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May 19, 2011


Countdown to Ramadan: Changing one habit a week – Habit No. 1 – Part 1 

by Umm Muawiyah

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Assalamu Alaikum.

[Note: Lots of you asked me how my “break” went and wondered if I had lots of “rest”.

Let me be clear: I took a blogging break so that I would have time to do other work. So far from a break, I was actually slogging away!]

So, you voted for the habit that you wanted to change and it seems that No. 1 (i.e. Do Fajr early and don’t go back to sleep after that) wins because:

1) The majority wins

2) As a few of you pointed out, it is the most challenging one. So wouldn’t it be better to start with the most challenging one rather than the easiest one?

3) If we can accomplish this, it will actually help a great deal towards establishing  the other habits mentioned.

4) I wanted to start with this habit. [Look, I run the blog. That has to count for something.]

Okay, so let’s do this step by step:

1) Aim

  • To wake early for Fajr and not go back to sleep afterwards.

2) Length of time

  • To do this for the next 21 days, insha-Allah.

I had originally said 14 days but I think that it might be too short.

Now, you’ll notice that I said “21 days” and not for the rest of our lives. Why? Because it’s easier to focus for 21 days, and then keep extending this time for a few more days. By then, insha-Allah, it would have become a habit.

If we think of this as an “all my life” sort of thing, we will 1) Get exhausted early and 2) Be deluding ourselves as our lives may end before the 21 day time limit. We should just take things a day at a time, insha-Allah.

3) Benefits gained from achieving this objective

  • It’s the sunnah (the Prophet (salallahu alaihi wasallam did not sleep after Fajr, rather he took a short nap in the afternoon).
  • Gain barakah (blessings) as the Prophet (salallahu alaihi wasallam) asked Allah to bless his Ummah in the mornings. [The hadeeth is mentioned in this question. However, I should point out that there seems to be a difference of opinion on the authenticity of this hadeeth. You may check the Dorar results here.]
  • Have more time in the day
  • Have more energy throughout the day
  • Be able to pray all the 5 prayers at their earliest times
  • It will helps us get up for tahajjud. If we can’t get up early for Fajr, then praying tahajjud will be difficult as it’s even earlier than Fajr!
  • Benefit from Ramadan instead of sleeping the whole day (yes, this happens to quite a few people. They sleep after Fajr and get up somewhere towards the end of Dhuhr!)

Any others that you’d like to add?

4) Difficulties that may arise when trying to attain this objective

  • Difficulty in getting up for Fajr to begin with
  • Too tired to stay awake due to a late night and a long day ahead
  • Not being able to do this day in and day out

Any others that you can think of?

5) Steps to be taken to solve the difficulties mentioned above

Okay, so how can we get up and stay up?

a) Dua

Yes. This is the first step that we need to take. We need to ask Allah and keep asking Him to help us achieve this objective

b) Give ourselves enough time to sleep in the night

Firstly, anyone who still believes in that myth about humans needing 8 hours of sleep should be ashamed of themselves. I’m sorry but that’s one third of the day! Did the Prophet (salallahu alaihi wasallam) and his Companions ever sleep that much???

Secondly, what time one sleeps depends on a) when one needs to wake up and b) the type of sleeper that one is.

The adhan of Fajr in Dubai is currently 4:05 am. I am the kind of person who needs at least 4 hours of sleep at a stretch, meaning that if I sleep at 2am, there’s a 99.9999% chance of me oversleeping Fajr. On top of that, I’m also an insomniac.

So, that means that I should at least try to sleep by 11pm (and it’s already 12 as I type this!) in order to get enough sleep.

Of course, sleeping early is one of the main issues that people have due to a variety of reasons (work, children, household chores, too much socializing, etc).

So, at least what one should start to do is try to sleep earlier than usual step by step. So, if you normally sleep at 2, try to sleep at 1:45. If you sleep at 1:30, try to sleep at 1:15. Try to do this (i.e. sleep 15 mins earlier) every few days.

The reason that I mention the step by step approach is that for many people their sleep time depends on when their families sleep. So, if your whole family is the type that sleeps at 1am, it’s going to be REALLY difficult for you to disappear at 11, isn’t it? (Especially if you’re the mother and you need to put the kids to sleep first.)

So, the only way to get the whole family to sleep earlier might be to do it the gentle way (i.e a few mins earlier every day).

Insha-Allah, in the next part, I’ll talk about some more techniques that we could all try to wake up for Fajr and stay up.

I would have typed it out now but I need to wake up early for Fajr tomorrow, insha-Allah.

To be continued…

PS. When is the first day of this challenge? Let’s make it from Saturday onwards (day after tomorrow), insha-Allah.

9 Comments Post a comment
  1. Umar Farooq
    May 19 2011

    I had heard there was some difference of opinion about whether Rasoolullaah (salAllaahu ‘alaiyhi wa sallam) took a nap after fajr or in the afternoon. have you heard of such a thing, what are the evidences of both?

    • Umm Muawiyah
      May 20 2011

      Assalamu Alaikum.

      No, I haven’t heard of this.

      I’ve heard that there was some issue regarding the authenticity of the hadeeth which says that we should take a nap because the devils don’t take a nap.

      I’ll have to do further research, insha-Allah.

      Allah knows Better.

  2. Anonymous
    May 19 2011

    Jazakallaah khair!
    Just a few things to add regarding the sleeping time.
    Kacper Postawski is a famous sleep expert and he writes in his book, Powerful Sleep – secrets of the inner sleep clock, that this 8 hour sleeping myth isn’t true. A person actually needs 3 to 5 hours of sleep a day. Moreover, according to surveys conducted, people who sleep for around this time usually have a longer life span as compared fo those who sleep more than this time.

    • Umm Muawiyah
      May 20 2011

      Assalamu Alaikum.

      Wa iyaak.

      Yes, I’ve read Kacper’s book. He had some good points and also some really strange ones…

      Well, the life span is something that is in the hand of Allah so a person who sleeps 10 hours might live longer than the one who lives 3-5 hours….

  3. fatima
    May 20 2011

    Wa’alaikum Assalam

    I took it upon myself to make today (Friday) the first day of the challenge. It’s currently 5.08AM, which means I have been up for over an hour now! Feels good, Alhamdulillah.

    • Umm Muawiyah
      May 20 2011

      Assalamu Alaikum.

      It was also the first day of my challenge but I slept late yesterday….

      Glad that you made it though, alhamdulillah. I hope I do that tomorrow, insha-Allah.

  4. R
    May 20 2011

    In response to your last comment: When a door of good opens, rush to take advantage of it. So I say the sooner the better, habits are best formed early as possible, there is not time to lose.

    • Umm Muawiyah
      May 20 2011

      Assalamu Alaikum.

      Yes, that’s true which was why I made Friday the first day for me.

      However, the reason I mentioned Saturday for everybody else was because most of the people would have read that post after their Fajr (on Friday). So I didn’t want Shaytan to come and convince them to drop the challenge simply because they had already missed the first day. Unfortunately, this kind of thing does happen to people….

  5. Umm Zakariyya
    May 21 2011

    Wa ‘alaykumu-s-salaamu wa rahmatullaahi wa barakaatuh.

    Subhaana Allaah. Although I’d not been able to read the last three posts prior to today, I managed to stay up after Fajr. Al-hamdulillaahi Rabbi-l-aalameen. Al-hamdulillaah. In-shaa’a Allaah we’ll all be able to keep it up.


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