“Verily Allaah does not sleep and it does not befit Him to sleep” – Shaykh Uthaymeen | Dr. Saleh as-Saleh

Bismillaah

The following is excerpted from the Shaykh Uthaymeen’s explanation of Aayatul-Kursi, Translated by Dr. Saleh as-Saleh rahimahullaah

[ لَا تَأْخُذُهُ سِنَةٌ وَلَا نَوْمٌ ]
Neither slumber, nor sleep overtakes Him,
[Qur’aan, Aayatul-Kursi , Surah Al-Baqarah 2:255]

Allaah did not say (what means): “He does not sleep,” instead He said:{ لَا تَأْخُذُهُ } (which means) “does not overtake Him” in order to comprise the sleep that overcomes and that arising by choice. If you say, “Does not sleep,” it would imply that He does not sleep by choice. However, Allaah, the Mighty and Majestic, does not sleep neither by ghalabah (overcoming) nor by choice, because sleep is an imperfect attribute which contradicts both the perfection of the Self and the perfection in relation to others.

The person who is given to sleep misses a lot of his work because of His sleeping. Consider, for example, the case of a person who has many people working for him and he sleeps a lot. He is unable to neither reckon with nor manage the business or other related matters. This is an imperfection with respect to others.

As regard to self-perfection, sleep is a deficiency because it indicates that the person’s body got tired and thus he needed the sleep as a rest from what has passed, as well as a means to renew his activity to engage in what will come ahead. That is the why the people of al-Jannah do not sleep—because of the perfection of their lives and bodies. No illness or the like touches them.

If someone says, “We know that the person who does not sleep is unable to do so because of some kind of sickness or a defect, while you say that the lack of sleep is perfection. Explain.”

We say, “This applies to the creature, and in this case perfection is a relative matter [with respect to Allaah it is perfection]. There is no doubt that the person who does not sleep because of an illness has a defect, and that is why he stays always in a state of languor and exhaustion. Thus, his welfare will not be established. This is evident from the saying of Allaah, the Most High:

[ وَجَعَلْنَا نَوْمَكُمْ سُبَاتًا ]
And have made your sleep as a thing for rest
[Qur’aan, Soorat An-Naba’ (78:9)],

meaning that sleep is something that will discontinue the hardship and tiredness. If Allaah would sleep, and far is He above such imperfection, then this would necessitate that He needs to rest. In addition, the creation will be ruined because they are in need of Him; even the sleeping person is in need of Allaah. In fact, the Prophet (صَلَّى اللّٰهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّم) used to invoke Allaah at night when he was about to sleep:

فَإِنْ أَمْسَكْتَ نَفْسِي فَارْحَمْهَا، وَإِنْ أَرْسَلْتَهَا فَاحْفَظْهَا، بِمَا تَحْفَظُ بِهِ عِبَادَكَ الصَّالِحِين

“If You take my soul, bestow mercy on it [and forgive it, as in another narration], and if You release it then protect it as You protect your righteous slaves.” [38]

In short, it is impossible that Allaah, the One free of all imperfections and the Most High, sleeps. The Prophet (صَلَّى اللّٰهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّم) said:

إِنَّ اللَّهَ لاَ يَنَامُ وَلاَ يَنْبَغِي لَهُ أَنْ يَنَامَ
“Verily Allaah does not sleep and it does not befit Him to sleep.” [39]

The word [ ”لا يَنبَغِي “] does not befit] when used in the Qur’aan and sunnah means “the thing which is absolutely impossible to be,” as Allaah (تعالى ) said:

[ وَمَا يَنبَغِي لِلرَّحْمَٰنِ أَن يَتَّخِذَ وَلَدًا ]

But it is not befitting for (the Majesty of) ar-Rahmaan (Allaah) that He should beget a son (or offspring or children). [Qur’aan, Soorat Maryam (19:92)].

[It should be noted] that Allaah’s saying:

[ لَا تَأْخُذُهُ سِنَةٌ وَلَا نَوْمٌ ]
Neither slumber, nor sleep overtakes Him,

signifies as-sifaat as-salbiyyah (attributes of negation: negating any imperfection and implying perfection). The rule with respect to the Names and Attributes of Allaah, the Most High, is that there is no such thing as a pure attribute of negation.[40] Indeed, when as-sifaat as-salbiyyah are mentioned, it is because they imply the perfection of the attributes that are in contradiction to those of negation.[41] So, because of the Perfection of Allaah’s Life and qayyoumiyyah,[42] then neither slumber nor sleep overtake Him.[43]

Footnotes:

[38] Saheeh al-Bukhaari (Arabic/English), vol. 8, no. 332.

[39] Saheeh Muslim (English Translation), vol. 1, no. 343.

[40] This is because mere negation does not denote any attribute, and therefore it is not considered praise. In addition, the attributes of negation are of two kinds:

1. General, and
2. Specific.

The meaning of generality in negation is that Allaah, Most High, negates all imperfections implicitly denoting that all Perfection is His. For example: Allaah, the Exalted, says:

[ لَيْسَ كَمِثْلِهِ شَيْءٌ ], [which means], “There is nothing like unto Him.” So, there is nothing unto Him in His Knowledge, Ability, Hearing, Seeing, Might, Wisdom, Mercy, and so forth. In this general negation, Allaah (سبحانه و تعالى) did not specify the negation. Accordingly, all imperfections are denied and all perfections are denoted, and it is stated that there is nothing like unto Him in all of His Perfection.

On the other hand, the specificity in negation is to negate specific allegations of imperfection. For example to deny that defects and drawbacks like forgetfulness, sleep, ignorance, having son or partner, etc. are associated with Allaah, the Exalted. Again, the Perfection is implied as against the negation. [See Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen’s Sharhul Waasitiyyah], vol. 1, pp. 145-146.

[41] For example, the negation of ignorance stands for the affirmation of Allaah’s unlimited knowledge. The negation of death, which is in contradiction of life, implies the perfection of Allaah’s attribute of Life.

[42] Qayyoumiyyah: The Attribute denoted by Allaah’s Name al-Qayyoum.

[43] The Perfection of His Life negates that Allaah (سبحانه و تعالى) needs to sleep and the same is due to the Perfection of His qayyoumiyyah, as the created living creatures due to their imperfection need sleep. Although sleeping and eating may be considered as attributes of perfection with respect to man, as a person who does not sleep or eat is considered ill, they are perfection from one angle and defects from another. They are perfection in the sense that they indicate that the body is sound and healthy, and are defects because the body needs them to function. In reality, therefore, they are defects. Accordingly, the “perfection” in the created is only relevant, i.e. particular to the created, not shared by the Most Perfect, i.e. Allaah. Eating, drinking and sleeping are relative “perfections” with respect to the created and negated defects with respect to Allaah (سبحانه و تعالى).

That is why Allaah, the Most High, said about Himself:

[ وَهُوَ يُطْعِمُ وَلَا يُطْعَمُ ]
And it is He (Allaah) Who feeds and is not fed.
[Qur’aan, Soorat Al-An’aam (6:14)].

Source : From the eBook: Tafseer Ayatul-Kursi – By Shaykh Muhammad bin Saalih Al-’Uthaymeen (rahimahullah). With Related Points of Benefit From the Shaykh’s Commentary on Imaam ibn Taymeeyah’s Sharhul ’Aqeedatil-Waasitiyyah, Prepared by Dr. Saleh As-Saleh (rahimahullah)

Related Link: https://abdurrahman.org/asma-wa-sifaat-com/