In the name of Allah the beneficent, the Merciful
When we say our prayers we talk to Allah سبحانه و تعالى and when we read the Qur'an Allah talks to us. There is another way in which Allah talks to us, that is through dreams. The only source of glad tidings, prophecy and revelation, that remains to the present day are dreams revealed upon the momineen by Allah. And as the time draws near the end the importance of dreams increases. Allah talks to us in dreams, sometimes giving us direct messages and sometimes encoded messages which only the wise can interpret. These few lines just for those, who think dreams are nothing more than imagination. Yes, for few of us, dream is nothing more than vain sporting of the shatain and confused plays of the Nafs. If we are yet to experience the sweetness of dreams that come from Allah and almost always experience vague, useless dreams, then we need to stop and question ourselves, why? I would be giving practical steps in the end to tune ourselves to the right frequency to get dreams from the right source.
Modern Science is yet to fully comprehend the phenomenon of dreams. Who programs different types of dreams? Who dictates the randomness? Psychologists have played their part in understanding different types of dreams and their relation with different types of sleeps, but with their limited tool of 'five-senses' they can only comprehend one type of dreams; dreams that are a result of what we think during the day or have something to do with a past experience. There are other types of dreams which have relation with a dimension which is beyond the scope of 'five-senses', and hence lies in the domain of metaphysics or parapsychology.
Ibn Al Qayyim says, " Those who says that these dreams are only thoughts and beliefs, are wrong and make an impossible claim. Because a body does not have the inbuilt capability to know things which are told in dreams. In some dreams they are not thoughts as the body has no hint or sign of them. However, sometimes they might be a result of thoughts, one cannot disagree with it . Dreams are of three types : From Allah, From Satan and From Nafs" ( Kitab ur Ruh, Ibn Al Qayyim)
The purpose of this write-up is to understand:
A- What are the different types of dreams and what are their names?
B- Mechanism of different types of dreams?
C- What are the subcategories within the main categories?
D- How to deal with different types of dreams?
E- How to differentiate between different types of dream?
F- Guideline for those who have dreams from Shaitan and Nafs only.
To understand the article better see the references mentioned here
(This is already a pretty long write-up, so I've not mentioned the references along the way. But those who really wish to get something from the article, should open the references in another tab and consult them where I've referred to them)
A- Different Types Of Dreams And Their Names
" Dreams are of three types: one good dream which is a sort of good tidings from Allah; the evil dream which causes pain is from the satan; and the third one is a suggestion of one's own mind " (Reference# 35)
So, as per the broadest categorization there are three types of dreams:
(1) Dreams from Allah :
They have various names
الرُّؤْيَا : Dreams. It comes from the root word (رءى), and it means seeing a something in a dream (الرُّؤْيَا), in contrast to الرؤية which means seeing a physical object. In all the references that we've mentioned below the word الرؤيا is used for good dreams or dreams from Allah and the word حلم is used for dreams from satan or those due to one's own thinking. ( See مفردات القران by Imam Raghib)
الرحمانية : Dreams from Ar-Rahman
الصادقة : True Dreams
الصالحة : Good Dreams
الرُّؤْيَا الْحَسَنَةُ : Good Dreams
رُؤْيَا الْمُؤْمِنِ : Dreams of a mo'min (believer)
(2) Dreams from Shaitan :
الحلم : As metnioned above the word حلم is always used for false dreams (dreams that are from the satan or from one's own thinking). Hence, within احلام we can form two different categories. الاحلام الشيطانية and الاحلام النفس . Also, when the word حلم is used alone in the texts it is used for the dreams from satan, and when dreams from Nafs (own thinking) are mentioned the word ألاحلام النفس or اضغاث الاحلام is used.
الاحلام الشيطانية : As mentioned above, used to specificy as dreams from shiatan whereas the word حلم alone also means so.
