[By Dr. Mahmoud Ayoub]
Dreams are messenger to us from the unknown. They are voices from our collective sub-conscious, warners of deep inner disturbance in the individual psyche, bearer of glad tidings of good things to come, or echoes of happy or sad and long hidden memories.
As messenger from the unknown, dreams are often prophetic voices of the future. Hence, they have at times directed the course of the history of nations. The dream of the prophet Ibraheem (alayhissalaam) to sacrifice his son, his obedience to the Divine will and his willingness to submit in absolute faith to God made him the first true Muslim and the father of prophets. The true interpretation of the dreams of the king of Egypt by the prophet Joseph (Yusuf alayhissalaam) saved both the Egyptians and the children of Israel from famine and death. The dreams of the Prophet Muhammad, upon him and all the prophets of God be peace and blessings, marked the beginning of his revelation, the noble Qur’an which changed the face of human history and civilization.
Although dreams belong to the domain of personal experience, they are a universal phenomenon, and thus have played a crucial role in the formation of human culture. Throughout recorded human history, dreams and the interpretation of dreams have inspired sages and prophets, poets and kings, as well as the most creative psychologist/philosophers of our day. The science of psycho-analysis of Carl Jung and his school rests on the fact that dreams form the inner diary of every human individual, and hence the need to read and interpret them correctly. This fact has for long been recognized by the sages and prophets of traditional cultures and religions.
Not all dreams, however, are either true or authentic. Those of the prophets and friends (awliya’s) of God are Divine revelations, true and sacred. The dreams of pious men and women are almost always true and meaningful. Some dreams come from Satan, and are thus misleading. Others may be caused by physical or psychological problems such as stomach discomfort or emotional disturbance. It is therefore important to distinguish true dreams from empty fantasies, and inspired dreams from satanic insinuations. This is a Divine gift to inspired prophets, holy persons and insightful sages.
The author of the original book Muntakhab Al-Kalam Fi Tafs’ir Al-Ahlam, of which the present volume is an adaptation,was a well-known and highly revered man of God, religious scholar and mystic. Even though the book looks at dreams and their significance from an Islamic point of view, the truth on which it is based, and which it uncovers are universal and primordial verities. This book is therefore intended for all those who take dreams seriously as an important aspect of their life, faith and psychological makeup.
The extensive indexes and well organized layout of this valuable book make it a useful manual of types of dreams and their meaning. It is, moreover, the first Islamic guide in English to authentic dream interpretation. Itis hoped that this dictionary of dream interpretation will prove useful to students of culture and spirituality, but above all to seekers after truth.
All praises be to Allah, Lord and Cherisher of the universes. May the most sublime of His blessings shower upon His chosen and elect, the light that dawned upon the creation and brought mercy to humanity, God’s Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam). He is the carrier of the Divine promise of forgiveness for those who repent and walk the avenues of the dwellers of paradise, and he is the loftiest of intercessors on the Day of Judgement, when creation will meet its maker to receive the harvest of its deeds.
Dream interpretation requires vast knowledge, clear perception, and sensitivity. Such knowledge must be based on the fundamentals of one’s religion, inner spiritual values, moral and cultural traditions. The beginner in this field must know that there are two types of dreams: one type that comes from God Almighty, and the second type comes from satan. What is good comes from God Almighty, which is a type of revelation that comes to a righteous person and carries either glad tidings, or warnings. Such dreams also cause one’s heart to reflect upon his actions and to beware of heedlessness. On the other hand, they could be a reprimand for an ignoble act one is pondering, or an act one may mistakenly thinks that it is the correct thing to do, or a new friendship that could lead him to hell-fire, or a clarification concerning his treatment of his family and friends and about his business dealings, or they may bring spiritual guidance, etcetera. This is the type of dream which is referred to in God’s Prophet’s (saallallaahu alayhi wasallam) sayings: “A true dream represents one of forty-six branches of a prophecy.” Both religious and irreligious people may see a true dream that could come true. The second type of dream connotes deception, cunningness, contriving, jealousy, or a scare, causes pain, depicts any type of eavesdropping, engaging in mundane conversation, the call of one’s mind and desires, or imagination, or occur after eating a heavy late meal or even going to bed hungry, etcetera. This type of dream comes from satan. God’s Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) has said: ‘Its time draws nearer to the conclusion of this world, dreams will become confused. The most true of dreams are those of a truthful person. Thus, if one sees a dream that he dislikes, he should tell no one about it, and he should immediately leave his bed and perform his prayers.” He also said: “The best of ropes is steadfastness to one’s religious life.”
Some interpreters divide dreams in three categories:
1. a good dream which is a glad tiding from God Almighty;
2- a dream that rises from one’s desires and inclinations; and,
3- a distressful dream that is prompted by satan.
As a consequence of such dreams, one may wake up either happy or afraid. Some dreams cause elation, while others cause shivers. In fact, the human frailty is subject to such involuntary acts of infringement upon its so-called ‘privacy’. Each dream connotes meanings that relate to one’s own character, actions, thoughts, intentions, expectations, qualities, associations, dealings, and environment. However, one may wake up in fear from his dream, though it signifies joy and exaltation, or one may wake up happy, though his dream connotes sorrow and distress.
The wife of God’s Prophet, Aisha, (radhiyallahu anha), related that God’s Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) has said: “Glad tidings are the only part of prophecies that will remain after me.” Someone asked: ”What are the glad tidings, Oh Messenger of God?” He replied: “A true dream that one sees or which someone sees for him.”
The early revelations that were brought to God’s Prophet, (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam), commenced in the form of true dreams. Then, they continued in the form of revelations (wahi) that were brought by the archangel Gibreel (alayhissalaam). Aisha (radhiyallahu anha) also said: ”The earliest revelations God’s Messenger (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) received came in the form of true dreams. Whatever he saw in his dream unfailingly came true.” Once God’s Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) related a dream to his blessed companion Abu Bakr (radhiyallahu anhu). He said: “I saw in a dream that we were climbing a ladder. At the end, I reached two steps further than you did.” Abu Bakr replied: “O Messenger of God, God Almighty will call your soul back unto His mercy, and I shall live two and one half years after you have departed from this world.”
In another dream, he said: “I saw a flock of black sheep tailed by another flock of white sheep following me.” Abu Bakr (radhiyallahu anhu) replied: “The Arabs will follow you first, then others will follow them.”
In his book “Ta’tir-ul Anam fi Tafsir-ul-Manam’, Shaikh Abdul Ghani Nabulsi (rahimahullah), related that dream interpretation is one of the earliest knowledge that was revealed to humankind. All of God’s prophets, upon all of them be peace, had to deal with dream interpretation from time to time. God’s prophet Yusuf (alayhisalaam) was also blessed with such knowledge, as revealed in the Qur’anic verse: “Thus will thy Lord choose thee, and teach thee the interpretation of stories.” (Qur’an 12:6), meaning dream interpretation.
The faith of God’s prophet Ibraheem (alayhissalaam) was once tried through a dream where he saw himself sacrificing his own son. “He said: ‘O my son! I saw in a dream that I offered thee in sacrifice.'” (Qur’an 37-102). As he reached the point of implementing his dream, God Almighty said: “O Abraham! Thou hast already fulfilled the vision!” [Qur’an 37:104-105].
On the eve of the battle of Badr between the believers and the Quraish tribe of Makkah, Prophet Muhammad (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) saw a dream as stated in the Holy Qur’an: “And remember when God showed them to thee as few in thy dream” (Qur’an 8:43). Later on, when God’s Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) led his companions to Hudaibiyyah, he also saw in a dream that he and his companions were entering the Holy city of Makkah. In this dream, he saw them circumambulating the Sacred House with peace and tranquility. God Almighty confirmed his dream in the Holy Qur’an saying: “Truly did God fulfil the vision for His Apostle, that ye shall enter the Sacred Mosque, if God wills, with your minds secured, head shaved, hair cut short, and without fear. For He knew what you do not know, and He granted beside this, a speedy victory.” [Qur’an 48:27]. Indeed, it was in such a state that Allah’s Messenger and the believers entered the Holy city of Makkah and cleansed God’s House from polytheism and idol worship.
In the book of Tafsirul-Ahlam by Imam Muhammad Ibn Seerin (rahimahullah), it is reported that Shaikh Abu Said AI-Wa’ith., God bless his soul, has said: “In essence, dreams are true. They connote wisdom and have emotional and physical traceable effects.”
Wahb bin Munabbih (rahimahullah) once said: “The first dream was seen by Adam, upon whom be peace.” He added: “God said to Adam: ‘Have you seen among my creation anyone that resembles you? ‘Adam replied: ‘My Lord, Thou hast blessed me, and honored me among Thy creation and I have not seen anyone that looks like me. Bless me Lord with a mate, so I may dwell with her in tranquility, and we may both worship Thee and glorify Thee.’ God Almighty then caused Adam to repose, and He showed him Hawwa (Eve) in a vision. When Adam opened his eyes, he saw Hawwa (Eve) sitting near him. God Almighty created Hawwa (Eve) from Adam’s rib and made her look like him.”
