Allah, the Exalted, says: “Indeed, in the creation of the heavens and the earth and the alternation of the night and day are signs for those of understanding–who remember Allah while standing, sitting and [lying] on their sides” (Qur’an, 3:190-191).
The moments right before you fall sleep are beautifully serene. Everything is still and quiet (hopefully), and all you have amidst the darkness is the radiance of your thoughts and reflections. You might even find the best ideas coming to mind in that relaxed, peaceful state. If you get into bed when you’re exhausted, though, your brain shuts down before you know it, and you don’t remember thinking of anything—even of Allah. The same would apply if you fall asleep while you’re doing something, like watching TV or reading a book.
Think about how you fall asleep every night. What occupies your time right before you fall asleep? If you consider the amount of dhikr (remembrance of Allah) that the Prophet ﷺ did before going to sleep, you’d find that it’s much easier to implement when you consciously choose to go to bed before you feel super tired. More importantly, you’d sleep in a state of dhikr while feeling the meanings in your heart and reflecting upon them, rather than mumbling them mindlessly as you pass out.
Do you know what adhkār (singular of dhikr) to say before going to sleep? I included some for you below, along with their related etiquettes or benefit. These and more can be found in Fortress of the Muslim (on makedua.com), or in Riyāḍ Al-Salihīn. Try to keep a reference of these by your bedside, and learn one a week, or even one a day if you can. Start with the easier and shorter ones, and then move on to the longer ones. Practice saying them on a nightly basis, and soon enough, you will know (and feel) them by heart insha’Allah.
From the Qur’an:
- Ayat al-Kursi (Qur’an, 2:255).
Benefit: Whoever reads Ayat al-Kursi when (s)he lies down to sleep will have protection from Allah, and Satan will not come near him/(her) until morning. [Bukhari]
- The Last Two Ayas of Surat al-Baqarah (Qur’an, 2:285-286).
Benefit: These two ayat will be sufficient for anyone who recites them before sleeping. [Bukhari & Muslim]
Etiquette: When going to bed every night, the Prophet ﷺ would cup his hands together, blown into them, and recite the last three chapters of the Qur’an. Then, he would wipe over his entire body (as much as possible) with his hands, beginning with his head and face, and then the rest of his body. He would do this three times. [Bukhari & Muslim]
Other Adhkār and Supplications:
1. “Bismik-Allāhumma amūtu wa ahyā.”
With Your Name, O Allah, I expire and return to life. [Bukhari]
2. “Allāhumma qinī ʿadhābak yawma tabʿathu ʿibādak” (three times).
O Allah, protect me from Your punishment on the day You resurrect Your servants. [Tirmidhi]
3. SubhānAllah (33 times), Alhamdu lillah (33 times), and Allāhu Akbar (34 times).
Exalted is Allah, All Praise is to Allah, and Allah is the Greatest. [Bukhari & Muslim]
4. “Alhamdu lillāhi’l-lathī atʿamanā wa saqānā wa kafānā wa āawānā fakam mimman lā kāfiya lahu wa lā mu’wī.”
All praise is to Allah, Who fed us and gave us to drink, and Who is sufficient for us and has sheltered us — for how many have none to suffice them or shelter them. [Muslim]
5. “Bismika rabbī wadaʿtu jambī wabika arfaʿuh fa’in amsakta nafsī farḥamhā wa’in arsaltahā faḥfadh-hā bimā taḥfadhu bihi ʿibādaka’l-sālihīn.”
In Your name my Lord, I lie down and in Your name I rise, so if You take my soul then have mercy upon it, and if You return my soul then protect it in the way You (protect) Your righteous servants. [Bukhari & Muslim]
6. “Allāhumma aslamtu nafsī ilayk, wafawwaḍtu amrī ilayk, wawajjahtu wajhī ilayk, wa’alja’tu dhahrī ilayk, raghbatan warahbatan ilayk, la malja’a walā manjā minka illā ilayk, āmantu bikitābika’l-lathī anzalta wabinabiyyika’l-lathī arsalt.”
‘O Allah, I submit my soul to You, and I entrust my affair to 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 that You revealed, and in Your Prophet whom You sent.’
Etiquette & Benefit: The Prophet ﷺ said: ‘If you take to your bed, then perform ablution as you would for prayer, lie down on your right side, and then say [the supplication above]. Then, if you die, you will die upon the fitrah (natural disposition)—and make these (words) the last of what you say (before sleeping).’ [Bukhari & Muslim]