(3) Dreams from Nafs:
اضغاث الاحلام : The word has been used to refer to dreams that are a result of one's own thinking, that takes some strange shapes in dreams. The word has been used twice in the Holy Qur'an. See Reference # 4 and also Surah Al Anbiya 21:5. اضغاث comes from the root word ض غ ث which means dry grass or branches, which is used to point towards mixed up dreams that are of no significance when it comes to interpretation. ( See مفردات القران by Imam Raghib)
حديث النفس: A thought , a vision that comes from within one's own self.
الاحلام النفس : A false or bad or meaningless dreams that come from with one's own self.
B- Mechanism Of Different Types Of Dreams
Dreams from Allah : They are of an extra dimensional nature (See Reference # 10). The scholars who wrote on the subject of 'ruh' have discussed these dreams of type 1 in great detail. Although it is not possible for us to comprehend fully the matters of the spirit, but one thing is certain that dreams of type one are initially received by the 'ruh' and then we are able to visualize them even in our dimension. How this happens? Ibn e Khuldun writes in his Muqadmah:
" The spirit of the heart is the vehicle of man's rational spirit. Through its essence, the rational spirit perceives everything that is in the divine world, since its reality and its essence are identical with perception. It is prevented from assimilating any supernatural perception by the veil of its preoccupation with the body and the corporeal powers and senses. If it were without that veil or stripped of it, it would return to its reality, which is identical with perception. It would thus be able to assimilate any object of perception. If it were stripped of part of it, its preoccupation would be less. It is thus able to catch a glimpse of its own world, since external sense perception, its greatest preoccupation, now occupies it less. Its (supernatural perception) corresponds (in intensity) to the degree to which the veil is withdrawn from it. Thus it becomes prepared to receive the available perceptions from its own world that are appropriate for it. When it has perceived these perceptions from its own worlds, it returns with them to its body, since, as long as it remains in its corporeal body, it cannot be active except through corporeal means of perception.
The faculties through which the body perceives knowledge are all connected with the brain. The active part among them is the imagination. It derives imaginary pictures from the pictures perceived by the senses and turns them over to the power of memory, which retains them until they are needed in connection with speculation and deduction. From the (imaginary pictures), the soul also abstracts other spiritual-intellectual pictures. In this way, abstraction ascends from the sensibilia to the intelligibilia. The imagination is the intermediary between them. Also, when the soul has received a certain number of perceptions from its own world, it passes them on to the imagination, which forms them into appropriate pictures and turns those perceptions over to the common sense. As a result, the sleeper sees them as if they were perceived by the senses. Thus, the perceptions come down from the rational spirit to the level of sensual perception, with the imagination again being the intermediary. This is what dream visions actually are. " (Muqamda ibn e Khuldun , Chapter: The Science of Dream Interpretation)
( These paragraphs are hard to grasp, but without having understood these it is hard to move forward, anyone having difficulty should try and find me on Googletalk, and I will try to elaborate by the will of Allah)
(2)Dreamsfrom Shaitan :
Shaitan is basically a Jinn. Jinns are extra-dimensional beings for us, and they have been given the power (or some of them acquire the power) to interact with those in other dimension. Those Jinn which disturb humans living in other dimension are known as Shayateen. Everyone of us have a Shaitan with us which runs through our body like the blood and disturbs us through various ways. One of the way adopted by Satan is to disturb is through sleep. Nightmares are a result of Satanic intervention into our 'physical' domain of sleep ( See Reference # 36). How Jinns enter into our dimension and interact with our perceptions is a matter beyond our comprehension and very little thinking has been done on the topic because dreams from satan have no real importance and we've been told to ignore them.
(3) Dreams from Nafs: Ibn e Khuldun writes in his muqadma:
" All of them are pictures in the imagination while an individual is asleep. However, if these pictures come down from the rational spirit that perceives (them), they are dream visions. But if they are derived from the pictures preserved in the power of memory, where the imagination deposits them when the individual is awake, they are "confused dreams." (Muqamda ibn e Khuldun , Chapter: The Science of Dream Interpretation)
These are the dreams which belong to this physical dimension of us alone. Psychologists can only comprehend these types of dreams. Any think which occupies our mind for a long time, any extreme wish, any captivating fear which might be preserved in some corner of our brain might turn up in strange shapes during the dream. These dreams deal with our near or distant past and have nothing do with future.
