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What did the prophet Muhammed do before sleeping?

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Islamic researcher, graduated from Al-Azhar University, Islamic Studies in English.
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In a Nutshell:
The Prophet (saw) used to do certain acts before sleeping with the aim of getting closer to Allah namely, performing wudu(ablution), brushing his teeth with a miswak (tooth-stick), dusting the bedsheet off, laying on the right side, reciting some parts of the Quran, reciting some adhkar (supplications) and intending to pray tahajjud (night prayer).


Introduction:

The Prophet (saw) is the role model for all Muslims. Allah says in the Qur'an:

لَّقَدْ كَانَ لَكُمْ فِي رَسُولِ اللَّهِ أُسْوَةٌ حَسَنَةٌ لِّمَن كَانَ يَرْجُو اللَّهَ وَالْيَوْمَ الْآخِرَ وَذَكَرَ اللَّهَ كَثِيرًا
"Verily in the messenger of Allah you have a good example for him who looks unto Allah and the Last Day, and remembers Allah much" (al-Ahzab:21).

So every Muslim should faithfully follow his footsteps. The books of sunnah and sirah conveyed to us the Prophet's (saw) daily program. Part of it is his sunan (customary practices) before sleeping that would be elaborated as the following:

Wudu

He used to perform ablution (wudu) before retiring to bed. The Prophet (saw) said:

إِذَا أَتَيْتَ مَضْجَعَكَ فَتَوَضَّأْ وُضُوءَكَ لِلصَّلَاةِ، ثُمَّ اضْطَجِعْ عَلَى شِقِّكَ الْأَيْمَنِ، ثُمَّ قُلْ: اللَّهُمَّ أَسْلَمْتُ وَجْهِي إِلَيْكَ، وَفَوَّضْتُ أَمْرِي إِلَيْكَ، وَأَلْجَأْتُ ظَهْرِي إِلَيْكَ، رَغْبَةً وَرَهْبَةً إِلَيْكَ، لَا مَلْجَأَ وَلَا مَنْجَا مِنْكَ إِلَّا إِلَيْكَ، اللَّهُمَّ آمَنْتُ بِكِتَابِكَ الَّذِي أَنْزَلْتَ، وَبِنَبِيِّكَ الَّذِي أَرْسَلْتَ، فَإِنْ مُتَّ مِنْ لَيْلَتِكَ فَأَنْتَ عَلَى الْفِطْرَةِ، وَاجْعَلْهُنَّ آخِرَ مَا تَتَكَلَّمُ بِهِ. ‏
"Whenever you intend to go to bed, perform wudu as is done for salah (prayer); and then lie down on the right side and recite: (O Allah! I have submitted myself to You. I have turned my face to You, entrusted my affairs to You and relied completely on You out of desire for and fear of You (expecting Your reward and fearing Your punishment). There is no resort and no deliverer from (hardships) except You. I affirm my faith in Your Book which You have revealed, and in Your Prophet whom You have sent).' If you die during the night, you will die in the true religion. Let these words be your last words at night." (Bukhari 247 and Muslim 2710)


Miswaak

The Prophet (saw) would use the miswak before going to sleep, as Huzayfah (ra) narrated:

قَالَ كَانَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم إِذَا قَامَ مِنَ اللَّيْلِ يَشُوصُ فَاهُ بِالسِّوَاكِ‏.‏
"When the Messenger of Allah (saw) got up at night, he would brush his mouth with the siwak." (Bukhari, Vol. 1, p. 98 and Muslim, Vol. 1, p. 220)

Dusting the bedsheet off

He (saw) used to dust the bed thrice with the corner of his clothes before lying his body. The Prophet (saw) said:

إِذَا أَوَى أَحَدُكُمْ إِلَى فِرَاشِهِ فَلْيَنْفُضْ فِرَاشَهُ بِدَاخِلَةِ إِزَارِهِ ، فَإِنَّهُ لَا يَدْرِي مَا خَلَفَهُ عَلَيْهِ ، ثُمَّ يَقُولُ : بِاسْمِكَ رَبِّ وَضَعْتُ جَنْبِي ، وَبِكَ أَرْفَعُهُ ، إِنْ أَمْسَكْتَ نَفْسِي فَارْحَمْهَا ، وَإِنْ أَرْسَلْتَهَا فَاحْفَظْهَا بِمَا تَحْفَظُ بِهِ عِبَادَكَ الصَّالِحِينَ.
"When any of you goes to bed, he should shake off (or dust off) his bedsheet because he does not know what might have fallen on it after he had left it. Then he should recite: 'With Your Name, my Lord, I place my side (upon the bed) and with Your Grace, I will raise it up. If You withhold my soul (cause me to die), have mercy on it but if You let it go (let me live), guard it against which You guarded Your pious slaves'" (Bukhari 6320 and Muslim 2714)


Laying on the right side

He (saw) used to lay on his right side, and he recommended the same to us saying:

إِذَا أَتَيْتَ مَضْجَعَكَ فَتَوَضَّأْ وُضُوءَكَ لِلصَّلَاةِ، ثُمَّ اضْطَجِعْ عَلَى شِقِّكَ الْأَيْمَنِ.
"Whenever you intend to go to bed, perform wudu as is done for salah (prayer); and then lie down on the right side and…" (Bukhari 247 and Muslim 2710)


Reciting some parts of the Qur'an

The Prophet (saw) used to recite certain suras of the Qur'an before going to sleep. Jabir narrated:

كَانَ النَّبِيُّ صلى الله عليه وسلم لاَ يَنَامُ حَتَّى يَقْرَأَ بِتَنْزِيلَ السَّجْدَةِ وَبِتَبَارَكَ.
"The Prophet (saw) would not sleep until he recited Surat as-Sajdah (No. 32) and Surat al-Mulk (No. 67)." (Reported by at-Tirmidhi, 3404)

