Relating One’s Dream

Explore the Islamic traditions, parables, and metaphors that can help you understand your dreams, and how to seek guidance from God and His Messenger.

 Explore the Islamic traditions, parables, and metaphors that can help you understand your dreams, and how to seek guidance from God and His Messenger.

God’s Prophet, upon whom be peace, 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.”

The Importance of Dreams

After the daybreak, God’s Prophet, upon whom be peace, 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 (uwbp) 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 (uwbp) once said: “Tell your dreams only to a beloved or a knowledgeable person.” Remember when Jacob (uwbp) told his son Joseph: “My dear little son, do not tell your dream to your brethren, 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 (uwbp): “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’ 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 Tharr Al-Ghafart 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.”

The Connection Between Sleep and Death

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, upon whom be peace, has said: “People are asleep, and when they die, they wake-up.” Describing sleep, he also said: “Sleeping is the little brother of death.”

The Etiquette of Relating Dreams

When someone told a dream to God’s Prophet (uwbp) 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 tradition, if one says to someone: “I saw a dream.” The listener should immediately say: “God willing, may it be glad tidings.” (arb. Kh.air In-ShO. Allah).

The Role of Dream Interpreters

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 (see Medicine), or psychological illness, or to amend the course of one’s decision. There is a special prayer in Islamic traditions called s..alatul Istihhiirah, 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.

The Timing and Truthfulness of Relating Dreams

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 (uwbp) 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 may be true to him.

The Role of Subconscious Understanding in Dream Interpretation

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.

The Significance of Dream Elements

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 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 hundred and 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 of which are within oneself. (See Body)

The Methodology of Dream Interpretation

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.

The Consequences of Seeing God in a Dream

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)

The Sources of Dream Interpretation

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, upon whom be peace, when he said about women: “Be careful about the glass pitchers.” He also said: “A woman is created from man’s rib.” Also from the sayings of Jesus son of Mary, 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 God’s Prophet, upon whom be peace, Abu Huraira, God be pleased with him, heard someone say: “The Anti-Christ is out!” Abu Huraira replied: “The dyers are lying about the true color of their hides.” In other usage of metaphors, similes, 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.

The Preparation for Seeing a True Dream

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.


I have been interpreting dreams in Islam since 2011. On this site and forum, I respond to people who want to give meaning to their dreams according to Islamic traditions. In all these years, I have had a long experience in this field.

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