Dream interpretation and how to react to good and bad dreams

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The following brief notes* are based on a Khutbah delivered by Abu Khadeejah [May Allāh pardon him and his parents].

Praise be to Allāh, we seek His help and His forgiveness. We seek refuge with Allāh from the evil of our own souls and from our bad deeds. Whomsoever Allāh guides will never be led astray, and whomsoever Allāh leaves astray, no one can guide. I bear witness that there is no god worthy of worship but Allāh, and I bear witness that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger.

O you who believe! Fear Allaah as He should be feared, and die not except in a state of Islam (as Muslims) with complete submission to Allaah.

[Aal ‘Imraan 3:102]

O mankind! Be dutiful to your Lord, Who created you from a single person, and from him He created his wife, and from them both He created many men and women, and fear Allaah through Whom you demand your mutual (rights), and (do not cut the relations of) the wombs (kinship) Surely, Allaah is Ever an All-Watcher over you).’

[al-Nisaa’ 4:1]

O you who believe! Keep your duty to Allaah and fear Him, and speak (always) the truth).’

[al-Ahzaab 33:70].

To Proceed, Verily The Best Speech is The Speech of Allah [The Qur’an] and the best guidance is the guidance of Muhammad [May Prayers and Blessings be upon him] and the worst of affairs are the newly invented matters. For every newly invented matter is an innovation, every innovation is misguidance and every misguidance is in the fire.

🔹 Allāh gave some of the Prophets the ability to interpret dreams. From those Prophets is the Prophet Yusuf (`alaihis-salaam). Allah (the Most High) said:

“Thus will your Lord choose you and teach you the interpretation of dreams (and other things) and perfect His Favour on you and on the offspring of Jacob, as He perfected it on your fathers, Abraham, and Isaac aforetime! Verily! your Lord is All-Knowing, All-Wise.”

[Surah Yusuf 12:6]

🔹 This means that Yusuf (`alaihis-salaam) will be able to listen to dreams of the people and explain what they mean.

🔹 Abdullah Ibn Abbass mentioned that when the Prophet [May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him] was in a state of illness before his death, he [May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him] drew back the curtains between himself and the people and they were all lined up in rows behind Abu Bakr al-Siddeeq, the best of them, and he said:

O people, there is nothing left of the glad tidings of Prophethood except a good dream that a Muslim sees or that is seen for him.

[Sahih Muslim]

Also in the Muwatta of Imām Mālik with an authentic chain to `Urwa Bin Zubair that he said regarding the verse:

For them are glad tidings, in the life of this world and the hereafter.

[Surah Yunus 10:64]

He [Urwa] said: “That it was the good dream which the man saw or was seen about him.”

[Muwatta Imam Malik, Book of Visions]

🔹 Abu Hurairah [May Allah be pleased with him] from Allaah’s Messenger:

As the day of judgement approaches, the dreams of the believer will hardly fail to come true and the dream of the believer of the is one forty-sixth part of Prophethood and the most truthful in dreams is the most truthful in speech

[Sahih Muslim]

And in a hadith narrated by Bukhari it states:

And whatever is from Prophethood can never be false.

So when the Prophet said that when the end of time approaches, when the fitnah is widespread and the religion becomes strange due to the few numbers of people practicing it and people will be in need of glad tidings from their Lord. In that situation Allaah will send dreams to the righteous, pious and the believers to settle their hearts and souls.

🔹 As for the Hadith regarding the dream being one forty-sixth of Prophethood, the `Ulamah mention that the Prophet received revelation [wahy] over 23 years. From the 23 years, half a year consisted of dreams where he received revelations.

🔹 Aisha [May Allāh be pleased with her] said:

The first revelation that was granted to the Messenger of Allāh, peace and blessings of Allāh be on him, was the true dream in a state of sleep so that he never dreamed a dream but the truth of it shone forth like the dawn of the morning.”