Wahab bin Munabbih (rahimahullah) also related: “Once Yusuf (alayhissalaam) son of Ya’qub (alayhissalaam), upon both of them be peace, went with his brethren to herd the family’s sheep. Each one carried a heavy stick to help direct their sheep and to defend themselves against the beasts of the wilderness. Yusuf (alayhissalaam) was a young boy then. During the day, he felt like resting on his brother’s lap, where he soon fell asleep. When he woke up, he said to his brothers: ‘Should I tell you about a dream I saw?’ They replied: ‘Indeed!’ Yusuf (alayhissalaam) then said: ‘I saw as though my stick was dug into the ground, then your sticks were brought in and placed in a circle around it. Mine was the shortest. Then my stick kept on growing until it reached the skies. My stick then stood in the ground and took firm roots that grew to push your sticks out of their holes. Then I saw your sticks laying near mine.’ Hearing that, one of his brothers replied: ‘The son of Rachel is nearly saying that he is our master and that we are his slaves.”’ Seven years later, in another dream, Yusuf (alayhissalaam) saw the sun, the moon, and the stars prostrating themselves to him. As reported in the Holy Qur’an, Yusuf (alayhissalaam) went to his father Jacob, upon both of them be peace, and said: “O my father! I did see eleven stars, and the sun, and the moon prostrating themselves to me!” (Qur’an 12:4). Ya’qub (alayhissalaam) understood the meaning of his son’s dream, and said: “The sun and the moon are your father and mother, and the stars are your brethren.” Ya’qub (alayhissalaam) added: “My dear little son, do not tell your dream to your brothren, lest they concoct a plot against thee, for satan is to man an a vowed enemy.” [Qur’an 12:5]
Later on, Ya’qub (alayhissalaam) saw in a dream that he was standing on top of a hill and Yusuf (alayhissalaam) was down in the valley. He saw ten wolves surrounding and attacking his little son Yusuf (alayhissalaam). Ya’qub (alayhissalaam) feared for his son and felt sorrowful for him, though he could do nothing in the dream. Suddenly, the earth split open under Yusuf (alayhissalaam)’s feet and swallowed him. The wolves then departed. When Yusuf (alayhissalaam)’s brethren came to their father and said: “Send him with us tomorrow to enjoy himself and play, and we shall take good care of him.” Ya’qub (alayhissalaam) replied: “It saddens me that you should take him away. I fear lest the wolf should devour him when you are busy and oblivious of him.” [Qur’an 12:12-13]
During his imprisonment in Egypt, Yusuf (alayhissalaam) taught the truth as he interpreted the dreams of his two fellow prisoners. In the Holy Qur’an Allah Almighty says: “Two young men entered the prison with him. One of them said: ‘I see myself in a dream pressing wine.’ The other said: ‘I see myself in a dream carrying bread on my head, and birds are eating from it.’ They said: ‘Tell us the truth and meaning of these dreams, for we see that thou does good to all. He replied: ‘Before any food come to feed either of you, I will surely reveal to you the truth and meaning of what will befall you. That is part of the duty which my Lord has taught me. I have abandoned the ways of a people that do not believe in God and that even deny the hereafter.” (Qur’an 12:36) Yusuf (alayhissalaam) added: “Oh my two companions of the prison! As for one of you, he will pour wine for his master to drink. As for the other, he will be crucified, and the birds will eat from off his head. So it is decreed in the matter which you are inquiring about.” [Qur’an 12:41]
Yusuf (alayhissalaam) also used his knowledge about dream interpretation to clear his name and to explain the king’s dream, when the Pharaoh’s own council and the palace’s dream interpreters failed to explainit, saying: “A confused medley of dreams, and we are not skilled in the interpretation of dreams.” (Qur’an 12:44). The cup-bearer went to Yusuf (alayhissalaam) and said: “O Yusuf! O man of truth! Expound to us the meaning of seven fat cows whom seven lean ones devour, and a seven green ears of corn and seven others withered.” Yusuf (alayhissalaam)’s explanation was: ”You shall sow diligently for seven years after that your wont; what you harvest leave in the ear, except a little you keep in store. This will be followed by seven hard years, that shall devour what you have kept for them, except the little you have guarded. Then will come a year in which the people will have abundant water and press in season.” (Qur’an 12:47-49)
Ibn Jabir Sulaiman bin Amir Al Kala’i related that Abu Umama Al-Bahili (radhiyallahu anhu) had told him: “I heard God’s Messenger (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) say: ‘Two men came to me in a dream, They took me near a pathless mountain that is difficult to cross and said to me: ‘Climb!’ I replied: ‘It is difficult, and I cannot climb it.’ They said: ‘We will make it easy for you.’ Thus, we commenced out ascent. As we reached the middle of our climb, I heard loud yowling like that of dogs. I asked: ‘What is that sound?’ They replied: ‘This is the cry of the dwellers of hell-fire.’ We continued our climb, and I saw people hanging from the tendons of their heels. I asked: ‘Who are these people?’ They replied: ‘These people are the ones who break their fast before the due time.’ We then continued our climb, and I saw people whose bodies are swollen, and their stench is similar to that of feces, I asked: ‘Who are these people?’ They replied: ‘These are the adulterers.’ As we continued, I saw little children playing between two rivers. I asked: ‘Who are these children?’ They replied: ‘They are the progeny of Muslims.’ Then I saw three people from a distance. I asked: ‘Who are these people?’ They replied: ‘These are Ibraheem, Musa, and ‘Isa (alayhimussalam) they are awaiting you.”’
True dreams also can be seen by unbelievers. It is related that Fir’awn once saw in a dream a fire that had ignited in Syria. This fire kept on expanding until it reached Egypt, where it burned and destroyed every house and farm of the land, Fir’awn woke-up scared. He called every dream interpreter in the land and asked them to explain the meaning of his dream. One of the interpreters said: “If your dream is true, it means that a descendent from the family of Ya’qub (alayhissalaam) will be born, who will bring about your destruction and that of Egypt.” Immediately, Fir’awn ordered his soldiers to kill every newborn in the land. Despite all of Fir’awn’s precautions, Musa (alayhissalaam) was born in Allah’s protection and fulfilled Allah’s Will. Allah Almighty commanded the mother of Musa (alayhissalaam) by inspiration: “Behold! We told to thy mother, by inspiration: ”’Place the child into the chest, and throw the chest into the river. The river will cast him up to the bank, and he will be taken up by one who is an enemy to Me, and an enemy to him.'” [Qur’an 20:39]
Some dream interpreters explain that dreams are of three types:
1. glad tidings from God Almighty, and this is what is called a true dream;
2. warnings from the accursed Satan. This type represents false and confused dreams because it is not befitting the accursed one to advise or warn people. Once a man came to God’s Prophet (sallallaahu alayhissalaam) and said: “O Messenger of God! I saw my head rolling before me, and I saw myself running after it and seeking it in the dream.” God’s Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) replied: “Do not talk about Satan’s chicanery.”
3. The third category includes dreams that reflect one’s personal thoughts. One may see himself sitting with his beloved; or if one is afraid of something, he may see it in a dream; or if he goes to bed hungry, he may see himself eating or vomiting; or if one sleeps under the sun he may see himself burning in hell-fire; or if he has an ailment, he may see himself in a dream suffering or being tortured, etcetera.
There are seven types of false dreams.
1. confused dreams: dreams which are caused by distress, exaggerated hopes, and personal thoughts.
2. The second type represent sexual dreams that require one to take a ritual ablution (ghusl) if they end in ejection of semen and they have no interpretation.
3. The third type represent warnings by Satan or scary dreams where they end in a no-win situation.
4. The fourth type represent dreams that are driven by the sorcery of jinn spirits, or their illusions, and they are judged as vain.
5. The fifth type is a dream which is shown by satan, and this type is not considered to be a dream.
6. The sixth type is driven by one’s own mind and desire when they are confused or under stress.
7. The seventh type of false dream is one which is caused by pain and suffering from a physical ailment.
As for the true dreams, they are the glad tidings that come from God Almighty. In them, one may see himself in a state of serenity and peace, or wearing a beautiful garment, or eating healthy and appetizing food. Shaikh Abdul Ghani Nabulsi (rahimahullah) divided the true dreams into five categories.
1. A clear vision of a truthful person that takes place exactly as seen in one’s dream. This is the type which is considered to represent one of forty-six branches of a prophecy, including the dream of God’s Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) entering Makkah or the dream of God’s prophet Ibraheem (alayhissalaam) sacrificing his son, etcetera. A dream interpreter once said: “Blessed is he who sees a true dream, for they come directly from God Almighty and without an intermediary.”
2. The second category includes a direct warning or a reprimand from Allah Almighty. The Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) once said: “The best of dreams are the ones where you see your Lord, or your prophet, or your Muslim parents.”
Someone asked: “O Messenger of Allah, can one see his Lord?” He replied: “The king represents God, and God is the king in one’s dream.”
3. The third category is a dream that is shown to you by the angel of dreams, and his name is Siddiqun. This blessed angel may come into one’s dream and, by God’s leave, reveal some of what God Almighty taught him or made known to him from what is written in the Preserved Tablet. God Almighty also has taught him to give parables and how to tell stories one can understand.
4. The fourth category represent dreams of allegories, apotheosis, or symbols one can decipher. This type comes through good spirits or blessed souls, such as if an angel comes and says: “Your wife wants to poison you at the hand of your friend so-and-so.”
In this case, the angel or the blessed soul has indirectly indicated that one’s friend is having a secret affair with one’s wife, for adultery requires a covert scheme, and poison connotes disguise.
5. The fifth category of true dreams is one that includes a true witness. In it, such a witness will manifest a prevailing presence in the dream, such as seeing oneself beating a drum, or playing a string instrument inside a mosque or a place of worship.
In this case, it may mean repenting in public from one’s sins. The witness element here represents the opposite of what the person sees, such as seeing oneself dancing, or reading the Qur’an inside a bath house. In this case, it means that he will be involved in a scandal, and his reputation will be defiled, for a bath-house is a public place, where one’s privacy may be infringed upon if he is not careful about his conduct therein.
Children’s dreams are also true, for Yusuf (alayhissalaam) was seven years of age when he saw his dream with his brethren. The dream of a woman during her menstrual period also can be true, for some religions do not see it necessary for a woman to take a ritual ablution in order to perform her prayers.
The prophet Danyal (alayhissalaam) (Biblical Daniel), explained that the angel of dreams Siddiqun is a colossal angel. The distance between his shoulders and his earlobe equals seven hundred years of walking. The parable of this angel is like that of the sun. Once it rises, things can be seen with clarity. By God’s leave, he teaches the true believers, guides them, and explains some of their hidden destiny, whether it is good or bad, in this world or in the hereafter. When he brings a warning, or disturbing piece of news in a dream, it is intended to help one cross such an adversity with clarity, determination, and without distress when it takes place. Such a true dream usually takes place within a couple of days from seeing it. The best of such dreams are seen before daybreak and during the daylight. Ja’afar Al-Sadiq (rahimahullah) once said: “A true dream is one that is seen during a mid-day nap.”
Sometimes, one may accomplish something in a dream, when in reality it connotes someone else’s accomplishment. This includes his wife, his son, business partner, or someone who has the same name. This was seen in Abu Jahl’s dream when he saw himself accepting Islam and pledging allegiance to God’s Messenger (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam). In truth, Abu Jahl died as an unbeliever, and it was his son that fulfilled the father’s dream.
Um-ul Fadhl (radhiyallahu anha) once came to God’s Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) and said: “O God’s Messenger! I saw an awful dream.” He replied: “Blessed be it.” She continued: “I saw a piece ofyour flesh put in my lap!” God’s Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) smiled and said: “My daughter Fatimah will beget a son, and you shall take it into your lap.” Later on, Hadhrat Fatima (radhiyallahu anha) conceived a child from Ali (radhiyallahu anhu) and Um-ul Fadhl placed the newborn in her lap.
