Sleeping positions can play a significant role in our daily lives, impacting both our physical well-being and spiritual beliefs. Among the various sleeping positions, one question often arises in the context of Islamic culture: Is it haram (forbidden) to sleep on your stomach?
In this article, we will explore the religious and health perspectives surrounding this query, shedding light on the considerations that individuals may have when choosing their preferred sleeping position.
Whether you’re curious about the religious implications or seeking insights into the potential health effects, this article aims to provide a balanced perspective on the matter.
Table of Contents
- The Prophet Muhammad advised against sleeping on the stomach, stating that it is a kind of sleep that Allah dislikes.
- Islamic scholars interpret these teachings to mean that sleeping on the stomach is makruh (undesirable).
- Sleeping on the stomach can put strain on the neck & spine, result in poor blood circulation, and increase the likelihood of snoring and sleep-related breathing problems .
- Muslims are advised to sleep on their right side, facing the Qiblah as recommended in the Sunnah.
Is It Haram to Sleep on Your Stomach
Lying on one’s stomach is a controversial matter in Islam, with some scholars considering it makruh (disliked) and others deeming it permissible. The reason for this is that it was forbidden by the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), who warned against it.
It was narrated from Qais bin Tihfah Al-Ghifari that his father said: “The Messenger of Allah found me sleeping in the masjid on my stomach. He nudged me with his foot and said: ‘Why are you sleeping like this? This is a kind of sleep that Allah dislikes,’ or ‘that Allah hates.'”Sunan Ibn Majah 3723
In this narration, Qais bin Tihfah Al-Ghifari mentions that he was found by the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) sleeping in the masjid (mosque) while lying on his stomach. The Prophet, upon seeing this, gently nudged him with his foot to wake him up.
Then, the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) advised him, saying something to the effect of, “Why are you sleeping like this? This is a kind of sleep that Allah dislikes,” or “that Allah hates.”
The meaning of the narration is to convey a teaching of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) regarding the manner in which one should sleep.
In Islamic tradition, it is recommended to avoid sleeping on one’s stomach as it is considered a posture that is displeasing to Allah.
The Prophet’s gentle nudge and advice were meant to guide Qais bin Tihfah Al-Ghifari and other Muslims to adopt better sleeping positions that are in accordance with Islamic teachings.
Ibn Tikhfa al-Ghifari reported that his father told him that he had been one of the People of the Bench. He told him, “I was sleeping in the mosque during the last part of the night, lying on my stomach. Someone came to me and moved me with his foot, saying, ‘Get up. This is a manner of lying down which Allah hates.’ I raised my head and the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, was standing by my head.”Al-Adab Al-Mufrad 1187
It was narrated that Abu Dharr said: “The Prophet passed by me and I was lying on my stomach. He nudged me with his foot and said: ‘O Junaidib! This is how the people of Hell lie.'””Sunan Ibn Majah 3724
Islamic scholars have interpreted these teachings to mean that sleeping on the stomach is makruh (undesirable). For example, according to fiqh books of mazhab al-Syafie, intentionally sleeping in this position is considered makruh.
This view is supported by al-Imam al-Nawawi and Al-Khatib al-Syarbini Rahimahullah, who state that it is sunnah to wake someone sleeping on their stomach.
Negative Effects of Sleeping on the Stomach
Ibn al-Qayyim said while talking about the medicine of the Prophet (p.b.u.h.): ‘The best is to lie on the right side as this makes the food rest more comfortably in the stomach because the latter is inclined to the left. Then it is better to change to the left side as this makes the food get digested more quickly. But most sleeping should be on the right side… And it is bad to sleep on the back. But it is worse to sleep face down on the belly’.
Scientific research has also confirmed that sleeping on your back or right side is actually beneficial for your health. It prevents the weight of the stomach and intestines from compressing the heart, ensuring proper blood circulation. Additionally, sleeping on the right side is recommended because the liver is the heaviest organ and sleeping on the left side may cause discomfort as it puts pressure on the stomach.
How to Sleep According to Islam
The Sunnah recommends
- To sleep on the right hand side keeping right palm under the right cheek.
- To keep the knees slightly bent when sleeping.
- To refrain from sleeping on one`s stomach.
- To face Qiblah
- Sleeping both on bed and floor are sunnah.
This has several benefits, including organizing heart pulses and facilitating natural breathing.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Is it haram to sleep on your left side?
It is permissible to sleep on your left side in Islam. While sleeping on the right side is the Sunnah of sleeping and following this earns a reward, sleeping on the left side is not prohibited. Infact, sleeping on the left side can help improve digestion, reduce acid reflux, aid in the removal of waste & toxins from the body and helps reduce snoring & sleep apnea symptoms.
2. Why should Muslims not sleep on their stomach?
Muslims are advised not to sleep on their stomachs because it is a position that is disliked by Allah. This is based on hadiths where Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) discouraged this sleeping posture, associating it with the people of Hell (Jahannam).
3. Is it haram to sleep on your back?
There is no prohibition in Islam against sleeping on one’s back. While sleeping on the stomach is disliked, sleeping on the back is permissible. However, sleeping on the back may exacerbate symptoms for individuals with certain conditions, such as sleep apnea, asthma, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). It can also worsen snoring and sleep apnea symptoms for some individuals.
4. How did Prophet Muhammad sleep?
Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) used to sleep on his right side, placing his right hand under his right cheek. This posture is recommended in Islam and is seen as following the Sunnah. The Prophet also advised performing wudu (ablution) before sleeping and reciting specific supplications upon waking and before sleeping