I was reading Yusuf Ali's English translation where he states for translation of Quran 8:11:

"Remember He covered you with a sort of drowsiness, to give you calm as from Himself, and he caused rain to descend on you from heaven, to clean you therewith, to remove from you the stain of Satan, to strengthen your hearts, and to plant your feet firmly therewith."

The aya in Arabic is:

إِ‌ذْ‌ يُ‍‍غَ‍‍شِّيكُمُ ‌ال‍‍‍نُّ‍‍ع‍‍َ‍اسَ ‌أَمَنَة ً‌ مِ‍‌‍نْ‍‍هُ ‌وَيُنَزِّلُ عَلَيْكُمْ مِنَ ‌ال‍‍سَّم‍‍َ‍ا‌ءِ‌ م‍‍َ‍ا‌ء‌ ً‌ لِيُ‍‍طَ‍‍هِّ‍رَكُمْ بِ‍‍هِ ‌وَيُذْهِبَ عَ‍‌‍ن‍‍كُمْ ‌رِجْ‍‍زَ‌ ‌ال‍‍شَّيْ‍‍طَ‍‍‍انِ ‌وَلِيَرْبِ‍‍طَ عَلَى‌ قُ‍‍لُوبِكُمْ ‌وَيُثَبِّتَ بِهِ ‌الأَ‍‍قْ‍‍‍دَ‌امَ

My Arabic is lacking in finding which word is interpreted to mean "drowsiness".

Picthall's translation reads:

"When He made the slumber fall upon you as a reassurance from him and sent down water from the sky upon you, that thereby He might purify you, and remove from you the fear of Satan, and make strong your hearts and firm (your) feet thereby."

I don't think Allah sbwt made them actually sleep. I interpret this metaphorically as putting the believers in an alternate state of consciousness where they are very relaxed but on a heightened state of alertness; calm but ready and alert with alpha brain waves dominant. This can be achieved with meditation. Athletes try to achieve this state before competition and I am sure it is beneficial for warriors before and during battle. I am speculating because I am not well versed on the sirra and hadiths. Any help appreciated.

1 Answer 1


The Arabic is النعاس (the third word), which means means drowsiness.

See entry in Lane's Lexicon:

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For usage in Hadith see:

إذا نعس أحدكم وهو يصلي فليرقد حتى يذهب عنه النوم فإن أحدكم إذا صلى وهو ناعس لا يدري لعله يستغفر فيسب نفسه

If anyone of you feels drowsy while praying he should go to bed (sleep) till his slumber is over because in praying while drowsy one does not know whether one is asking for forgiveness or for a bad thing for oneself.


The word is also used in another place in the Quran:

In Uhad, this was after the battle, to calm them after the heavy sacrifices:

ثم أنزل عليكم من بعد الغم أمنة نعاسا يغشى طائفة منكم

Then after distress, He sent down upon you security [in the form of] drowsiness, overcoming a faction of you

Quran 3:154

From Hadith:

ولقد وقع السيف من يدي أبي طلحة إما مرتين وإما ثلاثا من النعاس

(After Uhad) Abu Talha's sword dropped down from his hands twice or thrice because of drowsiness.


In Badr (about which 8:11 was revealed), this was on the night before the battle, and was sent by Allah to calm the believers before the battle and give them peace and a sense of security.

وكان هذا النعاس في الليلة التي كان القتال من غدها

This drowsiness came on the night before the battle in the morning

Tafsir Qurtubi

عن على رضي الله عنه لقد رأيتنا ليلة بدر وما منا إنسان الا نائم الا رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم فإنه كان يصلي إلى شجرة ويدعو حتى أصبح

Narrated Ali ibn Abi Talib: On the night of Badr, I saw that every one was sleeping except the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ), who was praying beneath a tree and supplicating, until morning came.

Sunan Kubra Nisai , Musnad Ahmad etc.

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