Thursday, 31 December 2015

Interpreting Dreams and Visions

A translation of this fatwa from Naseem al-Sham


How is it possible to deal with dreams (alām) and distinguish them from a vision (ruʾyā)[1]? And what is your opinion on referring to the book Tafsīr al-Alām[2] by Ibn Sirīn?

In the name of Allah; praise be to Allah and blessings and peace be upon our master, Muammad, the Messenger of Allah. To proceed:

Visions are of three categories:

The first are one’s own thoughts and imaginings, and these are the images of the inner mind that a sleeping person sees and they are connected to events that happened while one was awake, before they went to sleep.

The second are confused dreams (aghāth al-alām),[3] and these are dreams that are unclear and incomprehensible. They have no connection to any meaning or sound illustration, and no story of what’s happening is manifested whatsoever.

The third are true visions, and these are the visions that the sleeping person sees that are independent of any connection to one’s thoughts and imaginings before sleep. They are the ones that are more and more truthful the closer they are to the crack of dawn (fajr), and the person who is more truthful in speech will have more truthful visions, as is found in the authentic adīth: {The most truthful of them in visions is the most truthful of them in speech.} Related by al-Bukhārī, Muslim and Ibn Mājah.

As for relying on Ibn Sirīn’s book, there is no harm in using it to gather information only, because the foundation of dream interpretation is knowing the individual and his comportment and knowing the names, agnomens and attributes that are extracted from the vision, in addition to the condition that the interpreter be loving and favourably disposed,[4] so that he interprets it in the best and most optimistic way possible.

[This translation is now available from the English Naseem al-Sham site]

[1] (tn): Please see Sūrat Yusuf 12:4-5 and Sūrat as-āffāt 37:102-105
[2] (tn): i.e. “Interpreting Dreams”
[3] (tn): Please see Sūrat Yūsuf 12:44
[4] (tn): i.e. towards the person whose dream is being interpreted

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