How did the Prophet Sallallahu Alahi Wasalam spend his day?

CategoriesKnowledge [296]

Fatwa ID: 03271

Answered by: Maulana Muhammad Afzal Hussain ​



I apologize for bothering you and interrupting your busy schedule but I had just two questions (which are related to each other),

1) Could you possibly list down all the sunnahs of our Nabi (SAW), I would like to know what he (SAW) did from Fajr until Fajr the next day
Morning, Afternoon, Evening, Night

I would like to know in detail what he (SAW) did throughout a day if that is possible, e.g. after fajr, late morning, early afternoon, late afternoon, early evening etc.

Could you possibly write down in detail how he (SAW) spent his day

It seems like people only know small sunnahs of our Nabi (SAW) such as duas, and small actions but I don't know what he (SAW) did for big periods of the day, for example, I know he (SAW) use to stay in the masjid from fajr to sunrise and then pray ishrak, but what did he (SAW) do after that? what he do early morning and late morning? Or what did he (SAW) do in the afternoon, how did he spend his afternoon? etc.

2) My second question is, Is following the sunnah always more rewarding? for example, the prophet (SAW) slept for 3 portions of the night and prayed for 2 portions and then slept for the last portion, would following that always be more rewarding than praying all night? (even including in Ramadan)

Or another example our prophet SAW fasted Monday and Thursdays, would following that be more rewarding than fasting every other day (the fast of Dawud AS)?

Did the ulama of the past go against the sunnah by praying all night? e.g Imam Hanafi (RA)

How can I truly follow someone if I am not aware of he (SAW) he did, I would be grateful if you could with this



بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيْم

In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful 



Answer to question 1:

Ordinary men generally retire to their private residence for rest and pleasure but the Prophet never knew leisure of that sort. His work did not end with his coming home – only a new order of engagement and activities commenced which filled most of his private time. The jurists generally refer to three phases of his private life as follows:


1. The Family phase, where he received his wives and fulfilled his duties as a husband, father, and father in law. Every day, he received all his wives in private audience, in the late afternoon, though of course, he spent the night and some part of the day with one of them, by rotation.


The Prophets conduct at home: Ayesha was once asked what the prophet’s conduct was like when he was at home. She said his conduct was the embodiment of the manner prescribed by the Quran. She said ‘He was like one of you at home, yet he was the most lenient and the most generous. His spirits were high at all times, smiling and even joining in laughter at times. He was ready to give a helping hand to his wives in the ordinary work of the house, sew his own clothes, mend his shoes. In general, he helped in whatever works his wives chanced to be doing. However, when the call to prayer was made, he dropped everything and hurried to the mosque.’ [See: Sunshine at Madinah by Zakaria Bashier, Published by The Islamic Foundation, Markfield]

Aisha reported that “He did what one of you would do in his house. He mended sandals and patched garments and sewed.” (Adabul Mufrad: 521)

It was narrated that, “Habba Ibn Khalid and Sawa Ibn Khalid came to the Prophet while He was repairing a wall of His, and they helped him.” [Adabul Mufrad: 455]

In another report, it is said that she said, “He removed the fleas from his garment and milked his goat.” [Adabul Mufrad: 543]

Hence, it is no wonder that he said, “The best of you is the one who is best to his wife, and I am the best of you to my wives.” (Tirmidhi: 3895 Ibn Majah: 1977)


2. A personal phase, which he took for himself. But it was during this time that he received an endless flow of guests and visitors- some attracted no doubt, by the grace of his noble company, others seeking religious and moral guidance, still others with needs, demands, problems, and disputes. Thus, the prophet had to fulfill a variety of highly diversified roles, ranging from that of a gracious host, munificent giver, teacher, arbiter, governor and judge, as well as friend and companion.


