This saying, “The sleep of the scholar is better than the worship of the ignorant”, is not a hadeeth from the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and it is not a report from any of the Sahabah (Companions) or Tabi‘een (Successors). It is not known in the books of Sunnah (prophetic traditions) 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 Shi‘ah 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 Hammad ibn ‘Amr and Anas ibn Muhammad from his father, and they both – meaning Hammad and Muhammad the father of Anas – narrated from Ja‘far ibn Muhammad, from his father, from his grandfather, from ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib (may Allah be pleased with him), from the Prophet (peace and blessings 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 Shi‘ah, such as Makarim al-Akhlaq by at-Tubrusi (d. 548 AH), p. 441; Bihar al-Anwar by al-Majlisi, 2/25; and elsewhere.
The indication of falsehood is clear in this hadeeth. Hammad ibn ‘Amr and Muhammad the father of Anas are both majhool (unknown) and are not known to have been narrated from Ja‘far as-Sadiq. There is no mention of him in the books of the Sunnis or even in the books of the Shi‘ah, to such an extent that the commentator on the book Man la yahduruhu Faqeeh (1/536) said, when Shaykh as-Sadooq attributed its isnad (chain of narration) to Hammad ibn ‘Amr and Anas: “Hammad ibn ‘Amr, perhaps he is from the city of Naseebiyyeen, and is not mentioned, and the same applies to Anas ibn Muhammad. In the isnad 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-Qasim al-Kho’i gave a biography of him in Mu‘jam Rijal al-Hadeeth, 7/235, he did not narrate from anyone that they regarded him as trustworthy. Rather he also said: “as-Sadooq’s isnad going back to him about the will (wasiyyah) of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him and his family) to Ameer al-Mu’mineen [‘Ali] (peace be upon him) is da‘eef (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 Ja‘far as-Sadiq were only narrated with this isnad 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 (peace and blessings 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 (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) either. Mullah ‘Ali al-Qari (may Allah have mercy on him) said: It has no basis in any marfoo‘ report (one that has an isnad going back to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him)).
End quote from al-Asrar al-Marfoo‘ah fi’l-Akhbar al-Mawdoo‘ah, p.374
And Allah knows best.