News: Obligations of Dream Interpretation


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 a bad reputation, while a Hindu woman sees that dream, it means rising in the 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.

A dream interpreter must know 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 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 God-fearing person. It is beneficial for a dream interpreter to know 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.  The contradiction between his deeds and intentions
  3.  Lack of sincerity
  4.  Changes in his spirit

“Imam Ja’afar AI-Sadiq, 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 based on 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. If the 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 laid over his ribs, then it could be women that he saw, etcetera.

A dream interpreter must listen to the complete story and its minute details. He also must investigate and find acceptable religious references  (Usul)  for each element in the dream. If he does not fully understand the dream, or if he is unable to find such references, then he should 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 Seerin 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 asked to 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 Seerin used to spend a good part of the day questioning the person about himself, his life, type of work, living conditions, and surrounding circumstances, for a dream interpreter is not a prophet and cannot tell about the future.

Wise Articulation | Quloob

People’s Newsroom Mobilization Network

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