Peoples Prophet’s had visited: (a) Umm Haram Bint Milhan said ‘The prophet came to visit us. He fell asleep whilst in our house (noon resting time). (b) According to Ibn Saad, the Prophet visited Ar-Rubayyi Bint Al-Muawwidh on the day of her wedding to Iyas Ibn Al-Bukayr. (c) Prophet visited Umm Atiyah Al-Ansariyah. She witnessed even military expeditions with the Prophet. [See: Sunshine at Madinah by Zakaria Bashier, Published by The Islamic Foundation]

He would attend the invitation: Sahl Ibn Sa’d said: “Abu Usaid as-Saidi invited the Prophet to his wedding. His wife, who was the bride, served them that day.”  [AdabulMufrad: 751]

Anas bin Malik said, "My grandmother Mulaika invited Allah's Messenger for a meal which she herself had prepared. He ate from it and said, 'Get up! I will lead you in the prayer.' "Anas added, "I took my Hasir, washed it with water as it had become dark because of long use and Allah's Messenger stood on it. The orphan and I aligned behind him and the old lady (Mulaikah) stood behind us. Allah's Messenger led us in the prayer and offered two rakah and then left." [Bukhari: 380]

3. The spiritual phase, normally placed towards the last third of the night, was perhaps the most important of his private life. Ever since he received his initial revelation at Hira, Allah commanded him to observe and perform night vigil in prayer. [See: Sunshine at Madinah by Zakaria Bashier, Published by The Islamic Foundation, Markfield]


Some aspects of His daily life:


Narrated from Jaabir Ibn Samurah that when the Prophet had prayed Fajr, he would sit in his prayer place until the sun had risen properly. [Muslim: 1075- 670] Sammak Ibn Harb said: I said to Jaabir Ibn Samurah: Did you sit with the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him)? He said: Yes, frequently. He would not get up from the place in which he had prayed Fajr until the sun had risen, and when the sun had risen he would get up. They used to chat and talk about matters of the Jaahiliyah, and they would laugh but he smiled. [Muslim: 1074- 670]


Narrated AbuHurayrah: When the Messenger of Allah finished the dawn prayer, he would ask: Did any of you have a dream last night? And he said: All that is left of Prophecy after me is a good vision. [Abu Dawud: 5017, Muwatta: 1782] Imaam Muslim recorded that people used to go to the prophet to ask about their dream. [See: Muslim: 5925 and 5926, Chapter: The Book of Dreams]


Eating & Drinking with them with love: Aisha said: When I drink water from the pot while in menstruation period and give the pot to the Prophet he drinks from the same place which touched my mouth, moreover, during menstruation, I was eating from the piece of meat and giving the same to the Prophet and the Prophet puts his mouth in the same place of mine. [Sunan An-Nasai: 281]


Going on Picnics & Accompanying Them:  The Prophet was casting lots between his wives when he wants to go out. Once, the Prophet cast a lot between his wives and the lot was the share of Aisha and Hafsa together. At night, the Prophet walks with Aisha and speaks to her. Knowing that Hafsah told Aisha: Why don't you ride on my camel and I ride yours and see what happens? Aisha replied: okay. Then Aisha rode the camel of Hafsah while Hafsah rode the camel of Aisha. The Prophet then went to the camel of Aisha while Hafsah riding it greeted her and walked together until they got down. Seeing that, Aisha felt jealousy and tried to put her leg between the lemongrass and say: O my Lord, send a scorpion or a sneak to sting me, this is your Prophet and I can't say anything to him.[Muslim:  6256-2445]


Trying the best to make them happy: It was narrated that ‘Urwah ibn al-Zubayr said: Aaishah said: ‘By Allaah, I saw the Messenger of Allaah standing at the door of my apartment when the Abyssinians were playing with their spears in the Mosque of the Messenger of Allaah. He covered me with his cloak so that I could watch their games, then he stood there for my sake until I was the one who had had enough. So you should appreciate the fact that young girls like to have fun.’”  [Muslim: 2035/18]