According to Imam Jami, Zulaikha was a beautiful princess and daughter of a king from a north-western African country. In her youth, Zulaikha saw a dream of a handsome man who possessed a great beauty, goodness, purity and truth, and she fell in love with him. Zulaikha nursed her love and sorrow in secret. The dream she saw first, occurred thrice and on the third time, she had the courage to ask the man about his name and country. In her dream, the man concealed his name, but he told her that he was the vizier of Egypt. Thus, the man in the dream occupied her entire life. Finally, Zulaikha’s father knew her reason for refusing to marry kings and princes from all over the world and arranged for her to marry the vizier of Egypt. When Zulaikha’s caravan arrived to Egypt, she peeped from a hole in her curtain to find that the vizier of Egypt was not the man she saw in her dream. Later on, and in another dream, Zulaikha was told that this vizier of Egypt is not her beloved, and that she will be protected by him until she meets her destined love. Armed with a glimpse of her beloved, Zulaikha awaited with faith and longing for her beloved. One day, a foreign merchant who had found Yusuf (alayhissalaam) inside a well had brought him to sell him in Egypt. During the auction, everyone who was thought to have the means desired to buy Joseph, but destiny made him the prize of Zulaikha, who had a lot to learn about the true price of a divine gift. It was only after her husband died, and she was bereft of her beauty, youth, health and honor, that Yusuf (alayhissalaam) became the vizier of Egypt. He knew what is true from what is false and ephemeral. At his prayers, Allah Almighty restored Zulaikha’s health, youth and beauty, and they were married in purity, love, and true worship of Allah Almighty.
The Dream Interpreter
Some dream interpreters agree that dreams are seen by the soul and are understood by one’s consciousness. Shaikh Abdul Ghani Nabulsi (rahimahullah) explains in his book Ta’atir-ul Anām that “the soul resides within one’s heart, and the functions of the heart are dictated by one’s brain. When one falls asleep, his soul becomes like an extended ray of light, or like a sun, where he can see what the angel of dreams reveals to him through the effulgent light of his Lord. Whenone’s senses come to wakefulness, it is as though a cloud has come to cover the sunlight. When one wakes up, he may remember through his soul what the angel of dreams has showed him.” Someone said: “Spiritual feelings are greater than one’s physical awareness. For the soul represents the truth, and the senses can only recognize what is physically perceivable.”
For a dream interpreter, it is also necessary to know that the soil is different from one land to another, because each soil is watered by a different quality of water. That is why dream interpretation may vary from one land to another. As we explained earlier, dream interpretation requires a concise knowledge that must be based on the fundamentals of one’s religion, inner spiritual values, and moral and cultural traditions. Dreams also are influenced by the atmospheric condition of the land andculture. For example, if one who lives in a hot country sees snow or hail in his dream, it means rising prices or drought. On the other hand, if one lives in a cold country and sees snow, rain, and hail, it means a good harvest and prosperity.
In India, for example, mud means money, while for another country it may mean an adversity. Also in India, breakingwind in a dream means good news, while in another country it may mean hearing bad words. In one out of four countries, fish in a dream means marriage, or money, while in other countries a fish means a bad stench. Quince, which is known in Persian as Safarjal in a dream means comfort, beauty, and glory for an Iranian person, while it means travels, or departure for an Arab. Eating a dead animal in a dream means acquiring unlawful money for those who believe in the impermissibility of doing so. As for those who see no harm in eating the flesh of a dead animal, when they see that in a dream, it means benefits, or profits. Timing is also crucial. If one whois stricken with cold symptoms sees himself warming up in the sun, or near a burning bush in the winter time in a dream, or if he sees himself wearing winter clothing, or using hot water to wash with, etcetera in a dream, it means recovering from his illness, while doing so in the summer time means health complications, or adversities. The meanings of dreams also differ in values. For instance, if a devout worshiper sees himself wearing a soldier’s uniform in a dream, it means invalidation of his worship, while if a non-fighting soldier sees that, it means going to war, and victory. As for the rest of people, it means a dispute, an argument, and corruption.
A dream interpreter must also be considerate of other social customs and religious norms. For example, eating raw herbs in a dream means unlawful money and disturbances for Sabians and Judaeo-Christian priests, for it is not permissible in their traditions. The Jews forbid the eating of certain roots, the Greeks forbid chicken, and the Muslims forbid drinking wine. Thus these elementsin a dream represent unlawful earnings for such religions. If a Muslim woman sees herself committing adultery inside a mosque in a dream, it means gaining bad reputation, while if a Hindu woman sees that dream, it means rising in station of nearness to her lord, for in Hinduism they consider sexual intercourse an act of worship. The Magians and Zoroastrians worship the fire, so if one of them sees himself kindling a fire or prostrating to the fire in a dream, it has positive connotations and benefits. The same goes for worshipers of the sun or the moon.
The dream interpreter must investigate each dream based on religious opinions, logic, idioms, crucial factors, dictating circumstances, parables, what is deemed correct, and he should not express a firm opinion, as we shall expand on this subject at a later part of this introduction.
A dream interpreter must have knowledge of the Qur’anic references, Qur’anic interpretations, sayings of God’s Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam), allegorical meanings and parables. He also must know the prophetic traditions, tales of the prophets, the wisdom they imparted to their followers through interpreting their dreams, and the conclusion they themselves have earned from that experience. Are fined interpreter in this art also must cultivate the essence of social norms, history, fables, poetry, proverbs, languages, etymology of words, synonyms, homogeneity, contrariety, etcetera. He also must be an honest and respected person, and he must care for the way he earns his living, what he eats, and what he drinks, and he must be a sincere and a God-fearing person.
It is beneficial for a dream interpreter to have knowledge about natural medicine, and psychology, besides other sciences.
The prophet Danyal (alayhissalaam) (Daniel) has said: “One may forget his dream because of four reasons:
2-contradiction between his deeds and intentions;
3-lack of sincerity; and
4-changes of his spirit.”
Imam Ja’afar AI-Sadiq (rahimahullah) once said: “If one forgets a dream he saw at night, he should calculate the numerological value of the letters of his name on the basis of the ‘Abjad’ system. He then should deduct the number nine from the total. If they result in an even number, then his dream is positive. If the total produces an odd number, then his dream has negative connotations.”
The dream interpreter also should ask the person who forgot his dream how did he find himself when he woke up. If the person who forgot his dream finds his hand over his fingers, he could have seen little trees. If he finds his hand laid over his ribs, then it could be women that he saw, etcetera.
A dream interpreter must listen to the complete story, and its minute details. He also must investigate and find acceptable religious references (Usul) for each element in the dream. If he does not fully understand the dream, or if he is unable to find such references, then it is better for him to refrain from making up an interpretation. In that case, he will be giving a religious ruling, though dreams relate to psychology. Indeed, it will be a sin to tell a false interpretation, while one will be rewarded if he remains silent when he does not know the answer. Imam Ibn Seerin (Ibn Siren) (rahimahullah) was the most renowned master in this science, and he often refrained from interpreting someone’s dream. Perhaps, he would interpret only one out of every forty dreams when asked to do so. Of three out of four such dreams, he used to say: “I do not know the meaning of this dream.”
The dream interpreter must investigate the dream and establish its acceptable religious references. It is related that Imam Ibn Seerin (rahimahullah) used to spend a good part of the day questioning the person about himself, his life, type of work, living condition, and surrounding circumstances, for a dream interpreter is not a prophet and cannot tell about the future.
Beside the religious references, a dream interpreter also must know the basic categories which connect the elements of the dream. Thus he should know that wheat, barley, flour, honey, milk, wool, iron, salt, and earth, etcetera, represent money. He should also know that a weasel, a coyote, a lion, a wolf, a rope, a tree, a bird, or a beast, etcetera, represent men; and that a saddle, a bed, and female birds, etcetera, represent women, and that a pitcher, a pillow, a bowl, a basin, etcetera, represent servants. He should also know that anything that has no end in a dream is not attainable, while leaving a boat in a dream means descending in rank. In his book Tabaqat Al-Mu’abbireen, (i.e., The Ranks of Dream Interpreters) AI-Hassan Bin Al-Hassan AI-Khallal (rahimahullah) noted some seven thousand five hundred interpreters. He then divided them in fifteen categories:
6-professional interpreters who wrote books on this subject;
12-polytheists from the pre-Islamic period;
13-soothsayers, prognosticators, palm readers, and fortunetellers; 14-Magicians; and 15-physiognomists and allegorists.
¤ The perspective which one assumes in his interpretation of someone’s dream is crucial. Once a Caliph saw his teeth falling out in a dream. He called a dream interpreter and asked him about the meaning of his dream. The interpreter replied: “The entire family of my master will perish.” The Caliph became upset, and he called for another interpreter and told him the dream. The second dream interpreter replied: “The dream of my master, the prince of the believers, is true, for he shall live the longest amongst his relatives.” Immediately, the Caliph embraced the man and rewarded him for his skill and tactfulness. In this case, both interpreters gave the same meaning, though the presentation is different.
¤ Once upon a time, a king hired a private tutor to teach his children the Qur’an and proper conduct. After the teacher had died, one day the king’s children went to visit the grave of their teacher. After paying the customary greetings, they sat beside his grave and engaged in a mundane conversation, ate some fruits, and threw the peels and pits on the side of the grave. That night, the teacher came to the king in a dream and told him: “Instruct your children to refrain from visiting my grave, for they have certainly offended me.” When the children learned from their father about what happened, they cried and exclaimed: “God bless his soul, for surely he is still teaching us proper conduct, even after his death.”
¤ A man came to Imam Ibn Seerin (rahimahullah) and said: “I saw a pot filled with milk, then some one brought a second pot of the same size which was filled with honey. He then poured the honey into the milk, and miraculously, the first pot contained both of them without any spillage. Further on, he poured some foamy substance on the top, and I sat with some friend seating and skimming the foamy substance first. Suddenly, the contents of the pot turned into a head of a camel, and we kept on eating from it. “Ibn Seerin (rahimahullah) replied: “What a wretched dream you had! The milk represents inherent purity. What is poured into it has nothing to do with inherent purity. Your eating of the scum means waste, and neither you nor your friends will benefit from it, for God Almighty has said: “For the scum will be thrown off.” (Qur’an 17:13) As for the camel in your dream, it represents an Arab leader, and in this case, he is the Prince of the believers, the Caliph Omar Bin ‘Abdul-Aziz (rahimahullah), and you are backbiting him and sweetening your calumny with honey.”
¤ Once a man came to Shaikh Sa’adu-Deen AI-Dharir, who was a blind man from Aleppo, Syria, and said: “I saw a dream, whereby I was wearing a shoe of fire that burned up to my ankles.” The Shaikh replied: “Come near me, so I may tell you the meaning.” Once the Shaikh took hold of the man’s arm, he cried out to those who were present to catch the man and to call the police. After an investigation, it appeared that the man used to steal people’s shoes at the entrance of the mosque, to which crime the man confessed, and people went to his house to claim their properties.
