How did the Prophet spend his twenty-four hours? What was his daily life like?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

It is necessary to examine the life of the Prophet (pbuh) and to point out every issue briefly in order to answer this question. We will try to narrate some sections from his daily life after a general evaluation:

The grandchildren of the Prophet (pbuh) narrate the following by reporting from their father Hz. Ali:

"...The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) divided his daily time into three parts. He spent some of it worshipping Allah like praying and reading the Quran. In the second part, he took care of his family members, did some housework and met the needs of the house. In the third part, he rested. However, he divided his resting time into two and accepted some of the notables of the Companions. He taught them some religious issues; when they left, they would teach what they learnt to the other Companions"

"The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) did not give importance to goods, property, money and nobility in his Companions related to their being close to him; he gave more importance to taqwa (piety); he preferred the ones that worshipped a lot and that were trustworthy."

The needy people mentioned their needs to him and he listened to them without feeling tired; he took care of them and tried to meet their needs.

When he was asked a question about the world or the hereafter, he would respond by considering the level of the person who asked the question and give answers that would be good for him. He led the person to good deeds with the answer he gave to his question. He warned the people who learned knowledge in his presence as follows:

"Teach what you have learned from me to those who are not here. Inform me about the needs of those who cannot come here to tell me about their needs and requests no matter if they are men, women, male slaves or female slaves. God Almighty will definitely prevent a person who helps those who cannot tell the president about their needs from falling off the Sirat Bridge on the Day of Judgment."

He would not allow nonsensical words to be spoken in his presence. The Prophet would act humbly when he was outside too. He would smile to everyone in the bazaar, in the market, on the street or in any place; he would ask them about their health and speak to them softly, winning their hearts. He would ask about his Companions if he did not see them in his presence, in the mosque, in Friday prayer, etc. and try to find out what happened to them; he would tell his Companions the things that would lead them to good deeds and distance them from bad deeds by reinforcing their religious strength.

When the Prophet (pbuh) entered a place where a lot of people were sitting, he would not disturb anyone to move to the front; he would immediately sit in nearest empty place. He wanted others to do so too. He would mention the people in the meeting and compliment them so that everybody would think he loved them best. If a person sat for a long time in his presence, he would show patience and try to meet his need calmly. If somebody wanted something from him, he would give it if he had it; if he did not have it, he would win his heart with sweet words and promise to give it to him.

The compassion, mercy, generosity and modesty of the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) were known by everyone. Everybody was sure that the Prophet (pbuh) would take care of them. He did not prefer any person to another person when he distributed things.

The assembly of the Prophet (pbuh) was an assembly of knowledge, modesty, patience and security. Everybody sat in a well-behaved way there. Everybody showed respect to one another. If something was mentioned there privately, it would not be mentioned outside. Nobody would gossip. Nobody would be backbitten and accused there.

If some Companions made some mistakes there, those mistakes would stay there; they would not be mentioned outside. The people in his assembly were people of one tongue and one mouth. In other words, they were united in their cause in their hearts, knit together by the things they talked about and reached the harmony of the union. Modesty was dominant in his assembly. As a result, respect was shown to the elderly and affection was shown to the young. They first tried to meet the needs of the needy together. In other words, those in need were preferred to those who were not in need in terms of care.

Loving necessitates resembling

It is fard for everybody to love the Messenger of Allah (pbuh). Besides, loving God Almighty depends on it. Unless a person loves and obeys the beloved Prophet of Allah, he will not be regarded to attain the blessing of loving Allah.

Allah states the following in a verse:

“Say: ‘If ye do love Allah, Follow me: Allah will love you and forgive you your sins: For Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful’.” (Aal-i Imran, 3/31)

Allah orders His beloved prophet to say so.

Anyone who wishes to attain happiness should try to liken all his customs, deeds of worship and shopping, in short, his whole life to him.

Those who try to resemble a beloved one of a person appear to be lovable and beautiful to those who love him. Similarly, Allah loves those who love the Prophet (pbuh). Therefore, all visible and invisible good deeds, all superiorities are obtained only through loving the Prophet (pbuh).