[Sahih al-Bukhari and Muslim]

🔹 When the Prophet [May the peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him] mentioned that the most truth in dreams is the most truthful in speech. This demonstrates the importance of Sidq [Truthfulness] because those dreams that are given to the righteous servants are those that are from the truthful ones (the Siddiqeen).

Therefore we should be truthful to statement: laa ilaaha illallaah, truthful to Qur’an and Sunnah, truthful in our speech and actions, truthfulness in opposition to hypocrisy [A person that says something on his/her tongue that is not in the heart].

🔹 Abu Hurairah narrates that the Prophet (sallallahu `alaihi wasallam) said:

Dreams are of three types: glad tidings from Allaah, what is on a person’s mind, and frightening dreams from the Shaytaan.

[Sunan Ibn Majah]

In this hadith there is a clarification from the Prophet that not everything you see is a righteous sign or that it is from Allah. These dreams that sadden or distress a believer are from Shaytan and this can occur in the day time when his soul whispers to him or he may have a “daydream” where shaytan comes in order to push you towards sins.

And in a Hadith narrated by Jaabir that the Prophet (sallallahu `alaihi wasallam) said:

If any one of you sees a dream that he dislikes, let him spit dryly to his left three times and seek refuge with Allaah from the Shaitaan, and turn over onto his other side.

[Sahih Muslim]

🔹 All of this repels the bad dreams. And in a Hadith of Abu Hurairah, the Prophet said:

If any one of you sees something that he dislikes, let him get up and pray, and not tell people about it.

[Sahih al-Bukhari].

🔹 So this is the Sunnah regarding bad dreams:

1, Seek refuge

2, Spit to the left 3 times

3, Turn to other side to the one you woke up in,

4, Get up and pray

5, Do not inform people


🔹 As for dream interpretation, then that is a noble science that Allāh singled out some of the Prophets with the ability to interpret dreams such as the Prophet Yusuf (alaihisSalaam) and the Messenger Muhammad (Sallallāhu alaihi Wasallam) who when the people would inform them of their dreams, they would interpret them for them.

🔹 Allah also gave this ability to some of the Sahaabah such as Abu Bakr al-Sideeq, Abu Hurairah, Ibn Umar and also from the Tabi’een,  and it is said Muhammad Bin Seereen though Shaikh Al-Albaanee pointed out that the book of dreams  ascribed to Ibn Seereen is not correct. Allāh gave these men the Tawfeeq [ability] to interpret dreams.

🔹 Regarding a good dream, the Prophet (Sallallāhu alaihi Wasallam) specified to whom the good dream should be narrated. Abu Razeen al-Uqaili [May Allah be pleased with him] narrated that he heard the Prophet (Sallallāhu alaihi Wasallam) say: “If one of you has a dream that he is pleased with, do not inform except those whom you love” [Jami al-Tirmidhi] or according to the narration of Abu Dawud, the one that has insight. It is not befitting to broadcast the dream to the world or on social media – and informing the ones you love of a dream that caused you distress will no doubt cause them distress.

🔹 Some people lie about a dream in order to raise the hopes of people and this is not allowed at all. Ibn Abbass narrated that he heard the Prophet (Sallallāhu alaihi Wasallam) say:

Whoever claims to have seen a dream which he did not see, will be ordered to make a knot between two barley grains which he will not be able to do; and if somebody listens to the talk of some people who do not like him [to listen] or they run away from him, then molten lead will be poured into his ears on the Day of Resurrection; and whoever makes a picture, will be punished on the Day of Resurrection and will be ordered to put a soul in that picture, which he will not be able to do.” [Sahih al-Bukhari]

  • Shaikh Salih al-Fawzan mentions this applies to photography
  • Shaikh Bin Baz said “I fear it applies to photography”
  • Shaikh Muqbil said it applies to photography
  • Imam al-Nawawi said it applies to two-dimensional and three-dimensional images from humans and animals

🔹 The Sufis, grave-worshippers and those who believe in superstition and folk-lore will derive Sharee’ah rulings from dreams which contradict the Qur’an and Sunnah and due to this they make what is Halaal to be Haraam and that which is Haraam to be Halaal. They also claim that the messenger of Allah has commanded them to do something such as making Tawaaf around a grave or to recite a particular dhikr 10,000 times and so on. These dreams have no basis and are from Shaitaan because they contradict the Qur’an and Sunnah.

