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The Dream Interpreter

The Dream Interpreter

Some dream interpreters agree that dreams are seen by the soul and are
understood by one’s consciousness. Shaikh Abdul Ghani Nabulsi explains in his
book Ta’atir-ul Anum that “the soul resides within one’s heart, and the functions
of the heart are dictated by one’s brain. When one falls asleep, his soul becomes
like an extended ray of light, or like a sun, where he can see what the angel of
dreams reveals to him through the effulgent light of his Lord. When one’s senses
come to wakefulness, it is as though a cloud has come to cover the sunlight. When
one wakes up, he may remember through his soul what the angel of dreams has
showed him.” Someone said: “Spiritual feelings are greater than one’s physical
awareness. For the soul represents the truth, and the senses can only recognize
what is physically perceivable.”
For a dream interpreter, it is also necessary to know that the soil is different
from one land to another, because each soil is watered by a different quality of
water. That is why dream interpretation may vary from one land to another. As
we explained earlier, dream interpretation requires a concise knowledge that
must be based on the fundamentals of one’s religion, inner spiritual values, and
moral and cultural traditions. Dreams also are influenced by the atmospheric
condition of the land and culture. For example, if one who lives in a hot country
sees snow or hail in his dream, it means rising prices or drought. On the other
hand, ifone lives in a cold country and sees snow, rain, and hail, it means a good
harvest and prosperity.
In India, for example, mud means money, while for another country it may
mean an adversity. Also in India, breaking wind in a dream means good news,
while in another country it may mean hearing bad words. In one out of four
countries, fish in a dream means marriage, or money, while in other countries
a fish means a bad stench. Quince, which is known in Persian as Safarjal in a
dream means comfort, beauty, and glory for an Iranian person, while it means
travels, or departure for an Arab. Eating a dead animal in a dream means
acquiring unlawful money for those who believe in the impermissibility of doing
so. As for those who see no harm in eating the flesh of a dead animal, when they
see that in a dream, it means benefits, or profits. Timing is also crucial. If one
who is stricken with cold symptoms sees himself warming up in the sun, or near
a burning bush in the wintertime in a dream, or ifhe sees himselfwearing winter
clothing, or using hot water to wash with, etcetera in a dream, it means
recovering from his illness, while doing so in the summertime means health
complications, or adversities. The meanings of dreams also differ in values. For
instance, if a devout worshiper sees himself wearing a soldier’s uniform in a
dream, it means invalidation of his worship, while if a non-fighting soldier sees
that, it means going to war, and victory. As for the rest of people, it means a
dispute, an argument, and corruption.
A dream interpreter must also be considerate of other social customs and
religious norms. For example, eating raw herbs in a dream means unlawful
money and disturbances for Sabians and Judaeo-Christian priests, for it is not
permissible in their traditions. The Jews forbid the eating of certain roots, the
Greeks forbid chicken, and the Muslims forbid drinking wine. Thus these
elements in a dream represent unlawful earnings for such religions. If a Muslim
woman sees herself committing adultery inside a mosque in a dream, it means
gaining bad reputation, while ifa Hindu woman sees that dream, it means rising
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in station of nearness to her lord, for in Hinduism they consider sexual intercourse
an act of worship. The Magians and Zoroastrians worship the fire, so if
one of them sees himself kindling a fire or prostrating to the fire in a dream, it
has positive connotations and benefits. The same goes for worshipers of the sun
or the moon.
The dream interpreter must investigate each dream based on religious
opinions, logic, idioms, crucial factors, dictating circumstances, parables, what
is deemed correct, and he should not express a firm opinion, as we shall expand
on this subject at a later part of this introduction.
Adream interpreter must have knowledge of the Qur’anic references, Qur’anic
interpretations, sayings of God’s Prophet, upon whom be peace, allegorical
meanings and parables. He also must know the prophetic traditions, tales of the
prophets, the wisdom they imparted to their followers through interpreting their
dreams, and the conclusion they themselves have earned from that experience.
A refined interpreter in this art also must cultivate the essence of social norms,
history, fables, poetry, proverbs, languages, etymology of words, synonyms,
homogeneity, contrariety, etcetera. He also must be an honest and respected
person, and he must care for the way he earns his living, what he eats, and what
he drinks, and he must be a sincere and a God-fearing person.
It is beneficial for a dream interpreter to have knowledge about astrology,
numerology, lucky days of the week, lucky hours of the day and the night, natural
medicine, and psychology, besides other sciences.