He (saw) used to recite Ayat al-Kursi:

اللَّهُ لَا إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ الْحَيُّ الْقَيُّومُ لَا تَأْخُذُهُ سِنَةٌ وَلَا نَوْمٌ لَّهُ مَا فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَمَا فِي الْأَرْضِ مَن ذَا الَّذِي يَشْفَعُ عِندَهُ إِلَّا بِإِذْنِهِ يَعْلَمُ مَا بَيْنَ أَيْدِيهِمْ وَمَا خَلْفَهُمْ وَلَا يُحِيطُونَ بِشَيْءٍ مِّنْ عِلْمِهِ إِلَّا بِمَا شَاءَ وَسِعَ كُرْسِيُّهُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضَ وَلَا يَئُودُهُ حِفْظُهُمَا وَهُوَ الْعَلِيُّ الْعَظِيمُ
"Allah – there is no deity except Him, the Ever-Living, the Sustainer of (all) existence. Neither drowsiness overtakes Him nor sleep. To Him belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on the earth. Who is it that can intercede with Him except by His permission? He knows what is (presently) before them and what will be after them, and they encompass not a thing of His knowledge except for what He wills. His throne extends over the heavens and the earth, and their preservation tires Him not. And He is the Highest, the Greatest." (Quran 2:255)

The Prophet (saw) said:

"By reciting it (Ayat al-Kursi), there will be a guardian appointed over you from Allah who will protect you during the night, and Satan will not be able to come near you until morning" (Bukhari 1020)

Adhkar

The Prophet (saw) used to supplicate before going to sleep with the following supplication. When the Prophet (saw) went to bed at night, he would put his hand under his cheek and then made a supplication. Huzayfa (ra) narrated:

كَانَ النَّبِيُّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ إِذَا أَخَذَ مَضْجَعَهُ مِنْ اللَّيْلِ وَضَعَ يَدَهُ تَحْتَ خَدِّهِ ثُمَّ يَقُولُ: "اللَّهُمَّ بِاسْمِكَ أَمُوتُ وَأَحْيَا" وَإِذَا اسْتَيْقَظَ قَالَ "الْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ الَّذِي أَحْيَانَا بَعْدَ مَا أَمَاتَنَا وَإِلَيْهِ النُّشُورُ".
"When the Prophet (saw) went to bed at night, he would put his hand under his cheek and then say, "Allahumma bismika amutu wa ahya," 'O Allah, it is with Thine Name that I live and it is with Thine Name that I die.' And when he got up he used to say: 'Praise is due to Allah, Who gave us life after our death (sleep) and unto Thee is resurrection.'" (Bukhari 7394)

"اللَّهُمَّ أَسْلَمْتُ نَفْسِي إِلَيْكَ، وَفَوَّضْتُ أَمْرِي إِلَيْكَ، وَوَجَّهْتُ وَجْهِي إِلَيْكَ، وَأَلْجَأْتُ ظَهْرِي إِلَيْكَ، رَغْبَةً وَرَهْبَةً إِلَيْكَ، لَا مَلْجَأَ وَلّا مَنْجَا مِنْكَ إِلَّا إِلَيْكَ، آمَنْتُ بِكِتَابِكَ وَبِنَبِيِّكَ الَّذِي أَرْسَلْتَ."
"O Allah, I submit my soul unto You, and I entrust my affair unto You, and I turn my face towards You, and I totally rely on You, in hope and fear of You. Verily there is no refuge nor safe haven from You except with You. I believe in Your Book which You have revealed and in Your Prophet whom You have sent." (Bukhari 1462)

بِاسْمِكَ رَبِّي وَضَعْتُ جَنْبِي، وَبِكَ أَرْفَعُهُ، فَإِنْ أَمْسَكْتَ نَفْسِي فَارْحَمْهَا، وَإِنْ أَرْسَلْتَهَا فَاحْفَظْهَا، بِمَا تَحْفَظُ بِهِ عِبَادَكَ الصَّالِحِينَ.
"In Your name my Lord, I lie down and in Your name, I rise, so if You should take my soul then have mercy upon it, and if You should return my soul then protect it in the manner You do so with Your righteous servants."(Bukhari)

At the time of difficulty when sleeping, Zaid bin Thaabit (ra) complained to Muhammad (saw) of not being able to go to sleep at times and then he (saw) advised him to recite the following dua:

اللَّهُمَّ غَارَتِ النُّجُومُ وَهَدَأَتِ الْعُيُونُ وَأَنْتَ حَيٌّ قَيُّومٌ * لَا تَأْخُذُكَ سِنَةٌ وَلَا نَوْمٌ يَا حَيُّ يَا قَيُّومُ أَهْدِئْ لَيْلِي وَأَنِمْ عَيْنِي
"O Allah the stars have gone far away and the eyes are rested. You are Alive and Infinite, You do not slumber nor does sleep overtake You. Oh Alive and the Everlasting One, grant me rest tonight and let my eyes sleep (close)" (Tabarani, Vol. 5, p124)


Intending to Pray Tahajjud (Night Prayer)

The Prophet (saw) used to make the intention of getting up for tahajjud before going to sleep (Nisa'i).

Conclusion

The Prophet (saw) undertook certain acts before going to sleep with the aim of getting closer to Allah namely performing wudu (ablution), brushing his teeth with a miswak (tooth-stick), dusting the bedsheet off, laying on the right side, reciting some parts of the Quran, reciting some adhkar (supplications) and intending to pray tahajjud (night prayer).


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