Sleep and Faith (episode-8)

It is such a natural thing that whatever occupies your mind when you are going to sleep… most likely you are going to wake up with the same thought. So if you want to be among those fortunate people who say Allah’s name as soon as they wake up, then you must remember Allah when you go to sleep…

In my last article I discussed six ways in which the Prophet (SAW) used to remember Allah at his bedtime… today inshaAllah I will continue with two more:

Surah As-Sajdah and Surah Al-Mulk

In a Hadith we find that Prophet (SAW) did not go to sleep until he had recited these two surahs (which are chapter-32 and 67 respectively). If you contemplate on the message contained in these two surahs you will find the amazing similarity in their theme… while at the same time each one is unique in its style and words.

Basically they remind us about the reality of this world and the hereafter as well as our purpose of life and death… and how our perception will change in the hereafter when everything will become visible… when we see the hellfire… all our excuses and self justifications are going to disappear in smoke and each one of us will truly realize what he did for the hereafter, or not… no more self- deceptions and illusions…

In both these surahs Allah has clearly shown how the wrong doers will stand in shame and regret in front of Him… begging to be pardoned but their acceptance of their sins will do them no good…

It is ironic how the same act of accepting our errors in this world is so much appreciated by Allah and has huge rewards… But there in that day of judgement, it will be of no value at all… because everything is good only in its own time… after the “expiry date” it has no benefit. But the problem is that since we don’t know our expiry date we choose to forget it even exists!!

So the real purpose of reading these surahs is to remind our hearts of the need to be sincere to Allah and to seek his forgiveness for our wrong deeds before it is too late…

So how do we seek forgiveness of Allah and what do we say to Him? The most effective way to do so is to learn the duas which our Prophet (SAW) used to say at the time of sleeping… let us have a look at them one by one:

Dua-1-

بِاسْمِكَ رَبِّي وَضَعْتُ جَنْبِي، وَبِكَ أَرْفَعُهُ، فَإِنْ أَمْسَكْتَ نَفْسِي فَاغْفِرْلهَا، وَإِنْ أَرْسَلْتَهَا فَاحْفَظْهَا، بِمَا تَحْفَظُ بِهِ عِبَادَكَ الصَّالِحِين

With Your Name my Lord, I lay myself down; and with Your Name I rise. And if You take my soul, then forgive it, and if You send it back then protect it as You protect Your righteous slaves.

How clearly we are being taught that sleep is not something to take lightly… rather we are handing over our soul to Allah… and only He knows whether He will return it to us in the morning or not. So this dua makes us focus on this reality of our helplessness in front of Allah and makes us value these last moments of consciousness and use them in the best deed… which is to remember Allah and ask forgiveness for our sins; because we never know whether we will get any more chances of remembering Allah or not…

Dua-2-

“الْحَمْدُ للهِ الَّذِي أَطْعَمَنَا وَسَقَانَا، وَكَفَانَا، وَآوَانَا، فَكَمْ مِمَّنْ لَا كَافِيَ لَهُ وَلَا مُؤْويَ”.

Praise is to Allah Who has provided us with food and with drink , and is sufficient for us and gave us an abode… for how many are there with no one to suffice them nor anyone to give them shelter.

Now this dua teaches us to count our blessings and be thankful to Allah who provided us with all that we have. Indeed gratitude is the key to satisfaction and motivates us to focus our thoughts on what we are doing for Allah and his creatures… instead of just having an attitude of self pity and complaining about “what is not being done” for us!!

So the duas of the Prophet (SAW) are not just words to recite unknowingly; rather each dua is a treasure in itself… helping us to build our faith and character by bringing a positive change in our thinking.

Dua-3-
“اللَّهُمَّ أَسْلَمْتُ نَفْسِي إِلَيْكَ، وَفَوَّضْتُ أَمْرِي إِلَيْكَ، وَوَجَّهْتُ وَجْهِي إِلَيْكَ، وَأَلْجَأْتُ ظَهْرِي إِلَيْكَ، رَغْبَةً وَرَهْبَةً إِلَيْكَ، لَا مَلْجَأَ وَلّا مَنْجَا مِنْكَ إِلَّا إِلَيْكَ، آمَنْتُ بِكِتَابِكَ الَّذِي أَنزلت وَبِنَبِيِّكَ الَّذِي أَرْسَلْتَ”.

O Allah, I submit myself to You, and I entrust my affairs to You, and I turn my face to You, and lay myself down depending upon You, hoping in You and fearing You . There is no refuge and no escape (from your anger and punishment), except to You. I believe in Your Book (the Qur’an) that You revealed, and the Prophet whom You sent.

What a beautiful dua this is… full of assurance in Allah’s protection and His mercy. Imagine the absolute trust of our Prophet (SAW) in Allah. He did not rely upon the fact that since he was the most beloved messenger of Allah so he could just relax and go to sleep without seeking Allah’s protection and care… Just look at the Prophet’s humble expressions in this dua and compare it with our own carefree attitude… we think that if we have done a few good deeds and have attained some piety then that is enough for our salvation… this is just a deception of our egos and we must come out of it by the help of these eye-opening duas… because these awesome words open the eyes of your heart even while you are closing your eyes for sleeping!!

One reason for our carefree attitude about life and death is that we don’t really recognize the power which Allah has on us. On one hand we claim to believe in this fact but simultaneously we act as if we are the masters of our own lives. This contradiction between our faith and actions is due to the fact that we don’t really recognize Allah even though we think we do…

So how can we have that true faith which will make us careful instead of carefree?

