Is it sin to sleep by lying face down? What are the manners of sleeping?

The Details of the Question

Is it sin to sleep by lying face down? What are the manners of sleeping?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

It is not haram to lie face down. However, the Prophet (pbuh) did not find this style of lying appropriate. The Prophet awakened a person who lay like that in the mosque and said,

"Lying like that is a styleof lying that Allah does not like." (Abu Dawud, Adab, 95; Tirmidhi, Adab 21)

As it is seen, the Prophet (pbuh) did not find lying face down appropriate and stated that it is "a style of lying that Allah does not like". (see İbrahim CANAN, Kütüb-i Sitte Tercüme ve Şerhi, Akçağ Yayınları: XVI/168)

Therefore, it is not haram or a sin to lie face down – without the intention of resembling non-Muslims – but it is contrary to good manners and it causes man to be deprived of the thawab of sunnah.

Islam has determined all of the principles of good manners including when it is appropriate to sleep, when it is wrong to sleep, what to do before sleeping and what to do after waking up. 

First, let us have a look at the “sorts” of sleep. Badiuzzaman Said Nursi, who says, "Sleep is of three sorts" states the following as an interpretation of verse 4 of the chapter of al-Araf, which ends as follows: "or while they slept for their afternoon rest."

Sleep is of three sorts:

THE FIRST is `Ghaylula'. This is from pre-dawn to forty-five minutes or so after the sun has risen, the time when prayer is lawful but reprehensible. Sleep at this time is contrary to the Practices of the Prophet (PBUH), since according to Hadiths, it leads to a decrease in one's livelihood and to be its being unfruitful. The time most appropriate for preparing to labor for one's sustenance is when it is cool. When this time has passed, a lethargy descends. It has been established through numerous experiences that just as this is detrimental to that day's labor and indirectly to one's livelihood, so also is it the cause of unfruitfulness.

THE SECOND is `Faylula'. This is from the afternoon prayer till sunset. This sleep leads to a diminution of life, that is, it makes life that day shorter and makes it pass in a state of semi-sleep due to drowsiness, thus causing a physical deficiency to life. So too in an immaterial aspect, since most of the results of that day, material and immaterial, become apparent after the afternoon prayer, to pass that time in sleep as though prevents those results being seen and makes the day as though not lived.

THE THIRD d is `Qaylula', which is in accordance with the Practices of the Prophet (PBUH). It is from mid-morning to just past noon. This sleep is part of the Practices since it allows a person to rise at night to pray. So also in the Arabian Peninsula to rest from work at noon when it is intensely hot is the custom of the people and of the area, so has further strengthened this Practice of the Prophet (PBUH). This sleep increases both life, and sustenance. For half an hour's Qaylula sleep is the equivalent of two hours' sleep at night. That means it adds one and a half hours' to a person's life every day. It saves one and a half hours from the hand of sleep, the brother of death, and makes it live, adding it to the time of working for one's livelihood. (Lem'alar, Yirmi Sekizinci Lem'a, Dördüncü Nükte, (Flashes, Twenty-eighth Flash, Fourth Point) p.269)

That is,it is not a good thing to sleep from the time the sun rises to about forty-five minutes after the sun rises. What is essential is to go to bed early and to get up early. One should not sleep after performing the Morning Prayer; he should read the Quran, hadith, tafsir, catechism and then start to work.

The Prophet stated the following:

"There is abundance and success in the early hours of the morning." (Lawaqihul-Anwar, Sha'rani, p. 295)

The wisdom behind the unfruitfulness and failure that has recently increased gradually should be sought under the light of the hadith above.

Unfortunately, television faces man as "the enemy of going to bed early". It is necessary to overcome this fierce enemy, to go to bed as early as possible, to get up for tahajjud prayer, to get up for the morning prayer in a vigorous way before sunrise and to start work after that without sleeping again. Our grandfathers and grandmothers, whom we saw as vigorous and hardworking people, did like that. When this nice habit disappeared, health, abundance and peace disappeared too. 

