Islamic Widget


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

TAQI UTHMANI : * Value of Dreams in the Light of the Shari'ah


All praise is for Allah. We praise Him. We seek His help and His pardon. We believe in Him and rely on Him. We seek refuge with Him from the evils of our selves and from the vices of our deeds. There is none to misguide him whom Allah guides and there is none to guide him whom He lets go astray. I bear witness that there is no god except Allah, the One. He has no partner. I also bear witness that our master, our authority, our Prophet and our sire, Muhammad (saws), is His servant and His Messenger. May Almighty Allah send mercy on him, his household and his Companions (ra) and bless them and salute them all a great deal.

Hazrat Abu Hurairah (ra) has narrated that the Holy Prophet (saws) said: The chain of Prophethood has terminated for ever and nothing of it has remained, except the "Mubash-shirat" The Companions asked: O Messenger of Allah! what are Mubashshtiaf! The Holy Prophet & replied, saying: True dreams - They announce glad tidings and form a part of Prophethood. The Holy Prophet (saws) also said in another Hadith that a believer's dream is one forty-sixth part. Sahih Bukhaii . Hadith No. 68987)

True Dreams are a part of Prophethood

When the time of the Holy Prophet's (saws) commission as a Prophet drew near, in the beginning he (saws) did not receive any Wahi (Revelation) for about six months. During this period he had only true dreams. It occurs in the Ahadith that whenever he (saws) had a dream during this period, it came true and clear as day light. This continued for about six months till he began to receive the Wahi (Revelations). After his appointment as a Prophet he (saws) lived in this world for twenly three years. Out of these twenty three years, the period of the first six months was a period of true dreams only- By multiplying twenty three by two (23x2), we get forty six (46). In other words if we divide the period of prophethood by forty six. we get six months during which the Holy Prophet (saws) had only true dreams, and no Wahi.

On this hypothesis the Holy Prophet (saws) said that a believer's dream forms the forty-sixth part of Prophethood. There is also an indication that this process would continue after him (saws). The believers will have true dreams containing glad tidings. The Holy Prophet (saws) has also said in a Hadith that during the period close to the Day of Judgment, the Muslims will generally have true dreams. All this goes to prove that dreams too are a blessing of Almighty Allah through which men receive glad tidings. So, if anyone receives some glad tidings through a dream he should render thanks to Almighty Allah.

Two opinions about Dreams

In our society people entertain extreme opinions about dreams. There are not some who do not believe in the existence of true dreams, nor do they believe in the truth of their interpretation. This is not right. You have just now learnt that, according to a Hadith, true dreams form forty-sixth part of Prophethood and that they are announcers of glad tidings. On the other extreme there arc men who attach great importance to dreams and regard them as a means to salvation and superiority. Men place their trust in a Person who happens to have a true dream. Sometimes the person having true dreams thinks about himself that he has become a great saint. These dreams come upon men during sleep. Sometimes Almighty Allah shows his servants some sights during their waking time. In the mystic terminology this is "Kashf, meaning ability to see hidden things through spiritual light.

If someone by chance has "Kashf, the common people think that the man is a great saint, even though this man may not be following the path of the Sunnah during his waking hours. Bear in mind that the criterion of a man's superiority and righteousness does not lie in dreams and "Kashf. The real criterion for this depends on whether or not a man's living is according to the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet (saws). If a man's living during his waking hours is not according to the Sunnah, if he is not refraining from sins, nor is he obeying Allah, he is not a righteous person, whatever the numbers of supernatural feats displayed at his hands. Nowadays people have become awfully misguided in this matter. This display of miraculous or supernatural feats is considered an inseparable part of the mystic system of spiritual education and training. Ignorant men are always hankering after true dreams, disclosure of hidden secrets (Kashf) and supernatural performances.

The status of Dreams

Hazrat Muhammad bin Sireen (rah) has been one of the most dignified Tabieen (followers of the Companions). He was considered as Imam in the art of interpreting the meaning of dreams. There is no equal in this field among the entire Muslim Ummah. He had been endowed by Allah with an outstanding faculty for the interpretation of dreams. Many wonderful feats are related about him in this field. A very small and meaningful sentence from him about interpreting dreams is worth remembering. He (rah) said: “Dream is a phenomenon which should be pleasing but it should not throw anyone into deception.”

If a man has a true dream, he should not be tempted think that he has become a very accomplished saint, so as to become, in turn, unmindful of the duties to be discharged during his waking hours.

