Question # 60: Can we sleep in any direction, meaning can legs be facing Qiblah? Are there any Islamic etiquettes or requirements of sleeping?
bismi-llahi r-raḥmani r-raḥīm,
Assalamu ‘laikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh,
All praise and thanks are due to Allah (سبحانه و تعالى), and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger (صلى الله عليه و سلم).
First of all, we implore Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) to help us serve His cause and render our work for His sake.
Shorter Answer: There is no sin in sleeping with one’s feet facing towards Qiblah. In addition, the following are some of the manners and etiquettes of sleeping/while going to sleep:
- Performing Ablution (Wudoo) Before Going to Sleep;
- Sleeping on right side and placing one’s cheek on right hand;
- Reciting from the Qur’an (such as Aayatul-Kursee, Soorah Al-Ikhlaas, Al-Falak, An-Nas, Soorah Al-Kafiroon, and last two verses from Al-Baqarah);
- Reading certain supplications and invocations;
- Lightly spitting to one’s left three times on seeing nightmare and seeking refuge with Allah from Ash-Shaitaan; and
- Not sleeping on stomach.
Long Answer: Shaykh Muhammad ibn Saalih al-‘Uthaymeen (may Allah have mercy on him) said: “There is no sin on a person if he sleep with his feet towards the Ka’bah, rather the fuqaha’ (may Allah have mercy on them) said: if a sick person cannot stand or sit, he should pray lying on his side with his face towards the qiblah, and if he cannot then he should pray on his back with his feet towards the qiblah.” (Fataawa Ibn ‘Uthaymeen)
It was narrated that Hudhayfah (رضي الله عنه) said, “When the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) went to bed at night, he would put his hand under his cheek, then say, ‘Allahumma bismika amootu wa ahyaa (O Allah, in Your name I die and I live).’ Then when he woke up he would say, ‘Al-hamdu Lillaah alladhi ahyaanaa ba’da ma amaatanaa wa ilayhi al-nushoor (Praise be to Allah who has brought us back to life after causing us to die, and to Him is the resurrection).’” (Narrated by al-Bukhari)
[Although,] …sleeping on one’s left side is permitted, but one misses out on the reward for following the Sunnah. (Shaykh Muhammad Saalih al-Munajjid)
Next, it was from the Prophet’s guidance that he would not go to sleep until he first read something from the Qur’an. When a Muslim recites the Qur’an before going to sleep, he becomes protected from ash-Shaitaan and his dreams become truer in their meanings… Certain of the verses and chapters that one should read before going to sleep are: i) throne verse (Aayatul-Kursee); ii) Soorah Al-Ikhlaas, Al-Falak and An-Nas; iii) Soorah Al-Kafiroon, iv) Soorah as-Sajdah and Al-Mulk, v) Last two verses from Soorah Al-Baqarah.
There are two kinds of dreams: the good dream, which is from Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) and the evil dream – one that contains evil meanings or one that is a nightmare- which is from Ash-Shaitaan. Abu Qataadah (رضي الله عنه) reported that the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said, “The good dream is from Allah, and Al-Hulm (evil dream: one that is a nightmare or that contains evil meanings) is from Ash-Shaitaan. So if one of you sees an evil dream that he is afraid of, then let him spit to his left and take refuge with Allah from its evil, for then it will not harm him.” (Related by Bukhari, Muslim, Ahmad, At-Tirmidhee, Abu Daawood, Ibn Maajah, Maalik, and Ad-Daarimee) (‘The Book of Manners’ by Fu’ad Ibn ‘Abdul-‘Azeez Ash-Shulhoob)
Next, Ya’eesh ibn Tihfah al-Ghifaari reported that his father said: “I stayed as a guest with the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه و سلم) with those of the poor whom he hosted. The Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه و سلم) came out in the night to check up on his guests, and saw me lying on my stomach. He prodded me with his foot and said, ‘Do not lie in this manner, for it is a way of lying that Allah hates.’” According to another report, the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) prodded him with his foot and woke him up, and said, “Do not lie like this, for this is how the people of Hell lie.” (Reported by Ahmad, al-Fath al-Rabbaani; by al-Tirmidhi; and by Abu Dawood, al-Sunan, Kitaab al-Adab, also reported in Saheeh al-Jaami’)
Actually, the ahadith which speak of the prohibition on sleeping on one’s stomach vary in their degree of soundness. Some scholars classed them as da’eef (weak) such as al-Bukhari, al-Daaraqutni, Ibn Abi Haatim and Ibn Rajab, and others classed them as saheeh or hasan, such as Ahmad Shaakir in Tahqeeq al-Musnad and al-Albaani in Saheeh Abi Dawood. (Shaykh Muhammad Saalih al-Munajjid)
Allahu A’lam (Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) knows best) and all Perfections belong to Allah, and all mistakes belong to me alone. May Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) forgive me, Ameen.