The prophet Daniel, upon whom be peace, has said: “One may forget his dream
because of four reasons: 1- his sins; 2- contradiction between his deeds and
intentions; 3- lack of sincerity; and 4- changes of his spirit.” Imam Ja’afar AISadiq,
God bless his soul, once said: “If one forgets a dream he saw at night, he
should calculate the numerological value of the letters of his name on the basis
of the ‘Abjad’system. He then should deduct the number nine from the total. If
they result in an even number, then his dream is positive. Ifthe total produces an
odd number, then his dream has negative connotations.” The dream interpreter
also should ask the person who forgot his dream how did he find himself when
he woke up. If the person who forgot his dream finds his hand over his fingers,
he could have seen little trees. If he finds his hand his hand laid over his ribs,
then it could be women that-he saw, etcetera. (See Body’}.
A dream interpreter must listen to the complete story, and its minute details.
He also must investigate and find acceptable religious references tUsul) for each
element in the dream. Ifhe does not fully understand the dream, or if he is unable
to find such references, then it is better for him to refrain from making up an
interpretation. In that case, he will be giving a religious ruling, though dreams
relate to psychology. Indeed, it will be a sin to tell a false interpretation, while
one will be rewarded if he remains silent when he does not know the answer.
Imam Ibn Seerm was the most renowned master in this science, and he often
refrained from interpreting someone’s dream. Perhaps, he would interpret only
one out of every forty dreams when askedto do so. Of three out of four such
dreams, he used to say: “I do not know the meaning of this dream.”
The dream interpreter must investigate the dream and establish its acceptable
religious references. It is related that Imam Ibn Seerm used to spend a good
part of the day questioning the person about himself, his life, type of work, living
condition, and surrounding circumstance, for a dream interpreter is not a
prophet and cannot tell about the future.

Beside the religious references, a dream interpreter also must know the basic
categories which connect the elements of the dream. Thus he should know that
wheat, barley, flour, honey, milk, wool, iron, salt, and earth, etcetera, represent
money. He should also know that a weasel, a coyote, a lion, a wolf, a rope, a tree,
a bird, or a beast, etcetera, represent men; and that a saddle, a bed, and female
birds, etcetera, represent women, and that a pitcher, a pillow, a bowl, a basin,
etcetera, represent servants. He should also know that anything that has no end
in a dream is not attainable, while leaving a boat in a dream means descending
in rank.
In his book Tabaqiit Al-Mu’abbireen, (i.e., The Ranks of Dream Interpreters)
AI-Hassan Bin Al-Hassan AI-Khallal, God bless his soul, noted some seven
thousand five hundred interpreters. He then divided them in fifteen categories:
1- the prophets; 2- the companions; 3- the followers; 4- the scholars; 5- the
ascetics; 6- professional interpreters who wrote books on this subject; 7- philosophers;
8- physicians; 9- Jewish interpreters; 10- Christian interpreters; 11Magian
interpreters; 12- polytheists from the pre-Islamic period; 13- soothsayers,
prognosticators, palm readers, and fortunetellers; 14- Magicians; and 15physiognomists
and allegorists.
• The perspective which one assumes in his interpretation of someone’s dream
is crucial. Once a Caliph saw his teeth falling out in a dream. He called a dream
interpreter and asked him about the meaning of his dream. The interpreter
replied: “The entire family of my master will perish.” The Caliph became upset,
and he called for another interpreter and told him the dream. The second dream
interpreter replied: “The dream of my master, the prince of the believers, is true,
for he shall live the longest amongst his relatives.” Immediately, the Caliph
embraced the man and rewarded him for his skill and tactfulness. In this case,
both interpreters gave the same meaning, though the presentation is different.
• Once upon a time, a king hired a private tutor to teach his children the
Qur’an and proper conduct. After the teacher had died, one day the king’s
children went to visit the grave of their teacher. After paying the customary
greetings, they sat beside his grave and engaged in a mundane conversation, ate
some fruits, and threw the peels and pits on the side of the grave. That night,
the teacher came to the king in a dream and told him: “Instruct your children to
refrain from visiting my grave, for they have certainly offended me.” When the
children learned from their father about what happened, they cried and exclaimed:
“God bless his soul, for surely he is still teaching us proper conduct, even
after his death.”
• A man came to Imam Ibn Seerm and said: “I saw a pot filled with milk, then
someone brought a second pot of the same size which was filled with honey. He
then poured the honey into the milk, and miraculously, the first pot contained
both of them without any spillage. Further on, he poured some foamy substance
on the top, and I sat with some friends eating and skimming the foamy substance
first. Suddenly, the contents of the pot turned into a head of a camel, and we kept
on eating from it.” Ibn Seerm replied: “What a wretched dream you had! The milk
represents inherent purity. What is poured into it has nothing to do with
inherent purity. Your eating of the scum means waste, and neither you nor your
friends will benefit from it, for God Almighty has said: “For the scum will be
thrown off.” (Qur’an 17:13) As for the camel in your dream, it represents an
Arab leader, and in this case, he is the Prince of the believers, the Caliph Omar
Bin ‘Ahdul-Azlz, and you are backbiting him and sweetening your calumny with
honey.”
