A dream, until interpreted, remains tied to a bird's foot. Once interpreted, it becomes manifest!
7 Şubat 2024 Çarşamba

It is crucial not what is seen in a dream, but how the dream is interpreted. Generally, a dream unfolds according to its initial interpretation. In a hadith, it is said, "A dream, until interpreted, remains tied to a bird's foot. Once interpreted, it becomes manifest."

Dreams are interpreted by the intelligent, knowledgeable, and those who understand dreams. Traditionally, children, women, and the sick were not often asked to interpret dreams because they are considered emotional. On one occasion, when my aunt mentioned seeing a snake in her dream, before I could say "jewel," her late mother-in-law promptly said "enemy." A few days later, their house was robbed.

In the pre-Islamic period (jahiliyyah), there were interpreters known as "shikk" and "sati'h." The first caliph Abu Bakr, his daughter Asma, and among the taba'een Said ibn al-Musayyib were proficient in dream interpretation. After Basra's Ibn Sirin, Ibn Shahin, who lived in the Mamluk era, became very famous. Subsequent dream interpretation books are all based on his work.

Seasons and Interpretations

The esteemed interpreter, the Prophet Daniel (Danyal, peace be upon him), states: "There are four things in a dream: command, prohibition, glad tidings, and warning."

Dreams are interpreted based on the individual's circumstances. For example, the dream of a ruler or vizier is not interpreted in the same way as the dream of a poor person or a tradesman. Because a prince riding a white horse may indicate his future rule, while a poor person riding a white horse might signify receiving some kindness and a blessing.

Dream interpretation can vary based on time, place, climate, and culture. Something beneficial in its season and time may be harmful outside of its season.

Occurrences like floods, heavy rains, snow, storms, and severe cold during the summer do not indicate goodness. However, they may be interpreted positively during their appropriate seasons, such as winter and autumn.

Snow, ice, and severe cold are considered harmful in a hot season, while they are seen as auspicious in a cold season.

What may be considered unfavorable in one region could be acceptable in another. For instance, a Christian dreaming of a church and engaging in worship might be considered a positive sign for them, but the same dream may not be seen as auspicious for a Muslim.


An Interpreter Is Like a Mufti

Interpreting dreams is similar to issuing religious rulings (fatwas), and it follows certain principles.

1. Examining the roots of words: For instance, the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) saw in a dream that Ibn Tab served fresh dates at the house of Uqba ibn Nafi. He interpreted this as a sign that Uqba's status would rise, and his religion and future would be good. This is because "Uqba" and "aaqibat" (future), "rafi" (rise), and "rifa" (elevate), "taba" and "tayyib" (good) share the same root.

2. Referring to the Quran: Seeing an egg in a dream is a sign of a beautiful and chaste woman, as houris (maidens in paradise) are likened to hidden eggs in the Quran (As-Saffat: 49). A ship in a dream symbolizes deliverance from danger, as mentioned in the verse "We saved Noah and those with him in the laden ship" (Al-Ankabut: 15).

Ibn Sirin,  observed two individuals climbing a minaret and reciting the call to prayer in their dreams. After careful consideration, he told the first one that he would perform Hajj (pilgrimage to Mecca) soon, and he advised the other to return the stolen goods to their owners. For the first interpretation, he used the verse "Proclaim to the people the Hajj" (Al-Hajj: 27), and for the second, the verse "A crier announced, 'O you (in) the caravan, you are indeed thieves!'" (Yusuf: 70) as evidence.

Someone dreamed of  Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him), asking him if it was true that he was crucified. When Jesus replied affirmatively, the dreamer realized that the dream was not truthful. This is because the Quran explicitly states, "And they did not crucify him" (An-Nisa: 157).

3. Consulting Hadiths: Seeing a threshold in a dream is a sign of a wife, as mentioned in a hadith where a wife is likened to the doorstep. Recognizing the Prophet Adam (peace be upon him) with a beard in a dream indicates the dream's lack of authenticity, as a hadith states that "The Prophet Adam did not have a beard."

To Some, Good; To Others, Evil!

4. Referring to poetry: Someone who dreams of foxes attacking chickens may interpret it as the overthrow of a lazy ruler. This is because a poet once said, "When the valley is empty, the fox becomes the ruler."

5. Understanding the dreamer's language: If an Arab dreams of a quince, it signifies a good journey because the Arabic word for quince is "sefercel". "Sefer" means journey, and "celle" means dignity. If a Persian dreams of quinces, it is considered a good omen because the Persian word for quince, "bih't," means good.

6. The origin of the seen object: A parrot signifies India, an ostrich signifies Arabia. Mud signifies wealth for Indians but calamity for others. Fish may bring calamity to some, marriage to others; for Jews, misfortune, but sustenance for Muslims.

7. The dreamer's religion: Fire signifies torment for Muslims but is auspicious for Zoroastrians.

8. Examining letters and numbers: A dream where a rooster instructed someone to prepare a shroud was interpreted as a prediction of death 34 days later. The numerical value of the Arabic word for rooster (dik) is 34. Hisham ibn Abd al-Malik dreamed of 19 apples and a half when he ascended the throne, and he ruled for 19.5 years.

