By Shaykh Abdul Qayum | 14 June 2024

Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem

Dear brothers and sisters in Islam,

In this week’s Friday khutbah, I reflected on a blessing that often escapes our attention: the gift of sleep. We frequently overlook this gift from Allah, taking for granted the rejuvenation and peace it brings to our lives.

Allah has bestowed upon us countless blessings, many of which we fail to recognise or appreciate fully. If we were to attempt to enumerate these blessings, we would find ourselves overwhelmed by their sheer number and magnitude. This sentiment is beautifully captured in the Qur’an, where Allah says:

And if you should count the favours of Allah, you could not enumerate them. Indeed, mankind is [generally] most unjust and ungrateful.

(Surah Ibrahim, 14:34)

Among these innumerable blessings, sleep stands out as a remarkable gift. It comes to us free of charge, requiring no effort on our part, yet providing immense benefits. In the khutbah, I emphasised how sleep offers us the opportunity to rest and recharge, allowing us to wake up each morning with renewed energy and vigour.

Beyond what I discussed in the sermon, it’s worth noting that sleep plays a crucial role in our physical and mental well-being, as modern science has discovered. During sleep, our bodies undergo essential processes of repair and regeneration. Our brains consolidate memories and process information from the day, enhancing our cognitive functions. Our immune systems are strengthened, helping us fight off illnesses. These additional benefits further underscore the wisdom and mercy of Allah in providing us with this gift.

Allah draws our attention to the importance of sleep in the Qur’an.

And of His signs is your sleep by night and day and your seeking of His bounty. Indeed, in that are signs for a people who listen.

(Ar-Rum, 30:23)

This verse serves as a powerful reminder that sleep is not merely a biological necessity, but a sign of Allah’s power and mercy. It’s a recurring miracle that we experience daily, yet often fail to appreciate fully. The alternation of night and day, of sleep and wakefulness, is a testament to the perfect design of our Creator.

I also discussed how sleep serves as a poignant reminder of death. Our Prophet Muhammad ﷺ (peace be upon him) referred to sleep as the “minor death”. This analogy should prompt us to reflect on our actions and prepare for the inevitable. Each night, as we lay down to sleep, we’re experiencing a form of temporary death, only to be ‘resurrected’ in the morning by Allah’s will.

Allah further elaborates on this concept:

Allah takes the souls at the time of their death, and those that do not die [He takes] during their sleep. Then He keeps those for which He has decreed death and releases the others for a specified term. Indeed in that are signs for a people who give thought.

(Az-Zumar, 39:42

This verse invites us to ponder on the nature of our existence and the fragility of life. It should motivate us to use our time wisely, to engage in good deeds, and to seek forgiveness for our shortcomings.

In the khutbah, I stressed the importance of following the Sunnah of our beloved Prophet Muhammad ﷺ regarding sleep habits. He taught us valuable practices that not only improve our sleep quality but also increase our spiritual rewards. For instance, he advised us to sleep on our right side, a position that modern science has found beneficial for digestion and heart health.

The Prophet ﷺ also encouraged us to recite specific duas before sleeping. These include reciting Ayat al-Kursi, the last two verses of Surah Al-Baqarah, and the three ‘Quls’ (Surahs Al-Ikhlas, Al-Falaq and An-Nas). These recitations serve as a form of protection and a means of seeking Allah’s blessings.

Another important Sunnah I highlighted is performing wudu before sleeping. This practice not only ensures physical cleanliness but also brings spiritual benefits. A beautiful hadith I shared illustrates this point:

Whenever a person goes to sleep in a state of wudu, an angel stays with him inside his garment. Whenever he turns during the night, the angel supplicates: ‘O Allah, forgive Your servant, for he slept in a state of purity.’

(Sahih Muslim)

Imagine the blessings and forgiveness we could accumulate if we consistently followed this Sunnah!

I also reminded the congregation about the importance of waking up for Tahajjud prayer. The quiet of the night provides an excellent opportunity for self-reflection and intimate communication with Allah. Our Prophet ﷺ said:

The best prayer after the obligatory prayers is the night prayer.

(Sahih Muslim)

Satan puts three knots at the back of the head of any of you if he is asleep. On every knot he reads and exhales the following words, ‘The night is long, so stay asleep.’ When one wakes up and remembers Allah, one knot is undone; and when one performs ablution, the second knot is undone; and when one prays, the third knot is undone, and one gets up energetic with a good heart in the morning; otherwise one gets up lazy and with a mischievous heart.

(Sahih Al-Bukhari)

This hadith emphasises the spiritual battle we face each night and the importance of overcoming our desires for the sake of Allah.

I encourage all of us to be more mindful of the great blessing of sleep. Let's strive to implement the teachings of our Prophet ﷺ in our sleep routines. Before we close our eyes, let's take a moment to reflect on our day, seek forgiveness for our shortcomings, and express gratitude for the blessings we've received.

Upon waking, let’s make it a habit to thank Allah with the dua taught to us by our Prophet ﷺ:

الحمد لله الذي أحيانا بعد ما أماتنا وإليه النشور

Alhamdulillahil-lathee ‘ahyaana ba‘da maa ‘amaatanaa wa‘ilayhin-nushoor.
(All praise is for Allah who gave us life after having taken it from us and unto Him is the resurrection.)

By cultivating these habits, we can transform our sleep from a mere biological function into an act of worship, increasing our connection with Allah and our awareness of His blessings.

Let us remember that every night of peaceful sleep is a gift, every morning we wake up is a new chance, and every breath we take is a blessing from Allah. May we never take these blessings for granted, and may Allah (SWT) grant us the wisdom to recognise His favours and the strength to use them in ways that please Him.

Ameen.


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