The World of Dreams

What Should be Done if You Cannot Recall a Dream?

Maulana Muhammad Asad Attari Madani

Sometimes, we remember having a dream but cannot recall its details. You may be worried by this but there is no reason to panic—it is normal to forget dreams. Whether you recall it or not depends on your mental state. Just as wakeful people have varying capabilities of memory strength, the ability to remember dreams is different for everyone too. However, those who are competent in this science have methods to recall forgotten dreams, to some extent.

How old is this Knowledge?

The history of dream interpretation is discussed in various sources. Famously, Allah Almighty bestowed this knowledge to Sayyidunā Yūsuf عَـلَيْـهِ الـسَّـلاَم:

وَ كَذٰلِكَ یَجْتَبِیْكَ رَبُّكَ وَ یُعَلِّمُكَ مِنْ تَاْوِیْلِ الْاَحَادِیْثِ وَ یُتِمُّ نِعْمَتَهٗ عَلَیْكَ وَ عَلٰۤى اٰلِ یَعْقُوْبَ كَمَاۤ اَتَمَّهَا عَلٰۤى اَبَوَیْكَ مِنْ قَبْلُ اِبْرٰهِیْمَ وَ اِسْحٰقَؕ-اِنَّ رَبَّكَ عَلِیْمٌ حَكِیْمٌ۠(۶)

“And this is how your Lord will choose you, and teach you, and teach you how to interpret (dreams), and will complete His favours upon you and upon the family of Ya’qoob the way He completed it upon both your forefathers; Ibrāhīm and Iśḥāq. Indeed, your Lord is All-Knowing, Ever-Wise.”[1]

Similarly, the dreams of other prophets عَـلَـيْهِمُ السَّلَام are described in the Quran and hadith. The Beloved Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم is the most knowledgeable of all creation, and he صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم would interpret dreams. From the Ummah, Sayyidunā Abū Bakr رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ is well-known for his knowledge of this science, as explained by Sayyidunā Muhammad ibn Sīrīn رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَـلَيْـه: “After the Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم, the greatest interpreter of dreams from the Ummah is Sayyidunā Abū Bakr رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ.”[2]  He learned dream interpretation from the Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم. Sayyidunā Samura رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ related that the Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم said, “I have been ordered to explain the meaning of your dreams. I have also been instructed to teach this knowledge to Abū Bakr.”[3] Sayyidunā Samura رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ also related that the Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم said, “I have been commanded to appoint Abu Bakr to interpret your dreams.”[4]

After the Companions رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُم, Ibn Sīrīn (d. 110 AH) رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَـلَيْـه is the most prominent Follower to interpret dreams and an accepted authority in this field. There were many other Followers and ulema who discussed and authored works on dream interpretation. Since this science is a branch of sacred knowledge, the ulema of every era addressed it and fulfilled this religious need of people. Allah Almighty have mercy on them and forgive us for their sake.

اٰمِیْن بِجَاہِ النَّبِیِّ الْاَمِیْن  صَلَّی اللہ تَعَالٰی عَلَیْہِ وَاٰلہٖ وَسَلَّم


Your Dream and its Interpretation

Dream: I saw my maternal uncle, who will be travelling to Saudi Arabia for work, dressed in white and constantly smiling, but I do not know where he was.

Interpretation: This dream does not imply anything evil, so he should go ahead with his travel plans. However, it is better to give charity in the way of Allah before embarking on a journey.      

[1] [Kanz-ul-Iman (translation of Quran)] (Part 12, Surah Yusuf , verse 06)

[2] Kanz-ul-‘Ummal, Juzz 15, vol. 8, p. 219 Hadith 219

[3] Tareekh al-Khulafa, p. 33

[4] Al-raud al-Aneeq Fi Fadl al-Siddeeq, Al-Hadees al-Tasi’ Wal ‘Ishroon, p. 49




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