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1,001 Sayings and Deeds of the Prophet

Dreams

The Koran is all over the place as to when it was revealed. In one instance, it is during one night, the night of power (97:1), in another it is during an entire month, the month of Ramadan (2:185), and in still another instance, it was revealed “piecemeal” (17:106).

Nowhere in His Book does Allah mention revealing what He revealed of His Koran in dreams. Yet, this is how the Prophet’s companions remember God’s Messenger receiving many of God's instructions and observations.

Narrated Safwan bin Ya'la bin Umaiya from his father who said:

 "A man came to the Prophet while he was at Ji'rana. The man was wearing a cloak which had traces of Khaluq or Sufra (a kind of perfume). The man asked (the Prophet), 'What do you order me to perform in my Umra (the lesser pilgrimage)?' So, Allah inspired the Prophet divinely and he was screened by a place of cloth.

I wished to see the Prophet being divinely inspired.

Umar said to me, 'Come! Will you be pleased to look at the Prophet while Allah is inspiring him?'

I replied in the affirmative.

Umar lifted one corner of the cloth and I looked at the Prophet who was snoring. (The sub-narrator thought that he said: The snoring was like that of a camel).

When that state was over, the Prophet asked, "Where is the questioner who asked about Umra? Put off your cloak and wash away the traces of Khaluq from your body and clean the Sufra (yellow color) and perform in your Umra what you perform in your Hajj (i.e. the Tawaf round the Ka'ba and the Sa'i between Safa and Marwa)."

Bukhari 27.17

Communications from Paradise sent while the Prophet slept would explain the horrific descriptions of Judgement Day and Hell which mere words could not have conveyed.

Aisha, the Prophet’s child-bride and the most trusted of the narrators of what God’s Messenger said and did remembered her husband receiving “(the Divine Inspiration) in the form of true dreams in his sleep."

Narrated Aisha:

The commencement (of the Divine Inspiration) to Allah's Apostle was in the form of true dreams in his sleep, for he never had a dream but it turned out to be true and clear as the bright daylight. Then he began to like seclusions, so he used to go in seclusion in the cave of Hira where he used to worship Allah continuously for many nights before going back to his family to take the necessary provision (of food) for the stay.

Bukhari 60.478

Dreams, the Prophet explained, convey religious knowledge. What is the Koran if not religious knowledge?

Narrated Ibn Umar:

I heard Allah's Apostle saying, "While I was sleeping, I was given a bowl full of milk (in a dream), and I drank of it to my fill until I noticed its wetness coming out of my nails, and then I gave the rest of it to Umar."

They (the people) asked, "What have you interpreted (about the dream) O Allah's Apostle?"

He said, "(It is Religious) knowledge."

Bukhari 87.134

And what is Islam, if not "The Religion"!

Narrated Abu Sa'id Al-Khudri:

Allah's Apostle said, "While I was sleeping, some people were displayed before me (in a dream). They were wearing shirts, some of which were merely covering their breasts, and some a bit longer. Then there passed before me, Umar bin Al-Khattab wearing a shirt he was dragging it (on the ground behind him.)"

They (the people) asked, "What have you interpreted (about the dream) O Allah's Apostle?"

He said, "The Religion."

Bukhari 87.136

Interpreting dreams as real-world predictions is very much what a Prophet does.

Narrated Abu Huraira:

I heard Allah's Apostle saying, "Nothing is left of the prophetism except Al-Mubashshirat."

They asked, "What are Al-Mubashshirat?"

He replied, "The true good dreams (that conveys glad tidings)."

Bukhari 87.119

None dared wake up the Prophet less he interrupt a transmission from Paradise.

Narrated Imran:

Once we were traveling with the Prophet and we carried on traveling till the last part of the night and then we (halted at a place) and slept (deeply). There is nothing sweeter than sleep for a traveler in the last part of the night. So it was only the heat of the sun that made us to wake up and the first to wake up was so and so, then so and so and then so and so (the narrator Auf said that Abu Raja had told him their names but he had forgotten them) and the fourth person to wake up was Umar bin Al-Khattab.

And whenever the Prophet used to sleep, nobody would wake him up till he himself used to get up as we did not know what was happening (being revealed) to him in his sleep …

Bukhari 7.340

Nothing gets Allah's and His Messenger's dander up like the mention of paying interest, therefore the Prophet having dreams where riba-eaters figure prominently is to be expected.