¤ A woman came to Imam Ibn Seerin and said: “I saw two pearls in my lap in a dream. One was bigger than the other. Then my sister came and asked me to give her one of them, so I gave her the smaller pearl.” Imam Ibn Seerin (rahimahullah) replied: ”You spoke the truth. You have learned two chapters from the Holy Qur’an. One of them is longer than the other, and you have taught your sister the shorter one.” The woman obliged.
¤ A man said to Imam Ibn Seerin (rahimahullah): “I saw a big bull coming out of a small rock, and I shook hands with him in a dream. The bull then wanted to return inside the rock, but he couldn’t.” Ibn Seerin (rahimahullah) replied: “Indeed; sometimes a man may say a big word, then regrets what he had said, though he cannot change it.”
¤ A man said to Imam Ibn Seerin (rahimahullah): “I saw a man swallowing small pearls, then bringing them out of his mouth bigger in size in the dream.” Ibn Seerin replied: ”This the type of a person who learns about something once and speaks about it a lot.”
¤ A man said to Imam Ibn Seerin (rahimahullah): “I saw a pebble going into my ear in a dream. Then I shook my head and got it out of there.” Imam Ibn Seerin (rahimahullah) replied: ”You mix with people of innovation, and you hear bad words, though God willing, at the end, you will repent.”
¤ A man told Imam Ibn Seerin (rahimahullah): “I saw that I was betrothed to a black woman who was short in the dream.” Ibn Seerin (rahimahullah) replied: “Go and marry her, for her blackness is her richness, and her size represents the span of her life. For you will shortly inherit her wealth.”
¤ A man told Imam Ibn Seerin (rahimahullah): “I saw myself drinking from a pitcher with two heads in a dream.” Ibn Seerin (rahimahullah) replied: “You have a wife, and you are trying to tempt her sister to sin with you, so fear God.” The man answered: “You spoke the truth. Bear witness that I repent from my doing.”
¤ Once the Caliph Omar Bin AI-Khattab (radhiyallahu anhu) appointed a judge for Syria. When the man left Makkah, one night he saw in a dream that the sun, the moon, and the stars were fighting against one another. Then, the man himself became a star and participated in the fight in the dream. Halfway through his journey, the man returned to Madinah and told the Caliph about his dream. Omar (radhiyallahu anhu) asked: “When you became a star in the dream, did you fight on the side of the sun or that of the moon?” The man replied: “I fought on the side of the moon.” Omar (radhiyallahu anhu) replied: “Go away, and do not work for me.” Later on, the man joined the army of ‘Yazid in Syria and died fighting the caliphate during the battle of Siffin.
¤ Abdullah the son of Omar (radhiyallahu anhu) reported: “I heard God’s Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) saying: ‘I was given a glass of milk in a dream. I drank from it until I could see the quench reaching the tip of my fingers, then I gave what is left to Omar.’ Abdullah asked: ‘How did you interpret it, O Messenger of God?’ He replied: ‘Knowledge.”’
¤ Abdullah Bin Omar (radhiyallahu anhu)
reported that God’s Messenger (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) has said: “Last night, I saw myself at the Ka’aba. There I saw a person with a fair skin and a most beautiful appearance circumambulating the Ka’aba. I asked: ‘Who is this man?’ A voice replied: ‘This is Jesus son of Mary.’ Then walked an ugly-looking man, whose skin was wrinkled, and who was blind in his right eye. I asked: ‘Who is this man?’ A voice replied: ‘This is Al-Masih al-Dajjal, the impostor of Christ.
¤ Abu Sa’id AI-Khudri (radhiyallahu anhu) reported that God’s Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) has said: ”While in my sleep, I saw people presented before me, most of whom wore a garment that covered down to their breast. Then arrived Omar who was dragging his robe behind him.” Someone asked: “How did you interpret it, O Messenger of God?” He replied: “Commitment to one’s religion.”
Relating One’s Dream
God’s Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) liked to sleep on his right side. He also taught his companions when they go to bed to pray: “Lord, I seek refuge in Thee from any disturbing dreams and from Satan’s chicanery whether I am awake or in my sleep. Lord, protect me against the sufferings that people will experience on the Day of Gathering.”
After the daybreak, God’s Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) used to ask his companions if they had seen any dreams, and he did interpret their dreams for them. It is reported that he also has said: “A dream will take effect according to how it is interpreted.” God’s Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) also said: “A dream sits on the wing of a flying bird and will not take effect unless it is related to someone.” Therefore, one should only tell his dream to a trustworthy person, a pious and a knowledgeable person. He should not tell it to a jealous person, and he should not tell his dream to a child, or a wife. It is related that God’s Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) once said: “Tell your dreams only to a beloved or a knowledgeable person.” Remember when Ya’qub (alayhissalam) told his son Yusuf (alayhissalaam): “My dear little son, do not tell your dream to your brothren, lest they concoct a plot against thee, for satan is to man an avowed enemy.” [Qur’an 12:5]
In relation to the earlier related saying of God’s Messenger (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam): “Glad tidings are the only part of prophecies that will remain after me” which is said to mean true dreams, someone said: ”When a servant of God Almighty falls asleep in the middle of the night during his prostration, God Almighty will say: ‘Look at My servant, his soul is standing before Me, and his body is engaged in my service.”’
Abi Al-Darda’ (radhiyallahu anhu) once said: ”When the servant falls asleep, his soul will be brought before the Divine Throne. If one had gone to sleep abluted, then the soul will be permitted to prostrate before its Lord. Otherwise, the soul will not be permitted to prostrate.”
Abi Dharr Al-Ghafari (radhiyallahu anhu) once said: “My beloved advised me never to neglect three things until I reach my death: 1-to fast three days from every month; 2-to perform the pre-dawn (Fajr) prayers on time; and 3-never to go to sleep without ablution.”
God Almighty has said in the Qur’an: “It is He Who takes back the souls at night, then it is He Who gives them back at awakening, except for those for whom death has come. He then takes back the latter and returns the ones that are to remain in this world for a while.” [Qur’an 39:42].
God’s Messenger (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) has said: “People are asleep, and when they die, they wake-up.” Describing sleep, he also said: “Sleeping is the little brother of death.”
When someone told a dream to God’s Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) he used to say: “God willing, may your dream be blessed. May it be glad tidings you receive and protection against evil. May this be good for us and bad for our enemy. All praises be to God, Lord and Cherisher of all lives. Now, tell your dream.” In his Sunnah tradition, if one says to someone: “I saw a dream.” The listener should immediately say: “God willing, may it be glad tidings.” (arb. Khair In-Sha-Allah).
People mostly went to wise shaikhs in their vicinity. Others travelled to distant places to meet qualified interpreters and to receive the explanations and meaning of their dreams. Even kings and rulers throughout the history of mankind sought someone to interpret their dreams. Such interpretations were used as medicine for one’s spiritual, physical, or psychological illness, or to amend the course of one’s decision. There is a special prayer in Islamic traditions called salatul Istikharah, which solicits Divine guidance in one’s life or for a specific and immediate need. According to Islamic traditions, such guidance may come in many forms, including in a dream.
When intending to tell a dream, one should choose the early dawn hours or immediately after sunrise. This will particularly help the interpreter whose mind is mostly clearer at that hour. God’s Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) has said: “Special blessings are given to my followers in the early hours of the day.” If one is truthful in his life, he will see true dreams. If he lies, or if he likes to lie, his dream will lie to him. However, if he lies but hates to do so, his dream then maybe true to him.
One’s subconscious understanding in the dream is what counts. The dream interpreter must work with it. Let’s suppose that one sees a snake and thinks that it is a frog in the dream! Then the interpretation will be based on the meaning of the frog. Similarly, if one sees a frog, and thinks that it is a snake in his dream, then this is what counts in the interpretation of his dream.
Interpreting dreams is a process of analyzing the nature of things and their opposing possibilities, connecting their roots, and assembling the fragments of one’s thoughts to better understand his or her real condition.
In a dream, one may see things that may connote equilibrium or the opposite, while his passive and inert participation urges him to examine the elements and to awaken his consciousness. Sometimes, the elements themselves may be opaque or unclear. In this case, if one recognizes a person in the dream, perhaps the name of that person, or his trade, or his look, or the meaning of the individual letters of his name, or their combined numerological value, etcetera, may provide a clue to the meaning of one’s dream.
For example: Selling grains and not seeing the return or money in a dream means ascetic detachment, and gratitude to one’s Lord, for the real price of things is gratitude. Castle in a dream means to sing the vehicle of truth. That is the origin of the proverb: “Truth is a castle.” According to eastern inner traditions, fever represents atonement for one’s sins. Suffering one day from a feverish chill is an atonement for three hundredand sixty-five days of sins. Death is the final phase of practicing one’s religion in this world. Shrouding the dead after washing the body means washing it from its impurities. In a dream, one’s enemy represents Satan, drugs, alcohol, weaknesses, attachment to the world, sexual indulgences, pride, arrogance, anger, perfidy, jealousy, envy, hatred, impatience, differences, injustice, crimes, hunger, thirst, desires, loves for women, attachment to the world, love for fame, admiring oneself, belittling others, cheating, stealing, bigotry, fanaticism, obstinacy, narrow-mindedness, affectation, idling, cunning, hypocrisy, ostentatiousness, blatancy, blasphemy, excessiveness, haste, dishonesty, immodesty, trials, tribulations, distress, agony, misery, afflictions, wife, son, brother, mistress, worldly-ambitions, apostasy, loneliness, anguish, despair, sorrows, pain, carnality, cruelty, antipathy, carelessness, selfishness, forgetting about one’s covenant with God Almighty; etcetera, all or which are within oneself.
To reach a close interpretation of one’s dream and from studying what each element may connote, one should mostly look at the positive side first and eliminate the negative. One should also refrain from editing his own dream, or using other than the first words that come from his mouth, and he should search accordingly. One also should research the possible different appellation of each word or element. Draw a tree of words, then try to bring together a close understanding of the dream. However, one should definitely find a man of wisdom, or a shaikh, or a known dream interpreter to help him put together any missing elements or even explain hidden meanings in one’s dream, when possible.