C- Subcategories Within Different Types Of Dreams:
(1)Dreams from Allah : It is not possible to give a finite number of types of dreams within the categories. Scholars who have written about dreams have mentioned different sub-categories. In type 1 dreams, the diversity of dreams makes it impossible to give a finite list of subcategories which encompass all the dreams seen by the Sahaba, Tabi'een and the pious predecessors which were surely dreams from Allah.
Nevertheless, Al Muhallab رحمه الله has given two broad sub-categories of dreams from Allah:
(a)Direct dream: something one would see in a dream and the exact scene repeats itself in day-time when you are awake and this dream does not need interpretation.
(b) A dream the comes in symbols and it needs to be interpreted.
(Fath ul Baari)
Different examples of dreams from Allah within type (a) are :
(i) True Dreams (رؤيا صادق): Dreams that become a reality. These are the dreams which are the 46th part of prophethood, for the prophet Muhammad had these dreams continously for six months and the total period of his prophethood was 23 years, which makes it 46th part of the total. Different prophets has different periods of Prophethood, but as prophet Muhammad's prophethood was the most complete, hence it is referred to as the 46th part of prophethood, and Allah Knows best.
(ii) Meeting the Arwaah of the Dead in dreams
(iii) Meeting the Arwaah of the living in dreams : Is it possible for two living person's ruh to meet in dreams? This is a subject of difference amongst scholars and Ibn al Qayyim has quoted the various opinions in his book Kitab ur Ruh.
(iv) Glad tidings (مبشرات): A glad tiding for some victory or fulfillment of wish in near or distant future. (See Reference # 9)
Dream from type (b) are actually: Tamseelat (تمثيلات); Dreams which don't convey a clear cut meaning. They are messages in a code superior to that which the brain can cope with. These have to be interpreted through the knowledge of Ta'beer. Within Tamseelat we can have dream which inform us of some near future happening. One can also have dreams that are for distant future (like the dream of Yusuf AS, See reference # 2). Also, these dreams might serve as an encouragement or some warning sometimes.
Note: The sleep of Prophets is unique. As we know the Prophet Muhammad informed us that his 'heart' remained awake even when he slept, so he didn't need to redo ablution on waking up from sleep. Also, he informed us that Allah fed him during the night, for that reason he kept 'Sawm Al Wisal', which is forbidden for others. So, though prophets are human beings like us but in some regards 'none of us is like them'. Also, Prophet Muhammad informed us that there is a shaitan (jinn) with everyone, but he made the jinn with him a Muslim, by the grace of Allah. So, the dreams the Prophet had always used to be from Allah. Also, the dreams of Prophets used to be an order from Allah, and were of a legal importance unlike the dream of anyone of us (See Reference # 5).
(2) Dreams from Shaitan: These can be further categorized as:
(a) Dreams which try to make one worried by evoking some fear
(b) Dreams which try to make one worried by evoking hopelessness
(c) Dreams which contain indecency
(3) Dreams from Nafs: Dreams from Nafs also can be categorized as either those who are clear-cut or those who appear in the form of symbols and signs.
(a) As a result of some fear
(b) As a result of constant thinking on some subject
(c) As a result of some extreme pending wish
(d) As a result of some experience you had in near or distant past
(e) Some embedded thought or feeling in corner of mind taking some random shape during dream
(g) As a result of some extreme love or hatred towards someone
D- How To Deal With Different Types Of Dreams:
(1)Dreams from Allah : There are only two types of instructions. One are those for dreams that are meaningful (type 1) and those which are for dreams that are meaningless (type 2 and type 3).
