Short Answer: Start with the intention to improve your spiritual progression. Then after that, if someone wants to slowly cut back on their sleep, this is considered to be a good thing as long as we do it slowly and methodically over a long period of time. And the same thing goes with eating.
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Shaykh Yayha Rhodus addresses this question at SeekersHub in the video below.
Well, if someone has a medical condition first and foremost, that is not a normal situation.
So, I’ll speak of a normal person in normal sleep decrease.
If someone has a medical condition that because that the medication that they’re taking that they are sleeping more, that is in a sense beyond their control.
And they would obviously have to consult a doctor and so forth, and be very careful about that their particular situation.
But in general, that outside of that someone who is taking medication, is that there’s no doubt that sleep has always been considered to be important to slowly cut back on from a spiritual perspective.
And that it’s no different in the sense the way that we look at food.
Food is important in and of itself because it sustains our life.
And these normally, that bodily functions that come from eating, sleeping, and drinking, and so forth—the most important thing is that everything that we do in relation to those things we do with intention.
If we start there, whether we’re sleeping five hours, six hours, seven hours, or even eight hours, as long as you’re making the right intention with sleeping, with eating, with drinking is that you’re getting a reward for those things based upon your intention.
Finding the Right Balance
So, the number one reason that we see is to strengthen ourselves for the worship of Allah to be able to fulfill the obligations the Allah (SWT) has placed upon our shoulders, to fulfill the rights of other people.
And from this perspective, sleep is a great blessing.
And so that we have to simultaneously see sleep as important for our health and a blessing.
But at the same time something that if in excess could that take from our spiritual progression. And so that we start with the intention.
Then after that, if someone wants to slowly cut back on their sleep, this is considered to be a good thing as long as we do it slowly and methodically over a long period of time.
And this is something that scholars do mention is that if you are going to start cutting back on your sleep that you do so in a very slow fashion. So that you might cut back on 15 minutes over a period of a month or a period of two months.
Then you might want to take off another 10 or 15 minutes after that over again another month or a period of two months. And that’s actually very, very hard to do, is that we either want to just sleep 10 hours or cut it back to three, right in one night. And that’s not sustainable.
And the same thing goes with eating.
If you want to cut back on your food intake, the very first thing that you do is to correct your and rectify your intention. And that solidify your eating habits that in a way that’s not difficult for you to maintain consistency in.
Then slowly cutting back over a long period of time that’s all you can really do. And you’ll find that’s actually very difficult. And just cutting back on that 15 minutes when in reality that’s not really going to harm your overall feeling of your body.
But you’ll find is that if you do that for a week, if you do that for two weeks, or maybe even three weeks that it becomes actually quite difficult to do.
But then once you get a hang of that then you could take a little bit more off, take a little bit more off.
And then there’s another thing you can do …
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