Health Corner


Kashif Shahzad Attari Madani

Sleep is a bounty from Allah

To live healthy, fulfilling lives, we have to develop good eating and sleeping habits. Sleep itself is an invaluable bounty from Allah Almighty, as it allows us our minds and bodies to recover from the challenges of the day. If a person does not sleep properly, their work, studies or any other endeavour becomes adversely affected. Sleep is an excellent way of providing rest and peace to the body. Allah Almighty Himself mentions in the Quran:

وَّ  جَعَلۡنَا نَوۡمَکُمۡ سُبَاتًا ۙ(۹)

“And We made your sleep a ˹means of˺ rest.”[1]

In the commentary of this verse, as stated in Khazāʾin al-ʿIrfān, sleep is mentioned to be a source of rest for the body and a means of removing tiredness.

Nūr al-ʿIrfān describes how sleep topples the greatest of wrestlers and highlights the ultimate powerlessness of mankind.

How much should we sleep?

The amount of sleep we need depends on our age and other factors. Research recommends 12 to 15 hours of sleep for young children, 7 to 8 hours for ages fifteen to forty years, and 6 hours for those over forty.

Harms of sleep deprivation

This leads to physical and spiritual harms and problems in one’s work, studies, and family life.

If an employee sleeps during his appointed work hours or dozes off at work, not only will this affect his productivity, but his employer could fire him. A driver or pilot puts their own life, as well as the lives of their passengers, in danger through bad sleeping habits. According to many investigations, a considerable proportion of fatal accidents are caused by drivers who have fallen asleep at the wheel. If a student does not get their share of sleep, they will find themselves unable to understand and learn what their teacher says.

Whatever field of life a person is affiliated with, sleep is a natural requirement. One can fall prey to all types of physical or spiritual issues if they do not get their share of it. Consistent lack of sleep affects an individual’s disposition. He may become irritable, quick to anger and harsh to others, who then go on to avoid him as a result.

Patients of high blood pressure related issues and depression are prone to their ailments worsening if they do not sleep enough. Contrastingly, an adequate amount of sleep can improve their condition. If brain cells function for an extended period of time without rest, free-radicals then begin to form as a by-product of metabolism. These damage the cells in the body, leading to various illnesses, one of which most prominently found is insanity.

Excessive sleep

Just as a lack of sleep is unhealthy, excessive sleep also has adverse impacts on our health and quality of life. Sayyidunā Jābir رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ narrates that a person came to the Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم and asked, “Will the denizens of Paradise sleep?” The beloved Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم replied, “Sleep is the counterpart of death, and the denizens of Paradise will not die.”[2]

Sleep was described as the counterpart of death because, like death, it halts our actions, and the inhabitants of Paradise never dying is due to the fact they will never sleep. The hadith disapproves of sleeping too much, as doing so negatively affects a person’s life in this world and the Hereafter.

Too much sleep causes lethargy, bad breath, and excessive phlegm, and weakens the stomach, vision, and body. All of this occurs from sleeping in excess in general times, and sleeping at Asr time or through the mornings is even worse. From a medical standpoint, sleeping during the day poses more risk of harm than at night.[3]

Difficulty in sleeping and insomnia

The one who cannot sleep should ponder over the following potential causes and seek to remedy them:

*   The place where one sleeps not being peaceful or quiet

*   The mattress or pillow not being comfortable

*   Disturbing a sleep schedule (somebody who used to sleep at 10pm, begins to sleep at 12am)

*   Eating either too little or too much

*   Using tobacco products

*   Overconsumption of tea, coffee, confectionery or soft drinks

*   Looking at television, computer or mobile phone screens at night.

Medical research details how radiation emitted from mobile phone and computer screens suppresses the production of melatonin in the body. This in turn leaves a person unable to sleep. It is commonly observed that people who watch television or use a mobile phone before bed struggle to sleep, sometimes tossing and turning for hours. Doctors recommend that children’s bedrooms be kept free of tablets, phones, and similar devices.

Sleep-inducing medicines and sedatives

According to studies, the use of sleep medicines in Pakistan has increased by 100% in recent years. At the time of writing, over 130 companies are actively involved in the production of these medications. Approximately six million Pakistanis use them, 80% of which are between the ages of thirty and fifty. Of this 80%, around 60% are female.