Aisha reported:  It was the day of celebration and the Abyssinians were playing with shields and spears; either I asked the Prophet or he asked me whether I would like to watch. I said yes. Then the Prophet made me stand behind him while my cheek was touching his cheek and he was saying, “Carry on, O Banu Arfida,” until I became tired. The Prophet asked me, “Are you satisfied?” I said yes, so I left. [Muslim: 2036/19]


Racing and playing with them:   Aisha said: That she accompanied the Prophet on a certain journey. At that time she was a mere girl and was neither fat nor bulky. The Prophet asked the people to move on, and they marched ahead. Then the Prophet said to me, 'Come on, let us have a race'. Aisha says that she ran and remained much ahead of him. The Prophet kept quiet for some time. Later on when Aisha grew fat and loose bodied, she forgot the previous incident. Again she accompanied the Prophet on some journey. The Prophet again asked the people to march ahead, and they moved ahead. Then the Prophet again asked her to have a race with him. This time the prophet defeated her and she lagged behind. Now the prophet laughed and said, 'This is in reply to our previous defeat' [Abu Dawood, Ibn Majah]


Answer to question 2:

Undoubtedly, we are here to follow the prophet in everything. For Muslims following the actions of the Holy Prophet is the matter of meaningful importance because his Sunnah is the source of great benefits for the followers. Believers are encouraged to act in accordance with the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah. Allah says in Quran: “There has certainly been for you in the Messenger of Allah an excellent pattern for anyone whose hope is in Allah and the Last Day and [who] remembers Allah often.” (Quran 33:21)


A person who loves Allah really will definitely try to resemble the person whom Allah loves and is pleased with, and try to replicate his deeds. Hence, despite not everyone can act in accordance with the whole Sunnah, but everybody can have the intention of acting in accordance with the Sunnah and be in favour of the Sunnah. We all know one day this world will come to an end, therefore, all of us should try to live our lives according to the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad. Allah has stressed the obligation of showing complete obedience and submission to Prophet Muhammad that is to follow Muhammad Sunnah in many verses of the Quran. Allah says: “And whatsoever the Messenger gives you, take it, and whatsoever he forbids you, abstain (from it), and fear Allah. Verily, Allah is Severe in punishment. “(Quran, 59:7)


Praying all night: Yes, some ulama think it is an innovation. However, some said not, as (a) the companion Uthman would fast throughout the year and would remain standing in prayer during the night beside a portion in the beginning. Muhammad Ibn Sirin reported that, when the people besieged Uthman with the intention of assassinating him, his wife said, “If you kill him or spare him, his practice was that he would remain awake the entire night and complete the Quran in a single rekah.”  


(b) Umar Ibn Khattab would lead the people in Esha prayer, then return home and continue to pray until Fajr. He departed from this world in a state of fasting successively.


(c) Ibn Umar would stay awake throughout the night praying, he would then ask, O Nafi is it time for sahur (the last meal before dawn). Nafi (a top student of Ibn Umar) would reply in the negative, upon which Ibn Umar would continue his prayer, again he would inquire, O Nafi is it time for sahur? If the reply would be in the affirmative then he would sit repenting and supplicating until dawn.


(d) When night would fall, Uwais al-Qarni would say, this is the night for bowing (ruku). Thus, he would bow throughout the night. Upon other nights he would say, this is the of prostration. Thereafter, he would remain to prostrate the night until dawn. [See Bidah and the Salaf’s Worship by Imaam Abdul Hai Lucknawi. Translated by Zahir Mahmood]


(e) Mansur Ibn Mu’tamir, one of the reliable hadith narrator from 4th stage. Sufiyan al-Sawri said: ‘Mansur prayed throughout the night and fast in the day for sixty years.’ Someone asked Mansur’s mother about his actions, she replied, he would pray one third, weep one third and supplicate the last third of the night. [See: Sifatus Safwa by IbnulJawzi, vol: 2, page: 61, No: 427]


