Staying up late…..a disease of modern times
by Asma bint Shameem
They roam the streets when everyone is asleep. Or they may hang out with friends all night at the local ‘hookah place’. Or if they have nothing to do, some of them may even ‘egg’ some poor unsuspecting person’s house….’just because’. And if they are not ‘out there’, they are indoors, up until the wee hours of the morning, watching movies, listening to music, playing video games or chatting on the Internet, just because it’s ‘summer vacation’.
Yes, that’s right, brothers and sisters, that’s our youth during the summer.
And even when it is not summer, they stay up late even then. They think it is ‘cool’ to do so.
And, unfortunately, this ‘disease of late nights’ has become so widespread that we, as parents, don’t think much of it either. In fact, many of us adults are afflicted with this same disease ourselves. We come back from parties and dinners late at night and we let our kids do the same.
However what we don’t realize is….. that’s not how Allah Subhaanahu wa Ta’ala intended the order of things. In fact, it is quite contrary to the natural rhythm which Allaah has created in the universe and in mankind. Allaah says:
“It is He who has appointed the night a covering for you and sleep for a rest. The day He has appointed for rising.” (Surah Furqaan: 47)
Thus, the night is created for rest and the day for work and for seeking provision. Yet we do the exact opposite. We are up at night and sleep late into the day, sometimes, up to or even beyond Dhuhr time, and waste much precious time. ‘Umar Radhi Allaahu Anhu used to punish people the people who did this and say: ‘You stay up for the first part of the night, then sleep for the last part of it?’”.
If we look at how the righteous before us spent their nights, we realize that they used their nights as a means to earning Jannah; praying, reciting the Qur’aan, crying and supplicating to Allaah. However, some of us Muslims, today take their nights as a means of entertainment and fun and even, aaoodhu billaah, a means of haraam and sin.
Actually, the Prophet (Sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa Sallam) himself, did not like to stay up or even speak after Ishaa.
“The Prophet (Sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa Sallam) used to like to delay the ‘Ishaa’ prayer and he hated to sleep before it or talk after it”. (Bukhaari).
He also disapproved of staying up late and warned against it.
He (Sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa Sallam) said: “Beware of staying up after people’s movements settle.”
Why did he do that? Because staying up late might cause many harms. Some of them are:
1. It may cause one to totally miss the Fajr prayer
The Prophet (Sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa Sallam) said: “Between a man and kufr and shirk, there stands his giving up prayer.” (Muslim)
2. Even if you do wake up for Fajr, it is extremely hard to concentrate in the prayer or even know what one is saying.
3. Staying up late causes health problems, exhaustion, weakness, and loss of enthusiasm.
The Prophet (Sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa Sallam) said: “Staying up late is tiring and burdensome.” (Daarimi, Tabaraani, others)
4. It also leads to lack of responsibility and laziness, as it is extremely difficult to wake up early for school, job, etc. if you are up half the night. The person ends up sleeping late into the day, missing his work, and slacking in responsibility.
Al-Fudayl ibn ‘Iyaad said: There are two qualities that harden the heart: sleeping too much and eating too much.
5. We also miss out on the most blessed part of the day is the early morning. The Prophet (Sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa sallam) said:
“The early morning has been blessed for my Ummah.”(Saheeh al-Jaami’).
That’s why whenever the Prophet (Sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa sallam) sent out troops or an army, he would send them at the beginning of the day. But by sleeping late, we lose the blessings of this time and the profits we could have gained.
6. If we sleep early, we can wake up in time for qiyaam ul-lail, a time for prayer, making dua and seeking forgiveness from Allaah, as the Prophet (Sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa Sallam) said:
“Our Lord descends every night to the heavens when there is only one third of the night remaining and says: Who is supplicating to me so that I can respond to him? Who is asking Me for something so that I can grant him that which he is asking for? Who is seeking My forgiveness so that I can forgive him” (Bukhaari, Muslim)
Is it befitting that we, as Muslims, miss this honorable and virtuous time and waste it either sleeping or following our desires?
7. Staying up late is also a major reason behind many of the moral crimes, community problems, car accidents, etc.
8. Exceptions to the rule: The Ulama say that staying up late unnecessarily is nothing but a bad habit, unless it serves a purpose, such as praying and worshipping Allaah, seeking knowledge of Islaam, a person’s job, traveling, students preparing for exams, or other beneficial or permissible matters.
The Prophet (Sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa Sallam) said: “Staying up late is for one of three categories of people; those traveling, those praying the night prayers, or those on their wedding night.” (Abu Ya’laa).
What Islaam encourages us to do is to sleep early, preferably right after Ishaa, then wake up early in time for
our prayers (Fajr and Tahajjud, if possible) and then take advantage of the blessings of early morning for our work and provision. We are also encouraged to take a nap during the day, either before Dhuhr or after, if we are able to. The Prophet (Sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa Sallam) said:
“Take a nap, for the shayaateen do not take naps.” (al-Tabaraani–Saheeh).
Ishaaq ibn ‘Abd-Allaah said: “Taking a nap is one of the deeds of good people. It revitalizes the heart and helps one to pray qiyaam al-layl.”
Brothers and sisters, realize that staying up late is a diseased lifestyle that takes one away from the religion of Allaah and encourages the following of ones lusts and desires. One should avoid it unless there is a legitimate reason for it. Not only should we keep our kids away from it, we ourselves need to break this bad habit and develop healthy lifestyles and wholesome ways.
May Allaah enable us to realize the harms and evils of staying up late. May He enable us to utilize our time in the most productive manner, that is most pleasing to Him. Ameen