Narrated Samura bin Jundab:

The Prophet said, "This night I dreamt that two men came and took me to a Holy land whence we proceeded on till we reached a river of blood, where a man was standing, and on its bank was standing another man with stones in his hands. The man in the middle of the river tried to come out, but the other threw a stone in his mouth and forced him to go back to his original place. So, whenever he tried to come out, the other man would throw a stone in his mouth and force him to go back to his former place."

I asked, "Who is this?"

I was told, "The person in the river was a Riba-eater (a lender who insist on charging interest on borrowed money)."

Bukhari 34.298

It was in a dream that the Prophet was given the keys to the treasures of the earth.

Narrated Abu Huraira:

The Prophet said, "I have been given the keys of eloquent speech and given victory with awe (cast into the hearts of the enemy), and while I was sleeping last night, the keys of the treasures of the earth were brought to me till they were put in my hand."

Abu Huraira added: "Allah's Apostle left (this world) and now you people are carrying those treasures from place to place."

Bukhari 87.127

Unless the Prophet was a somnambulist and fixed himself a snack while in REM sleep, in dreams you can have real food and drinks if you are special or important enough to have your dreams catered.

Narrated Abu Sa'id:

That he had heard the Prophet saying, "Do not fast continuously (practise Al-Wisal), and if you intend to lengthen your fast, then carry it on only till the Suhur (before the following dawn)."

The people said to him, "But you practice (Al-Wisal), O Allah's Apostle!"

He replied, "I am not similar to you, for during my sleep I have One Who makes me eat and drink."

Bukhari 31.184

It was fortunate that the crescent moon marking the first day of the month of Shawwal, meaning “lift or carry” (so named because this is the month she-camels normally would be carrying a fetus) appeared when it did, or some believers whose dreams were not being catered and who wanted to fast like their Prophet might have starved themselves to death. The first day of Shawwal is the feast of Eid al-Fitr where all fasting must stop.

Narrated Abu Huraira:

Allah's Apostle forbade Al-Wisal in fasting. So, one of the Muslims said to him, "But you practice Al-Wisal. O Allah's Apostle!"

The Prophet replied, "Who amongst you is similar to me? I am given food and drink during my sleep by my Lord."

So, when the people refused to stop Al-Wisal (fasting continuously), the Prophet fasted day and night continuously along with them for a day and then another day and then they saw the crescent moon (of the month of Shawwal).

The Prophet said to them (angrily), "If It (the crescent) had not appeared, I would have made you fast for a longer period."

That was as a punishment for them when they refused to stop (practising Al-Wisal).

Bukhari 31.186

The difference between a dream and a nightmare:

Narrated Abu Qatada:

The Prophet said, "A true good dream is from Allah, and a bad dream is from Satan."

Bukhari 87.113

Next time you have a nightmare, the Prophet recommends you don’t mention it to anyone.

Narrated Abu Sa'id Al-Khudri:

The Prophet said, "If anyone of you sees a dream that he likes, then it is from Allah, and he should thank Allah for it and narrate it to others; but if he sees something else, i.e., a dream that he dislikes, then it is from Satan, and he should seek refuge with Allah from its evil, and he should not mention it to anybody, for it will not harm him."

Bukhari 87.114

When waking up from a bad dream, spit or blow your nose three times.

Narrated Abu Qatada:

The Prophet said, "A good dream that comes true is from Allah, and a bad dream is from Satan, so if anyone of you sees a bad dream, he should seek refuge with Allah from Satan and should spit on the left, for the bad dream will not harm him."

Bukhari 72.789

Perhaps as precaution against spraying saliva on a person next to you in bed and making a bad dream even worse, the Prophet recommended it be a dry spit, maybe just even clearing your throat.

Narrated Abu Qatada:

The Prophet said, "A good dream is from Allah, and a bad dream is from Satan. So whoever has seen (in a dream) something he dislike, then he should spit without saliva, thrice on his left and seek refuge with Allah from Satan, for it will not harm him, and Satan cannot appear in my shape."

Bukhari 87.124

Waking up from a nightmare about Gog and Magog:

Narrated Zainab bint Jahsh:

The Prophet got up from his sleep with a flushed red face and said, "None has the right to be worshipped but Allah. Woe to the Arabs, from the Great evil that is nearly approaching them. Today a gap has been made in the wall of Gog and Magog like this." (Sufyan illustrated by this forming the number 90 or 100 with his fingers.)

It was asked, "Shall we be destroyed though there are righteous people among us?"