🔹 Not everyone who claims to have seen the Prophet (Sallallāhu alaihi Wasallam) has actually seen him, unless they saw him in his true form as he was on earth. When people would inform Imaam Muhammad Bin Seereen that they had seen the Prophet in a dream, the Imam would ask them to describe the Prophet (Sallallāhu alaihi Wasallam) and if they did not describe him correctly he would say: “you did not see him” and if the description was correct he would affirm that they had indeed seen him [see Fath al-Bari of Imaam Ibn Hajr]. If you saw someone who did not match the Prophet’s description and claims he is the Prophet, then he is not the Prophet of Allah.

🔹 As for those that do see the Prophet in his real form then this is a Bushraa [glad tiding]. It was narrated that Abu Hurairah said: I heard the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) say: “Whoever sees me in a dream will truly see me – for the Shaytaan cannot take my shape.” [Agreed upon]. This clearly proves that Shaitan cannot take the actual form of the Prophet (Sallallahu alaihi Wasallam) or his description and features.

🔹 The Prophet (Sallallāhu alaihi Wasallam) and the Sahaabah would see dreams. The Prophet (Sallallāhu alaihi Wasallam) said “I saw (in a dream) a black woman with unkempt hair going out of Medina and settling in Mahai’a. I interpreted that as (a symbol of) epidemic of Medina being transferred to Mahai’a, namely, Al-Juhfa.” [Sahih al-Bukhari] and in another Hadith Ibn Umar said I heard Allah’s Messenger saying, “While I was sleeping, I was given a bowl full of milk [in a dream], and I drank of it to my fill until I noticed its wetness coming out of my nails, and then I gave the rest of it to `Umar.” They [the [people] asked, “What have you interpreted [about the dream]? O Allah’s Apostle?” He said, “[It is Religious] knowledge.” [Sahih al-Bukhari]

🔹 Abdullah Bin Salaam was a Jew who reverted to Islam accepted Islam by just seeing the Prophets face and saying “This is not the face of a liar” [Sunan Ibn Majah]. He said “[In a dream] I saw myself in a garden, and there was a pillar in the middle of the garden, and there was a handhold at the top of the pillar. I was asked to climb it. I said, “I cannot.” Then a servant came and lifted up my clothes and I climbed [the pillar], and then got hold of the handhold, and I woke up while still holding it. I narrated that to the Prophet (Sallallahu alaihi Wasallam) who said, “The garden symbolizes the garden of Islam, and the handhold is the firm Islamic handhold which indicates that you will be adhering firmly to Islam until you die.” [Sahih al-Bukhari]. This was a glad tiding for Abdullah Bin Salaam.

🔹 Abu Huraira hated to see a Ghul [i.e., iron collar around his neck in a dream] and people liked to see fetters [on their feet in a dream]. The fetters on the feet symbolizes one’s constant and firm adherence to religion [Sahih al-Bukhari]

🔹 Some dreams have no interpretations as they are from the person him/herself and some are from Shaitan. We must as Muslims know how to deal with dreams and not think that we are receiving Wahy [revelation from Allah] and therefore change the religion like what happened with Juhaiman al-Utaibi who would have dreams [as would his followers] informing him that the Mahdi has risen and this caused them to take over the Haram for twenty days. This caused the deaths of many people. Even the scholars warned them that this dream is from Shaitan but they did not heed the warning.

🔹 Understand this affair and understand it well.

And The Praise is for Allah and may Allah send His peace and blessings upon the Prophet and his companions.

Listen here to the actual lecture ⇒ Khutbah

  • These notes were compiled by Faisal Ibn Saifallah (may Allaah reward him).

Discover more from Abu Khadeejah : أبو خديجة

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