In summer, time for Isha prayer is very late at night in our land. The elderly and weak persons cannot wait for so long and fall asleep. Is there any alleviation in Fiqh for such people?
Praise be to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds; and may His blessings and peace be upon our Prophet Muhammad and upon all his Family and Companions. If it was inconvenient for people to wait for the time of Isha prayer, then it is not dislikable for them to sleep before it. This is the opinion held by some scholars based on Al-Bukhari 's narration in his Saheeh that the Prophet (may Allah be pleased with him) once delayed Isha prayer so much that Umar told him that women and children had slept. Some scholars set a condition that the one who intends to sleep must be sure that he will wake up in the due time. But some others see it dislikable in all cases. In 'Nail al-Awtaar', Ash-Shawkani said: Ibn Al-Arabi said: 'it is permissible for one who is confident that he will naturally wake up before the elapse of the prayer time or is accompanied by someone who awakens him' . The reason behind considering it dislikable is that one may sleep deeply that he misses the prayer altogether or miss its preferable time. On the other hand, people may take it easy and convenient to sleep hence miss performing prayer in congregation. Some of the scholars who held the opinion that it (sleep) is dislikable cited as evidence the following Hadith (Prophet's saying): He (the Prophet) preferred to delay Isha prayer which you call 'the darkness prayer' and disliked to sleep before it and to speak after it . Thus, to sleep before Isha prayer for one who really needs that is permissible, Allah willing, but one has to be cautious to use certain devices to awaken him to perform the prayer in its due time. Allah knows best.
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