The favors of Allah upon His slaves cannot be enumerated. Among the favors is that He created sleep, and He created the night so that we may rest in it.
“And We have made your sleep as a thing for rest; and We have made the night as a covering (through its darkness).” (Qur’an, 78:9-10)
Allah created this time for people to unwind, calm down and rest in, and this is from out of His mercy. Allah says:
“It is out of His Mercy that He has made for you the night and the day that you may rest therein (i.e. during the night) and that you may seek of His bounty (i.e. during the day) – and in order that you may be grateful.” (Qur’an, 28:73)
In the past, people would be shedding tears in their night prayers, praying, making Du’a or reciting the Qur’an at nights. Our Salaf, may Allah have mercy upon them, would view the nights as the best means to Paradise.
However, the Muslims of today take their nights as a means of entertainment and frivolity. Satan dispatches his followers and spreads his evil ideas, and this has led to late nights being a source of immorality, corrupt behavior, and a path that leads to one’s destruction, as well as a period in which the evilest of prohibited television programs are broadcast.
All of these evils are a direct result of the Muslim nation accepting foreign lifestyles. Muslims are accepting ideologies that promote a lifestyle which is by its nature far removed from the religion of Allah and rebellious against all spiritual morals. It encourages the following of one’s lusts and desires, just as animals do.
During vacations and holidays, staying up late at nights becomes a serious problem. Most people forego sleep and all other important activities to immerse themselves in wrongdoing and sinful acts. They seem to forget that the days of summer are temporary and that these days and nights will soon come to an end.
Successful are those who ponder upon the heat of summer and think thereby about the Hereafter and the Hellfire. Such remembrance would stop people from spending their nights in sin and wasting time indulging in prohibitions, immorality and corruption, all of which destroys families and the next generation. Good news is for the slaves who restrain from straying away, and spend their time beneficially in activities such as attending Qur’an circles, lectures, courses, and in development of mental abilities, and Halaal entertainment.
Staying up till the last hours of night and resisting sleep when the body is in desperate need of it results in serious health problems.
One would thereby become physically weak, lazy and apathetic to the extent that he or she can no longer fulfill the duties during the day. Staying up late is tiring and burdensome. A person may resist sleep to stay up for an extra hour and lose as a result many hours, if not days. Let us look at the household of the Prophet (peace be upon him) for guidance. Ayesha (may Allah be pleased with her) said: “The Prophet (peace be upon him) never slept before the Isha prayer and never stayed up after it.” (Ibn Majah)
When Al-Aswad asked Ayesha about the (night) prayer of the Prophet (peace be upon him), she replied: “He slept for the first part of the night and prayed at the end of it.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)
Sleeping in the first part of the night has many benefits. Those who follow the Prophet (peace be upon him) in doing this find that their body has rested well.
Abdullah Bin Mas’ood (may Allah be pleased with him) said: “The Prophet (peace be upon him) used to disapprove and warn against staying up after Isha.” (Ahmad)
The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Beware of staying up after people’s movements settle” and in another narration: “Beware of staying up after the night has settled, because you do not know what spreads out on the earth from the creatures of Allah.” (Al-Hakim)
Imam Ibn Hajar said: “Sleeping before (Isha prayer) might make a person pray it after its due time, and staying up late might cause one to miss the Fajr prayer, or make a person miss out on the (optional) night prayer. Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) used to punish 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?’”
The Prophet (peace be upon him) did stay up late on some occasions in order to fulfill some needs or accomplish some tasks for the benefit of the Muslims, as Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, said: “The Prophet (peace be upon him) and I used to stay up late at night at the house of Abu Bakr discussing the affairs of the Muslims.”
Staying up after the Isha prayer is disliked unless it is due to necessity or for a religiously beneficial purpose. But in case staying up late results in abandoning or missing out on an obligatory act of worship (such as Fajr prayer) then it becomes prohibited, even if the reason for staying up was to perform a religiously beneficial deed or act in obedience to Allah. Anything that leads one to commit a prohibition is itself prohibited.
Many miss their Fajr prayers because of staying up at night. This has become such a chronic problem that those who attend the prayer in congregation are very few in number. This phenomenon has become very normal, so much so that people nowadays do not feel any resentment about it, despite the fact that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “The most burdensome prayers for a hypocrite are Isha and Fajr, and if only they (i.e., the hypocrites) knew what virtues they have, then they would have attended them, even if they would have had to come crawling to the mosque.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)
O Muslims! The time that precedes dawn is the time for making Du’a and seeking forgiveness and repentance, as the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Our Lord descends (in a way which befits His Majesty) 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.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)
O Muslims! Is it befitting for a Muslim to spend these honorable and precious times while listening to music or following lusts?
“Indeed this is a reminder, so whoever wills may take to his Lord a way.” (Qur’an, 73:19)
– Excerpts of a Khutbah delivered at Masjid Al-Haram in 2005