Contents > Chapter 9: Knowledge of the Ghayb (Unseen) > Information Acquired through Dreams


 

Information Acquired through Dreams

Almost all books by the Deobandis, whether the Fazaail-e-Aamaal for the general readers, or biographies of Deobandi Shaikhs, or books explaining Sufism and mysticism; all contain in them a significant amount of reported dreams.

 

These dreams either mention glad-tidings for the Deobandi School of Thought and its scholars or provide supporting evidence for their beliefs and practices. At times, the Deobandis claim that entire books may be revealed by way of dreams. Therefore, the nature and significance of the information or knowledge that may be received through dreams need to be analyzed.

 

Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) said: “The (good) dreams of a faithful believer are a part of the forty-six parts of Prophethood.”[1] He (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) said: “Nothing is left of the Prophethood except al-Mubashshirat.” They (the Sahabah) asked: ‘What is al-Mubashshirat?’ He (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) replied: “The true dreams (that convey glad tidings).”[2]

 

From these Ahaadeeth it is clear that all aspects of Prophethood including the revelation of sure and accurate information has come to an end. The only benefit that a true dream gives is that of Mubashshirat or glad tidings.

 

Dreams are not a source of religious injunctions, because the religion is complete and is in no need of additions or alterations. “This day, I have perfected your religion for you, completed My Favor upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion.”[3]

 

Dreams at the most provide optimism and encouragement; and that is how they should be interpreted as Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) said: “Indeed, dreams occur according to how they are interpreted… So, if any of you has a dream, do not relate it except to a confidant or a scholar.”[4]

 

Furthermore, even though the dreams convey glad tidings…
 

(i) Not every dream is a true dream

The Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) said: “…Dreams are of three types; one good dream which is a sort of good tiding from Allah; the evil dream which causes pain is from the Shaytaan; and the third one is a suggestion of one’s own mind…”[5]


(ii) Only those dreams that come true are attributed to Allah

Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) said: “A good dream that comes true is from Allah…”[6]  This Hadeeth shows that only after a dream come true, it may be known for sure that it is a glad tiding and only then it may be attributed to Allah. In other words, there is no certain way of knowing whether the dream is a true dream until it comes true.

(iii) Dream interpretation is not perfect

Interpreting dreams, especially those that have a symbolic message may not be completely correct. It is mentioned in Saheeh al-Bukharee (vol. 9, no: 170) that Abu Bakr Siddeeq (radhi allahu anhu) interpreted someone’s dream. Upon hearing the interpretation, Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) said: “You are right in some and wrong in some.”[7] So, even someone as knowledgeable as Abu Bakr Siddeeq (radhi allahu anhu), who was so close to Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) may not be able to interpret a dream accurately!

 

These Ahaadeeth further establish that unlike the sure and accurate information that is conveyed to the Messengers by revelation; information received through dreams is limited in its benefit, is not always correct, and is bound by uncertainty.

 

The dreams that are seen by the Messengers are an exception because revelation is sometimes conveyed to them through dreams. These dreams are Indeed, a source of accurate knowledge as Aa’ishah (radhi allahu anha) narrates: “The commencement of the Divine Inspiration to Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) was in the form of good righteous dreams in his sleep. He never had a dream but that it came true like bright daylight.”[8]

 

Also those dreams that were interpreted by the Messenger (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) are a source of guidance because, “… he does not speak of (his own) desires. It is only a revelation sent down to him.”[9] A good example of this is the Adhaan that was dreamt by some of the Sahabah and the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) confirmed the dream to be true, and introduced the Adhaan as a call to the prayers.


[1] Saheeh al-Bukharee, vol: 9, no: 116.

[2] Saheeh al-Bukharee, vol: 9, no: 119.

[3] Soorah al-Maidah (5): 3.

[4] Al-Haakim, Silsilah al-Hadeeth as-Saheehah vol. 1, p.186-8, no: 120.

[5] Saheeh Muslim no: 5621.

[6] Saheeh al-Bukharee, vol: 9, p. 96, no: 115.

[7] Saheeh al-Bukharee, vol.9, no.170.

[8] Saheeh al-Bukharee, vol.9, p.91, no.111.

[9] Soorah an-Najm (53): 3.