The Prophet said, "Yes, if evil increased."

Bukhari 88.181

Unless you are a bonafide Prophet of God you should be very careful about looking for cures to what ails you in your dreams, even if you suspect that what ails you is a result of someone’s malevolent magic.

Narrated Aisha:

The Prophet continued for such-and-such period imagining that he has slept (had sexual relations) with his wives, and in fact he did not.

One day he said, to me, "O Aisha! Allah has instructed me regarding a matter about which I had asked Him. There came to me two men, one of them sat near my feet and the other near my head. The one near my feet, asked the one near my head (pointing at me), 'What is wrong with this man?'

The latter replied, 'He is under the effect of magic.'

The first one asked, 'Who had worked magic on him?'

The other replied, 'Lubaid bin Asam.'

The first one asked, 'What material (did he use)?'

The other replied, 'The skin of the pollen of a male date tree with a comb and the hair stuck to it, kept under a stone in the well of Dharwan."'

Then the Prophet went to that well and said, "This is the same well which was shown to me in the dream. The tops of its date-palm trees look like the heads of the devils, and its water looks like the Henna infusion."

Then the Prophet ordered that those things be taken out.

I said, "O Allah's Apostle! Won't you disclose (the magic object)?"

The Prophet said, "Allah has cured me and I hate to circulate the evil among the people."

Aisha added, "(The magician) Lubaid bin Asam was a man from Bani Zuraiq, an ally of the Jews."

Bukhari 73.89

It is from lucid visions and from a dream of the Prophet that we have the only known eyewitness description of what Jesus looked like.

Narrated Abdullah bin Umar:

Allah's Apostle said, "I saw myself (in a dream) near the Ka'ba last night, and I saw a man with whitish red complexion, the best you may see amongst men of that complexion having long hair reaching his earlobes which was the best hair of its sort, and he had combed his hair and water was dropping from it, and he was performing the Tawaf around the Ka'ba while he was leaning on two men or on the shoulders of two men.

I asked, 'Who is this man?'

Somebody replied, '(He is) Messiah, son of Mary.'

Then I saw another man with very curly hair, blind in the right eye which looked like a protruding out grape. I asked, 'Who is this?'

Somebody replied, '(He is the false) Messiah, Ad-Dajjal.'"

Bukhari 87.128

Communications from Allah via dreams sometimes included visions of good and bad things.

Narrated Um Salama:

The Prophet woke up and said, "Glorified be Allah: What great (how many) treasures have been sent down, and what great (how many ) afflictions have been sent down!"

Bukhari 87.128

Many who had dreams where the Prophet was a figurant were not sure if it was God’s Messenger who was paying them a visit while they slept, or Satan. The Prophet assured them that it could not be Satan and why.

Narrated Anas:

The Prophet said, "Whoever has seen me in a dream, then no doubt, he has seen me, for Satan cannot imitate my shape."

Bukhari 87.123

Narrated Abu Sa'id Al-Khudri:

The Prophet said, "Whoever sees me (in a dream) then he indeed has seen the truth, as Satan cannot appear in my shape."

Bukhari 87.126

The Prophet told his male followers not to name themselves after his first-born son (who died in infancy) followed by another reminder that Satan cannot take his shape in a dream. I could only conjecture what one has to do with the other.

Narrated Abu Huraira:

The Prophet said, "Name yourselves after me (by my name), but do not call yourselves by my Kuniya (part of an Arabic name which usually begins with "abu" and refers to a father's first-born son), and whoever sees me in a dream, he surely sees me, for Satan cannot impersonate me (appear in my figure). And whoever intentionally ascribes something to me falsely, he will surely take his place in the (Hell) Fire."

Bukhari 73.217

If enough ordinary men have the same dream then it has to be true.

Narrated Ibn Umar:

Some men amongst the companions of the Prophet were shown in their dreams that the night of Qadr (Night of Power) was in the last seven nights of Ramadan.

Allah's Apostle said, "It seems that all your dreams agree that (the Night of Qadr) is in the last seven nights, and whoever wants to search for it (i.e. the Night of Qadr) should search in the last seven (nights of Ramadan)."

Bukhari 32.232

A dream announcing the coming of two liars:

Narrated Ibn Abbas:

Musailama-al-Kadhdhab (i.e. the liar) came in the life-time of Allah's Apostle with many of his people (to Medina) and said, "If Muhammad makes me his successor, I will follow him."