For example, if a righteous person sees himself standing before God Almighty in a dream, his dream means attainment of divine mercy, and receiving guidance. If an ungodly person sees that, then his dream means a warning of a severe punishment. God Almighty refers to: “A day when all mankind will stand before the Lord of the universes.” [Qur’an 83:6]
One also can find solid references to dream interpretations from the Holy Qur’an, its firm wisdom, parables, and clear meanings. For example when God Almighty spoke of unity, He said: “And hold fast to the rope of God.” (Qur’an 3:103). When He spoke of women, He said: “As if they were delicate eggs which are closely guarded.” (Qur’an 37:49). When He spoke of the hypocrites, God Almighty said: “Worthless as hollow propped up pieces of timber.” (Qur’an 63:4). About kings, God Almighty says: ”When kings enter a country, they despoil it.” (Qur’an 27:34). About backbiting, He says: ”Would any of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother?” (Qur’an 49:12). Other references of wisdom and knowledge also can be found in the saying of God’s Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam), when he said about women: “Be careful about the glasspitchers.” He also said: “A woman is created from man’s rib.” Also from the sayings of Isa (alayhissalaam) son of Maryam, upon whom be peace, when he spoke of sleep using a simile saying: ”Those who sleep in death will also be raised.” (Corinthians 15.20). About parables he said: “I will use parables when I speak of them.” (Mark 4.34). About the parable of the hereafter he said: “A man who is looking for fine pearls and when he finds one that is unusually fine, he goes and sells everything he has and buys that pearl.” (Matthew 13.45). At another time, he used a metaphor of the doctor and the sick person in comparison with the gnostic and the sinner. He said: “The doctor comes to heal not those who are healthy, but those who are sick.”
After the passing of the God’s Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) Abu Huraira (radhiyallahu anhu) heard someone say: “The Anti-Christ is out!” Abu Huraira (radhiyallahu anhu) replied: “The dyers are lying about the true color of their hides.” In other usage of metaphors, similies, and synonyms, dream interpreters used the meaning of disbelief to connote a cover-up and the meaning of forgiveness to denote veiling. When speaking of injustice in a dream, they used the expression: “Putting things in the wrong place”, etcetera.
Finally, if one wishes to see a true dream that will reflect his innermost being and true state, he should go to sleep abluted, rest on his right side, then pray: “Lord, I place my soul in Thy Hand; I turn my face toward Thee; I entrust my affairs to Thy command; I take refuge in Thee to protect me from all sides. Lord, I turn wholeheartedly toward Thee, desiring Thy blessings and fearing Thy punishment. I have no refuge to seek from Thee except in Thee. I believe in the Book Thou revealed and the Prophet Thou sent. Blessed Thou art in the heavens and on earth. Lord, Thou art the rich, and we are the poor who are in need of Thy help and blessings. Lord, I ask for Thy forgiveness, and I repent unto Thee. My Lord and Cherisher, I ask Thee to let me see a true vision, not a false dream; a blessed and happy vision, not a sorrowful dream and a vision that will benefit my soul and does no harm to it.”
In the morning, when one’s wish is granted, he should praise God Almighty and thank Him. After performing one’s dawn (Fajr) prayers, one should seek a Shaikh to interpret and explain the meaning of his dream and, most certainly, he should accept and comply with his views.
The Soul and The Self
Who sees the dream, the soul or the self? People are divided in opinion concerning the subject of the soul (ruh) and the self (nafs), Some say that they are both the same thing (e.g., man and human being), while others hold a different view. The first group argues that the self (nafs) means blood. For example, the Arabs say: “Nafasat-ilm ar’a,” when a woman discharges blood during her menstrual period. Also when a woman gives birth they say: “Nafsa,” because of the blood discharge that accompanies the delivery of a newborn. They also argue that blood is the only thing that leaves the body of a deceased person. Thus, when referring to death, they use the term: “Salat nafsuhu,” meaning his blood was exuded or that he died. Also in the English language, one can find the term ‘bloodless’ to mean dead. In this sense, the term nafs is used in the Arabic language to mean life or blood.
Others argued that the nature of the (ruh) soul is cold, and that the nature of the (nafs) self is warm. That is why, in their opinion, there was a need to blow the soul into the body to animate it and to give life to it. The Arabs also called the act of blowing, ‘Ruh.’ They say: ‘Ataha-ruhan,” meaning blew life into it or gave life to it. In this sense, to blow into the fire means to ignite it, and to blow the soul into the dead bodies means to resurrect them or to make them rise from the dead. Thus, in their opinion, the soul means life. Another group of people considered the soul to be a light spirit, while others may called it an angel or a spirit.
However, despite people’s attempts to ascertain such opinions, God Almighty has kept the meaning of the soul in His sole knowledge as He says: ”They ask thee about the soul. Say: ‘The soul comes by command of my Lord, and of knowledge, you were given only a little.” [Qur’an 17:85]
The Proper Name
The name of a person or a city one sees in a dream also reflects some of the meanings of one’s dream, (e.g., Bait-ul Maqdis [Jerusalem], Dar-us-Salam [The abode of Peace], Maghrib [Sunset], or among Western cities we find: Salt City, Bell view, New York, New Brunswick, Philadelphia, Bridgewater, Summerside, etcetera.) The industry ofa city also has a share in the dream interpretation.
To understand the possible role of a person, a known place or a city in a dream, one should also analyze the meaning of that person’s name, or that city’s name. Suppose that one sees a mancalled Robert or Roger in a dream, he then should think of the meaning in relation to bright, praised, boast, or fame. Ifhis name is Charlesor Carl, for example, then one should think of something which is fully grown. If his name is Abel or Cane then he should think of the children of Adam and their trials. If his name is Gable, one should think of the bead or the upper part of a building. If his name is Mustafa, one should think of the expression chosen or elect. If his name is Baker, one should relate that name to a compassionate leader; an honest livelihood, a just ruler, love, a son, bread, or even the neighborhood bakery. If his name is Harvey, one should think of the subject of fighting, conquering, or a battle taking place somewhere. If one sees a woman by the name of Elizabeth in a dream, he should think of an oath he made to God Almighty, for the name Elizabeth means, “God is my oath.” If he sees a girl by the name of Wanda, he should think of base, wind, a rod, authority, a tree, etcetera. If one sees himself in Jerusalem, he should think of the holy city, the furthest Sacred Mosque Al-Aqsa, prayers, receiving a great wealth from an inheritance, a pilgrimage to Makkah, or business profits.
¤ God’s Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) once said: “Last night, I saw in a dream that we were visiting the house of ‘Uqbah bin Rafi’; then Ratib Ibn Tab came and joined us. I interpret it to mean that we will rise in honor in this world and in the hereafter and that our religion will be firmly established.” Thus, he took from the name Rafi’ the meaning of honor and exaltation and from the name of Ratib Ibn Tab the meaning of a blessed religion.
¤ Sharik bin Abi Shamr came to Sa’id bin AI-Musayyib and said: “I saw all my teeth falling out in a dream.” Sa’id bin AI-Musayyib replied: “What a calamity! If your dream is true, it means that all your relatives will die before you.” Thus, Sa’id interpreted teeth from the root of the word canines (e.g., the family of, or relatives, clans, followers, or age. arb. Asnan).
¤ Bishr bin Abi AI-‘Aliya said: “I asked Muhammad about someone who saw his jaws fall out in a dream.” He replied: ‘This is someone who has cut off his ties with his family.” Here again, Muhammad went to the origin, and in this case, it is one’s teeth. In Islam, breaking relations with one’s family is considered a major sin. Jubair Ibn Mui’in reported that God’s prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) has said: “One who breaks his family ties will not enter paradise.” (Bukhari & Muslim) Abu Huraira (radhiyallahu anhu) reported that God’s Messenger, upon whom be peace, has said: “Whoever wishes his fortune to increase and his life to be extended, should preserve his family ties.” [Bukhari]
Interpreting the dream by subject requires further understanding of one’s religious and socio-cultural environment. For example, if one is offered a lemon in a dream, and ifit did not connote money or a child, in this case, a lemon in one’s dream means fraud, hypocrisy, and falsehood. Ifone sees his arm longer than usual in a dream, it means that he likes to show off his charities or deeds, or it could mean generosity. This idiom is also used in the saying of God’s Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) when he said to his wives, God be pleased with them: “Those who have longer arms amongst you will follow me first.” In her case, Zainab Bint Jahsh (radhiyallahu anha) was the first to die among his wives. Qualifying a sickness in a dream to mean hypocrisy came from the expression, “sick at heart,” also meaning poor judgement or emotional disturbance. Sickness and hypocrisy are also noted in the expression, “He is a sick person,” meaning a disgusting person. Sometimes people use the expression, “Both his words and actions are sickening,” to mean someone whose promise cannot be trusted. In the Holy Qur’an, God Almighty describes the hypocrites saying: ”There is a disease in their hearts; and God has increased their disease.” (Qur’an 2:10). In some traditions, people use the expression, “The lion sneezed, and a cat came out of his nose.” This tradition was transmitted from the folkloric tales about the arc of God’s prophet Nooh (alayhissalaam). In this sense, in dream interpretation, snot came to mean an impudent and insolent child or a newborn. In the same sense, ejaculated fluid and snout came to mean a son. (See Nasal mucus, p. 300.) Equating slandering with curse, God Almighty says in the Holy Qur’an: “Those who slander chaste women-are cursed.” (Qur’an 24:23). The common proverb says, “If you live in a glass house, do not cast stones at others.” Here again, the interpreter made an association between one’s own faults, weakness, and imperfection, and those of a glass house. Concerning severing relations with one’s family, God Almighty says: ”We broke the mup into sections on this earth.” (Qur’an 7:168). Equating washing one’s hands with hope, people also say, “I washed my hands from it”, meaning I have no further interest in it or any hope in it.
Interpretation by Contraposition Some dreams are interpreted to mean the opposite when the elements are related. This tradition comes from examples such as crying when one is extremely happy; or when laughing in the face of adversities; or seeing the sun and the moon fighting and interpreting it as a fight between two people; or calling a flood an enemy and an enemy a flood, because both are destructive; or when eating a fig in a dream to mean regret and regret to mean eatinga fig, because the fig tree is accursed in some traditions; or when one sees himself dead in a dream, though even if he does not have the look of dead people to mean losses or destruction of part of one’s house; or interpreting locusts as warriors and warriors as locusts, because of the destruction they both cause to a land; etcetera.
Interpretation by Correlation, Relativity, and Approximation
In this case, laughing in a dream means sorrow, while smiling in a dream means politeness andcorrect conduct. Crying in a dream is usually interpreted as happiness, but when accompanied with intonation or wailing, it means a calamity. As for putting grease over one’s hair, dream interpreters infer the meaning of adornment, while if it dribbles overone’s face, they call it hypocrisy, fawning, oradulation. As for saffron in a dream, they interpret itto mean praises or commendation, while should its color manifest in one’s body or clothing, then they call it an illness. As for feathers in a dream,they call them wealth or comfort, but when one sees himself flying with wings, they interpret it to mean travels or rising in station, depending on how high one reaches in his dream. If one’s hand is cut off in a dream, and if he sees himself carrying it, it means having a brother or a son, while if he loses it in the dream, it means an adversity or loss of a brother or a son. If a sickperson sees himself in a dream walking out of his house in silence, it means his death and funeral, while if he speaks in the dream, it means that he will recover from his illness.