Hazrat Thanawi (RAH)and interpretation of Dreams

Many persons visited Hazrat Thanawi (RAH) to inquire of him the interpretation of their dreams. In reply Hazrat Thanawi generally recited this Persian couplet:

"I am neither the night nor the worshipper of the night that I should tell things about dreams. I am the slave of the sun (the Holy Prophet (saws)) and can speak only about the sun. If a man has a true dream with some glad tidings he should be grateful to Allah, because he may possibly the blessing of the dream. One should, however, not take dreams as a criterion for superiority and saintliness."

Hazrat Mufti Sahib (rah) and Mubash-shirat (that brings glad tidings)

There are many persons who used to have dreams about my respected farther (rah). They used to intimate their dreams in writing. My respected father, had all these dreams recorded in a register. On the first page of this register he had himself written in his own handwriting the following paragraph:

"In this register I am recording those dreams which the righteous servants of Allah have seen about me , I am recording them because they contain glad tidings and good omen. May Allah correct me by virtue of these dreams. 1 am, however, warning all readers that they are not a criterion for superiority and righteousness. No decision should be taken about me on the basis of these dreams. The real criterion is the acts and dealings of man during his waking hours. Men should not fall into deception on account of these dreams.

The intention from recording this was to save people from falling into deception. This is the reality of dreams. When a man has a happy dream, he should thank Allah and pray to Him to turn the dream into reality and favour to him. He should have no misunderstanding about the dream either in his own favour or in the favour of any other person. This is all that a dream really means. There are two or three more Ahadith concerning dreams of which the people are not aware. It is useful to study these Ahadith also.

Satan cannot assume the image of the Holy Prophet (saws)

Hazrat Abu Hurairah (ra) has narrated that the Holy Prophet (saws) said: whoever sees me in a dream does really see me, as Satan cannot assume my image (Saheeh Muslim)

It is a great blessing for a man who sees by the grace of Allah the Holy Prophet (saws) in a dream. A man who sees the Holy Prophet (saws) in a dream in the image and form which have been described and stand proved in the Ahadith, surely sees sonly the Holy Prophet (saws) and nobody else. Satan cannot deceive anyone, because he cannot assume the Prophet’s image. The Holy Prophet (saws) has mentioned this as a special peculiarity concerning his image and appearance before anyone in dream.

It is a Great fortune to have a glimpse of the Holy Prophet (saws)

By His grace, Almighty Allah grants many persons the good fortune of seeing the Holy Prophet (saws) in dreams. Our elder saints have had different attitudes towards this blessing. The attitude of one group is that special efforts are made to get this opportunity by going through various spiritual exercises and disciplines which have been devised and prescribed for this purpose. For example, rehearsal of the sacred Darood so many times and certain other exercises on Friday nights are considered effective in this matter. There are other exercises and practices in vogue among the public for winning this fortune. If anyone indulges in these exercises and disciplines to win this blessing, there is no objection.

Where is the qualification for this "meeting"

There are some other saints who take a different attitude towards this issue. A gentleman used to visit my father (Rah). Once he expressed to my father his burning desire to see the Holy Prophet (saws) in a dream and asked him for some spiritual exercise for this. My father said to him: My dear brother, you are indeed a very ambitious man that you have this auspicious desire. I do not have the courage to entertain this desire, because I think that I do not deserve this honour. I. therefore never thought of learning and doing such exercise and disciplines to have a meeting with the Holy Prophet (saws) in a dream. Even if I am graced with such a meeting how can I do full justice to the required etiquettes? That is why I did not aspire for the honour of this meeting. If Allah Himself graces me with this meeting it will be His great favour to me. In that case, He shall teach me the requisite etiquettes also. However, just like any other believer, I too bear a desire for this. Anyway there have been varying attitudes towards this matter.

Hazrat Mufti Sahib and a visit to the sacred shrine of the Holy Prophet (saws)

I have related to you this incident of my respected: father even before. He told us that he could never: approach the metallic network around the Prophet's shrine..' He would not face the network but would stand close to a pillar in front of it. If there was a man he would stand behind him. One day he told us:

"Once it occurred to my mind that perhaps I was-callous-hearted man that I could not dare approach the sacred network of the Prophet's shrine, when the majority of the visitors reach it and thus attain nearness to the Prophet’s (saws) soul, which is a great blessing and honour. Thereafter, I felt as if I was hearing this voice coming from the shrine-

He who follows my Sunnah is close to me, even though he may be thousands of miles away from me. On the other hand, he who does not follow my Sunnah is far away from me, even if he is sticking to my network.

