Heraclitus of Ephesus says: "While awake, there is one world for everyone. In dreams, everyone returns to their own realm."
31 Ocak 2024 Çarşamba

They say that sleep is the sibling of death. During this time, the soul separates from the body, wandering through an imaginal realm (alam al-mithal). This is the image of the world of bodies and souls, the world of forms and spirits (alam al-ajsad and alam al-arwah). In this place where time does not exist, the soul can see what has happened and what will happen. When it wakes up, it remembers these things in a different form.

In Turkish, this is called "rüya," which means "to see" in Arabic. Saying "like a dream" is a common expression for unbelievable things. In Arabic, the equivalent term is "hulum."

It is customary to say "Sweet dreams" to someone going to sleep. In response to an unlikely expectation, people may say, "You'll see it in your dreams." Someone who unexpectedly receives a blessing might ask, "Am I dreaming?"

Many individuals may claim they never dream. Conversely, those who say they dream are not necessarily frequent dreamers but rather individuals who remember their dreams well. Many people dream but forget. Abdullah al-Safadi, Arab historian (1363), asserts that blind people do not dream.

Realm of Dreams

Since ancient times, it has been believed that dreams are the work of the soul. Heraclitus of Ephesus, a Greek philosopher from the 6th century BCE, says: "While awake, there is one world for everyone. In dreams, everyone returns to their own realm."

Democritus, considered the founder of atomic theory (c. 460–370 BCE), suggests that dreams are caused by other spirits entering the body through its openings during sleep. Plutarch (46–119 CE) establishes a connection between dreams and seasons.

According to psychoanalysts, most dreams are manifestations of the subconscious and are perceived under external influences. Freud borrowed this idea from Native Americans. In his book "The Interpretation of Dreams," written a century ago, Freud states that dreams are about things desired in waking life.

Dreams in Cultural History

A Hungry Hen…

Someone who was made to smell cologne said that he was shopping at a market in Cairo; someone who was pinched saw the doctor dressing him; and someone having water dripped on their forehead may feel like they are breathing by the seaside. Freud, for instance, dreamt of the Pope's death, and upon waking, his wife informed him that all the bells were ringing early in the morning, explaining the reason.

Some dreams are compensatory, where desires are fulfilled or losses are made up for. For instance, a hungry person dreaming of eating or witnessing the death of someone they dislike. The saying "A hungry hen sees herself in a wheat silo" is famous in Turkish.

Modern scientists, by studying the brain with new scanning techniques during sleep, have reached different conclusions. The perspectives of religion and modern science on dreams differ, but there are common points. It is believed that through such observations, the treatment of mental disorders could be facilitated, suggesting the therapeutic power of dreams.

Message with Dreams

In Egypt, where a strong belief in the afterlife existed, dream interpretation was also highly significant. This was because it was believed that dreams occurred beyond the control of the dreamer's will. A dream interpretation guide from ancient Egypt, dating back to the 20th century BCE and titled "Letters to the Dead," is housed in the British Museum.

In the palace of the Assyrian King Ashurbanipal in Nineveh, a stone tablet dream interpretation guide from the 7th century BCE was discovered. It contains the plea, "Generous God, send me a message through a dream!" The dream interpretations of Artemidorus, who lived in Knidos (Datça) in ancient times, have been translated into Arabic. The interpretations in this book are very reasonable, and for this reason, its value has not diminished for centuries.

In the past, journeys were not undertaken without interpreting dreams. Alexander the Great always had a dream interpreter with him. During the prolonged siege of Tyre, when he was contemplating giving up, he dreamt of himself performing a victory dance on his shield. The interpreter predicted that the city would fall with one final assault, and indeed it did.

Dream Interpreters

Constantine I embraced Christianity based on a dream and, upon seeing a dream about Istanbul, founded the city. Justinian dreamt of a saint showing him the image of Hagia Sophia on a silver plate; when the architect recounted having the same dream that night, construction began based on this spiritual sign.

During the time of the Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him), there were 24 dream interpreters in Jerusalem. In fact, three interpreters had even foretold his birth. When Joseph, the fiancé of Blessed Virgin Mary, wanted to break off the engagement, he dreamt of her innocence and chastity. Similarly, in a dream, he was informed to take his wife and child to Egypt to escape the evil of Herod.

One of 46 Parts

Revelation has sometimes come in dreams. "The dreams of prophets are a form of revelation." The Quran narrates how the Prophet Ibrahim (peace be upon him) was commanded in a dream to sacrifice his son. The main theme of the Surah Yusuf revolves around dreams.

