The night and day in perfect harmony

قُلْ أَرَأَيْتُمْ إِن جَعَلَ اللَّهُ عَلَيْكُمُ اللَّيْلَ سَرْمَدًا إِلَىٰ يَوْمِ الْقِيَامَةِ مَنْ إِلَٰهٌ غَيْرُ اللَّهِ يَأْتِيكُم بِضِيَاءٍ ۖ أَفَلَا تَسْمَعُونَ

Say, “Have you considered: if Allah should make for you the night continuous until the Day of Resurrection, what deity other than Allah could bring you light? Then will you not hear?” [al Qasas: 71]

قُلْ أَرَأَيْتُمْ إِن جَعَلَ اللَّهُ عَلَيْكُمُ النَّهَارَ سَرْمَدًا إِلَىٰ يَوْمِ الْقِيَامَةِ مَنْ إِلَٰهٌ غَيْرُ اللَّهِ يَأْتِيكُم بِلَيْلٍ تَسْكُنُونَ فِيهِ ۖ أَفَلَا تُبْصِرُونَ

Say, “Have you considered: if Allah should make for you the day continuous until the Day of Resurrection, what deity other than Allah could bring you a night in which you may rest? Then will you not see?” [al Qasas: 72]

وَمِن رَّحْمَتِهِ جَعَلَ لَكُمُ اللَّيْلَ وَالنَّهَارَ لِتَسْكُنُوا فِيهِ وَلِتَبْتَغُوا مِن فَضْلِهِ وَلَعَلَّكُمْ تَشْكُرُونَ

And out of His mercy He made for you the night and the day that you may rest therein and [by day] seek from His bounty and [that] perhaps you will be grateful. [al Qasas: 73]

 Allah is the one who alternates between night and day. And it is because of this alternation that we have the daytime to work, and the night to rest. If Allah were to take away this blessing and make the night continuous, can we do anything? Or if He takes away the night, and there’s instead perpetual light, then how will we rest?

But Allah out of His immense Kindness and Mercy has given us both.

We need the day to move about, earn a living and work in general. And we need the darkness of the night to rest. And research tells us how important darkness is for the proper rejuvenation of the body. Darkness triggers the release of a natural hormone called melatonin in our blood, which makes you feel less alert and more sleepy.  Melatonin levels in the blood stay elevated all through the night. Light on the other hand suppresses melatonin. So our bodies are awake, alert, conscious and aware of our surroundings during the day. 

According to the Sleep Foundation:

A key factor in how human sleep is regulated is exposure to light or to darkness. Exposure to light stimulates a nerve pathway from the retina in the eye to an area in the brain called the hypothalamus. There, a special center called the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) initiates signals to other parts of the brain that control hormones, body temperature and other functions that play a role in making us feel sleepy or wide awake.

The SCN works like a clock that sets off a regulated pattern of activities that affect the entire body. Once exposed to the first light each day, the clock in the SCN begins performing functions like raising body temperature and releasing stimulating hormones like cortisol. The SCN also delays the release of other hormones like melatonin, which is associated with sleep onset, until many hours later when darkness arrives.

Melatonin is a natural hormone made by your body’s pineal (pih-knee-uhl) gland. This is a pea-sized gland located just above the middle of the brain. During the day the pineal is inactive. When the sun goes down and darkness occurs, the pineal is “turned on” by the SCN and begins to actively produce melatonin, which is released into the blood. Usually, this occurs around 9 pm. As a result, melatonin levels in the blood rise sharply and you begin to feel less alert. Sleep becomes more inviting. Melatonin levels in the blood stay elevated for about 12 hours – all through the night – before the light of a new day when they fall back to low daytime levels by about 9 am. Daytime levels of melatonin are barely detectable.

Besides adjusting the timing of the clock, bright light has another effect. It directly inhibits the release of melatonin.  A key factor in how human sleep is regulated is exposure to light or to darkness. Exposure to light stimulates a nerve pathway from the retina in the eye to an area in the brain called the hypothalamus. There, a special center called the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) initiates signals to other parts of the brain that control hormones, body temperature and other functions that play a role in making us feel sleepy or wide awake.

The SCN works like a clock that sets off a regulated pattern of activities that affect the entire body. Once exposed to the first light each day, the clock in the SCN begins performing functions like raising body temperature and releasing stimulating hormones like cortisol. The SCN also delays the release of other hormones like melatonin, which is associated with sleep onset, until many hours later when darkness arrives.

SleepFoundation.Org

 So Allah has kept the night and day in perfect harmony, and we need to be grateful for this natural blessing and part of being grateful is to benefit from it and use it in the right way.  So using the day for work, and night for rest. Because when we don’t follow this – if we stay up all night for unnecessary reasons and sleep during the day – then this creates an imbalance and we are only harming our bodies.

The Prophetic way of sleeping is do so right after Isha, and then to wake up in the last third of the night to pray Tahajjud and worship Allah. The rest that the body needed was received in the first part of the night. Whereas if you sleep very late into the night, you may sleep the same number of hours or more, but the same amount of rest is not received by the body. You may have noticed this on days you wake up close to mid-day – feeling groggy, lethargic and tired (even if you slept for 8 hours!)

So sleeping early is important.

The Messenger of Allah (saw) said, “Beware of conversing after the night is still.” [al-Adab al-Mufrad]

Abu Barzah narrated, “Allah’s Messenger (saw) disliked to sleep before the ‘Isha prayer and to talk after it.” [al-Bukhari]

So try to avoid unnecessary chit chat or mindless browsing of the internet.

And then the Sunnah also teaches us the importance of waking up early.

‘ Abdullah said, “A person was mentioned before the Prophet (saw) and he was told that he had kept on sleeping till morning and had not got up for the prayer. The Prophet (saw) said, ‘Shaitan urinated in his ears’.” [al-Bukhari]

Sakhr al-Ghamidi said, “The Prophet (saw) said, ‘O Allah, bless my people in their early mornings.’ When he g sent out a detachment or an army, he sent them at the beginning of the day.” Sakhr was a merchant, and he would send off his merchandise at the beginning of the day; and he became rich and had much wealth. [Abu Dawud]

So if you’re sleeping during this time after Fajr, then you’re missing out on the barakah!

So follow the perfect and natural schedule that Allah has given us – use the day for work and the night for rest, sleep early, wake up early and make the best use of your time!

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