It is the deeds done during the waking hours that count:

The real worth lies in following the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet (saws). The true blessing consists in following the path of the Sunnah. This is the true criterion for nearness to the Holy Prophet (saws). It is an act of audacity to go near and stick to the nets and be heedless of the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet (saws). It is not good to hanker after these dreams, yet it is a blessing from Allah if they prove auspicious and bring some glad tidings. The main source of success and salvation depends on following the Sunnah. These dreams do not help in raising the rank of anyonee nor do they help in earning reward of the Hereafter. So we should ameliorate, and take care of, our actions, conduct and behaviour during waking hours.

Let not a good dream deceive you
If anyone has a dream in which he finds himself trolling in the gardens of Paradise, it is a good omen, but he should not think that he has got a passport to Paradise and that he has been exempted from doing anything. This is a misleading notion. If after having a dream a man becomes more active in following the Sunnah, this is an indication that the dream was true and messenger of glad tidings- On the other hand if he becomes slack in his actions, he has been deceived by the dream.

What should be done if the Holy Prophet (saws) commands during a dream to do something

The Holy Prophet (saws) has said that , if anyone sees him (saws) in a dream he truly sees him (saws), because Satan cannot assume the Prophet’s image and form. If the Holy Prophet (saws) commands during a dream for doing any deed which does not contravene the injunctions of the Shariah then the command should be obeyed with due care and attention. This dream should be regarded as genuine and true. To ignore the instructions received in this dream may prove to be inauspicious and harmful.

A dream does not serve as a proof in the matter of the Shari ah.

If in a dream the Holy Prophet (saws) commands to do something which does not fall within the jurisdiction of the Shariah, it must be noted carefully that such a command received through a dream must not be acted upon, Almighty Allah has not ordained things seen in dreams to serve as proofs in issues concerning the Shari ah. As regards the Ahadith which have come to us through authentic sources, the injunctions contained in them must be obeyed. It is not necessary to comply with injunctions received through dreams. It is right that Satan cannot assume the image of the Holy Prophet (saws)but sometimes the things seen in the dream get mixed with the dreamer personal thoughts or are distorted on account of his weak memory, so dreams do not serve as proofs.

A strange event concerning a dream

There was a Qazi (Judge) who used to decide cases referred to him for judgment. A case was submitted to him for decision. The Qazi heard the case, examined the witnesses and made up his mind about the final judgment be announced in a day or two. In the meantime in the night he saw the Holy Prophet (saws) in a dream Holy Prophet (saws) did not, so felt the Qazi, concur in the Qazi’s judgment but advised him to change his judgment. When the Qazi awoke from sleep he reconsidered the details of the case thoroughly, he felt convinced that the Holy Prophet’s (saws) judgment did not fit with the framework of the Sharia’ah. The issue took a very serious turn. The Qazi could not decide what to do.

The Qazi called on the Caiph and told him in detail his predicament due to this strange dream. In order to resolve the difficulty, a meeting was arranged of all the Ulama of the capital and the problem was put before them. The Ulama feeling convinced of the genuineness of the dream were inclined to decide the case according to the direction of the Holy Prophet (saws) received through the dream- A great savant and learned man of his age Hazrat Izzudin bin Abdus Salam (rah) was also present in the meeting. He was regarded as a Mujaddid of his time. He stood up and addressed the meeting as follows:

It is my considered opinion that the case should be decided according to the provision of the Shari 'ah. I am in favour of a judgment which is according to the Shari ah. I take all the responsibilities for the sins, if any, invovled in this judgment. It is not lawful to decide a case in the light of indications contained in a dream. We are required to obey only those directions of the Holy Prophet (saws) which have come to us through reliable authorities. So, the case should be decided according to the injunctions of the Shari ah, and not to the directions received in a dream.

Injunctions of the Shari ah about Dreams and 'Kashf” etc.

It requires a great courage of conviction to say: I take all responsibilities for sins, if any, invovled in this judgment.. Allah, however, sends such brave and dauntless souls for the protection of His Deen. If it is accepted even once that the injunctions of the Shari 'ah can be changed through dreams, then the Shari ah would go with the wind in no time. How many ignorant "Pirs" (guides) and "Professors" there are who claim miracles! The term "Kashf means bringing to light hidden secrets by spiritual insight, but its authenticity is not recognized in the Shari 'ah. So, the rules of the Shari ah cannot be replaced or amended through these processes.