All the references are there in the bouquet of Ahadith quoted below. As a summary one is supposed to do the following on experiencing a dream of Type 1 :
(a) Praise Allah for the good dream
(b) Feel Happy about it
(c) Don't talk about it those whom you dislike
(d) Narrate it to someone whom you love or a wise person
(e) Try and Narrate it to your loved one on the morning following the night you saw the dream. or as soon as you see the dream
(2) Dreams from Shaitan OR (3) Dreams from Nafs:
These are useless dreams and on having these we are advised to :
(a) Seek refuge with Allah from the evil of the dream
(b) Seek refuge with Allah from the evil of Shaitan
(c) Spit to his left three times (without saliva) on waking up
(d) Say two voluntary rakah on waking up
(e) Ask Allah for a good dream
(f) Turn over the side on which you were lying previously
(g) Not mention it to anyone
(h) Have a firm belief that it was a meaningless dream and it will not harm you
(i) Don't let it occupy your mind at all
E- Differentiating between the three types of dreams
Ibn Qutaybah ad-Dinawari رحمه الله says in his book about dream interpretations, "There is nothing in which people deal with from the different sciences that is more obscure, delicate, exalted, noble, difficult and problematic than dreams because they are a type of revelation and type of Prophethood."
We are living in an age where the knowledge of the material world is increasing exponentially, rendering it impossible for a person to grasp even a tiny portion of it in totality. And as for the knowledge of metaphysical dimensions, we are far behind the people of the past. We see Yaqub عليه السلام forbidding Yusuf عليه السلام to narrate his dream to his brothers, because even those deviant kids had knowledge to take out some meaning from the dream (See Reference # 2). And in the age of ours, we tend to wobble at even the first step of interpretation, that is to know whether the dream needs and interpretation or not, which used to be a child play in the times that have passed.
As elaborated above one needs to know whether the dream is meaningful or a meaningless one because one's reaction to the dream depends on this. Realizing, the importance of the topic we will try to list down mandatory and probable characteristics of the three types of dreams. Before we go on with the list few points are to be clarified :
1- We are not discussing the topic of interpretation of dreams, rather, we are dealing with a topic, a satisfactory grasp of which is a must have for interpretation. Hence, we are dealing with a prerequisite of science of interpretation of dreams.
2- We will try to list down mandatory and probable characteristics of the three types of dreams. For a dream to belong to a particular type it should possess all the mandatory characteristics but it may or may not possess all the probable characteristics. Hence, instead of getting confused on comparing one's dream to few of the listed characteristics. One should go through the whole list to have conviction on his filtration.
3- Books written on the topics of interpretation of dreams do mention the characteristics of the three types of dreams, but all the characteristics are mentioned as mandatory ones, which might not be the case always. Hence, the set of rules given fails some times, and makes the dreamer confused. The idea of mandatory and probable characteristics is unique in this regard.
4- The purpose of this list is not to be able to identify any dream as type 1, 2 or 3. Rather, the main idea is to be able to filter out dreams of type 1 from the remaining two.
5- Many ahadith mention only two types of dreams that is الرؤيا and الحلم , and do not draw any line between type 2 and type 3. The reason being, the thin differentiating line between these two types. Many a times dreams are so jumbled out that one can't figure out different between type 2 and type 3. Also, it is needless to differentiate between type 2 and type 3 as both are meaningless.
6- Nevertheless, we will mention all the characteristics for the three under different headings. For our ease in future, we should take them just as characteristics of true (type 1) and false (type 2 and 3) dreams in future. One should develop his own two column table of these characteristics. This exercise is left to the individuals because dreams have a lot to do with one's own orientation and thinking and sleeping patterns.
7- As a rule, one should ponder over, care for and relate only those dreams which pass through the complete filter (the list you tabulated yourself), and the dreamer has conviction that this surely was a true dream (type 1).
Characteristic # 1
THAT GIVES YOU A GLAD TIDING
Dreams that give a glad tiding are from Allah. So, if we see a dream that makes us happy in any way then probably it is a dream from Allah.
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." (Sahih Al Bukhari)
TRIES TO MAKE YOU WORRIED
If you have a dream that makes you worried, or that tries to inculcate some vain fear in your main then that dream is from shaitan.
Jabir reported Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: There came to him (the Holy Prophet) a desert Arab and said: I saw in a dream that I had been beheaded and I had been following it (the severed head). Allah's Apostle (may peace be upon him) reprimanded him saying: Do not inform about the vain sporting of devil with you during the night. (Sahih Al Muslim)
Dreams that are a result of our thoughts might make us worried or might make us happy. It depends on the content that we embed in our mind that takes some haphazard shape in the dream. All sorts of emotions might come out as a result of a mixed dream.
