Cousins As’ad, Habeeb and Rasheed were together once again. Since their families were scattered in different parts of the country, the cousins seldom met. Thrice a year however, their families would gather together, for a family reunion. The cousins looked forward to these weekends, as it was fun spending time together, catching up with past events, and playing ballgames. They also enjoyed the delicious meals that were prepared in advance by their mothers, who wished to avoid wasting precious time in the kitchen. These reunions helped the families to maintain good family ties and enabled them to spend quality time together.
Since Habeeb and his parents had recently moved into a new house, the reunion was being held at Habeeb’s house. The family enjoyed a fun filled day and when it was time to sleep, the boys were thrilled to discover that they were going to sleep in the loft. The loft was simply marvelous. It was a little room, with a single window under the eaves of the cottage. One entered it via a little staircase.
The boys were so excited to get to sleep there. Habeeb’s mother had prepared for them a huge bed on the floor of the loft, with three pillows and three duvets. This meant that each boy would have his own bedding. They prepared for bed that night by changing into pyjamas, going to the toilet and brushing their teeth. They then switched off the light, recited the dua before sleeping and settled down for the night. Habeeb and As’ad were soon drowsy but weren’t able to sink into deep sleep, as Rasheed was very, very restless.
He kept on squirming and twisting and turning. This made it difficult for the others to fall off to sleep. Habeeb finally got fed up and exclaimed, “What’s wrong with you? Have you got ants in your pants?” Rasheed bolted upright saying, ” What! Is your new house infested with ants?” “No silly!” replied Habeeb. “It simply means you are wriggling and squirming too much.” Rasheed lay down once more, saying, “Well, I can’t help doing so. I just can’t sleep.”
“Try counting sheep! That might help!” chimed in As’ad drowsily. “It’s supposed to help lull you off to sleep.” Habeeb didn’t agree and retorted, “What nonsense! What a waste of precious time! There are better ways to go off to sleep.”
“Do you have a better suggestion then?” muttered As’ad crossly. “Yes, I do. More than one in fact,” replied Habeeb. “He should simply recite his kalimahs, surahs, duas and do zikr, until he falls asleep. That will be so beneficial for the Hereafter too, unlike the useless act of counting sheep.” He then added, “What do you gain by counting sheep, anyway?”
“I don’t know,” replied As’ad. “I just heard it somewhere. Now that I think about it, it really is a waste of time. By doing as you suggested, we can enrich ourselves with the zikr (Remembrance of Allah) and our hearts will find peace, making it easier to fall asleep. Either way we win, by falling asleep or by earning rewards (for the Hereafter), until we do. Rasheed thanked them saying, “Jazakallahu khairah (May Allah reward you well), for reminding me to pray till I sleep. I will no longer dread sleepless nights anymore.”
Aren’t the teachings of Islam simply marvelous?