Allah's Apostle went up to him with Thabit bin Qais bin Shams; and Allah's Apostle was carrying a piece of a date-palm leaf in his hand. He stood before Musailama (and his companions) and said, "If you asked me even this piece (of a leaf), I would not give it to you. You cannot avoid the fate you are destined to, by Allah. If you reject Islam, Allah will destroy you. I think that you are most probably the same person whom I have seen in the dream."

Abu Huraira told me that Allah's Apostle; said, "While I was sleeping, I saw (in a dream) two gold bracelets round my arm, and that worried me too much. Then I was instructed divinely in my dream, to blow them off and so I blew them off, and they flew away. I interpreted the two bracelets as symbols of two liars who would appear after me. And so one of them was Al-Ansi and the other was Musailama Al-Kadhdhab from Al-Yamama."

Bukhari 56.817

The reward of true belief as revealed in a dream:

Narrated Abu Musa:

The Prophet said, "In a dream I saw myself migrating from Mecca to a place having plenty of date trees. I thought that it was Al-Yamama or Hajar, but it came to be Medina i.e. Yathrib. In the same dream I saw myself moving a sword and its blade got broken. It came to symbolize the defeat which the Muslims suffered from, on the Day of Uhud.

I moved the sword again, and it became normal as before, and that was the symbol of the victory Allah bestowed upon Muslims and their gathering together.

I saw cows in my dream, and by Allah, that was a blessing, and they symbolized the believers on the Day of Uhud. And the blessing was the good Allah bestowed upon us and the reward of true belief which Allah gave us after the day of Badr."

Bukhari 56.818

The reward was of course the booty, but I digress.

Wells played a big role in many of the Prophet’s dreams; living in a desert environment, that is understandable.

Narrated Abu Huraira:

I heard Allah's Apostle saying, "While I was sleeping, I saw myself standing at a well, on it there was a bucket. I drew water from the well as much as Allah wished.

Then Ibn Abi Quhafa (i.e. Abu Bakr) took the bucket from me and brought out one or two buckets (of water) and there was weakness in his drawing the water. May Allah forgive his weakness for him.

Then the bucket turned into a very big one and Ibn Al-Khattab took it over and I had never seen such a mighty person amongst the people as him in performing such hard work, till the people drank to their satisfaction and watered their camels that knelt down there."

Bukhari 57.16

Many of the Prophet’s dreams were about Paradise. If you have read the chapter A Palace in the Sky you know what the following is all about.

Narrated Samura bin Jundab:

Allah's Apostle said, "Tonight two (visitors) came to me (in my dream) and took me to a town built with gold bricks and silver bricks. There we met men who, half of their bodies, look like the most-handsome human beings you have ever seen, and the other half, the ugliest human beings you have ever seen.

Those two visitors said to those men, 'Go and dip yourselves in that river. So they dipped themselves therein and then came to us, their ugliness having disappeared and they were in the most-handsome shape.

The visitors said, 'The first is the Garden of Eden and that is your dwelling place.'

Then they added, 'As for those people who were half ugly and half handsome, they were those who mixed good deeds and bad deeds, but Allah forgave them.'"

Bukhari 60.196

Be careful what you wish for!

Narrated Anas bin Malik:

Allah's Apostle used to visit Um Haram bint Milhan she was the wife of Ubada bin As-Samit. One day the Prophet visited her and she provided him with food and started looking for lice in his head. Then Allah's Apostle slept and afterwards woke up smiling. Um Haram asked, "What makes you smile, O Allah's Apostle?"

He said, "Some of my followers were presented before me in my dream as fighters in Allah's Cause, sailing in the middle of the seas like kings on the thrones or like kings sitting on their thrones." (The narrator Ishaq is not sure as to which expression was correct).

Um Haram added, I said, "O Allah's Apostle! Invoke Allah, to make me one of them."

So Allah's Apostle invoked Allah for her and then laid his head down (and slept). Then he woke up smiling (again). (Um Haram added): I said, "What makes you smile, O Allah's Apostle?"

He said, "Some people of my followers were presented before me (in a dream) as fighters in Allah's Cause."

He said the same as he had said before.

I said, "O Allah's Apostle! Invoke Allah to make me one of them." He said, "You are among the first ones."

Then Um Haram sailed over the sea during the Caliphate of Muawiya bin Abu Sufyan, and she fell down from her riding animal after coming ashore, and died.

Bukhari 87.130

Before Freud, there was the Prophet Muhammad.

