Dreams: The Islamic Persective



All praise is due to Allah the Lord and Cherisher of the Universe. May His peace and blessings be upon our beloved prophet, Muhammad (PBUH), his household, companions and all the followers of the right guidance till the Day of Judgment. Before discussing what Islam says on dream, it is better to first discuss sleep that brings about dream. Allah, the Exalted, says:

"And among His Signs is the sleep that you take by night and by day and the quest that you (make for livelihood) out of His Bounty: verily in that are Signs for those who hearken". Q30:23

"It is Allah that takes the souls at death: and those that die not (He takes) during their sleep: those on whom He has passed the decree of death He keeps back (from returning to life) but the rest He sends (to their bodies) for a term appointed.  Verily in this are Signs for those who reflect". Q39:42

"Have We not made the earth as a wide expanse. And the mountains as pegs. And (have We not) created you in pairs. And made your SLEEP for REST. And made the night as a covering. And made the day as means of subsistence?" Q78:6-11

The state of the mind before going to bed and the cleanness of the sleeping surroundings may have effect on the kind of the dream one will have. Our beloved prophet Muhammad (PBUH) taught Muslims sleeping etiquettes, which include lying down on the right side and praying while on bed before sleeping. It is a medical fact that the heart is closer to the left hand side of the body. So, lying on the left side may obstruct breathing. In Islam, sleep is considered as a temporary death. The following are the relevant ahadith.

Whenever Allah's Apostle (peace be upon him) went to bed, he said: "O Allah, it is with Thine Name that I live and it is with Thine Name that I die." And when he got up he used to say: "Praise is due to Allah, Who gave us life after our death (sleep) and unto Thee is resurrection". (Muslim)

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said,

"If anyone who is about to sleep on his bed lies on his right side, then recites "Say, He is Allah, One" a hundred times, the Lord will say to him on the Day of Resurrection, "My servant, enter Paradise to your right." (Tirmidhi)

In Islam, good and bad dreams are nothing to worry about. A Muslim is not expected to seek the interpretation of any dream. If it is a good dream, it is from Allah; he should thank Him and may tell others about it. If it is a bad one, he should seek refuge in Allah and should not relate it to anybody.

Jabir reported that the Prophet, peace be upon him, said, 'If someone of you sees an unpleasant dream he should spit three times on his left side and seek Allah's refuge from the accursed Satan, and change the side on which he was lying.' (Reported by Muslim, Abu Daw'ud, Nasa-i, and Ibn Majah)

Abu Sa'id Al-Khudri reported that he heard the Prophet, peace be upon him, saying, "When someone among you sees a good and pleasing dream, he should know that it is from Allah, and so he should praise and thank Allah, and describe to others what he saw in the dream. But if he sees something he dislikes then it is from Satan, so he should seek Allah's refuge from its evil and should not mention it to anyone. It will not harm him". (Reported by Tirmidhi and Bukhari)

There came to him (the Prophet) a desert Arab and said: I saw in a dream that I had been beheaded and I had been following it (the severed head). Allah's Apostle (peace be upon him) reprimanded him saying: Do not inform us about the vain sporting of devil with you during the night (Muslim)".

The dreams of prophets of Allah and righteous persons are usually good dreams and will come true. Only prophets of Allah can accurately interpret dreams. Anas bin Malik relates that: Allah's Apostle said, "A good dream (that comes true) of a righteous man is one of forty-six parts of prophetism". (Bukhari)

Abu Hurairah relates: I heard Allah's Apostle saying,

"Nothing is left of the prophetism except Al-Mubashshirat".

They asked, "What are Al-Mubashshirat?" He replied, "The true good dreams (that conveys glad tidings)." (Bukhari).

So, one need not bother him-/her-self over any dream.  Satan can mislead man through bad dreams by instilling fear into his/her heart and pushing him into looking for spiritual assistance here and there. Allah, the Exalted, says:

"It is only the Evil One that suggests to you the fear of his votaries: be you not afraid of them but fear Me (Allah) if you have faith". Q3:175

Let us learn about Islamic sleeping etiquette as this will assist us to have good health and most importantly, we will be rewarded for following the Sunnah of Prophet of Muhammad (PBUH).

Ma salam.