An event that happened to Hazrat Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jilani (rah)

The Head of the saints, Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jilani (rah) was one night busy with his worship. It was Tahqjjud time. At this time a very dazzling light shone from one side and a voice emerged from it saying: O Abdul Qadir! you have done full justice to My worship. Now you have reached such a high station that from now onwards you are exempt from all sorts of worship for My sake. You are now exempt from Prayers, Fasting, Hqjj and Zakah. Now do whatever you please. We have reserved Paradise for you. No sooner did Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jilani hear these words, than he replied to the voice in these words: Get lost! O accursed fellow. Neither the Holy Prophet (saws) nor his Noble Companions (ra) were exempted from this prayer. How can I get exemption from it? With these words the Sheikh expelled Satan from his presence. A much brighter light shone in the wake of the earleir light from which His voice emerged: O Abdul Qadir! your learning came to your rescue today, otherwise with this strategem I have ruined many grand saints. If you had not possessed this learning you too would have been ruined to day. The Sheikh retorted, saying' O accursed Satan! you are deceiving me again! It was Almighty Allah and not my learning that saved me. The learned have observed that the second Satanic strategyWas more dangerous than the first one. In the second one Satan wanted to deceive him by trying to create in him the pride of learning. The Sheikh, however, was saved from this attack by Allah’s mercy.

It is not lawful to refute a Hadith with a Dream

This is a very dangerous trend of a conduct. Now a days people have become very fond of dreams, kashf, supernatural feats, revelations etc. They do not care to know the requirements of the Shari ah. Quite educated and religious persons have begun to claim that they have come to know by means or Kashf that such and such Hadith is not right and that certain Ahadith of Bukhari and Muslim were forged by the Jews. If Kashf is attained and interpreted in this way the very foundation of Deen shall be jolted. May Almighty Allah shower His mercy on those Ulama who were entrusted with the task of protecting our Deen and they proved true to the task. They are the protectors and defenders of Deen. These Ulama have declared in clear terms that neither dreams, nor Kashf nor supernatural feats can be regarded as proofs in matters concerning Deen. The basis of proof are those injunctions and directions which are proved to have been received from the Holy Prophet (saws) during his waking hours and through authentic narratives. It is advised that we should not rely on dreams, 'Kashf, revelations and supernatural feats. Hazrat Maulana Thanawi (rah); has said that Kashf is a phonomenon which is sometime seen from madness and even infidels. So, we should never be deceived by experiences like beholding some light, “running” of the heart or its palpitation, etc, etc. These things have absolutely no place and credence in the Sharia’h.

What should a Dreamer do?

Hazrat Qatadah (ra) has narrated that the Holy Prophet (saws) said: A good dream is from Allah and a bad dream is from Satan. So, when a man has a bad and undesirable dream he should make a spitting gesture on his left side three times and recite this:

'Audhu bil-Lah min ash-Shaytani-r-Rajeem"

He should also change the side on which he was sleeping, while having the dream. Then this undesirable dream will do him no harm - God wiling. Some times man has a frightening or otherwise some disgustful dream. At such a time he must follow this advice of the Holy Prophet. If he has a pleasant dream with a promise of some worldly or spiritual promotion or gain he may inform his kins and well-wishers such dream and not to others. A careless stranger may give an incorrect interpretation and it is said that the first interpretation generally comes true which may turn harmful. The dreamer should, therefore, disclose the dream only to his well-wishers and should thank Almighty Allah for all that. (Sahih Bukhari..Hadith NO: 6986)

To pray for the man who has a dream

When anyone informed the Holy Prophet (saws) of his dreams, it was his (saws) routines practice to recite this.
“May Allah grant you the good of this dream and protect you from its evil. May this be good us and bad for our enemies.”

The Holy Prophet (saws) has combined in this Dua many good things. If anyone comes to you and tells you his dream, pray for him in these words. If you do not remember the Arabic words, you may you may recite it in your own mother tongue.

In short, these are the etiquettes, values and possible effects of dreams which should be kept in mind. We should keep away from false notions about dreams which are prevailing among the people.

May Almighty Allah save us all from these vices and help us to take the right course of Deen. Aameen.

By Mufti Muhammad Taqi Usmani
From Discourses on Islamic way of Life.

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