The Abbasid caliph Mustanjid dreamt of an angel descending from the sky and writing the Arabic letter 'h' five times in his palm while his father, Mustakfi, was alive. When he woke up, he sought an interpretation for his dream. The interpreter explained that after 555 Hijri years, and specifically after 5 months and 5 days had passed, he would assume the caliphate. Remarkably, this interpretation came true.

A woman told Ibn Sirin that she dreamt of the moon setting behind the Pleiades. Ibn Sirin understood that she would die within 7 days, as the Pleiades consist of 7 stars.

Ibn Sirin, the famous dream interpreter
Meşhur rüya tabircisi İbn Sirin

Give Me My Bride!

A woman once came to the Prophet Muhammad and told him about a dream where the pillar of her house collapsed. He interpreted it as a sign of her husband's return from travel. Some time later, she had the same dream again. This time, he interpreted it as a sign of her husband's passing away. The conditions surrounding these two seemingly similar dreams were different.

Another person went to Ibn Sirin and said, "I dreamt that I was eating figs." Ibn Sirin replied, "You will receive blessings." Months later, someone else came with a similar dream. Ibn Sirin warned, "Beware, you might face a beating." The people around were astonished. After the man left, Ibn Sirin explained, "When the first man had the dream, it was summer, and the fig trees bore fruit. The second man dreamt in winter, when fig trees have only dry branches left, which are only good for beating."

Seeing a qualified individual ascend the pulpit or minaret in a dream is interpreted as them attaining a high office. However, if, for example, a porter dreams the same, it may signify a promotion to the position of a head porter.

It's not absolute that every dream will unfold as interpreted. As emphasized by Imam Rabbani, "Relying on dreams and giving them undue importance is not correct."

What one achieves while awake holds more value than what is seen in dreams. If a shepherd dreams of marrying the daughter of a king and shows up at the palace gates the next day to claim his bride, what consequences would he face?

Turn Out To Be Contrary

A dream repeated three times, like that of Prophet Abraham (Ibrahim, peace be upon him), is significant. Just like in the call to prayer (adhan), multiple individuals having the same dream is a sign of its accuracy, though not always, of course. Despite the fact that the tomb of Ali ibn Abi Talib is in Najaf, Iraq, many people in the city of Mazar-i-Sharif in Afghanistan simultaneously dreamed that his tomb was in their city. The city was named after this dream, and a shrine was also built there.

Some dreams are interpreted contrarily (ex contrario). This was the case in Europe, and when people read Artemidorus's book, Muslims also adopted this belief. For instance, if someone dreams of dying, they will live long. If someone cries in a dream, they will rejoice.

Ibn al-Zubayr dreamt that he wrestled and defeated Abd al-Malik ibn Marwan, then tied him to four stakes. However, the outcome was the opposite; Ibn al-Zubayr lost, and Abd al-Malik and his four sons became caliphs.

The wife of Abbas ibn Abdul Muttalib, Lubaba bint al-Harith, dreamed that a part of the Prophet Muhammad's body fell into her lap. She woke up in horror and narrated the dream. The Prophet Muhammad interpreted it positively, associating it with his grandson, Hussain, whom he placed in her lap, and she nursed him.

Entrusted In a Dream

Sometimes, a dream may have tangible indications, which are considered miracles (karamat). In his old age, Molla Fenari (Shams al-Din al-Fanari), who had lost his sight, was addressed in a dream by the Prophet Muhammad with the command, "Interpret Surah Taha!" Molla Fenari responded, "I am not capable of doing that in your presence. My eyes do not see either." The Prophet Muhammad then took a piece of cotton from his robe, moistened it with his saliva, and placed it on Molla Fenari's eyes. Upon waking up, miraculously, he found the cotton on his eyes. When he removed it, he regained his eyesight. Before his death, he requested that the same be done to his eyes when he passed away.

One night, Sayyid Muhammad, the great-grandfather of the Arvasi family, saw the Prophet Muhammad in his dream. The Prophet said to him, "My son! The ruler of Hakkari, Ibrahim Han-ı Abbasi, is ill. Take these fruits to him, let him eat them! Allah will grant healing." When Sayyid Muhammad woke up, despite it being winter, he found a basket by his bedside containing summer fruits: fresh figs, pomegranates, and cucumbers. He took the fruits and presented them to Ibrahim Han. Ibrahim Han, who had a similar dream, ate the fruits, recovered from his illness, regained his health, and eventually gave his daughter in marriage.

Serialized Novel

Some people's dreams are like serialized novels, never-ending. Ibn Shahin narrates: "A man once went to a dream interpreter and said, 'Take this money and interpret my dream for me.' He began recounting after the morning prayer. 'In my dream, I fell into a well,' he said. 'I fell and fell,' he repeated until noon. Then he said, 'I reached the bottom of the well.' The interpreter asked, 'Did you arrive safely?' He received an affirmative answer. 'Thank God. Then what did you see?' he asked. The man replied, 'I turned around and around,' he repeated until afternoon. 'Then I found a millstone, put my head into it, and began to ascend. As I ascended,' he continued, 'stop there, take your money back; in the morning you fell into a well and did not stop until afternoon. Who knows when you'll reach the top,' said the interpreter."