The Messenger of Allah ﷺ was the best human being to have traversed this earth. What he managed to achieve in such a short space of time is truly remarkable. What is even more mind-blowing is the intensity of his personal ‘ibādah, his devotion to his Lord and how long he spent at night in the worship of His Lord despite his numerous obligations and responsibilities in the daytime. He made time for everyone, from the unnamed girl who would take his hand and make him walk around with her around Madīnah to his wives who he would take time out to teach and engage in quality conversation with. He took on many roles: leader, judge, military strategist, counsellor, husband, father, grandfather, friend, Prophet of Allah. But none of these stopped him from getting up every night and spending hours in munājāh (private and intimate conversation with his Creator).
How was he able to manage his time so successfully? How can we also enjoy barakah in our time? Step number one is to try and sleep like the Messenger of Allah ﷺ slept.
The following are some of the ways to do this:
1. Sleep early.
The Messenger of Allah ﷺ disliked sleeping before ‘Ishā’ ṣalāh, and talking after it. (Bukhārī)
The wisdom in sleeping early is that one gains sufficient rest before waking up for tahajjud, one is able to wake up for Fajr on time, and more so in our times especially, one is protected from much fitnah.
2. Sleep with wuḍū.
The angels remain in the company of the one who sleeps with wuḍū and say: “O Allah, forgive your such and such servant for he slept in the state of purity.” (Ibn Ḥibbān)
Imagine that! The angels could be making du‘ā’ for you every night.
The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said: “When one of you goes to bed, he should shake out his bed with the inside of his waist sheet, for he does not know what has come on to it after him.”(Bukhārī)
4. Sleep on your right side.
The Messenger of Allah ﷺ would sleep on his right side and place his right hand under his right cheek. (Bukhārī)
5. Don’t sleep on your stomach.
Abū Dharr (raḍiy Allāhu ‘anhū) said: “The Messenger of Allah ﷺ passed by me and I was lying on my stomach. He nudged me with his foot and said: ‘Junaydib! This is how the people of Hell lie.’” (Ibn Mājah) He ﷺ also said: “Allah dislikes that one sleeps in this manner.” (Abū Dāwūd)
6. Cover vessels & say ‘Bismillāh’ before sleeping.
The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said: “Close the doors and mention the name of Allah, for Shayṭān does not open a closed door. Tie up your waterskins and mention the name of Allah. Cover your vessels, even if you only put something over them, and extinguish your lamps.” (Bukhārī)
7. Recite Qur’ān before sleeping.
The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said: “Whoever recites 10 verses at night (regularly), he will not be recorded among the negligent.” (Ḥākim)
8. Read the adhkār and du‘ās before sleeping.
See here for a detailed list with the translation and virtues.
These have amazing rewards, including: you will be protected from the punishment of the grave, you will receive intercession in the hereafter, a guardian angel will keep watch over you, no devil will be able to come near you and you will be able to praise Allah with all the praises of His entire creation.
9. When waking up in the night.
لَا إِلٰهَ إِلَّا اللهُ وَحْدَهُ لَا شَرِيْكَ لَهُ ، لَهُ الْمُلْكُ ، وَلَهُ الْحَمْدُ ، وَهُوَ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيْرٌ ، الْحَمْدُ للهِ ، وَسُبْحَانَ اللهِ ، وَلَا إِلٰهَ إِلَّا اللهُ ، وَاللهُ أَكْبَرُ ، وَلَا حَوْلَ وَلَا قُوَّةَ إِلَّا بِاللهِ ، اَللّٰهُمَّ اغْفِرْ لِيْ
Lā ilāha illā-l-lāhu waḥdahu lā sharīka lah, lahu-l-mulku wa lahu-l-ḥamd, wa Huwa ʿalā kulli shay’in Qadīr, alḥamdu li-llāh, wa subḥāna-llāh, wa lā ilāha illā-l-llāh, wa-llāhu akbar, wa lā ḥawla wa lā quwwata illā bi-llāh, allāhumma-ghfir lī.
There is no god but Allah. He is Alone and He has no partner whatsoever. To Him Alone belong all sovereignty and all praise. He is over all things All-Powerful. All praise be to Allah and Allah is free from imperfection. There is no god but Allah. Allah is the Greatest. There is no power (in averting evil) or strength (in attaining good) except through Allah. O Allah, forgive me.
The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said: “Whoever gets up at night and says [the above] and then says: ‘O Allah, forgive me’ or makes du‘ā’, it will be accepted. If he performs wudhū and prays, his prayer will be accepted.” (Bukhārī)
In another narration, upon waking at night, he ﷺ used to recite the last ten verses of Sūrah Āl ‘Imrān (3:190-200). (Bukhārī)