In Islam, dreams can form an important channel of communication between human beings and the supernatural world, and Islamic dreams interpretation has a long history in the Middle East. During medieval times, when Christian Europe was struggling to maintain order after the fall of the Roman Empire, the Muslim Middle East was a center of learning: much early science and medicine in Europe was imported from the translated writings of Muslim scholars and physicians. In Canon of Medicine, physician Ibn Sina (Avicenna in a European transliteration) stated that the nature of a person’s dreams might reflect their in-born temperament. Scholar Ibn Khaldun also suggests in his Muqqadimah that dreams result from the mind working on the collected experiences of the day “after a man has retired from sense perception”. These were very modern ideas for the time which predicted some of the ways psychologists currently understand dreams.
There were also medieval books on dreams interpretation in Islam, such as the Islamic dream interpretation guide compilation attributed to scholar Ibn Sirin, which included 25 different sections on Islamic dreams interpretation— everything from the proper etiquette of dream interpretation to the meaning of reciting certain surahs (passages of the Qu’ran) in dreams. He recommended that lay people consult an alim (Muslim scholar) who would help them interpret their dreams within the right cultural and religious framework. Generally speaking, for the meaning of dreams in Islam, you would refer to holy texts such as the Qu’ran and hadiths (sayings attributed to the Prophet Mohammed) to assign meaning to dreams. One such hadith on the Islamic meaning of dreams asserts that dreams come from one of three sources: Allah/God and the angels, a person’s own self, or Shaitan/Satan.
Nightmares are often thought to be dreams sent by Shaitan, and for this reason Muslims call them false dreams. In the past, Islamic dream interpreters would advise people not to discuss these dreams with anyone, as paying credence to false dreams could lead to harm. In the Muslim interpretation of dreams, the correct way to deal with nightmares was to pray to Allah for protection three times, and then spit over one’s left shoulder three times (where Shaitan was supposed to lurk) to ward him off. However some modern Islam dreams interpretation texts adopt a gentler stance on nightmares, saying it’s okay to discuss them with people you trust in order to take the dream’s weight off your mind.
Dreams sent by your subconscious are called pathogenetic dreams and stem from your personal desires, concerns or obsessions. The Islamic interpretation of dreams agrees with Christianity and other religious traditions that pathogenetic dreams have little or no spiritual significance. They are probably just the result of our minds working through the events and stresses of our waking lives.
Finally, true dreams are those sent by Allah or the angels: these are very pleasant dreams which leave a vivid impression on the dreamer. The meaning behind true dreams will grow and change over the years as the person comes to a more mature understanding of life and the hereafter. True believers are more likely to be sent truthful dreams. Determining the source of a dream is an important element of understanding dreams and their meanings in Islam.
Although Muslim scholars can guide someone’s interpretation of a dream, it is best if the person to whom the dream was shown settles on its meaning. In Islamic dreams interpretation, it’s important to preface any dream interpretation with “It may mean this”; only prophets are able to say what something in a dream means for sure. Dreamers must be equally careful when sharing their dreams interpretation with others: while it’s beneficial to relate true dreams to others, a dreamer must only confide it to people he or she trusts. It can be dangerous to share a good dream with someone who is jealous or bears ill will toward the dreamer. For instance, in one Islamic interpretation of dreams in a surah of the Qu’ran, a young man named Yusuf has a dream in which eleven stars, the sun and moon bow down before him. He tells it to his father Yaqoob, who interprets the dream to mean that Yusuf will rise to prominence over his eleven brothers, who are already jealous of him. He advises Yusuf not to tell his brothers the dream in case it spurs them to plot against him. The Islamic dream interpretation and the warning message here is very clear.
Islamic dreams interpretation agrees with Christianity in that it recognizes true dreams as messages from God or His angels. In Islam, true dreams are a way for Allah to communicate with human beings, who would otherwise be unable to perceive Him. Allah usually sends believers dreams to show favor to the dreamer; to express His pleasure with the dreamer’s good conduct on Earth and raise his or her future rank in Heaven; and to otherwise show believers the good things that are in store for them. While this is not comprehensive and believers may still have to overcome hardships in future, true dreams meaning in Islam are overwhelmingly positive and reflect a basic optimism about the future for those who follow Islam’s tenets. The Prophet Mohammed (believed in Islam to have been the last earthly prophet) stated that “glad tidings are all that is left of Prophethood.” When asked to explain what he meant by glad tidings, Mohammed responded, “Good dreams.” An Islamic interpretation of dreams can be very helpful in assisting you to understand vivid or confusing dreams, as it can provide a spiritual and religious grounding to your experience that can help to guide you on your path in life.