True faith can only be achieved by recognizing the power of Allah and His magnificence and absolute authority over all matters of our lives. Therefore one of the duas which the Prophet (SAW) taught us to say before sleeping is all about glorifying Allah and remembering our need of Him:

Dua-4-

“اللَّهُمَّ رَبَّ السَّمَاوَاتِ السَّبْعِ وَرَبَّ الْعَرْشِ الْعَظِيمِ، رَبَّنَا وَرَبَّ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ، فَالِقَ الْحَبِّ وَالنَّوَى، وَمُنْزِلَ التَّوْرَاةِ وَالْإِنجِيلِ، وَالْفُرْقَانِ، أَعُوذُ بِكَ مِنْ شَرِّ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ أّنْتَ آخِذٌ بِنَاصِيَتهِ. اللَّهُمَّ أَنْتَ الأَوَّلُ فَلَيْسَ قَبْلَكَ شَيْءٌ، وَأَنْتَ الْآخِرُ فَلَيْسَ بَعْدَكَ شَيْءٌ، وَأَنْتَ الظَّاهِرُ فَلَيْسَ فَوْقَكَ شَيْءٌ، وَأَنْتَ الْبَاطِنُ فَلَيْسَ دُونَكَ شَيْءٌ، اقْضِ عَنَّا الدَّيْنَ وَأَغْنِنَا مِنَ الْفَقْرِ”.

O Allah! Lord of the seven heavens and Lord of the Magnificent Throne. Our Lord, and the Lord of all things. Splitter of the grain and the date-stone, Revealer of the Torah and the Injeel and the Furqan (the Qur’an), I seek refuge in You from the evil of everything that You shall seize by the forelock. O Allah You are the First and nothing has come before you, and You are the Last, and nothing may come after You. You are the Most High, nothing is above You and You are the Most Near and nothing is nearer than You. Remove our debts from us and enrich us against poverty. 

If someone asks me what is the one thing in this world that serves as the greatest reminder of the hereafter… then certainly it is death. That is why we see that in several narrations the Prophet (SAW) has instructed us to remember death frequently. Because it is like a compass which keeps us in the right direction… when we have the end in mind then we are less likely to lose the way…

Dua-5-

“اللَّهُمَّ إِنَّكَ خَلَقْتَ نَفْسِي وَأَنْتَ تَوَفَّاهَا، لَكَ مَمَاتُهَا وَمَحْيَاهَا، إِنْ أَحْيَيْتَهَا فَاحْفَظْهَا، وَإِنْ أَمَتَّهَا فََاغْفِرْ لَهَا، اللَّهُمَّ إِنِّي أَسْأَلُكَ الْعَافِيَةَ”.

O Allah, You have created my soul and You take it back. Unto You is its death and its life . If You give it life then protect it , and if You cause it to die then forgive it. O Allah, I ask You for safety.

There are two enemies who constantly move us away from our purpose… but they have no “real” power over us except that they give us the wrong ideas and we follow them without analysing whether they are beneficial for us or not. Those enemies are the shaitan (devil) and our “self”… the shaitan wants to destroy us because of his jealousy and enmity… while our “self” leads us away from success because of its attraction towards desires. So we have no choice but to keep fighting these enemies if we truly want to succeed in life… But the Prophet (SAW) taught us that we cannot win this battle without seeking help from Allah… so even while we are about to sleep we should ask Allah to protect us:

Dua-6-

“اللَّهُمَّ عَالِمَ الْغَيْبِ وَالشَّهَادَةِ فَاطِرَ السَّمَاواتِ والْأَرْضَ، رَبَّ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ وَمَلِكُهُ، أَشْهَدُ أَنْ لَا إِلَهَ إِلَّا أَنْتَ، أَعُوذُ بِكَ مِنْ شَرِّ نَفْسِي، وَمِنْ شَرِّ الشَّيْطَانِ وَشِرْكِهِ

O Allah, Knower of the unseen and the evident , Maker of the heavens and the earth , Lord of everything and its Master, I bear witness that there is none worthy of worship but You . I seek refuge in You from the evil of my “self” and from the evil of Satan and his helpers.

Just to add a little after thought… do you notice in this dua that the evil of “self” comes before Shaitan? Well this means that if we can control the desires of our nafs and not get carried away by our “weaknesses”… then shaitan cannot have any power over us. So do fulfil your desires but only the necessary ones. Don’t become a slave of your “self”.

Dua-7 and 8

Submission to Allah is the essence of our faith. The following dua is a reflection of our Prophet’s complete submission to Allah. As He (SAW) went to bed he would turn on his right side and place his right hand under the right side of his beautiful face… and said:

“بِاسْمِكَ اللَّهُمَّ أَمُوتُ وَأَحْيَا”.

With Your Name , O Allah , I die and I live.

And then in the same posture he would say the following dua three times:

“اللَّهُمَّ قِنِي عَذَابَكَ يَوْمَ تَبْعَثُ عِبَادَكَ”.

O Allah, save me from Your punishment on the Day that You resurrect Your slaves.

One of the amazing things about these duas of the Prophet (SAW) is that there is no mention of the concerns of this world… so it means that if you straighten up your biggest concern, which is that of the hereafter, then all other things will also fit into their proper place.

So let’s connect ourselves to the beautiful etiquettes and duas of our beloved Prophet (SAW) so that we can truly be his “followers”… and be productive and strong believers… inshaAllah

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