghfirli is the greatest dua you can make. You stand up in qiyam to ask to be forgiven in the first place. If you’re just waking up and you say that dua and ask for anything you want, but you specifically say allahumaghfirli. It’s recommended by the Prophet saw and there is nothing granted by Allah than is greater than His forgiveness then that will be granted to you.[Bukhari]

This is my notes from the ILF class Stranger In the Night, taught by Sh. Omar Suleiman. I thought I’d share my notes this way (piece meal)  on top of uploading them as 1 big file. It will also motivate me to actually finish cleaning it up in sha Allah! May it be of benefit. Ameen.


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