Filter # 1 : Hence, it is easy to filter out false dreams. Any dream which is displeasing to you on the face of it, is either from shaitan or because of some fear that you have in the back of your mind (type 3). But, any displeasing dream will not be from Allah. Now, if one has a pleasing dream can one be sure that this is from Allah, it could also be some intense unaccomplished wish. To confirm whether it is a type 1 dream or not we should look at the other characteristics. And Allah Knows Best.
Characteristic # 2
HAVE MEANING AND INTERPRETATION
Allah gives us some glad tiding, or shows us some path, or gives us some future information. Also, the dream can be an encouragement etc. In short, the dream has some meaning, and if it is a 'coded' dream then it needs an interpretation.
Dreams from Shaitan are meaningless and is a try of Shaitan to make us worried.
Dreams from Nafs do tell us about the nature and thoughts of the dreamer but they have no real information for the dreamer himself, and he ought not disclose such dreams to others. Hence, for the dreamer these dreams are meaningless.
Filter # 2 : Hence, one can make out from the content and guess whether it is a type 1 dream or not. It is not that difficult to guess which content is meaningful and which one is meaningless. And Allah Knows Best.
Characteristic # 3
It is the sunnah of Allah to repeat the important message, as we see in the Holy Qur'an the Ayaat of great value are repeated again and again. Similarly, important dreams from Allah are repeated again and again.
From Shaitan and Nafs
It rarely happens that a dream from Shaitan or Nafs is repeated as it is.
Filter # 3 : Filtering out satanic dreams, which either have an immodest content or try to make us worried, is easy. A dream from Nafs repeating itself as it is, is something whose probability is near to impossibility, considering the randomness of dreams of Nafs. Hence, a dream which is recurring is of some value and is a dream of type 1. And Allah Knows Best.
Characteristic # 4
LOOKS AS IF EVENTS ARE REALITY IN THEIR PORTRAYAL
Dreams from Allah are a 'reality' of some higher order, hence one feels them a reality during the dream. This leaves a long-lasting effect on one's mind he remembers the dream in a better with the minute details. He remains fully immersed in the dream and it seems like a reality to him.
LOOKS LIKES THOUGHTS, NOT CONSISTENT WITH FACTS
Dreams from Shaitan, look like a movie-scene more than a reality. They have so many loop-holes, so many happenings that are not consistent with the facts. Many a times, one makes it out during the dream that this is not a reality, I must be dreaming and at the very same instant the dream ends.
COMBINE REALITY AND FANTASY TOGETHER
Dreams from Nafs are a combination of reality and fantasy. It depends on the intensity of the dreams from 'Nafs' because sometimes the dream is very clear, and sometimes it is vague. Nevertheless, a careful insight into the dreams shows that the events don't seem like a reality in portrayal like the dreams from Allah are.
Filter # 4: Once again, one can easily ignore the dreams from shaitan. It's not difficult to make out a movie-scene from a reality. It can become difficult some times to differentiate between dreams from Nafs and dreams from Allah, on based of this characteristic alone. But if one combines other characteristics with it then it becomes easy. Filter # 4 and Filter # 5 should always be used together for a better analysis.
Characteristic # 5
REMEMBERS DETAILS OF DREAM
Dreams from Allah seem just like a reality. As compared to other types of dreams, in the computational language, dreams from Allah have a very high 'quality'. One can remember the minutest details of the dreams from Allah.
Ibn e Khuldun writes in his Muqadma : "Another sign is that the dream vision stays and remains impressed with all its details in the memory of (the person who perceived it). Neither neglect nor forgetfulness affects it. No thinking or remembering is required, in order to have it present (to one's mind). The (dream vision) remains pictured in the mind of (the dreamer) when he awakes. Nothing of it is lost to him. This is because perception by the soul does not take place in time and requires no consecutive order, but takes place all at once and within a single time element." (Muqamda ibn e Khuldun , Chapter: The Science of Dream Interpretation)
When Allah sends us a message directly, then it is not on us to remind ourselves of it continually so that we remember it, instead Allah's message has the in-built capacity that one remembers its minute details, until Allah wishes to wipe it off from one's mind for one reason or the other. As Allah said to Prophet Muhammad in Surah Al Qiyamah : " Do not set your tongue in motion to make haste with (the revelation of the Qur'an). It is up to us to put it together and to recite it. And when we recite it, follow its recitation. Then, it is up to us to explain it."
