There are various Sunan to be done before sleeping, many of which are forgotten or neglected, due to the fatigue felt at the end of a long day. Some, have invented replacements, and innovations have become the norm. However, the true Sunan are in place for our benefit; an opportunity to safeguard ourselves and earn Allah’s rewards and pleasure.
- Perform Wudhu or ensure you are in a state of Wudhu
The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “When you go to bed, do wudhu as for prayer.” (Narrated by al-Bukhari and Muslim)
- Dust off your bed:
Abu Hurayrah said: The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “When one of you goes to his bed, let him dust off his bed with the inside of his lower garment, for he does not know what came onto it after he left it.” (Bukhari and Muslim)
- Lie down on your right side:
It is reported that the Prophet used sleep on his right side, putting his right hand under his right cheek
- Recite the various athkar: There are various athkaar which the prophet used to recite before sleeping. Learn what is easy for you, and do what you are able to,
“Allaahumma bismika ahyaa wa amoot” (Bukhari)
O Allah, in Your name I live and die.
“Allaahumma qini ‘adhaabaka yawma tab’ath ‘ibaadaka”
O Allah, protect me from Your punishment on the Day You resurrect Your slaves.
“Bismika Rabbee wada’tu janbi wa bika arfa’uhu wa in amsakta nafsi farhamhaa wa in arsaltahaa fahfazhaa bimaa tuhfaz bihi ‘ibaadika al-saaliheen” (Bukhari and Muslim)
In Your name, my Lord, I lie down, and in Your name I rise. If You should take my soul then have mercy on it, and if You should return my soul then protect it as You protect Your righteous slaves.
“Al-hamdu Lillaah alladhi at’amanaa wa saqaanaa wa kafaanaa wa aawanaa fakam mimman laa kaafi lahu wa laa mu’wi” (Muslim)
All praise is for Allah, Who fed us and gave us to drink, and Who is sufficient for us and has sheltered us, for how many have none to suffice them or shelter them.
“Allaahumma Rabb al-samawaati wa’l-ard wa Rabb al-‘arsh il-‘azeem, Rabbaanaa wa Rabba kulli shay’in, Faaliq al-habb wa’l-nawa wa munzil al-Tawraati wa’l-Injeeli wa’l-Furqaan, a’oodhu bika min sharri kulli shay’in anta aakhidhun bi naasiyatihi. Allaahumma anta al-awwal fa laysa qablaka shay’un, wa anta al-aakhir fa laysa ba’daka shay’un, wa anta al-zaahir fa laysa fawqaka shay’un wa anta al-baatin fa laysa doonaka shay’un. Iqdi ‘annaa al-dayna wa aghninaa min al-faqri” (Muslim)
O Allah, Lord of the seven heavens and the exalted Throne, our Lord and Lord of all things, splitter of the seed and the date-stone, Revealer of the Tawraat and the Injeel and the Furqaan [Qur’aan], I seek refuge in You from the evil of all things You shall seize by the forelock [have total mastery over]. O Allah, You are the First so there is nothing before You, and You are the Last so there is nothing after You. You are al-Zaahir [the greatest and highest] so there is nothing above You, and You are al-Baatin [aware of the subtlest secrets] so there is nothing closer than You. Settle our debt for us and spare us from poverty.
- Reciting Tasbeeh, Tahmeed and Takbeer:
Ali ibn Abi Talib said that Fatimah came to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and asked him for a servant. He said, “Shall I not tell you of something that is better for you than that? When you go to sleep, say ‘Subhaan Allaah’ thirty-three times, ‘Alhamdu Lillah’ thirty-three times, and ‘Allaahu akbar’ thirty four times.” (Bukhari)
- Reciting Ayat Al-Kursi:
Abu Hurayrah said: The Messenger of Allah appointed me to guard the zakaah of Ramadaan, then someone came and started rummaging in the foodstuff … and at the end of the hadeeth he said: “When you go to your bed, recite Ayat al-Kursi, for there will remain with you a guardian from Allah, and no devil will approach you, until morning comes.” The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “He told you the truth although he is a liar. That was a devil.” (Bukhari)
- Reciting the last the chapters of the Quran:
It was narrated from A’ishah that when the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) went to bed every night, he would hold his hands together and blow into them, and recite into them Qul Huwa Allaahu Ahad, Qul a’oodhu bi rabb il-falaq and Qul a’oodhu bi rabb il-naas. Then he would wipe them over whatever he could of his body, starting with his head and face and the front of his body, and he would do that three times. (Bukhari)
- Reciting Surah Kaafiroon:
It was narrated that Nawfal al-Ashja’i said: The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said to me: “Recite Qul yaa ayyuha’l-kaafiroon then go to sleep at the end of it, for it is a disavowal of shirk.” (Abu Dawood and Tirmidhi; classed as Hasan by Ibn Hajar and classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh Abi Dawood)
- Reciting the last two verses of Surah Baqarah:
Abu Mas’ood al-Ansari said that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Whoever recites the last two verses of Surat-al-Baqarah at night, they will suffice him.” (Bukhari and Muslim)
Ibn al-Qayyim said: They will suffice him against any evil that may harm him.
- Reciting Surah Israa and Surah Zumar:
It was narrated that ‘Aa’ishah said: The Prophet (peace be upon him) would not go to sleep until he had recited Bani Israa’eel (Surat-ul-Isra) and Az-Zumar.”
(Tirmidhi said: it is a hasan hadeeth. Also classed as hasan by al-Haafiz Ibn Hajar in Nataa’ij al-Afkaar, and it was classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Tirmidhi)
- Reciting Surah Sajdah, Surah Mulk and Surah Insan:
Abu Hurayrah narrated that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: There is a surah in the Qur’an, with thirty verses, which will intercede for its companion [the one who recites it] until he is forgiven: “Tabaarak allaadhi bi yadihi’l-mulk (Blessed be He in Whose Hand is the dominion)” [Mulk, Surah 67] (Ibn Majah, Abu Dawud and Tirmidh, Hasan)
Abdullah ibn Mas’ood said: Whoever reads Tabaarak allaahi bi yadihi’l-mulk [i.e., Soorat al-Mulk] every night, Allah will protect him from the torment of the grave. At the time of the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) we used to call it al-maani’ah (that which protects). In the Book of Allah it is a soorah which, whoever recites it every night has done very well.” (An-Nasa’i; classed as hasan by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Targheeb wa’l-Tarheeb)
Jaabir narrated that the Prophet (peace be upon him) did not sleep until he had recited “Alif‑Laam‑Meem. The revelation…” [Sajdah 32] and “Has there not been over man a period of time…” [al-Insaan 76] (Classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Tirmidhi)
Following the Prophetic Sunnah will turn this act of necessity (i.e. sleeping) into an act of ‘ibadah thereby maximising the benefits of sleeping. The athkaar and duaas will prevent the Shaytaan from affecting you in your sleep. And should Allah take you in your sleep, you would have made your last a deed something which is pleasing to Allah.
It seems a long and daunting list of things to do when sleep hangs in your eyes…but turn it into a family night time routine for encouragement and do what you are capable of doing. For Allah will never burden a person beyond his scope.
May Allah help us to follow the Sunnah to the best of our abilities.