Allah Almighty created His beloved Prophet as the most beautiful, the best, the loveliest of the people. He brought together all goodness, beauty and superiority in him.

All of the Companions were in love with Him. The hearts of all of them were burning with His love. To see his beautiful face and luminous features was their best pleasure. They sacrificed their lives and their property for the sake of his love. Yes, those who say they love Allah should be like the Companions.

It is necessary to love the Prophet fully and perfectly in order to be subject to him fully and perfectly. The sign of complete and mature love is to follow him fully. In other words, to liken every word and deed to his words and deeds, in short, to be like him.  

There are many verses and hadiths in the Quran and hadith books stating that following the Prophet (pbuh) is an indispensable principle of the religion of Islam.

However, it is unthinkable that someone who does not know about the honorable life of the Prophet will follow him because one cannot follow a person without knowing him.

The daily life of the Prophet (pbuh)

Hz. Husayn asked his father Hz. Ali about some of the states of the Prophet (pbuh) and Hz. Ali narrated it as follows:

“When he entered his house, he would ask for permission. He divided his time at home into three. He allocated some of his time to Allah (worshipping), some to his family and himself and some to people.”

The Prophet regularly performed two rak’ahs before the morning prayer every day. As a matter of fact, he stated the following in a hadith:

“The two-rak'ah sunnah prayer of the morning prayer is better than the world and everything in it.” (Muslim, Tirmidhi)

The Prophet (pbuh) performed all of his prayers in awe and peace, between hope and fear. As a matter of fact, Mutarrif reports the following from his father:

“I saw the Prophet (pbuh) praying; a sound was coming from his chest like the rumbling of a mill.” In another narration, ”…like the boiling sound of a saucepan.” (Abu Dawud, Nasai)

As a matter of fact, the Prophet (pbuh) ordered his ummah to perform prayers like that. In fact, the following is stated in a hadith reported from Ammar bin Yasir:

“When a person performs a prayer, he is given as much thawab as one-tenth, one-ninth, one-eighth, one-seventh, one-sixth, one-fifth, one-fourth, one-third and half of the prayer based on his attention in prayer.” (Abu Dawud, Nasai, Ibn Hibban)

The following is stated in another hadith:

“Fard prayers are like scales. Those who perform them fully will win.” (Tabarani, Ibn Hibban)

Therefore, the Prophet (pbuh) gave great importance to prayers. After the Prophet (pbuh) led the morning prayer in congregation, he would sit on the prayer mat until the sun rose well. (Muslim)

Dhikr until the sun rises

As a matter of fact, the Prophet (pbuh) states the following in a hadith reported from Anas bin Malik:

“If a person performs the morning prayer in congregation and mentions Allah by sitting until the sun rises and then performs a prayer of two rak’ahs (ishraq prayer), he will be given the thawab of an accepted full hajj and umrah.”

Anas said, the Prophet said, “the thawab of a full hajj and umrah” three times. (Tîrmidhi)

Then, the Prophet (pbuh) would start to accept those came to see him from Madinah or other cities. They would form a circle around him. He would preach to them, give them advice and answer their questions; he even interpreted their dreams. He sometimes told some Companions about the dreams he saw.

His attitude and speech

The speech of the Prophet (pbuh) was very sweet and warm. He spoke clearly and stopped after each sentence so that what he said would be understood better by the listeners. He did not laugh, but smiled. He was the most tender and sweet-tempered person among people.

The Prophet tolerated the mistakes made against himself and reacted to them softly but when there was an attack on Allah and belief, he would never keep silent and would definitely answer it.

The Prophet (pbuh) did not see the mistakes of people; he sometimes ignored them; he usually turned his eyes away when he saw them; even if he saw a mistake, he would not criticize that person directly; he would not break the relationship of respect and love between him and that person.

The modesty of the Prophet (pbuh) appeared more clearly in his relations with people. No matter who was in his assembly, he would listen patiently to anyone who spoke; he would not interrupt anybody unless they moved away from the truth.