(f) Four of the pious leader (Aayimmah) recited the entire Quran in one rakah of prayer. They are Uthman Ibn Affan, Tamim Dari, Saeed Ibn Zubair and Abu Hanifah. [See: ManaaqibulImaam Abu Hanifah by Imaam Al-Zahabi, page: 22, publisher: LijnatuIehyaulMaarif al-Numaniyyah Hyderabad, India]


Regarding Fasting on Mondays & Thursdays:


1/ It was narrated that Abu Hurayrah said: “My close friend [the Prophet] advised me to do three things which I will not give up until I die: fasting three days of each month, praying Duha, and sleeping after Witr.  [Bukhaari: 1981, Muslim: 721]


2/ It was narrated from Mu’aadhah al-‘Adawiyyah that she asked ‘Aa’ishah, the wife of the Prophet “Did the Messenger of Allaah fast three days of every month?” She said, “Yes.” She said to her: “Which days of the month did he fast?” She said, “He did not mind which days of the month he would fast.” [Muslim: 116]


3/ It was narrated from Jareer ibn ‘Abd-Allaah (may Allaah be pleased with him) that the Prophet  said: “Fasting three days of each month is fasting for a lifetime, and ayaam al-beed are the thirteenth, fourteenth and fifteenth.” [Nasaa’i: 2420]


4/ It was narrated that Abu Dharr said: The Messenger of Allaah said to me: “If you fast any part of the month, then fast the thirteenth, fourteenth and fifteenth.”  [Tirmidhi: 761,Nasaa’i: 2424]


Regarding the Fasting of Prophet Dawud:


1/ Narrated `Abdullah bin `Amr: Allah's Messenger was informed that I had taken an oath to fast daily and to pray (every night) all the night throughout my life (so Allah's Messenger came to me and asked whether it was correct): I replied, "Let my parents be sacrificed for you! I said so." The Prophet said, "You cannot do that. So, fast for a few days and give it up for a few days, offer Salat (prayer) and sleep. Fast three days a month as the reward of good deeds is multiplied ten times and that will be equal to one year of fasting." The Prophet said to me, "Fast one day and give up fasting for two days." I replied, "I can do better than that." The Prophet said to me, "Fast one day and give up fasting for a day and that is the fasting of Prophet David and that is the best fasting." I said, "I have the power to fast better (more) than that." The Prophet said, "There is no better fasting than that." [Bukhri: 1976]


2/ Narrated Abdullah bin Amr bin Al-As: The Prophet said to me, "You fast daily all the year and pray every night all night?" I replied in the affirmative. The Prophet said, "If you keep on doing this, your eyes will become weak and your body will get tired. He who fasts all the year is as he who did not fast at all. The fasting of three days (a month) will be equal to the fasting of the whole year." I replied, "I have the power for more than this." The Prophet said, "Then fast like the fasting of David who used to fast on alternate days and would never flee from the battlefield, on meeting the enemy." [Bukhari: 1969]


As for reward of good actions, Allah said: “We make not to be lost the reward of Al-Muhsinun (the good-doers)” [Quran: 12:56]


Those who believe and do deeds of righteousness, We shall admit them to Gardens under which rivers flow (Paradise), abiding therein forever. [Sura An-Nisa: 57]



And whoever does righteous good deeds, male or female, and is a (true) believer, such will enter Paradise and not the least injustice, even to the size of a speck on the back of a date-stone, will be done to them. [Sura An-Nisa: 124]


Allah has promised those who believe and do deeds of righteousness, that for them there is forgiveness and a great reward. [Sura Al-Maidah: 9]


To achieve the esteemed reward, all is need is right intention. A pious predecessor said, “Many minor actions are dignified by intention and many major actions are diminutive by intention.” [See: Al-Juhd war-Raqaaiq by Abdullah Ibn Mubarak, page: 122, DaaruIbnulJawzi]


Only Allah Knows Best

Written by Maulana Muhammad Afzal Hussain 

Checked and approved by Mufti Mohammed Tosir Miah

Darul Ifta Birmingham    


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