Sitting at a restaurant table, a friend was telling me the story of a wealthy uncle of his. He had tons of corporate success, loads of money, and was now nearing retirement. “My uncle confided in me,” my friend said, “that if there was one thing I regret most about how I spent my life, it’s that I always slept in the mornings. I squandered many cumulative years of my life with that wasteful habit of sleeping in.”
If you had loads of money, much more than you needed — what would you do with your mornings? Would you sleep in or would you wake up early and stay up? See there’s this default opinion of mornings. We think that waking up early and staying up is something we are forced to do because of a job or morning classes — but that if we had no need for that job or transferred our classes to the afternoon, we would be “free” to sleep in. Wealth, some think, equals the ability to sleep mornings.
Ironically, true wealth is the EXACT opposite. It’s true richness when you can wake up at Fajr and stay up to drink from the blessing and barakah of the provisions Allah dispenses in the mornings.
I have a confession; there’s a reason I’m writing this post. I’m one of those guys who has intense bouts of insomnia. The whole Ummah could be sleeping in Muzdalifah, during Hajj, and I’m sitting there awake for like 4 hours straight unable to sleep. It’s physically painful not to be able to sleep at night, to sit there for hours turning things over and over in my head.
But the biggest consequence of my insomnia is that I sleep very soundly after Fajr, in the mornings, unfortunately.
I say unfortunately because I’ve recently made the intention to fight harder against this rhythm of mine: insomnia at night, restful sleep in the mornings. What triggered my renewed will was a sage dialogue between a righteous father and his son. That father,
the Companion Ibn Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him, once found a son of his in the morning sleeping. He said to his son, “Wake up! How can you sleep at a time when provisions (from Allah) are being dispensed?”
Enough’s enough, right? It’s time to raise the standard.
The Prophet’s Dua
I want to dip into that Dua that the Prophet, sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam, made for you and I. Allah’s Messenger, sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam, made Dua to bless this Ummah in its mornings:
“O Allah, bless my Ummah (in their work) in the early part of the morning” (Tirmidhi).
The Companion, Sakhr al-Ghaamidi, may Allah be pleased with him, was the person who narrated this hadith. Worthy of note is that he applied this Hadith to his own business. It is said of him that he used to send out his trade caravans at the beginning of the day (acting on the Dua of the Prophet, sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam, that may Allah bless this Ummah in its mornings). And because of this early morning business habit, Sakhr excelled in his trade and became wealthy.
Think you’ll be more productive if you skip Fajr? Think again.
Committing to stay up in the mornings will make waking up for Fajr more attractive. Some might rationalize their laziness about waking up for Fajr: “I’m going to go to sleep after Fajr anyway, so if I just skip this 15 minute up/pray/roll back into bed routine, I can get undisturbed sleep for longer.” But it doesn’t work that way. A person who sleeps through Fajr wakes up, as the Prophet, sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam, said, Khabeeth AnNafs (in a rotten foul mood), and Kaslan (lazy).
Take action: 30-day Challenge
Whenever we think of a good habit that we want to make part of our lives, we think, “I’ll never be able to keep that up my entire life, so why bother even trying, why bother even starting.” Here’s the thing, you don’t have to cold-turkey yourself into a new wonderful habit that you’ll magically maintain forever and ever.
Just do this instead: commit to a 30-day challenge, and that’s it.
Let your body decide after 30 days what it wants to do.
This is how it’ll look, for the next 30 days, commit to staying up after Fajr. (Tip: If you feel sleepy in the late morning, early afternoon, just take a short siesta to refresh yourself). 30 days, no more.
Try journaling the benefits of staying up. Do wonderfully fun things that you never seem to have time for throughout your week (because you’ll have plenty of hours now in this blessed time-space). Enjoy a wholesome breakfast. Pray Fajr in the Masjid and don’t be in such a rush to leave. Enjoy reading Quran and remembering Allah. Get your top 2-3 most important tasks of the day done before anyone else wakes up.
And with this abundance of blessed extra time, if you could, please make a Dua for me. 🙂
Question for further discussion: When you are trying to implement a new beneficial habit, how do you do it? And has your strategy worked for you? (Comment below)
Founder and President of DiscoverU, an Islam-based personal development institute. Muhammad Alshareef graduated Islamic Law from Madinah University and holds a Masters Degree from West Virginia University. Canadian, ethnically Egyptian, and a true citizen of the world. He writes about Islamic solutions to popular personal development questions.