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• Once a man came to Shaikh Sa’adu-Deen AI-Dharir, who was a blind man
from Aleppo, Syria, and said: “I saw a dream, whereby I was wearing a shoe of
fire that burned up to my ankles.” The Shaikh replied: “Come near me, so I may
tell you the meaning.” Once the Shaikh took hold of the man’s arm, he cried out
to those who were present to catch the man and to call the police. After an
investigation, it appeared that the man used to steal people’s shoes at the
entrance of the mosque, to which crime the man confessed, and people went to
his house to claim their properties.
• A woman came to Imam Ibn Seerm and said: “I saw two pearls in my lap in
a dream. One was bigger than the other. Then my sister came and asked me to
give her one of them, so I gave her the smaller pearl.” Imam Ibn Seer’in replied:
”You spoke the truth. You have learned two chapters from the Holy Qur’an. One
ofthem is longer than the other, and you have taught your sister the shorter one.”
The woman obliged.
• A man said to Imam Ibn Seer’in: “I saw a big bull coming out of a small rock,
and I shook hands with him in a dream. The bull then wanted to return inside
the rock, but he couldn’t.” Ibn Seer’in replied: “Indeed; sometimes a man may say
a big word, then regrets what he had said, though he cannot change it.”
• A man said to Imam Ibn Seer’in: “I saw a man swallowing small pearls, then
bringing them out of his mouth bigger in size in the dream.” Ibn Seer’in replied:
”This the type of a person who learns about something once and speaks about it
a lot.”
• Aman said to Imam Ibn Seer’in: “I saw a pebble going into my ear in a dream.
Then I shook myhead and got it out ofthere.” Imam Ibn Seerin replied: ”You mix
with people of innovation, and you hear bad words, though God willing, at the
end, you will repent.”
• A man told Imam Ibn Seerin: “I saw that I was betrothed to a black woman
who was short in the dream.” Ibn Seer’in replied: “Go and marry her, for her
blackness is her richness, and her size represents the span of her life. For you
will shortly inherit her wealth.”
• A man told Imam Ibn Seerin: “I saw myselfdrinking from a pitcher with two
heads in a dream.” Ibn Seer’in replied: “You have a wife, and you are trying to
tempt her sister to sin with you, so fear God.” The man answered: “You spoke the
truth. Bear witness that I repent from my doing.”
• Once the Caliph Omar Bin AI-Khattab, God be pleased with him, appointed
a judge for Syria. When the man left Mecca, one night he saw in a dream that
the sun, the moon, and the stars were fighting against one another. Then, the
man himself became a star and participated in the fight in the dream. Halfway
through his journey, the man returned to Medina and told the Caliph about his
dream. Omar asked: “When you became a star in the dream, did you fight on the
side of the sun or that of the moon?” The man replied: “I fought on the side of the
moon.”Omarreplied: “Go away, and do not work for me.” Later on, themanjoined
the army of’Yazid in Syria and died fighting the caliphate during the battle of
Siffin.
• Abdulliih the son of Omar, God be pleased with them, reported: “I heard
God’s Prophet, upon whom be peace, saying: ‘I was given a glass of milk in a
dream. I drank from it until I could see the quench reaching the tip of my fingers,
then I gave what is left to Omar.’ Abdullah asked: ‘How did you interpret it, 0
Messenger of God?’ He replied: ‘Knowledge.”’
• Abdullah Bin Omar, God be pleased with them both, reported that God’s
Messenger, upon whom be peace, has said: “Last night, I saw myself at the
Ka’aba. There I saw a person with a fair skin and a most beautiful appearance
circumambulating the Ka’aba. I asked: ‘Who is this man?’ A voice replied: ‘This
is Jesus son of Mary.’ Then walked an ugly-looking man, whose skin was
wrinkled, and who was blind in his right eye. I asked: ‘Who is this man?’ A voice
replied: ‘This is Al-MasfU….al-Dajjiil, the impostor of Christ. m
• Abu Sa’Id AI-Khidri, God be pleased with him, reported that God’s Prophet,
upon whom be peace, has said: ”While in my sleep, I saw people presented before
me, most of whom wore a garment that covered down to their breast. Then
arrived Omar who was dragging his robe behind him.” Someone asked: “How did
you interpret it, 0 Messenger of God?” He replied: “Commitment to one’s
religion.”

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