Strength of One’s Dreams
The meaning of a dream is stronger when seen at dawn, or during an afternoon nap, or when fruits are ripening on their trees, or at the time of harvest, or when one’s star is in the rising position, or at a time when one is intending to sign a business contract, or if one is thinking of getting married, or at the term of a decade, etcetera. Seeing a dream during a daylight nap is also stronger than seeing it at night. On the other hand, the meaning of a dream becomes weaker and less plausible when seen during the winter-time.
The dream of a righteous ruler or governor is considered to be an inspiration from God Almighty. The dreams of community leaders depend on their beliefs. The dreams of servants come true for their employers. Women’s dreams may materialize faster than those of men. Sinners’ dreams are a proof against them on the day of judgement, unless they repent before their death. The dreams of rich people are stronger than those of poor people. The dreams of rich people materialize faster than those of poor people. The dreams of poor people are slower when they connote benefits and faster when they connote adversities. Because of their innocence, the dreams of little children are truer than those of teenagers. This is because older children maybe busy in their mischief and fulfilling their newly discovered desires. The dream of a drunk person has no ground. Shaikh Al-Karamani explains that “the dream of a scholar is truer than that of an ignorant person, the dream of a chasteperson is truerthanthat of anunchaste person, the dream of a good person is truer than that of a bad person, and that the dream of an elderly person is truer than that of a younger person.”
The meaning of a dream also varies depending on how people look in it, their dress, type of work they perform, status, or religion. To someone, the dream may mean glad tiding and mercy, while the same dream could mean the opposite for another person. One may wonder when he receives a gift in a dream, then the same gift reaches him in in wakefulness, or if he suffers an adversity in a dream, then the same adversity takes place in wakefulness. Another person may be promoted in his dream, then the same is conferred on him in wakefulness, or if one sees himself performing his pilgrimage to Mecca in a dream, then he joins the pilgrims’ caravan in wakefulness or if one sees someone visiting him in a dream, then the same person arrives in wakefulness, days or hours later.
Finally, in pursuing what we have earlier explained, the elements of a dream are interpreted on the basis of three categories:
1-kind, such as trees, lions, or birds, etcetera, and;
2-specimen, such as the type and name of that tree (e.g. a conifer, a spruce, or a mapletree, etcetera), or what type of bird (e.g. a magpie, a pewee, or a condor, etcetera); and
3-characteristics, such as the nature, or inherent characteristics of a lion, a cat, a crocodile, or their habitat, etcetera.
Some Rare Dreams
True dreams are rare, and each dream is unique, as we will find in this section of this introduction. As dreams are thus complicated and vary in meanings depending on the source, the contents, interpretations, variations, manifestations, time, season, cultures, acceptable witnesses, elements, conditions, definition, subject, phrasing, perception, purity, wisdom, and one’s own understanding of his dream, etcetera, it seems appropriate in this section of the introduction to illustrate some rare dreams and to help the reader better evaluate his dreams.
¤ Abdullah bin Omar (radhiyallahu anhu) related that in his youth, he wished to see a true dream and to hear its interpretation from God’s Prophet, upon whom be peace. At that time, God’s Messenger (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) used to ask people if they saw any dream and he interpreted them accordingly. Abdullah (radhiyallahu anhu) once prayed: “Lord, if Thou reserves any good for me, then let me see a dream that will be interpreted by God’s Messenger.” One night, Abdullah (radhiyallahu anhu) saw a dream where two angels took him, and brought him before a third angel who addressed Abdullah (radhiyallahu anhu) saying: “You are a righteous man. Do not merely talk!” The angels then took him to visit hell-fire, which was folded up like a well. In it he saw some people he knew, but the angels pulled him awayfrom them to the right. When Abdullah (radhiyallahu anhu) woke up, he told his dream to his sister Hafsa (radhiyallahu anha), the wife of God’s Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam). In turn, Hafsa (radhiyallahu anha), related the dream to God’s Messenger (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) who commented: “Indeed, Abdullah is a righteous man. It will be good for him if he increases his prayers at night.” Consequently, Abdullah (radhiyallahu anhu) was more regular about his (Suhur) night prayers.
¤ Abdullah bin Malik AI-Khuza’i once related: “I worked as a guard serving at the palace of the Caliph Haroon Al-Rashid. In the middle of one night, a messenger came and ordered me to appear before the Caliph at once. He did not even allow me to change my sleeping garment. I was struck with great fear. When we came before the Caliph, I was given permission to enter, and I saw him sitting on his bed and pondering something that appeared weighty. My fear increased. I paid my regards and waited for a long time. I prayed as I was shivering from fear waiting for a longer pause. Suddenly, the Caliph said to me: ‘O Abdullah, do you know why I calledfor you?’ I replied: ‘Nay, O Prince of the believers.’ He added: ‘I saw in a dream as though a fierce looking man came and pointed a spear at my chest and said: ‘Either you free Musa bin Ja’afar at once, or I will put this spear through your heart.’ I replied: ‘O Prince of the believers, Let Musa bin Ja’afar go.’ I repeated this thrice. The Caliph then said to me: ‘Go and free him from prison at once, and give him three thousand Dirham as a gift. Furthermore, tell him that should he like to stay in this town, hei s welcome, and we shall honor him. Otherwise, should he prefer to go to Medinah, he has permission to do so.”’
¤ Abdullah bin Malik Al-Khuza’i went at once, and delivered the Message of the Caliph, and gave the man the three thousand Dirham, then added: “You are a wonder. Tell me what happened!” Musa bin Ja’afar replied: “I will tell you. Last night, I was between sleep and wakefulness when God’s Messenger, upon whom be peace, came to me and said: O Musa, you have been unjustly imprisoned.” He added: “Say these prayers, and you will not sleep tonight in jail.” I replied: “I beseech thee by my mother and my father, O Messenger of God, what should I pray?” God’s Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) replied: “Say: ‘O Lord Who hears every single sound, Whose act of mercy precedes every bound, Who clothe the bones with flesh and resurrects the people after death, I ask Thee by the glory and holiness of Thy Beautiful Names. I call upon Thee by Thy most glorious, magnificent, preserved, and all encompassing Name which no one of Thycreation knows. O Lord, Thou art the Most Forbearing and Most Patient, have mercy on one who has no more strength to bear his sufferings. O Lord Whose generosity never ceases and Whose gifts cannot be reckoned, Lord, free me.”’ Musa added: “This is the result of what you witnessed.”
¤ When Um Jareer bin AI-Khatfi was pregnant, she saw in a dream that she gave birth to a long-braided rope of black hair. As soon as the rope fell from her womb, it began to go from one man to another and strangle them. Um Jareer woke up scared from her dream. The next day, she related the dream to a dream interpreter who told her: ”You will give birth to a son who will grow to be a famous poet. His poetry will incur evil, hardships, vigorousness, and disdain.” When she gave birth to a boy, she called him Jareer, meaning a pulling rope in Arabic.
¤ The governor of Alexandria was tried once with extreme attachment and love for his five children. All five were steadfast in their religious commitment. One night, the governor saw in a dream as though his five fingers were cut off. He woke up extremely disturbed and told his five children his dream. The children called in a dream interpreter called Shaikh Yusuf AI-Karbouni at once. After hearing the dream, Shaikh Yusuf, God bless his soul, smiled and said: “It is not like you think, but if I tell you the meaning of your dream, you must give me a good reward. “The governor thus obliged. Shaikh Yusuf, then said: “Are you negligent of your five times prayers?” The governor replied in the affirmative. Shaikh Yusuf continued: “This the meaning of your dream, so repent to God Almighty, and be steadfast in your religion.”
¤ A woman said to Imam Ibn Seerin: “I saw myself in a dream sucking on a date and giving my neighbor the rest to eat.” Imam Ibn Seerin (rahimahullah) replied: ”You will help your neighbor by performing a little deed.” On the following day, the woman washed her neighbor’s garment.
¤ A woman said to Imam Ibn Seerin (rahimahullah) : “I saw my daughter in a dream after she had died. I asked her: ‘Tell me what is the best of deeds?’ She replied: ‘The walnuts, the walnuts, you must take it out, and distribute it among the poor and the needy, O my mother.’ ” Imam Ibn Seerin (rahimahullah) replied: “If you have hidden a treasure in your house, then dig it out, and give poor people their share .” The woman said: ”You spoke the truth. I hid that money in the past, during a plague.”
¤ A man said to Imam Ibn Seerin (rahimahullah): “I saw my hand cut off in a dream.” Imam Ibn Seerin (rahimahullah) replied: ”You have the habit of making false oaths.” The man obliged and repented from his wrongdoing.
¤ A man said to Imam Ibn Seerin (rahimahullah): “A man saw himself in a dream piercing eggs from the top, extracting the egg white, and leaving the egg yoke.” Imam Ibn Seerin (rahimahullah) replied: “Let him come here and tell me his dream in person.” At three different occasions, the man kept on asking about the meaning of that dream, and Imam Ibn Seerin (rahimahullah) insisted on the same reply. Finally, after taking a promise from Ibn Seerin (rahimahullah , the man confessed that he is the person who saw that dream. Imam Ibn Seerin (rahimahullah) asked someone to call the chief of police and to tell him that this man is a body snatcher who digs the graves and steals their contents. The man immediately asked for forgiveness, repented from his doing, and promised never to do it again.
¤ Shaikh Muhammad bin Isa al-Rikhawi of Aleppo, Syria, once saw in a dream that God’s prophet Abraham, upon whom be peace, came and gave him forty camels. Shaikh Muhammad went to Shaikh Ahmad Shahabu Deen Al-Maghribi and told him his dream. Shaikh Shahabu Deen replied: ”You will live forty years from this day.” On the thirty-ninth year, Shaikh Muhammad visited Shaikh Shahabu Deen who encouraged him to perform his pilgrimage that year. Shaikh Muhammad died three days after his return from Makkah. Shaikh Shahabu Deen led the funeral prayer and buried him beside his father. Shortly after that, Shaikh Ahmad Shahabu Deen died and was buried in their vicinity.
¤ A man told Imam Ibn Seerin (rahimahullah): “I saw myself in a dream digging the bones of God’s Messenger (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam).” Ibn Seerin (rahimahullah) replied, “You will establish his traditions in your life.”