It is necessary not to sleep between the afternoon (asr) and the evening (maghrib). Everybody experienced the harm of sleeping in that period. A person who sleeps and gets up during that period becomes dopy; he cannot come round easily.

To sleep for a while after the noon prayer (qaylula) is very useful.

When Going to Bed

Let us have a look at what is necessary to do before sleeping at night.

* It is necessary to put out the fire before going to bed. Today, it is necessary to check whether, the oven, stove, boiler, central heating, etc is off or not. If central heating boiler, etc is not safe, it is better to turn them off before going to bed.

Hz. Salim reported the following from the Prophet (pbuh):

"When you go to bed at home, cover and put out the fire."(Ramuz, II/467-4)

In particular, those who use wood and coal burning stoves should be very careful.

* One should make wudu before going to bed.

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." (Muslim, Dhikr: 56)

* There are several prayers to be read before going to bed.One should read the one(s) that he can read easily. For instance, the Prophet (pbuh) prayed as follows: "O Allah! Protect me from your punishment on the day You resurrect your slaves!" (Günlük Hayat, II/158)

The Prophet (pbuh) also recommended reading the chapter of al-Fatiha and another chapter (Ramaz, I/26-1) and saying,"La Ilaha Illallah, Wahdahu La Sharika Lah, Lahu'l mulku wa Lahu'l Hamdu wa huwa Ala Kulli Shay'in Qadir (There is none worth of worship but Allah alone, Who has no partner, His is the dominion and to Him belongs all praise, and He is able to do all things)" and "La hawla wala quwwata illa Billah (There is no might and no power except by Allah's leave)" and saying "Subhanallah" 33 times"Alhamdulillah" 33 times "Allahu Akbar" 34 times (totally 100)

Hz. Huzayfa reports the following about how the Prophet (pbuh) prayed before going to bed and what he said after waking up:

"When the Prophet went to bed, he would read the following du'a (prayer):

'Allahumma bi'smika amutu wa ahya' (O Allah! I die with your name and revive with your name). When he woke up, he would read the following du'a: 'Alhamdulillahi'lladhi ahyana ba'da amatana wa ilayhi'n-nushur' (Praise be to Allah, who revives us after killing us and to whom we will return)" (Shamail-i Sharif, p.281)

* It is sunnah to get up for tahajjud after sleeping for a while. This is the custom of righteous people. This prayer will be your light in the grave.

* One should not put his hands in any plate, glass or jug without washing his hands three times after waking up. (Ramuz, I/30-2)

* One should not lie face down.The Prophet prohibited lying like this. The Prophet awakened a person who was sleeping like that in the mosque and said, "Lying down like this is a kind of lying that Allah does not like." (Abu Dawud, Adab: 95)

- What should one do when he has a dream?

Dream is a part of sleep. Almost everybody has dreams. What is necessary to do when one has a dream? The Prophet (pbuh) stated the following regarding the issue:

"When one of you has a dream that he likes, he should not tell it to anybody except the ones he loves. If he sees a dream that he does not like, he should spit three times to his left side and take refuge in Allah from the outcast Satan and his evil. He should not tell anybody about this dream. In that case, the dream cannot harm him." (Günlük Hayat, II/245)

- What are the basic rules regarding manners of sleep?

Allah Almighty granted us sleep to enable our bodies to rest. Sleep is a great bounty. If you ask a person who suffers from insomnia (sleeplessness), you will understand how valuable sleep is. 

- It is necessary to use the night well, which is the most appropriate time for sleep. One should go to bed early and get up early as much as he can.

- He should make wudu before going to bed and pray Allah; he should praise and pray Allah when he wakes up.

- One should turn to his right side when he lies down and put his right hand under his right cheek. (Even if he turns and changes his position afterwards, this sunnah is regarded to have fulfilled.)

- He should not lie face down.

- If he has a bad dream, he should spitthree times to his left side and take refuge in Allah from Satan. He should not tell anybody about this dream.

- He should try to get up for tahajjud prayer and make this his habit.

- He should go to bed early so as not to miss the morning prayer.

- He should not sleep again after the morning prayer if it is possible and he should start work.

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