Besides 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 into fifteen categories:
1-The Prophets (PBUH)
2- The Companions
3- The Followers
4- The Scholars
5- The Ascetics
6- Professional interpreters who wrote books on this subject
7- Philosophy hers
9- Jewish interpreters
10- Christian interpreters
11- Magian interpreters
12- Polytheists from the pre-Islamic period
13- Soothsayers, prognosticators, palm readers, and fortunetellers
15- Physiognomists 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 Seerin 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 ahead of a camel, and we kept on eating from it.” Ibn Seerin 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 ‘Abdul-Aziz, and you are backbiting him and sweetening your calumny with honey.”
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 Seerin 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 of them 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 Seerin: “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.” • A man said to Imam Ibn Seer’in: “I saw a pebble going into my ear in a dream. Then I shook my head and got it out of there.” Imam Ibn Seerin replied: ”You mix with people of innovation, and you hear bad words, though God willing, in the end, you will repent.”
A man told Imam Ibn Seerin: “I saw that I was betrothed to a black woman who was shot 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 myself drinking 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.”Omar replied: “Go away, and do not work for me.” Later on, the man joined the army of Yazid in Syria and died fighting the caliphate during the battle of Siffin.
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 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.
Abu Saad 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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