This saying, The sleep of the scholar is better than the worship of the ignorant, is not a hadeeth from the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) and it is not a report from any of the Sahaabah or Taabieen. It is not known in the books of Sunnah and hadeeth, and we have not come across it in any of the recognized books of Sunnah, even after extensive searching.
Rather we found it among the books of the Shiah which are full of fabrications and lies, in a book called Man la yahduruhu al-Faqeeh (4/352-367) by ash-Shaykh as-Sadooq (d. 381 AH), where it says:
It was narrated from Hammaad ibn Amr and Anas ibn Muhammad from his father, and they both - meaning Hammaad and Muhammad the father of Anas - narrated from Jafar ibn Muhammad, from his father, from his grandfather, from Ali ibn Abi Taalib, from the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) that he said to him: - and he mentioned a very lengthy hadeeth, in which he said: O Ali! The sleep of the scholar is better than the worship of the worshipper.'
From this book it was picked up by many of the books of the Shiah, such as Makaarim al-Akhlaaq by at-Tubrusi (d. 548 AH), p. 441; Bihaar al-Anwaar by al-Majlisi, 2/25; and elsewhere.
The indication of falsehood is clear in this hadeeth. Hammaad ibn Amr and Muhammad the father of Anas are both majhool (unknown) and are not known to have been narrated from Jafar as-Saadiq. There is no mention of him in the books of the Sunnis or even in the books of the Shiah, to such an extent that the commentator on the book Man la yahduruhu Faqeeh (1/536) said, when Shaykh as-Sadooq attributed its isnaad to Hammaad ibn Amr and Anas: Hammaad ibn Amr, perhaps he is from the city of Naseebiyyeen, and is not mentioned, and the same applies to Anas ibn Muhammad. In the isnaad going back to them there are unknown narrators, and it is as if they are from among the regular masses- meaning Ahl as-Sunnah!
When Abu'l-Qaasim al-Kho'i gave a biography of him in Mujam Rijaal al-Hadeeth, 7/235, he did not narrate from anyone that they regarded him as trustworthy. Rather he also said: as-Sadooq's isnaad going back to him about the will (wasiyyah) of the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him and his family) to Ameer al-Mu'mineen [Ali] (peace be upon him) is daeef (weak), and includes a number of unknown narrators. End quote.
It is sufficient for you to know that hundreds of hadeeths that are attributed to Jafar as-Saadiq were only narrated with this isnaad going back to him, which even some of the Shi ah admit includes some unknown narrators, and the unknown narrator is used as a means to tell lies about the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him).
Similar to this is another saying, The sleep of the scholar is worship. These are not the words of the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) either. Mullah Ali al-Qaari (may Allah have mercy on him) said: It has no basis in any marfoo report (one that has an isnaad going back to the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him)).
End quote from al-Asraar al-Marfooah fi'l-Akhbaar al-Mawdooah, p. 374
And Allah knows best.
Reproduced from Islam QA