Question # 149: Assalamalaekum, I would like to know about the significance of dreams in Islam. Is it true that certain dreams have implied meanings? (Since many years I have been seeing dead people in my dreams…people who I knew well n people I hadn’t interacted much with. I offer two rakat nafil to them after I get up…is this adequate or some sadaqah is also needed to be given on their behalf? People consider such a dream to have grave consequences on the person….is it true?)

bismi-llahi r-raḥmani r-raḥīm,

Assalamu ‘laikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh,

All praise and thanks are due to Allah (سبحانه و تعالى), and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger (صلى الله عليه و سلم).

Dear questioner,

First of all, we implore Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) to help us serve His cause and render our work for His sake.

Shorter Answer: There are three types of dreams: A good dream which is a glad tiding from Allah (سبحانه و تعالى), a dream suggested by Shaytan to frighten the dreamer, and a dream which is a reflection of the thoughts and experiences that one had while awake. If one has a bad dream, one should spit on one’s left three times, seek refuge with Allah from Shaytan, change one’s position, and pray two Rak’at, if possible. It’s better for one not to talk about it to anyone, for then it would not harm one, In sha Allah. According to Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen, seeing a dead person in a good state may lead us to hope that he is in fact in a good state. Seeing a dead person in a bad state might be from the Shaytan, as he wants to cause sadness, grief, and anxiety to the believer.

Long Answer: In a hadith, reported by Abu Hurairah (رضي الله عنه) in which the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: “When the Day of Resurrection approaches, the dreams of a believer will hardly fail to come true, and a dream of a believer is one forty-sixth part of prophethood; and whatever belongs to prophethood can never be false. There are three types of dreams: A good dream which is a glad tiding from Allah (سبحانه و تعالى), a dream suggested by Satan to frighten the dreamer, and a dream which is a reflection of the thoughts and experiences that one had while awake.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Sahih Muslim, Abu Dawud, at-Tirmidhi, and al-Baghawi in his book ‘Sharh as-Sunnah’)

If one sees what one dislikes, such as a dream from Satan, one should spit on one’s left side three times, seek refuge with Allah from it and from Satan, and then one should change one’s position. If one gets up, it’s better for one not to talk about it to anyone, for then it would not harm one, by Allah’s Will. Abu Qatadah (رضي الله عنه) said: I heard Allah’s Messenger (صلى الله عليه و سلم) saying, “A good dream is from Allah, and a bad dream is from Satan; so, if anyone of you has had a bad dream which he disliked, then he should spit on his left three times and seek refuge with Allah from it, for then it would not harm him.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Sahih Muslim, Ibn Majah and Abu Dawood)

An-Nawawi, may Allah have Mercy upon him, said: “…if one has a bad dream, one should spit on one’s left three times, seek refuge with Allah from Satan, change one’s position, and pray two Rak’at, if possible.” (“Sharh an-Nawawi on Sahih Muslim”)

(The above is an extract from the book ‘The Etiquette and Interpretation of Dreams’ by Ahmed Farid)

Ibn Raashid Al-Bakri Al-Qafsi says about ‘Seeing Dead People in Dreams’: “If he sees them happy, this dream indicates that his status before Allah is good, because the Hereafter is the realm of truth. If the dreamer sees a deceased man looking happy, that indicates that he is happy with his situation. If he sees them (the dead) looking unhappy or turning away, this dream indicates that his status before Allah is bad…” (‘Interpretation of Dreams’ by Ibn Raashid Al-Bakri Al-Qafsi)

[However, when] Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allah have mercy on him) was asked: “What is the interpretation of seeing a dead person in one’s dream?” He replied: “Seeing a dead person in a good state may lead us to hope that he is in fact in a good state. Seeing a dead person in a bad state might be from the Shaytan, because the Shaytan depicts a dead person in a miserable state so that he can cause misery to the living. The Shaytan shows great readiness and diligence in causing sadness, grief, and anxiety to the believer.

Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) says in the Qur’an: “Secret counsels (conspiracies) are only from Shaytan, in order that he may cause grief to the believers. But he cannot harm them in the least, except as Allah permits.” (Soorah Al-Mujadilah, 58:10)

It follows then that a person who has a dream he doesn’t like about a dead person should seek refuge in Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) from the evil of the Shaytan and from the evil of what he saw. Furthermore, he should not speak to anyone about what he saw. Thus, there will be no harm to the dead person…” (Fatawa Islamiyah)

Allahu A’lam (Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) knows best) and all Perfections belong to Allah, and all mistakes belong to me alone. May Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) forgive me, Ameen.

Wassalaam