Once, a man came to see the Prophet (pbuh) but he was so impressed by the majesty of the Prophet that he began to tremble. Thereupon, the Prophet (pbuh) said,

“Do not fear! I am not a king. I am the son of a woman who filled her stomach by cooking dried meat.” (Hakim)

The Prophet acted tolerantly toward his relatives and Companions; in addition, he forgave his enemies then they were weak and they surrendered, causing many of them to become believers.

When somebody wanted something from him, he never said, “No!” He was the most generous person among people.

As a matter of fact, Ibn Abbas state the following:

“The Prophet (pbuh) was the most generous person among people. He became even more generous in the month of Ramadan.” (Bukhari)

Duha Prayer

The Prophet’s talking to people and listening to their problems generally lasted up to duha time.

When it was duha time, the Prophet (pbuh) performed four rak’ahs or eight rak’ahs. He stated the following about the virtue of that prayer:

“There is a gate called ‘duha gate’ in Paradise. A caller calls out as follows on the Day of Judgment: O those who performed duha prayer! Where are you? Here is the gate you will use to enter Paradise. Enter through it with the mercy of Allah.'” (Tabarani)

After performing duha prayer, the Prophet (pbuh) would go home, do some housework, mend his clothes and shoes and milk his animals. (Ahmad bin Hanbal)

Noon Prayer

Then, the Prophet (pbuh) would get ready for the noon prayer. When it was time for the noon prayer, he would go to mosque; he would always perform sunnah prayers before and after the fard of the noon prayer.

He had a rest after the noon prayer…

After performing the noon prayer, the Prophet (pbuh) would sleep a bit (qaylula). As a matter of fact, he states the following in a hadith:

“Sleep a bit at noon. Devils do not sleep at noon at all.” (Muslim)

Qaylula is the name given to the short rest and sleep after the noon prayer. A person who makes qaylula performs a sunnah and becomes vigorous; he will be strong enough to get up at night to perform tahajjud prayer. It will be good to perform this sunnah for those who can.  

Afternoon Prayer

After qaylula, the Prophet (pbuh) would get ready for the afternoon prayer. When it was time for the afternoon prayer, he sometimes performed a sunnah prayer and sometimes abandoned it. He stated the following about that sunnah:

“If a person performs four rak’ahs before the fard of the afternoon prayer, Allah will make him haram for Hell.” (Tabarani)

After performing the afternoon prayer, the Prophet (pbuh) would sit in the same place and make dhikr. As a matter of fact, Anas bin Malik reported the following from the Prophet (pbuh):

“I prefer sitting with a congregation that mention Allah after the afternoon prayer until the sunset to freeing four slaves of Sons of Ismail each of which is worth twelve thousand dirhams.” (Abu Dawud, Abu Ya’la, Ibn Abid-Dunya)

He treated his wives well

The Prophet (pbuh) would go home before the evening prayer and visit each of his wives; he would sit with each of them for a while and ask them how they were. The Prophet (pbuh) treated his wives very well and ordered his ummah to treat women well.

As a matter of fact, the following is stated in a hadith:

“The believer with perfect belief is the one with best manners. The best of you is the one that treats his family better.” (Abu Dawud, Tirmidhi)

Evening Prayer

After that, he would get ready for the evening prayer. When adhan was called for the evening prayer, he would lead the prayer and perform a two-rak’ah nafilah (sunnah) prayer.

After the evening prayer, the Prophet (pbuh) would be busy with dhikr and nafilah worship (awwabin prayer); thus, he would wait for the night prayer.

Night Prayer

When it was time for the night prayer, he would sometimes perform a nafilah (sunnah) prayer before the fard of the night prayer and sometimes abandon it. After the night prayer, he regularly performed two rak’ahs (sunnah muakkadah). After that, he would go to bed and get up at night to perform witr prayer.  

