Episode 24 - Sleep with Insomnia
How to Sleep When You Can’t Using Ayatul Kursi | Mini Mental
Jul 5, 2021
When I find myself not being able to sleep, my mind wanders and it can lead me down a long, depressing, and anxious path. Trust me, I’ve been there too! But one thing that always helps calm the storm in my head is Ayatul Kursi. Simply reciting this powerful ayah (Quran 2:255) or even listening to it offers solace for your soul.
Listen to this week’s Mini Mental episode where I explore how listening to Allah’s words can put us at ease spiritually and emotionally by discussing a unique method of matching your mood to the reciter’s tone. The reciters mentioned are Qari Fatih Seferagic and Omar Hisham Al Arabi.
Episode 24 Transcript:
I’m Saba Malik, and this is a Mini Mental.
One of my best friends is insomnia. It’s always been with me. And it still is, but alhumdulillah I’ve learned to live with it and not just deal with it but actually use it to my benefit. Having mental health challenges means that you’re going to deal with insomnia, where you have trouble falling asleep at night. I’ve given a lot of tips in previous episodes on how to, you know, deal with difficult thoughts. But one of the times that challenging thoughts really hit me is at night when I’m supposed to be sleeping but everything just comes crashing in like a big wave.
So what I’ve learned about myself is that I’m a big audio person. I mean, it makes sense I podcast, so audio stuff and listening to audio books or music really benefits me. Now it can go two ways if I’m listening to things that are harmful. I’m not talking about haram and halaal. That’s not what this podcast is about. I’m talking about things that are kind of like junk food for my ears. If I’m listening to junk music, or junk audio, it’s not gonna uplift me. On the country, it’s going to bring me down and it’s going to ruin my mood. So knowing that why not actively choose something that is healthy for my ears.
Let me give you an example. I love listening to the Quran and gives me peace. It makes me feel very serene. It calms me down. But I found that if I didn’t have a reciter that I really kind of, you know, clicked with or vibed with, then I didn’t want to hear it. And sometimes if the audio was really bad, it would actually hurt my ears. This has nothing to do with the message of the Quran and the actual words that are being recited. It’s just the voice of the reciter.
So what I’ve done is search for reciters I like. And here’s the interesting part that I haven’t heard other people talk about. I look at what mood I’m in, and then I match a reciter to my mood so that it helps me feel better. Let me give you an example. There’s two reciters who are currently my favorite. One of them is the reciter Fatih Seferagic and the second one is the reciter Omar Hisham. Both of them are on YouTube and Mashallah they have great videos and some of their videos are available on podcast apps. You just search for their names.
Now going back to my original topic…one of the duas that really help me fall asleep is reciting Ayatul Kursi. It starts off with:
اللَّهُ لاَ إِلَهَ إِلاَّ هُوَ الْحَيُّ الْقَيُّومُ لاَ تَأْخُذُهُ سِنَةٌ وَلاَ نَوْمٌ
“Allahu laaa ilaaha illaa huwal haiyul qai-yoom. Laa taakhuzuhoo sinatunw wa laa nawmI.”
“Allah! There is no god but He, The Living, The Self-Subsisting, Eternal. No slumber can seize Him nor sleep.”
“Nawm” is sleep. Ayatul Kursi is talking about Allah, and how there is no god except Allah. He’s the one who never sleeps. So we’re falling asleep yet we are calling on our Protector, kind of a security guard but not like a human security guard (Allah is high above any analogy).
Allah is a guard that never sleep. He never gets tired. He’s always watching over us. And with all the anxiety that comes when you’re falling asleep knowing and actually believing that Allah is watching over me can really calm you down.
Sleeping is kind of like a temporary death. When a person is dead and they’re lying down, they don’t look any different than a person who is sleeping. They look the same. It is essentially a temporary death. Reciting Ayatul kursi is a great, great way to help deal with insomnia. It also gives you protection and there’s a lot of religious proof and texts behind that.