¤ A man said to the prophet Sulayman (alayhissalaam), son of the prophet Dawud (alayhissalaam): “I saw a garden filled with fruit trees. In that garden, there were many pigs eating from its fruits, and a large pig who was sitting on a chair said to me: ‘O man, this fruit garden belong to these pigs.” Sulayman (alayhissalaam) replied: “The large pig represents an unjust ruler, and the small pigs eating from that garden by his permission are the scholars who receive their reward from him for changing the laws to his liking. These are the people who sell the reward of the hereafter for the price of this world and do not ponder upon God’s punishment for their sins.”
¤ Once a man saw a big tent and a poor man sitting under it in his dream. The man under the tent was addressing a prince in Turkish and telling him without bending: “One thousand shirts, O Turtur!” When he woke up, the man told his dream to a shaikh, who replied: “The prince in that dream will attain a great kingdom.” Sometime later, a man was placed on the throne and was known by AI-Malik AI-Zahir, also known as Abi-Fatih Turtur. Remembering his dream, the man went to AI-Malik AI-Zahir and related his dream to him. Immediately, the king AI-Zahir ordered that one thousand shirts be distributed to the poor people of that town.
¤ A dream interpreter once said: “I saw in a dream a man who was blind folded with a blue piece of cloth. I asked him: ‘Do you know what happened to my father?’ The man replied: ‘Your father is dead.’ Then he took me to may father’s grave, where I felt the great loss, and I hugged it, cried, and wailed. When I woke up. I told another dream interpreter, who was a friend of mine, about my dream. He smiled and said: ‘Your father’s death in the dream means his longevity, and your crying means relief from distress.’ I did not accept his interpretation of my dream, for I knew better the meaning of wailing and mourning in a dream. Soon after that, I visited my father, and my friend proudly reminded me of his interpretation. Later on, I travelled away from home. When I returned to my town, I passed by a graveyard. At the gate stood a woman who was guarding that cemetery and whose eye was bandaged with a blue piece of cloth. I knew her, so I stopped and asked her about the news. She said to me: ‘May God grant you a long life. Yourfather has passed away.’ Then she took me to his grave, and I fell on it, crying and wailing, exactly as I saw in my dream. Thus, my friend’s interpretation did not come true, for he has no hand in it.”
¤ During a pilgrimage to Makkah, a shaikh was told in a dream that he would die on such and such date. When he returned home, he held that dream to himself and waited for the time to come. Once he passed that date stated in his dream, he waited a few more days, then told someone about it, saying: “I would have not told you about this dream, had the date not passed.” The person replied: “Perhaps you miscalculated the date, or maybe it is a confused dream.” After returning to his home, the shaikh died during that same night. This is the meaning of God’s Prophet’s (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) saying: “A dream sits on the wing of a bird and will not take effect unless it is related to someone.”
¤ A man said to his close friend: “If you die before me, come and tell me about what you met with.” The other man replied: “And you too!” After one of them had died, he came to his friend in a dream and said: “Trust in God Almighty, and depend on Him alone, for I saw no reward better than that of (Tawakkul) trust.”
Once a man visited a cemetery. Looking at the graves, he said to himself: “I wish that a miracle takes place and that some of these people come out and tell me about what they saw!” He then sat beside one of the graves pondering, when he was seized by slumber. In his sleep, someone appeared to him in a dream and said: “Do not boast about the way you fashion the gravestones and how you maintain the look of the cemetery. For under these gravestones there are people whose cheeks have decayed. Some are blessed and are awaiting God’s reward and His paradise, while others are distressed with their past and are suffering the consequences of their deeds. Beware of heedlessness.”
¤ A disciple of Husain Al-Hallaj once asked his teacher about the meaning of generosity. Al-Hallaj was killed before telling his disciple the answer. One night, the disciple was depressed. In a dream, it appeared to him asthough the Day of Judgment was established, and that people stood before their Lord awaiting their reckoning. Then he saw Husain Al-Hallaj sitting on a seat made from gold and encrusted with jewels and sapphires. He also saw the scholars who signed the decree to kill Al-Hallaj standing before him with humiliation. It seemed to him as though God Almighty asked Al-Hallaj: “What do want Me to do with these people?”Al-Hallaj replied: “Lord, I ask Thee to forgive them all.” My Shaikh then turned to his disciple in the dream and said: “My son, this is what true generosity is about.”
¤ Imam Al-Junayyid reported that he was once sitting by his doorsteps. A blind man who was asking peopleto help him passed by him. Al-Junayyid said to himself: “If this man trusted in God Almighty and sat on the corner of a street, or at the entrance of a mosque, God Almighty will surely provide for him without his asking. “Al-Junayyid continued: “That night, a copper tray was placed before me in a dream, and that blind man was laid on it. A voice then said to me: ‘Eat from the flesh of this man.’ I replied: ‘God is my witness, I did not back bite him. It was only a thought, and my tongue never uttered a word of that.’ The voice then said: ‘Remember, O Junayyid, such an excuse cannot be accepted from a person with your level of knowledge.” Junayyid added: “In the morning, I sat at my doorsteps again, pondering what had happened. Meanwhile, the blind man walked by me and said: ‘O Aba Al-Qasim, was it enough what you saw last night, and did you repent?'”
¤ After Al-Junayyid’s death, a disciple saw him in a dream and asked: ”What did God Almighty do to you, O Junayyid?” Al-Junayyid replied: “All the knowledge went away, and all the thoughts disappeared. Only a few prayers (Raka’at) which we used to pray in the middle ofthe night (Suhur) were of any benefit to us.
¤ Once Sufyan Bin ‘Ayeenah saw Sufyan Al-Thawri in a dream and asked him: “What is the special virtue that makes God Almighty love you?” Sufyan AI-Thawri, God bless his soul, replied: “Knowing less about people.” Ibn ‘Ayeenah then said: “Advise me.” Sufyan Al-Thawri (rahimahullah) replied: “Use what I have just told you.” Ibn ‘Ayeenah added: “God have mercy on you. There are many good brothers here, and each one of them may intercede for his fellow brother on the Day of Judgment.” Sufyan Al-Thawri (rahimahullah) replied: “I wish not to know you from this day on. Have you seen harm coming from other than people you know?” Ibn ‘Ayeenah continued: “I suddenly woke up crying from my dream.”
¤ Someone used to regularly recite special prayers and offer their blessing to the benefit of the soul of Rabi’a AI-Adawiyyah, God be pleased with her. One night, she saw her in a dream, and she said to him: “Your gifts are carried to us on trays of light and are covered with light.”
¤ Abu Al-Qasim Al-Maghribi once saw Abdur Raheem Ibn Nablatah AI-Khatib in a dream and asked him: ”What did God Almighty do to you?” He replied: “He passed a small piece of paper, and on it I read two verses of a poem written with red ink. It says:
You used to feel secured and at peace, and today I will let you into My safety and peace.
Forgiveness is not conferred upon a rightful person, but upon a sinner, as a kind show of clemency.
• Ibrahim AI-Khurabi once said: “I saw Bishr Al-Hafi in a dream. It seemed as though he was leaving the Mosque of Rasafa. As he walked away from the mosque, the sleeve of his shirt looked weighty, and something kept on moving inside it. I asked him: ‘What did God Almighty do to you?’ He replied: ‘He forgave me, and He was generous to me. ‘I asked: ‘What are you carrying in your sleeve?’ He replied: ‘The soul of Ahmad Ibn Hanbal visited us yesterday, and it was welcomed with showers of gems and pearls. This is the share I was able to gather from that welcome. ‘I asked: ‘What happened to Yahya Ibn Ma’in and Ahmad Ibn Hanbal after that?’ He replied: ‘They were called to visit the Lord of the universes, and they were welcomed with heavenly banquets. ‘I asked: ‘Why did you not eat with them?’ He replied: ‘My Lord knew how little I care for food, and He allowed me to look at His Divine Countenance.'”
¤ A man said to a dream interpreter: “I saw myself in a dream bartering wheat for barley.” The dream interpreter replied: “You have discontinued reading the Qur’an to become a poet.” The man obliged and repented.
¤ A man was asleep when his friend brought an open pitcher of milk and a water melon. The friend then cut a piece of the watermelon and placed the milk and the pitcher beside his friend’s pillow with the knife on top of the pitcher. He then sat down and waited for him to wake up. When the man woke up, he told his friend an amazing dream. He said: “I saw as though a type of fly came out of my nose, and it stood over a knife before re-entering my nose. Then suddenly, I saw myself walking over an iron bridge that stood on top of an ocean.” The friend smiled and told him what happened.
¤ It is related that AI-Mustanjid Billah son of AI-Muqtafi saw during his father’s life a dream in which an angel descended and wrote four times the Arabic letter ‘H’ in the palm of his hand. When AI-Mustanjid woke up, he told the dream to an interpreter who replied: “You will receive the Caliphate from your father in the year five hundred fifty-five, and already five months and five days have passed.” AI-Mustanjid became the Caliph as foretold by the dream interpreter.
¤ A man bought a farmland. One night, he saw his nephew in his farm walking over snakes. In themorning, he asked a dream interpreter about it, and the latter replied: “If your dream is true, the land you bought is fertile, and whatever you plant therein will come to life.”
¤ One night, a woman who lived in Makkah read the Qur’an before going to sleep. In a dream, she saw maids of honor circumambulating the Ka’aba-and carrying fine sheets covered with safflowers. The woman exclaimed in her dream: “Glory be to God! Who are these women?”A voice said to her: “Do you not know that tonight is the wedding of Abdul-Aziz Abi Dawud? “The woman woke up scared from her dream, as she heard a bursting noise coming from the street. She inquired about it to find that Abdul-Aziz Abi Dawud has just died.
• A man came to Imam Ibn Seerin (rahimahullah) and said: “I saw a big bird that landed upon a jasmine tree in a dream, and he ate all its flowers.” Ibn Seerin’s (rahimahullah) face became alarmed as he replied: “Your dream means the death of scholars.”
¤ Once Imam Ibn Seerin (rahimahullah) was sitting to eat his lunch when a woman came and said: “I saw a dream.” Ibn Seerin (rahimahullah) replied: “Would you let me eat first, or would you like me to stop and listen to your dream?” The woman said: “Eat first,” and she sat waiting for him. During the course of his meal, Ibn Seerin (rahimahullah) said to the woman: ”Tell me your dream.” The woman said: “I saw the moon merging in Alcyone.” (The brightest star of the constellation Taurus, Arabic: Thurayyii). The woman continued: “A voice then said to me: ‘Go to Ibn Seerin, and tell him your dream.'” Ibn Seerin (rahimahullah) suddenly shook, and said to the woman: “Tell me how did you see it?” The woman repeated her dream, and Ibn Seerin’s (rahimahullah) face became grim. His sister who was then sitting with him at the table said: ”What disturbed you, O my brother?” He replied: “This woman is claiming that I will die in seven days.” On the seventh day, Ibn Seerin (rahimahullah) was buried.