As a matter of fact, the Prophet (pbuh) states the following in a hadith reported from Jabir:

“He who amongst you is afraid that he may not be able to get up at the end of the night should observe witr in the first part and then sleep, and he who is confident of getting up and praying at night (i. e. tahajjud prayer) should observe it at the end of it; for, the recitation at the end of the night is witnessed by angels, and that is better.” (Muslim, Tirmidhi)

After performing the night prayer, the Prophet (pbuh) would return to his home and spend the night with one of his wives based on a certain order. He did not like talking after the night prayer. (Bukhari)

His sleep

The Prophet was always in wudu; he never went to bed without wudu. As a matter of fact, the following is reported from Ibn Umar:

“If a person goes to bed in wudu, he will spend the night with an angel of mercy. As soon as he wakes up, the angel prays as follows: ‘O Allah! Forgive this slave because he spent the night in wudu’.” (Ibn Hibban)

According to what is reported from Bara bin Azib, the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said,

"When you go to bed, make wudu as you do for prayer (salah) and lie down turning to your right side. Then, prays as follows:

'O Allah! I have submitted myself to You. I have committed my affairs to You. I have relied on You since I fear and love You. I take refuge only in You. My salvation depends on you. I believe in the Book You revealed and in the Prophet You sent.'

If you do so and die during the night, you will die as a Muslim. Let this supplication be your last words before sleeping." (Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Dawud, Tirmidhi)

Hz. Aisha states the following:

“When the Prophet (pbuh) went to bed, he would recite al-Muawwizatayn (the chapters of al-Falaq and an-Nas), and the chapter of al-Ikhlas and blow his breath on his hands; then, he would wipe them over his face and his body. When he became ill, he would order me to do the same thing to him.” (Bukhari, Muslim, Iman Malik, Tirmidhi)

His way of sleeping

The sleeping habit of the Prophet (pbuh) was as follows:

As soon as the time for the night prayer started, he would perform the night prayer, read the chapters mentioned above and lie down; he would lie on his right side and sleep by putting his right hand under his right cheek.

At midnight, or after the two-thirds of the night passed, he would wake up; he would brush his teeth with his miswak, which was always next to his bedside, make wudu and worship. (Tirmidhi)

Night worship

Hz. Aisha narrates:

"The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) would stand until his feet cracked and worship at night. I said to him, “Why do you worship so much though your previous and future sins were forgiven?” He said,

“Shall I not be a slave who thanks?” (Bukhari, Muslim)

Since tahajjud prayer was wajib for the Prophet (pbuh), he never abandoned it. When he did those deeds of worship and dhikr, he advised his ummah to do so.

As a matter of fact, the following is stated in a hadith:

“Satan puts three knots at the back of the head of any of you if he is asleep. On every knot he touches and reads the following words, 'The night is long; so, stay asleep.' When he wakes up and remembers Allah, one knot is undone; and when he performs ablution, the second knot is undone; and when he prays, the third knot is undone and he gets up energetic with a good heart in the morning; otherwise, he gets up lazy and with a mischievous heart.” (Imam Malik, Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Dawud, Nasai)

The following is stated in another hadith:

“There is a time period at night; if a Muslim slave who wants something from Allah about a worldly or otherworldly affair, that thing will definitely be given to him if he prays at that time. This happens every night.” (Muslim)

After performing tahajjud prayer, the Prophet (pbuh) would get ready for the morning prayer. He would perform the sunnah of the morning prayer in his room and go to the mosque to perform the fard in congregation.

The Prophet (pbuh) generally spent his twenty-four hours (day) like that.  

He gave importance to repentance.

He repented one hundred times a day and ordered his ummah to repent. As a matter of fact, the following is stated in a hadith:

“O people. Repent to Allah. I repent one hundred times a day.” (Muslim)

The Prophet (pbuh) also gave importance to tasbihat (glorifications) after the prayer. There were supplications that he read every day after eating, while entering home and leaving home, entering the toilet and coming out of the toilet, etc.

To read the supplications that the Prophet (pbuh) read every day means to follow him and to practice his sunnah.

If a person follows the Prophet (pbuh), Allah will like him and grant him His friendship.

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