Narrated Abdullah bin Salam:

(In a dream) I saw myself in a garden, and there was a pillar in the middle of the garden, and there was a handhold at the top of the pillar. I was asked to climb it. I said, "I cannot." Then a servant came and lifted up my clothes and I climbed (the pillar), and then got hold of the handhold, and I woke up while still holding it.

I narrated that to the Prophet who said, "The garden symbolizes the garden of Islam, and the handhold is the firm Islamic handhold which indicates that you will be adhering firmly to Islam until you die."

Bukhari 87.142

Narrated Abdullah:

The Prophet said, "I saw (in a dream) a black woman with unkempt hair going out of Medina and settling at Mahai'a, i.e., Al-Juhfa. I interpreted that as a symbol of epidemic of Medina being transferred to that place (Al-Juhfa)."

Bukhari 87.161

You did not swear if you wanted the Prophet to let you know what you got wrong in interpreting a dream. It may also have been his way of avoiding giving an explanation.

Narrated Ibn Abbas:

A man came to Allah's Apostle and said, "I saw in a dream, a cloud having shade. Butter and honey were dropping from it and I saw the people gathering it in their hands, some gathering much and some a little. And behold, there was a rope extending from the earth to the sky, and I saw that you (the Prophet) held it and went up, and then another man held it and went up and (after that) another (third) held it and went up, and then after another (fourth) man held it, but it broke and then got connected again."

Abu Bakr said, "O Allah's Apostle! Let my father be sacrificed for you! Allow me to interpret this dream."

The Prophet said to him, "Interpret it."

Abu Bakr said, "The cloud with shade symbolizes Islam, and the butter and honey dropping from it, symbolizes the Quran, its sweetness dropping and some people learning much of the Qur'an and some a little. The rope which is extended from the sky to the earth is the Truth which you (the Prophet) are following. You follow it and Allah will raise you high with it, and then another man will follow it and will rise up with it and another person will follow it and then another man will follow it but it will break and then it will be connected for him and he will rise up with it. O Allah's Apostle! Let my father be sacrificed for you! Am I right or wrong?"

The Prophet replied, "You are right in some of it and wrong in some."

Abu Bakr said, "O Allah's Prophet! By Allah, you must tell me in what I was wrong."

The Prophet said, "Do not swear."

Bukhari 87.170

When your dreams will come true:

Narrated Abu Huraira:

Allah's Apostle 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 of forty-six parts of prophetism, and whatever belongs to prothetism (sic) can never be false."

Bukhari 87.144

The worst lie you can tell is about a dream you have not dreamt.

Narrated Ibn Umar:

Allah's Apostle said, "The worst lie is that a person claims to have seen a dream which he has not seen."

Bukhari 87.167

Lying about a dream you have not dreamt is not the only worse lie you can tell!

Narrated Wathila bin Al-Asqa:

Allah's Apostle said, "Verily, one of the worst lies is to claim falsely to be the son of someone other than one's real father, or to claim to have had a dream one has not had, or to attribute to me what I have not said."

Bukhari 56.712

Whatever you do, don’t lie about having a dream unless you have very nimble fingers which will be put to the test on Judgement Day.

Narrated Ibn Abbas:

The Prophet said, "Whoever claims to have seen a dream which he did not see, will be ordered to make a knot between two barley grains which he will not be able to do; and if somebody listens to the talk of some people who do not like him (to listen) or they run away from him, then molten lead will be poured into his ears on the Day of Resurrection; and whoever makes a picture, will be punished on the Day of Resurrection and will be ordered to put a soul in that picture, which he will not be able to do."

Bukhari 87.165

A dream where apostates, some of them close collaborators of God’s Messenger, are sent to Hell.

Narrated Abu Huraira:

The Prophet said, "While I was sleeping, a group (of my followers were brought close to me), and when I recognized them, a man (an angel) came out from amongst (us) me and them, he said (to them), 'Come along.'

I asked, 'Where?'

He said, 'To the (Hell) Fire, by Allah.'

I asked, 'What is wrong with them?'

He said, 'They turned apostate as renegades after you left.'

Then behold! (Another) group (of my followers) were brought close to me, and when I recognized them, a man (an angel) came out from (me and them) he said (to them); Come along.'

I asked, 'Where?'

He said, 'To the (Hell) Fire, by Allah.'

I asked, 'What is wrong with them?'

He said, 'They turned apostate as renegades after you left.'

So I did not see anyone of them escaping except a few who were like camels without a shepherd."

Bukhari 76.587