Saturday, August 15, 2009

Mai's Q&A with the Imam about Sleeping on the Floor

BismIllah wa as salaamu alaykum.

Well, a few months ago, off I went to the Imam to ask about emulating the Prophet, salla Allahu alayhi wa sallam, in things such as sleeping on the floor. He said that some things were Sunnat al ibadah and some were Sunnat al a'adat. That means some are Sunnahs of worship and some are Sunnahs of custom, things that were the Prophet's habits, not things relating to worship specifically. So he said, we don't have to sleep on the floor - that was his choice. We can sleep in comfort and luxury, it is halal.

I feel some lack of conviction about this...not that it is haram to sleep on a raised bed, LOL, but about the sunnah of sleeping on the floor not being something we are meant to emulate. Oh, you may sigh...what now, Mai?

Well, these ahadith are always in my mind on the subject.

The Zuhd of Prophet Muhammad: his bedding

Narrates Sayyidina 'Umar (may Allah be pleased with him): "I went to the Prophet and saw that he was lying on a mat made of the leaves of the date-palm, and there was no bedding between him and the mat, and the texture of the mat had left deep marks on his body, and under his head was placed a leather pillow stuffed with the bark of the date-tree. On seeing it, I said, "My Master! Pray to Allah (The Glorified and The Exalted) to grant prosperity to your followers. He has bestowed riches upon the people of Rome and Persia even though they are not believers." The Prophet (may Allah's blessings and peace be upon him) replied, 'O son of Khattab! Do you also think like that? They are the people who have been deprived of the blessings of the Hereafter (owing to their ungodly ways), and hence, the comforts (Allah wanted to confer upon them) have been granted to them in this world.' (In another version of the same Tradition, it is said that the Prophet replied, "O 'Umar! Do you not prefer that they took the joys of this world and we of the Hereafter)?" (Bukhari and Muslim)

Hadrat 'AbdAllah ibn Mas'ud (may Allah be pleased with him) says that (once) the Holy Prophet (may Allah's blessings and peace be upon him) slept on a mat made of date palm leaves and when he awoke, the impressions of the mat were visible on his body. We said: "O Allah's Messenger (may Allah's blessings and peace be upon him)! May we prepare a soft bedding for you?" He said: I have got nothing to do with the world. I am in this world like a rider who halts in the shade of a tree for a short time and after taking some rest, resumes his journey leaving the tree behind. (Tirmidhi)

There is another I recently read regarding the Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) asking Aisha (radhi Allahu anha) if she had changed his bedding. She responded that she had folded up the mat to make it more comfortable for him. He said that he slept so comfortably that he didn't wake up at his usual time for tahajjud and asked that his mat be returned to its original state.

Subhaan Allah, I cannot tell you how differently I view super snuggly, soft as a cloud, comfortable beds since reading that!

Obviously, we are not told that we must sleep in such a way, but we are shown the best example in our Prophet, salla Allahu alayhi wa sallam, when it comes to leaving behind the comforts and things of this world. It wasn't so much a custom, as a deliberate thing he did for a clear reason. He even said to Umar, are you thinking like the people who are only getting comforts in this life? Well, I do not want to be one with the comforts in this life and none in the next. Somehow there is a serious message in the Prophet, salla Allahu alayhi wa sallam, sleeping in such a simple state. That is why I don't want a raised fancy bed.

Disappointed is an understatement about having to get mattresses to put on the floor here in Madinah, but Allah is the Most Perfect Planner and always with the patient, so I simply accept and place my trust in His Qadr and Qadar. In the meantime, I just keep on loving every aspect of how our beloved Prophet lived and praying I can even emulate a fraction of it - the ibadah and the customs insha'Allah.


  1. i sleep on the floor with a one inch mattress. ITS AWESOME!

  2. Oh Tuttie! Don't make me jealous! We had planned to get all cotton japanese futons to place on the floor for sleeping. Then we realized we couldn't get them shipped to Saudi Arabia and just winged it thinking we'd find something here. Well, lack of our own transportation and knowledge of where to find anything even close to our requirements landed us buying regular mattresses and sticking them on the floor. Never mind. Rather than say "ugh" again I will simply say that Allah obviously has a different and better plan for us. Ironically, in many ways it is easier to practically "live" the Sunnah in the USA than it is here in Madinah.