I spend a lot of time on the computer and watching television and go to bed very late. What is the decree of our religion on going to bed late?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

It is regarded makruh to go to bed late. The Prophet did not have worldly talks and conversations after performing the night prayer (isha). He said,

"There is no sitting and talking in vain after the night prayer." (1)

The wisdom behind the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) prohibiting his ummah from worldly talks and conversations after performing the night prayer is enabling the believers to close their book of deeds with worshipping and to end that day in a good way, being ready to die in a good way.

However, if dhikr is made, supplications are recited and religious talks are given, they are not among the kinds of talks prohibited by the hadith. They do not prevent the book of deeds from being closed with a good deed.

The Prophet (pbuh) also stated the following:

"There is blessing (abundance) and success in the early hours of the morning." (2)

The reason for lack of abundance and success that has been increasing recently should be sought and found in the light of this hadith. Unfortunately, television and computer are enemies of going to bed early for man today.

It is necessary to overcome this fierce enemy, to go to bed as early as possible, to get up for tahajjud prayer, go get up for the morning prayer (fajr) vigorously and to start working after that without going to bed again.

Our grandmothers and grandfathers, who were definitely vigorous, fit and hardworking, did like that. When this nice custom disappeared, health, abundance and peace disappeared too.  

Hadiths regarding the issue and their explanations:

Abu Barza al-Aslami narrates:

"The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) regarded sleeping before the night prayer and talking after it makruh." (3)

This hadith is one of the narrations reflecting the order of the daily life of the Messenger of Allah (pbuh). Accordingly, the Prophet regards going to bed without performing the night prayer makruh because it is possible to oversleep and miss the night prayer. He does not regard it nice to sit and talk after the night prayer. This prevents tahajjud. As a matter of fact, the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) got up in some part of the night every day and spent the night performing prayers and mentioning Allah. 

What the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) does in his personal life is sunnah for his ummah. Besides, he advised tahajjud prayer to his ummah in many hadiths.

However, we should state that what is mentioned above is something general. The Prophet sometimes stayed up late when it was necessary. In a narration included in Bukhari, it is stated that the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) delayed the night prayer up to the time when the women and children slept; the same thing is valid for the ummah. Scholars state that it is not a religious obligation to go to bed immediately after performing the night prayer. Tirmidhi states that the majority of scholars regards it makruh to sleep before the night prayer and that some regard it permissible in Ramadan. The condition for not being makruh is the existence of somebody who will awaken him or being able to get up easily for prayer. In that case, it is not makruh; it is permissible.  

It is makruh to talk after the night prayer if the talking is not related to a legitimate issue. It is stated that it is not makruh to stay up late after the night prayer if a person studies, does research, etc. It is stated that the reason for staying up late after the night prayer being makruh is the fact that it will prevent getting up for tahajjud prayer.

Hz. Umar narrates:

"The Messenger of Allah (pbuh), Hz. Abu Bakr and I stayed up late in order to talk about the affairs of the Muslims." (4)

Ayni states that what is forbidden is talking about bad things and what is permissible is talking about good things; he interprets the hadith above with the previous one.

Footnotes:

(1) see Bukhari, Mawaqit 23; Muslim, Masajid 236 . see also Tirmidhi, Mawaqit 11; Nasai, Mawaqit 20; Ibn Majah, Salah 12;  Majmauz-Zawaid, 1/315.
(2) see Lawaqihul-Anwar, Sha'rani, p. 295.

(3) see Bukhari, Mawaqit 23; Muslim, Masajid 237, (647); Abu Dawud, Salah 3, (398); Tirmidhi, Salah 125.
(4) see Tirmidhi, Salah 126.

(see Prof. Dr. İbrahim CANAN, Kütüb-ü Sitte Tercüme ve Şerhi)

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