According to Islamic principles, dreams are categorized into three types:
1. Rahmani (Divine) Dream: This type of dream is sent by Allah in the realm of spirits (alam al-manam) and contains tidings and warnings for His servants. In these dreams, people may see their lost loved ones, receive guidance for their lives, and find tranquility in their hearts. The term "Manam" refers to the state of sleep in the dimension of time.

Rahmani dreams contain elements such as Allah, prophets, the Throne (Arsh), the Footstool (Kursi), paradise, hell, companions (Sahaba), scholars, the Sacred Mosque (Kaaba), and holy books, among other things that are accepted and respected in religious terms. They either convey good news regarding the hereafter or worldly matters or warn against evil deeds.

Rahmani dreams are clear and not confusing. They are fully remembered upon waking up. Regarding such dreams, it is said, "It is one of the 46 parts of Prophethood. It is Allah's revelation to His servants during sleep." Six months of the 23 years of revelation to the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) came through dreams.

2. Shaytani (from Satan) Dreams: These are frightening, ugly, or dreams contrary to religious beliefs and customs that are seen under the influence of Satan. In popular terms, they are referred to as nightmares or night terrors. Nocturnal emissions (ihtilaam) are also considered within this category. If a shaytani dream turns out to be true and is not confusing, it is always interpreted as good.

3. Mixed Dreams (Adgasu Ahlam): These are confusing dreams resulting from the fullness in the stomach due to excessive eating, the effects of an illness such as fever, or a mind preoccupied with daytime activities. These dreams are forgotten upon waking or only vaguely remembered. They have no specific interpretation. For example, a person who spends a lot of time with a cat during the day may dream of a lion; or someone who sleeps with an empty stomach may dream of enjoying delicious meals; or a thirsty person might dream of drinking icy water or sweet beverages. Adgasu ahlam means a tangled bunch of wet and dry mixed herbs.

Dreams in Cultural History

Came True After 20 Years

Basra-based scholar and dream interpreter Ibn Sirin (729) says, "A dream seen by a person lying on their right side is a true dream shown by Allah. It will manifest sooner or later. The dreams of those who sleep on their left side or on their back are things shown by spirits, and most of them come true. As for the one who sleeps with his face down, the dream is an adgasu ahlam, and it has no significance and does not come true."

According to the scholars of dream interpretation, the most authentic dreams are those seen in spring and summer. Dreams in autumn and winter are weaker. Spring and summer dreams also manifest earlier than fall and winter dreams.

Dreams in the early morning and during daytime quickly come true. Dreams seen in the beginning of the night manifest at the latest, as there are cases, like the dream of the Prophet Joseph (Yusuf, peace be upon him), which came true after 20 years.

Sometimes a dream not only concerns the dreamer but also affects others. The dream of the dreamer sometimes manifests in their children and loved ones. The fact that a dream does not come true within the expected time does not necessarily mean it is not a divine and valid dream.

To Water or Stone?

The Prophet Muhammad, in his dream, drank from a cup of milk and gave the remaining portion to Umar ibn al-Khattab. Later, he interpreted this as knowledge. After the morning (fajr) prayer, he would turn to the congregation and ask, "Did anyone have a dream? Let's interpret it."

In a hadith, it is said, "Narrate your dreams to a righteous or wise person." Because these two can interpret dreams well. If there is no suitable person, the dream can be narrated to water or stone.

It is well-known that the current form of the call to prayer (adhan) is established based on various individuals among the companions of the Prophet who saw dreams approved and interpreted by the Prophet Muhammad. In Islamic belief, the dreams of the prophets are considered truthful. The dreams of righteous individuals, if correctly interpreted, are not entirely dismissed.

Salim, the freedman of Abu Huzayfa, saw Thabit ibn Qays, who fell as a martyr in Yemama, in a dream. Thabit told him, "Go to Abu Bakr and inform him that I owe a certain amount to such and such person. Let my slaves be freed, including those named so and so. Also, tell them that when I died, my armor was taken and hidden in a certain pottery jar." Salim conveyed this dream to Abu Bakr, and the armor was found where it was described, fulfilling the wishes in the dream.

In the hadiths, it is mentioned, "As the Day of Judgment approaches, a believer's dream does not lie. The most truthful dreams will be seen by those who speak the truth. Indeed, a believer's dream is one part of the 46 (or 70) parts of prophethood," and "After me, only glad tidings (bearers of good news) will remain from prophethood. Glad tidings refer to righteous dreams. Only a righteous person sees righteous dreams."

Indeed, revelations ceased with the passing away of the last prophet, but dreams, along with inspiration (elham), will remain as the sole evidence for understanding certain truths.