by Al-Qadi Abu Bakr ibn Arabi al-Maliki | Translated by Suhaib Webb
It is related in the two authentic collections of al-Bukhari and Muslim from Ibn Abbas (ra), that the latter spent the night in the house of his aunt, Maymuna, the wife of the Prophet ﷺ (peace be upon him). Ibn Abbas slept on one side of the bed sideways, while the Prophet ﷺ and his wife slept on the other. Ibn Abbas narrated,
‘At around midnight the Prophet ﷺ awoke, wiped his face and read the last ten verses of the third chapter of the Qur’an, Ali ‘Imran:
‘Indeed, in the creation of the heavens and the earth and the alternation of the night and the day are signs for those of understanding. Who remember Allah while standing or sitting or [lying] on their sides and give thought to the creation of the heavens and the earth, [saying], “Our Lord, You did not create this aimlessly; exalted are You [above such a thing]; then protect us from the punishment of the Fire.
Our Lord, indeed whoever You admit to the Fire – You have disgraced him, and for the wrongdoers there are no helpers. Our Lord, indeed we have heard a caller calling to faith, [saying], ‘Believe in your Lord,’ and we have believed. Our Lord, so forgive us our sins and remove from us our misdeeds and cause us to die with the righteous. Our Lord, and grant us what You promised us through Your messengers and do not disgrace us on the Day of Resurrection. Indeed, You do not fail in [Your] promise.”
And their Lord responded to them, “Never will I allow to be lost the work of [any] worker among you, whether male or female; you are of one another. So those who emigrated or were evicted from their homes or were harmed in My cause or fought or were killed – I will surely remove from them their misdeeds, and I will surely admit them to gardens beneath which rivers flow as reward from Allah , and Allah has with Him the best reward.”
Be not deceived by the [uninhibited] movement of the disbelievers throughout the land. [It is but] a small enjoyment; then their [final] refuge is Hell, and wretched is the resting place.
But those who feared their Lord will have gardens beneath which rivers flow, abiding eternally therein, as accommodation from Allah. And that which is with Allah is best for the righteous.
And indeed, among the People of the Scripture are those who believe in Allah and what was revealed to you and what was revealed to them, [being] humbly submissive to Allah. They do not exchange the verses of Allah for a small price. Those will have their reward with their Lord. Indeed, Allah is swift in account.
O you who have believed, persevere and endure and remain stationed and fear Allah that you may be successful. (Qur’an, 3:190-200)
When he finished, he made wudu and prayed 15 cycles of prayers.’
Note, may God have mercy upon you, how he ﷺ combined contemplating on creation, in order to rouse his sense of awareness until it brought his heart to life after slumber, with prayers. This is the Sunna upon which we rely and follow. As for those (extreme) Sufis, if their Sheikh spent a day and a night, or a month pondering without taking a break, then that way is far from what is correct, detached from the Sunna and not consistent with what God has prescribed.
– Tafsir Ayat al-Ahkam (vol. 2, pg. 354)