Sleep and death

Every human being sleeps every day. But very few ponder over the mechanism of this mystery. Let us unravel this great sign of the Creator.

Man is a combination of body and soul. Sleep is the name of temporary absence of the soul from the body. Everyday the soul of a human being is taken away temporarily from the human body and restored in the morning. During sleep only the body of a man functions to keep him half alive whereas his power of imagination and other physical activities-according to his will, is suspended. Therefore a human being passes through a sample of death when he is asleep. Sleep is indeed a demo version of death. This phenomenon is described in the Holy Qur'an in Chapter: 39 (Surah Azzumar), verse: 42,
"It is Allah Who takes the souls at death and the soul of the one, who has not yet died, during sleep. Then He withholds that for whom He decrees death and restores the souls of others till an appointed time."

Prophet Muhammad (S) said, "Sleep is the brother of death". An Arabic poet beautifully describes the relation between the sleep and the death. He says, "Annoumu Mouthun Asghar, Wal Mouthu Noumun Akbar", which means, "The sleep is a small death, and the death is a long sleep". A Muslim recites before sleeping, ‘Allahumma Bismika Amoothu Wa Ahya’, which means "In Your Name, O Allah! I die and I live". When Muslims wake up they say, ‘Alhamdulillahillazi Ahyana Ba'dama Amaathana Wa Ilaihinnushoor’, which means, "All praise be to Allah Who has caused us life after He had caused us death, and to Him is the return".

According to the verse of the Qur'an quoted above, death is a stage of a human life where the Allah withholds the souls of human beings for a longer period. And indeed this suspension will end and the soul will be restored on the Day of Judgment in a fresh body. It should be noted that the real identity of a man is his soul, which denotes his entire nature of activities. The human body functions according to the will of the soul. Hence Allah preserves the souls of the entire humanity in the Aalam-e-Arwaah (the world of Souls) and these souls will get a new body, but again with the same identity. Qur'an says, "I swear by the Day of Resurrection and nay, I swear by the reproaching self; Does man think that We shall not be able to put his bones together? Why not? We have even the power to shape and restore his very finger-tips". (Chapter: 75, Verses: 1-4)  How can we wake up again after such a long period of centuries? No person can assess the duration of his sleep after he wakes up every day unless he sees the clock or calendar, irrespective of whether he sleeps for an hour or for 10 hours.

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