But what I’m talking about here is to listen to Quran instead of junk music or junk audio for your ears. Listen to something healthy, like the Quran, that uplifts you. And here are three examples of different ways Ayatul Kursi is recited. I choose one depending on my mood. Sometimes, within the span of five minutes, my moods are going up and down. I might have first frustration, then aggression and then anxiety, then sadness and then jump back up. It’s so erratic. So when I match my mood with a Quran reciter who is kind of going up and down with the pitch of his recitation or reciting in different styles, I feel I connect and then it slowly brings me back to a balanced state.
I’m going to play a recitation of Ayatul Kursi and the first one is a slow one. The second one you’ll see it’s a bit faster. And then the last one is actually very calm. Depending on how I’m feeling, I’m going to play that corresponding one. Give it a listen and see how it is.
اللَّهُ لاَ إِلَهَ إِلاَّ هُوَ الْحَيُّ الْقَيُّومُ لاَ تَأْخُذُهُ سِنَةٌ وَلاَ نَوْمٌ لَهُ مَا فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَمَا فِي الأَرْضِ مَنْ ذَا الَّذِي يَشْفَعُ عِنْدَهُ إِلاَّ بِإِذْنِهِ يَعْلَمُ مَا بَيْنَ أَيْدِيهِمْ وَمَا خَلْفَهُمْ وَلاَ يُحِيطُونَ بِشَيْءٍ مِنْ عِلْمِهِ إِلاَّ بِمَا شَاءَ وَسِعَ كُرْسِيُّهُ السَّمَاواتِ وَالأَرْضَ وَلاَ يَئُودُهُ حِفْظُهُمَا وَهُوَ الْعَلِيُّ الْعَظِيمُ
“Allahu laaa ilaaha illaa huwal haiyul qai-yoom; laa taakhuzuhoo sinatunw wa laa nawm; lahoo maa fissamaawaati wa maa fil ard; man zallazee yashfa’u indahooo illaa be iznih; ya’lamu maa baina aideehim wa maa khalfahum; wa laa yuheetoona beshai ‘immin ‘ilmihee illa be maa shaaaa; wasi’a kursiyyuhus samaa waati wal arda wa la ya’ooduho hifzuhumaa; wa huwal aliyyul ‘azeem.”
“Allah! There is no god but He, The Living, The Self-Subsisting, Eternal. No slumber can seize Him nor sleep. His are all things in the heavens and on earth. Who is there that can intercede in His presence except as he permit? He knows what (appear to His creatures As) before or after or behind them. Nor shall they compass aught of His knowledge except as He will. His throne extends over the heavens and on earth, and He feels no fatigue in guarding and preserving them, For He is the Most High, the Supreme (in glory).”
[The first and second recitation is by Qari Fatih Seferagic and the third is by Qari Omar Hisham]
Okay, so now that you’ve heard all three, go and search for your own reciters. Find ones that you really like and that help you feel better, that you can match with a certain mood and that you actually find are healthy food you can consume for your ears.
Maybe you’re not such a big audio person. You’re more visual. Then of course reading the Quran is even a better option. I have multiple copies of the Quran. One that’s just an English one, one that has the Tajweed colors and one that is English and Arabic together. Some are hard cover some are soft covers. Depending on where I am in the house or what I’m feeling like, I’ll pick up that particular type.
Make it very easy to reach for these healthy alternatives when you’re not feeling well and when you cannot sleep. There’s always going to be the other option of stuffing yourself with junk food, listening to music that’s just going to bring you down or bingeing on TV shows. Then you realize it’s 3am and you have to get up in two hours again.
Consciously decide, what are you going to do to make it easier to sleep? In the beginning, it’s not going to be easy, especially if you’re used to destructive habits around bedtime. It will take time to get used to a healthy routine. But think of your sleep as a retreat. Think of it as a way to get away from everything. No one will come and talk to you or ask you for things. You don’t have to do any work. It’s just you and Allah and connecting with Him and reciting His words and thinking about the fact that one day you are going to go back to Him. It could even be in the sleep tonight. You don’t know.
I hope you enjoyed this Mini Mental. See you next time.
As salaam alaikum.