Narratives about Dreams - Amin Ahsan Islahi

Narratives about Dreams


1.   Anas ibn Malik (rta) narrates that the Prophet (sws) said that if a pious man sees a good dream, it is one of the 46 parts of prophethood.

2.   The same is narrated from Abu Hurayrah (rta). 

Explanation: Prophethood in this narrative means the knowledge possessed by prophets. As far as prophethood is concerned, no part of it remains anymore. However, only divine revelation from the knowledge base of prophethood has come to an end. This knowledge exists in the form of other sources, such as the Qur’an and the Prophet (sws)’s Sunnah, for example. One of its sources is dreams of prophets. Therefore, according to this narrative, the benefit of the knowledge of prophets is also present in the dreams of pious men.

Dreams are an established source of the knowledge of prophets. Especially, the matters which need to be shown practically to prophets are shown to them in their dreams so that the full picture becomes obvious to them. Among the more famous dreams are for example, the dream of Abraham (sws), which was related to the slaughter of Ishmael (sws). Similarly, the Prophet (sws) was shown the Battle of Badr before it took place. The incident of Isra’ is also explained as a dream in the Qur’an. The knowledge of prophets is like the sea: what portion of it is a pious man’s dream is described by the Prophet (sws) as being one forty sixth. We can only appreciate this point, but cannot comprehend the reality of the reference. Only God knows about this. We have no knowledge of what is hidden and it is never possible to interpret dreams with any accuracy. Prophets are specially bestowed with the knowledge of interpreting dreams. We can only receive some good tidings from good dreams, but cannot be certain about them because our dreams can also be disturbing for us.

When scholars see dreams, they should also think about glad tidings only and not become proud of them. We should also not depend upon dreams because we are unaware of the unknown.

2.   It is narrated from Abu Hurayrah (rta) that after the morning prayer, the Prophet (sws) would ask if anyone had seen a dream. He would also say that after him, nothing within the knowledge of prophets had remained except good dreams.  

Explanation: Because dreams were a source of the knowledge of prophets, the Prophet (sws) would ask after the morning prayer if anyone had seen a dream. If anyone had, he would interpret it. Since interpretation is part of the knowledge portfolio of prophets, the Prophet (sws)’s explanation of the dreams would be correct. However, this has become very difficult now. There are differences in interpretations. We also know that the Companions resolved serious issues through interpretation of dreams. The issue of the adhan was also addressed through a dream. The words of the adhan are divine but they were heard in dreams by the Companions and have come to us from them.

3.   It is narrated from ‘Ata’ ibn Yasar (rta) that the Prophet (sws) said that after him there will be left nothing from the knowledge of prophets except glad tidings. People asked him what these glad tidings would be. He answered that these would be good dreams which would be seen by pious men or seen by someone else about pious men. This is one of the 46 parts of prophethood.  

Explanation: A pious man who sees a good dream about himself or about someone else can deduce glad tidings from it for himself or for someone else. He can congratulate another and tell him that he had seen a good dream about him and that he can be happy on hearing it. But to claim something on the basis of belief in a dream is a wrong act. As far as the point about the knowledge of dreams being one forty sixth of that of prophethood is concerned, we can only recognize the disparity that exists between prophethood and the glad tidings received through a dream. We do not have the power to say anything more.

4.   Abu Salam ibn ‘Abd al-Rahman says that he heard from Qatadah ibn Ribi‘i (rta) that he had heard the Prophet (sws) say that good dreams come from God and nightmares come from Satan. So, if anyone sees a dream which disturbs him, he should, on waking up, seek refuge with God from the evil of Satan and blow upon his left side: the dream will not harm him, God willing. Abu Salamah says that until then, whenever he would see a bad dream, it would be as heavy upon his heart as a mountain but since he heard this hadith, he did not care about such dreams anymore.  

Explanation: This Hadith is included both in Bukhari and in Muslim. The best prayers to seek refuge with God are the last surahs of the Qur’an, but there are other words that are associated with the Prophet (sws) which can be said. Such prayers pierce Satan like arrows and he can never cause any harm. Abu Salamah’s own narrative is that even if he saw a dream as heavy as a mountain, he would do what the hadith asked and would be free of any fear.  

5.   Hisham ibn ‘Urwah narrates from his father that he would say about the verse: “And there are glad tidings in this world and in the next for them (10:64),” that this was about good dreams, whether seen by anyone.  

Explanation: A good dream can be included in the meaning of this verse but its context is of an extremely high status. Therefore, this statement by ‘Urwah is not an explanation for the verse itself. Of the several great meanings of this verse is a small element which ‘Urwah has taken. If the verse 64 of Surah Yunus and the antecedent of the pronoun “hum” in verses 62 and 63 are looked at, the context of the verse becomes clear.  

(Translated by Nikhat Sattar)

Author : Amin Ahsan Islahi
Uploaded on : Aug 01, 2017
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