Although these medicines do induce sleep, the user is deprived of the full benefits of natural sleep. Continued usage leads to dependency and tolerance, rendering them ineffective. Dosage levels must then be increased for them to have any effect, which can lead to comas and other health issues.

Sleep medicine should only be taken as prescribed by a doctor.

The best times to sleep

Unfortunately, the habit of staying awake into the night and waking up in the afternoon is widespread. This is disliked in Islam and causes a spectrum of health issues.

If you want to live a healthy life, go to bed early at night, after finishing all your religious tasks and activities. Sleeping at night is not only natural, but it offers more health benefits than sleeping during the day. In regards to this, Allah Almighty says in the Quran:

وَ مِنۡ رَّحۡمَتِہٖ جَعَلَ لَکُمُ الَّیۡلَ وَ النَّہَارَ  لِتَسۡکُنُوۡا فِیۡہِ وَ لِتَبۡتَغُوۡا مِنۡ فَضۡلِہٖ  وَ  لَعَلَّکُمۡ  تَشۡکُرُوۡنَ (۷۳)

“And with His Mercy, He made the night and the day for you, so that you may rest during the night and seek His benevolence (i.e. sustenance) during the day, and in order that you may appreciate.”[4]

In light of this verse, we learn it is better to spend one’s day in working and the night in sleeping. Do not stay awake at night, unless there is a real need, and do not waste your day on frivolities. This does not apply if a person must sleep in the day due to working the night shift. In this case, sleeping during the day is fine.[5]

Five treatments for sleeplessness

1.   If you cannot sleep, recite:[6] اِنَّ اللّٰہَ وَ مَلٰٓئِکَتَہٗ  یُصَلُّوۡنَ عَلَی النَّبِیِّ ؕ یٰۤاَیُّہَا الَّذِیۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡا صَلُّوۡا عَلَیۡہِ  وَ سَلِّمُوۡا  تَسۡلِیۡمًا (۵۶), and then recite salāt on the Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم. Allah willing, you will fall asleep.

2.   One may also repeatedly recite the 9th verse of Surah al-Nabaˈ[7]: وَّ  جَعَلۡنَا نَوۡمَکُمۡ سُبَاتًا ۙ(۹) . You will fall asleep swiftly, Allah willing.

3.   Chewing on raw onion or mixing boiled onion into milk and drinking it can help to induce sleep.[8]

4.   For those unable to sleep due to pain or similar reasons, recite لَا اِلٰهَ اِلَّا اللهُ around them abundantly. This will aid them in sleeping. With the mercy of Allah Almighty, doing this around sick people will ensure they quickly recover. (Make certain the sick individual does not hear the sound of this being recited).

5.   Recite لَا اِلٰهَ اِلَّا اللهُ eleven times and blow upon yourself. Sleep will set in quickly, Allah willing[9]

When not to sleep

Sleeping after Ar salah can cause a loss of intellect. The Messenger of Allah صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم said, “Whosoever sleeps after Asr and loses his intellect should only blame himself.”[10]

It is disliked to sleep in the initial portion of the morning, or between Maghrib and Isha.[11]

Madani advice

To learn more about the sunnah and etiquette of waking and sleeping, read page 29 of 101 Madani Pearls.

[1] [Kanz-ul-Iman (translation of Quran)] (Part 30, Surah Al-Naba, verse 9)

[2] Mishkāt al-Maābī, vol. 2, p. 336, adīth 5654

[3] Fay al-Qadīr, under adīth 9325; abridged

[4] [Kanz-ul-Iman (translation of Quran)] (Part 20, Surah Al-Qasas, verse 73)

[5] Anmōl Hīrē, p. 20

[6] Al-Quran 22:56

[7] Al-Quran 30:09

[8] Gharelū ʿIlāj, p. 28

[9] Beemar ‘Abid, p. 26

[10] Musnad Abī Yʿalā, vol. 4, p. 278, adīth 4,897

[11] Bahār-i-Sharī’at, vol. 3, p. 436




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