The Prophet was told the following in a dream: "The one whose head you saw being crushed is the one whom Allah taught the Quran but who slept at night and did not act in accordance with it during the day" What is meant by sleeping at night in this hadith?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

The text of the hadith in question is as follows:

Samurah bin Jundub narrates: Whenever the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) finished the prayer, he would face us and ask,

"Who amongst you had a dream last night?" So, if anyone had seen a dream, he would narrate it and he would say: "Ma shaallah" (Whatever Allah wished)."

One day, he asked again, "Did any of you have a dream?" We said, "No." Thereupon, he said,

"However,  I saw a dream last night that two men came to me, caught hold of my hands, and took me to the Sacred Land:

There, I saw a person standing with an iron hook in his hand pushing it inside his mouth until it reached his head, and then pushing it inside from the other side.  In the meantime, the first side of his cheek became normal again and then he put the hook into the same side again. I said,

"What is this?" They said, "Come." We went on till we came to a man lying flat on his back, and another man standing at his head having a stone in his hand, and crushing the head of the lying man with that stone. Whenever he struck him, the stone rolled away. The man went to pick it up and by the time he returned to him, the crushed head had returned to its normal state and the man came back and struck him again and so on. I asked,

"What is this?" They said, "Come." We went on until we came to a hole like an oven, narrow at the top and wide at the bottom. There was a fire kindling underneath. When they approached, the people in it were lifted up to such an extent that they were about to get out of it.  Whenever the fire got quieter, the people went down into it. There were naked men and women in the hole. I said,

"Who are they?" They said, "Come." We went on until we came to a river of blood in which there was a man standing. Another man was standing at the bank of the river with stones in his hand. Whenever the man in the river wanted to come out, the other one threw a stone in his mouth and caused him to retreat to his original position. He did the same thing whenever the man wanted to come out. I asked,

"What is this?" They said, "Come." We went on until we came to a well-flourished green garden having a huge tree. There were old people with children near its root. I saw a man near the tree lighting a fire in front of him. Then they (my two companions) made me climb up the tree and made me enter a house, better than which I had never seen. There were some old men and young men, women and children in the house. Then, they took me out of this house and made me climb up the tree. They made me enter another house that was better and superior to the first one; there were old and young people there too.

I said to my two companions,

- 'You have made me ramble all the night. Tell me all about what I have seen.' They said,

- All right. Then, they started to tell me:

The one whose cheek was being torn away was a liar. He used to tell lies, and his lies would be tolerated until they spread all over the world.  So, he will be punished like that until the Day of Resurrection.

The one whose head you saw being crushed is the one whom Allah taught the Quran but who used to sleep at night and did not act in accordance with it during the day. He will be punished like that until the Day of Resurrection.

Those you saw in the hole were committers of fornication. The ones you saw in the river were those who ate up interest/usury.

The old man you saw at the base of the tree was Hz. Ibrahim (Abraham) and the children around him were the offspring of people.

The first house you entered was the house of the believers. This house is the house of the martyrs. I am Gabriel (Jibril) and this is Michael (Mikail). They said, ‘Raise your head.'

I raised my head; there was something like a cloud over me. They said,

'That is your place.' I said,

'Let me enter my place.' They said,

'You still have some life you have not yet completed, and when you complete it, you will enter your place." (Bukhari, Sahih, Janaiz, 92, II/104-105; see also Bukhari, Sahih, Ta'bir, 48, VIII/84-86; Bayhaqi, Ithbatu Adhabil Qabr, v. 36 a-36 b; Rodosîzâde, Ahval-i Alemi Berzah, v. 71 a-73 a.)

What is meant by the phrase “sleeping at night”?

What is meant by sleeping at night is sleeping at the time of fard prayers. The following sentence exists in the version of the hadith in the chapter of "Ta'bir" in Bukhari:

"The one whose head you saw being crushed is the one who rejected the Quran and who abandoned fard prayers by sleeping."

As it is understood from the statement above, what is meant by it is abandoning fard prayers by sleeping.

The following addition exists in a narration by Tabarani about those who abandon the Quran:

"...Allah taught him the Quran but he slept at night without reading it and did not act in accordance with it during the day."

Scholars deduced many decrees from this hadith. The most important of them are as follows:

1. The incident of Isra (Mi'raj) took place several times, sometimes when the Prophet was awake and sometimes when he was asleep.

2. Some sinners are punished in the life of barzkah (grave).

3. It is better to teach ilm concisely first and interpret it later; thus, the brain will have the opportunity to grasp it as a whole.

4. We are warned against sleeping during the time of fard prayers and abandoning the Quran.

5. We are warned against main sins like fornication, interest/usury and telling lies.

6. The virtues of the martyrs are mentioned in the hadith and it is stated that they hold the highest rank in Paradise.

7. The rank of Hz. Ibrahim is superior to that of the martyrs.

8. It is necessary to pay attention to the issue of dreams by asking and having them interpreted.

9. It is better to have dreams interpreted after the morning prayer.

10. It is mustahab for the imam to turn toward the congregation after the salutation of the fard prayer if there is no nafilah (ratibah) prayer after the fard prayer. It is not makruh to turn toward the congregation by turning away from the qiblah when it is necessary to address the congregation, to preach and to answer questions.  

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

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