What Does Islam Say about Dream Interpretation?

Thứ bảy - 27/04/2024 01:16
Gain insight into your dreams using Islamic texts and wisdom For many Muslims, dreams can be a source of prophecy or offer divine gifts to the person who has them. They can also serve as warnings. But how a dream is interpreted also...
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For many Muslims, dreams can be a source of prophecy or offer divine gifts to the person who has them. They can also serve as warnings. But how a dream is interpreted also depends on the dreamer's character and the context in which they live. Read on to learn more about how dreams are interpreted in the Islamic faith and why it's important to seek out a scholar to interpret your dreams for you rather than trying to do it on your own.

Things You Should Know

  • In Islam, there are 3 types of dreams: true dreams (Ru’yaa) that are messages from God, bad dreams (Hulum) that come from the devil, and dreams that come from your own mind.
  • Dreams can be interpreted in light of the Quran or Sunnah or by means of proverbs, names, metaphors, or opposites.
  • Seek guidance from Allah before you engage in dream interpretation. It's best to have a scholar or person you love and trust interpret your dreams.
Section 1 of 4:

Types of Dreams

  1. Step 1 True or good dreams
    True or good dreams, known as Ru’yaa, are thought to be messages or tidings from God or the Prophet. They typically make the dreamer feel inspired or uplifted when they wake up. These dreams will usually be short and relatively easy to understand.[1]
    • True or good dreams can either be blessings or warnings. A blessing typically takes a long time to happen in waking life but a warning often comes swiftly unless the dreamer does what they were told to do in the dream.
    • Within the Islamic faith, recurring dreams are more likely to be true dreams than dreams that only occur once.
    • If you have a true or good dream, the Prophet has instructed that you should share this dream with everyone you love so that they might be blessed by the dream as well.
  2. Step 2 Bad dreams
    Bad dreams, or Hulum, are believed to come from the devil or an evil spirit. These dreams are often frightening but might also simply be confusing or disconcerting. The Prophet tells you what to do if you get a bad dream:[2]
    • Spit three times on your left side immediately after you wake up to seek protection from Allah.
    • Pray to Allah for protection.
    • Sleep on your other side.
    • Don't tell anyone about your dream.
  3. Step 3 Dreams from your own mind
    This third type of dream doesn't really have much significance in terms of Islamic dream interpretation. They typically include content from your past and present, but seldom touch on events in the future (although they might also show you something that you want).[3] These dreams are considered self-talk, just your brain going over thoughts or concerns you have—nothing that needs to be interpreted.[4]
    • For example, if you watched a movie shortly before you went to bed, and characters from that movie appeared in your dream, that was most likely a dream from your own mind.
    • Dreams in this category can also come from overeating, sickness, or mental health conditions.[5]
    • Distinguishing between a dream made up in the dreamer's own mind and one that's divinely inspired often requires expert analysis.
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Section 2 of 4:

Methods of Islamic Dream Interpretation

  1. Step 1 In light of the Quran
    Dreams and dream interpretation are mentioned in the Quran, which teaches Muslims to respect dreams as a way to potentially connect with God. The Quran also relates stories of God sending messages to prophets through dreams. True dreams, in particular, can often be interpreted with reference to the Quran.[6]
    • Specific aspects of dream interpretation are mentioned in the Quran, as well as sleep habits that can make it more likely that you'll have true or good dreams.
  2. Step 2 In light of the Sunnah
    The Sunnah, or Hadith, is a source of Islamic law and describes many practices that are recommended for sleep, particularly if you're interested in having true dreams. A dream interpreted in light of the Sunnah would take into account the fact that you used these practices.[7]
    • For example, if you went to bed early and woke early in the morning, performing an ablution before going to bed and then lying on your right side, your dream would be more likely to be interpreted as a true dream or revelation.
  3. Step 3 By means of proverbs
    Arabic and Islamic proverbs have been around for thousands of years and are considered wise. If you have a dream and one of these proverbs seems to apply, your dream might be interpreted through that proverb. Often, a dream makes a proverb literal when the proverb itself is meant metaphorically.[8]
    • For example, there is an Arabic proverb that cautions you to "stretch your legs as far as your blanket extends," which means to avoid living beyond your means. If you had a dream that you couldn't get a blanket to cover your cold feet, it might be interpreted using this proverb to mean that you are trying to live beyond your means.
  4. Step 4 By means of names and metaphors
    Names of people and places can have a symbolic meaning in dreams as well as a literal meaning. Other aspects of dreams can also be interpreted as metaphors with a symbolic meaning that isn't immediately apparent to the dreamer.[9]
    • A dream that mentions someone that you've recently interacted with in waking life, scholars would more likely interpret that as a dream from your own mind rather than a dream from God or the devil.
    • Islamic thinkers have published manuals from as far back as 750 CE that provide explanations of particular symbols and imagery in dreams.[10]
    • Sufi thinkers, in particular, see dreams as a portal into a symbolic world.
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Section 3 of 4:

Rules for Dream Interpretation

  1. Step 1 Pray for guidance before seeking interpretation of a dream.
    Dream interpretation is considered a very serious business in Islam. If you believe that you have received a true or good dream, use prayer to find out if you should pursue the meaning of the dream further.[11]
    • You can also pray for protection from the devil if you have a bad dream, although you typically don't want to seek further interpretation of that dream. The less you think about it, the better.
  2. Step 2 Seek interpretation only from scholars or people you trust.
    Because dream interpretation is so serious, there are many scholars and experts on Islamic dream interpretation. Most of them live in major cities, though, so you might not have access to one. In that case, it's fine to have a friend interpret the dream as long as they are a good Muslim whom you trust to be sincere.[12]
    • A scholar will tell you only the parts of their interpretation that they think would be helpful to you. If they analyze the dream and don't get anything out of it that they think would be helpful to you, don't expect them to share their interpretation.
    • Scholars as well as people you trust try to interpret a dream in the best possible light.
  3. Step 3 Tell the whole dream when relating it for interpretation.
    The prophet warns that anyone telling someone a dream for the purpose of interpretation must tell the entire dream, leaving nothing out. To leave details out or to make details up is considered a sin.[13]
    • Generally, it's important to be honest about your dream so that the interpreter will be able to make the most accurate interpretation of the dream.
    • Even if you think something isn't important, it might be significant for the purposes of interpretation. For example, it might matter if the bird you saw was white or black.
  4. Step 4 Categorize the dream before interpreting it.
    Perhaps the most important part of Islamic dream interpretation is figuring out what type of dream it is. Sometimes it will be obvious, but other times you'll have to look at various clues to figure it out. Some dreams can be so vague it takes an expert to categorize them accurately![14] There are a few basic rules that can give you guidance on how to categorize a dream. For example:[15]
    • Dreams that happen in the early morning hours are more likely to be true or prophetic.
    • Dreams that occur during the first few hours of sleep typically have little to no prophetic value.
    • Dreams that concern recent people or events most likely come from your own mind and don't have any prophetic significance.
    • Dreams that are short, clear, and concise are more likely to be true dreams.
    • Dreams in which you see the Prophet are always true dreams.
    • Dreams that seem long, confusing, and pointless are often bad dreams.
  5. Step 5 Take the context of the dream into account.
    Islamic interpretation of a dream has a lot to do with when and where you have the dream, as well as what has happened in your life. All of these factual circumstances play a role in figuring out the meaning of a dream through Islamic interpretation.[16]
    • For example, if you had a beloved dog as a kid and you dream of a dog, your dream could be related to the joyful times you spent with your pet. But if you were recently bitten by a dog, the dream could be related to that.[17]
    • A scholar interpreting your dream will likely ask you questions to better understand the significance of parts of your dream to you and whether they reflect actual circumstances in your life.
  6. Step 6 Take the character of the dreamer into account.
    The same symbol might be interpreted in different ways depending on who the dreamer is and what kind of person they are. The truthfulness of a dream is also related to the sincerity of the dreamer, in that a person who lives a dishonest or corrupt life is far less likely to have a true dream.[18]
    • Someone who knows you well can likely give a more nuanced interpretation of your dream than someone who doesn't because they have better insight into your character.
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Section 4 of 4:

Significance of Dreams in Islam

  1. Step 1 Dreams are a part of prophethood.
    Specifically, true dreams can be a sign that someone is a prophet. This is especially likely if they have true dreams often, or if they have the same recurring true dream. It's also especially likely if someone has a true dream that seems to happen in reality.[19]
    • Prophets can use dreams both to predict the future and to provide warnings of things that will likely happen unless the people involved take specific actions.
    • For example, a true dream might tell a prophet that a man will come to financial ruin unless he stops doing business with another man. Later, the other man is arrested for fraud, but the first man doesn't lose his fortune because he did as instructed.
  2. Step 2 Dreams of prophets are considered revelation.
    A revelation is a very direct and specific message from God. Revelation is an important part of Islamic belief. Divine revelation can help set people on the right path and many believe it can literally save lives.[20]
    • Recurring dreams are considered more likely to be revelations than dreams that only occur once.
    • Islam itself emerged as a religion when the Prophet began receiving revelations.[21]
  3. Step 3 Dreams can offer divine inspiration and guidance.
    Believers generally trust in their dreams as a way that God or angels might communicate with them. Through your dreams, God might tell you what you're doing right or warn you against doing something that could damage your life or your family.[22]
    • Dreams might also speak to entire communities. However, the Quran warns against creating laws based on divine guidance from a true dream.
  4. Step 4 Dreams can predict the future.
    Some dreams relate events that haven't happened in the past and aren't currently happening in the present. Many believe these dreams foretell events that will happen in the future—or that might happen if specific instructions aren't followed.[23]
    • For example, if you want to be a parent, you might pray for a child and then have a dream that you are holding your child in your arms. That dream could be interpreted as predicting that you'll have a child.
  5. Step 5 Dreams can offer comfort and strength to believers.
    It's often believed that if you're living life sincerely and in accordance with Islamic law, your dreams will let you know that God favors you and that you're on the right track. This can be especially empowering if you're currently facing hardship.[24]
    • Some scholars consider it a part of Islam's egalitarianism that any believer can have a true or even prophetic dream, not just those who have been identified as prophets.[25]
  6. Step 6 Sleep is a sign of God's wisdom and power.
    Sleep offers people the ability to restore their energy and renew their mental and physical health. It is also, according to Islamic texts, a weaker form of death. It's the only time the soul is separated from the body, although it isn't a complete separation as it would be in death. This is what makes it possible for heavenly and demonic spirits alike to communicate with you through dreams.[26]
    • Some interpret things that happen in dreams as being things that happen to your soul, rather than things that happen to you physically. These require a spiritual rather than a literal interpretation.
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