¤ Imam Ahmad Ibn Hanbal (rahimahullah) once saw God Almighty in a dream and asked Him: “Lord, how do Thy near ones get to that station?” God Almighty answered: “Through reciting My words.” Ahmad Ibn Hanbal (rahimahullah) then asked: “With understanding, or without understanding?” God Almighty answered: “O Ahmad, both with and without understanding them.”
¤ A man saw himself in a dream falling down from a high altitude. When he woke up, he said to himself: “I will avoid going out of my house or seeing people for a while.” During the middle of the afternoon of that same day, a close friend came to see him, and called him from downstairs. When the man stood upto look through the window, the shutters broke, and he fell with them.
¤ A man came to Abu Bakr (radhiyallahu anhu) and said: “I was given seventy leaves in my dream last night. “Abu Bakr (radhiyallahu anhu) replied: “It means that you will be flogged seventy times.” The interpretation came true within a short time when he had to face such a public chastisement for a sin he committed. Within that same year, the man came to Abu Bakr (radhiyallahu anhu) and said: “I saw that same dream again.” Abu Bakr (radhiyallahu anhu) replied: “You will receive seventy thousand Dirhams.” The man said: “O Imam of the Muslims! Last year when I told you the same dream, you said that I will be flogged, and it took place, and this year you interpreted the dream to mean that I will receive seventy thousand Dirhams!” Abu Bakr (radhiyallahu anhu) replied: “O man, last year when you came to see me, the trees were shedding their leaves, and this year you are telling me the dream at the time when the trees are blooming with new blossoms.” Shortly after that, the man received seventy thousand Dirhams from a business deal.
¤ Abdur-Rahman AI-Salmi related that God’s Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) united between Abu Bakr AI-Siddiq and Salman Al-Farisi (radhiyallahu anhum). One night Salman (radhiyallahu anhu) saw a dream in which Abu Bakr (radhiyallahu anhu) was involved. Salman (radhiyallahu anhu) kept his dream to himself and distanced himself from Abu Bakr (radhiyallahu anhu) . One day Abu Bakr (radhiyallahu anhu) saw Salman (radhiyallahu anhu) and said to him: “My dear brother, why have you abandoned me?” Salman (radhiyallahu anhu) replied: “I saw your hand tied to your neck in a dream, and I was apprehensive of it.” Abu Bakr (radhiyallahu anhu) replied: “God is the greatest. It means that my hand is tied to spare it from wrong doing.” Salman (radhiyallahu anhu) then related his dream to God’s Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) and added Abu Bakr’s interpretation. God’s Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) confirmed the meaning and praised Abu Bakr’s (radhiyallahu anhu) good interpretation.
¤ A woman came to God’s Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) and said: “O Messenger of God, I saw in a dream that the central pillar which supports the ceiling of my house broke, and the ceiling caved in.” God’s Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) replied: “Your husband will return to his home from a journey.” Soon, the husband returned home from a business trip, and the wife was happy. While the husband is in town, the woman saw the same dream again, and she sought to ask God’s Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) about it. When she did not find him, Abu Bakr (radhiyallahu anhu) was present, so she told him the dream, and he replied: ”Your husband will soon die.” In the first interpretation of the above dream, the husband was absent, while in the second dream, he was present. The conditions changed, and the meaning also changed.
¤ A man hid his money inside his house and went on a journey. On his way back home, he became sick. The man also owed money to some people, and he thought of telling one of his companions about the place of his money and to ask him to pay his debt, but he aspired for recovery and hoped to return home and pay his debts in person. During his journey, the man died. His son saw him in a dreamand asked: “What did God do to you?” The father replied: “My condition is in abeyance, and it depends on some debts that must be paid first. I have some money hidden in such-and-such place. Please go and dig them up, pay people what l owe them, and enjoy the rest.” In the morning, the son told a friend about his dream and added: “It is a fairy tale!” A few days later, the father cameback to his son in another dream and said: “I have told you about something that will benefit you and that will free me from my limbo, but you failed to do it!” The son woke up in shock and immediately went to the place his father indicated in the dream. When he dug out the money, he paid his father’s debts and benefited from his unanticipated inheritance.
¤ A man said to a dream interpreter: “I saw a bird flying off from my chest, then I sought my mother who hid me inside her garment.” The interpreter replied: “If your dream is true, then it means your death. The bird represents your soul, and your hiding in your mother’s robe means your burial. God Almighty has said: ‘From it We created you, and into it We shall return you.”‘
¤ A dream interpreter once said: “I saw a ruler sitting in a high place, and people were looking at him. I interpreted my dream to mean the ruler’s death and people’s deliberation of his work. A few months later, the ruler died, and people engaged in talking about his deeds and judging of his work.”
¤ A man said to a dream interpreter: “In a dream, I went to a pond to drink some water. Suddenly, as I reached down to drink from it, a beast appeared from inside the pond and tried to impede my purpose. At a certain point, I turned into another sea creature and jumped into the water, then remained in that pond to help serve the thirst of every person who comes.” The dream interpreter replied: “If your dream is true, you will seek an appointment in the government, and someone who is close to the ruler will fight you. Later on, positive circumstances will manifest and allow you to attain your goals and to take the place of that person. People will then come to you for their needs, and you will serve them with honesty, justice, and compassion.” The man’s dream was true, and as soon as he occupied that chair, he called for the dream interpreter and rewarded him for his knowledge.
¤ A man said to Shaikh Ahmad Al-Far’oni: “I saw Prince so-and-so riding on a high horse in a stately form and people honoring him.” The Shaikh replied: “If your dream is true, he will soon be appointed at a high-ranking position.” Shortly after that, the prince was appointed to the pilgrims’ administration.
¤ Shaikh Salim Bin ‘Isa once visited Hamza Bin Al-Habib Al-Zayyat, God bless his soul, who had memorized the Holy Qur’an and read it with great devotion, seeking God’s pleasure, and saw him crying and rubbing his cheeks with dust. He exclaimed: “I call upon God’s protection for you. O Hamza, what is this crying?” Hamza replied: “Last night, I saw in a dream that the Day of Resurrection took place. The readers of the Qur’an were called into stand before God Almighty, and I was among them. I then heard an amiable voice saying: ‘Only those who lived by the Qur’an should enter.’ I was in shock, so I began to withdraw. A voice called my name: ‘Where are you going to, O Hamza Bin AI-Zayyat?’ I cried out: ‘At thy command, O caller to my Lord.’ An angel then said to me: ‘Say: At Thy command O my Lord, At Thy command.’ So I repeated what the angel told me to say. I was then led into an abode where I heard the voices of Qur’an readers. I stood there shaking. I then heard a voice saying to me: ‘Be at peace. Rise there and read.’ I turned my face to the direction of the voice and saw a pulpit made from white pearls. One step is made from red sapphire, and another is made from green chrysolite. Then I was told: ‘Rise and read.’ So I did, and I read Al-An’am chapter, not knowing before whom I am reading. When I reached verse sixty-one, reading: ‘And He is the irresistible Lord, Who watches from above over His creation…’ (Qur’an 6:61), the voice then said: ‘O Hamza, Am I not the irresistible Lord, Who watches from above over His creation?’ I said: ‘Indeed. Thou speaks the truth.’ Then I read Al-A’raf chapter to its last verse, which says: ‘Those who are near to their Lord, do not disdain to worship Him. They celebrate His praises, and bow down in prostration before Him.’ (Qur’an 7:206). As I intended to prostrate before my Lord, my Lord said: ‘Sufficient is the reading. Do not prostrate here.’ He continued: ‘O Hamza, who taught you how to read this?’ I replied: ‘Sulaiman.’ He said: ‘True. Who taught Sulaiman?’ I replied: ‘Yahya.’ He said: ‘True. Who taught Yahya?’ I replied: ‘Abi Abdur-Rahman.’ He said: ‘True. Who taught Abi Abdu-Rahman?’ I replied: ‘Ali Bin Abi Talib, the cousin of Thy Prophet.’ He said: ‘Ali spoke the truth. Who taught Ali?’ I replied: ‘Thy Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam). ‘He said: ‘My Prophet spoke the truth. Who taught My Prophet?’ I replied: ‘Gibreel, upon whom be peace.’ He continued: ‘And Who taught Gibreel?’ I remained silent. He said: ‘O Hamza, say You.’ I replied: ‘Lord, I cannot say that!’ He again said: ‘Say You.’ I said: ‘You.’ He said: ‘You spoke the truth O Hamza. I swear by the Qur’an, I shall honor its readers and particularly those who lived by it and acted with it. O Hamza, the Qur’an is My Word, and I love no one better than the people ofthe Qur’an. O Hamza, come nearer. ‘So I did, and my Lord anointed me with a musky ambergris. Then He added: O Hamza. This is not only for you. I did the same to your companions who are higher than you and to those who are lower than you, as well as to those who read the Qur’an like you and who seek no reward except Me. What I have reserved for you is still greater than this. So tell your friends about Me and about My love for the people of the Qur’an, for they are the chosen and elite. O Hamza, I swear by My Glory and Majesty, I shall never punish a tongue that recited the Qur’an, nor a heart that understood it, nor an ear that heard it, nor an eye that looked at it. ‘I said: ‘Glory be to Thee, O my Lord.’ God Almighty added: ‘Who are the people of the Qur’an?’ I said: ‘Those who memorize it, my Lord?’ He said: ‘Indeed. Such people. I am on their side until they meet with Me on the Day of Judgement. When they come before Me, I shall raise them a station for each verse they learned.”’ Hamza, God be pleased with him continued: “Thus, would you blame me if I cry and rub my cheeks with dust?”
In closing, it seems obvious from this reading that the branches, basis, fundamentals, and references of dream interpretation are many, and no single book in this world can encompass them. Should anyone attempt to ascertain the meaning of all the dreams, he will definitely fall short of accomplishing his intent. The examples cited in this post may help the dream interpreter as well as the person who is interested in this art. Their purpose is to help one to understand the varying functions of dreams, and an intelligent dream interpreter can understand the reasons behind refraining from further elaboration on this subject.
It is necessary here to state that if people depend solely on books or posts to explain their dream, they will certainly fail to understand all the meanings. Thus, it is of great importance to seek a knowledgeable dream interpreter, or a wise Shaikh who is familiar with the fundamentals of dream interpretation, their inner and outer meanings.
Allah Ta’ala knows best.