FORGET DETAILS AND MIXES IT
One tends to forget dreams from Shaitan as soon as he wakes, not if he 'forcefully' reminds himself of it.
MAY FORGET DETAILS AND MIXES DETAILS
Dreams of type 3 have a better retention than type 2, but one cannot remember the minute details of the dream.
"Confused dreams, on the other hand, take place in time, because they rest in the powers of the brain and are brought from the power of memory to the common sense by the imagination, as we have stated. (The process is an action of the body,) and all actions of the body take place in time. Thus, they (require) a consecutive order, in order to perceive anything, with something coming first and something else coming later. Forgetfulness, which always affects the powers of the brain, affects (them). That is not the case with the perceptions of the rational soul. They do not take place in time and have no consecutive order. Perceptions that are impressed in (the rational soul) are impressed all at once in the briefest moment. Thus, after (the sleeper) is awake, (his) dream vision remains present in his memory for quite some time. In no way does it slip his mind as the result of neglect, if it originally made a strong impression. However, if it requires thinking and application to remember a dream vision after a sleeper is awake, and if he has forgotten many of its details before he can remember them again, the dream vision is not a true one but a confused dream." (Muqamda ibn e Khuldun , Chapter: The Science of Dream Interpretation)
Filter # 5 : Dreams that are useless do not have good retention, they do not have a good 'quality'. One tends to forget the details of such dreams as soon as he wakes up. Dreams from Allah on the other hand are those which are just like reality. So, if you have to 'struggle' to remember the details of the dreams, or you 'fill-up' the missing-links of a dream by yourself then it is surely not a dream from Allah.
Characteristic # 6
CHASTE NOT INDECENT
Allah never commands what is shameful. (Surah Al A'araf 7:28)
For he (Shaitan) commands you what is evil and shameful, and that ye should say of Allah that of which ye have no knowledge. (Surah Al Baqarah 2:169)
BY NATURE OF DREAMER AND SEXUAL ORIENTATION
"Nor do I absolve my own self (of blame): the (human) soul is certainly prone to evil, unless my Lord do bestow His Mercy: but surely my Lord is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful." (Surah Yusuf 12:53)
Those who desire indecent acts and involve themselves in them during are expected to see the same in dreams.
Filter # 6 : Any indecent dream can easily be disregarded as a false dream (type 2 and type 3). Of course decency in dreams is not exactly what decency means in this world. For example : if someone dreams of the end times, and everyone is running naked, that might not be counted as a indecent dream. Also, those who involve themselves in indecency throughout the day, might find modesty in the most impure of dreams. He who abides by the Islamic ruling of modesty, will not see an immodest dream, and if he does so will immediately realize it to be a game of shaitan or the nafs.
Characteristic # 7
DOES NOT OCCUR BECAUSE OF WET DREAMS
See characteristic # 6
MAY OCCUR BECAUSE OF WET DREAMS
See characteristic # 6
MAY OCCUR BECAUSE OF WET DREAMS
Wet dreams after a certain time period. At that time, shaitan or the nafs takes up the opportunity to show indecent images to a person in dream. Ofcourse, that does not hold true for everyone. There are those who have wet dreams without even the slightest of indecency. Hence, it depends on the piety of the person, his age, his marital status as to what sort of wet dream he normally experiences.
Filter # 7 : Any wet dream is to be disregarded as a meaningless dream.
Characteristic # 8
DEAL WITH PRESENT OR NEAR OR DISTANT FUTURE
Dreams from Allah are either a live experience or they give some direct or indirect message or glad tiding for near and distant future. Example of live experience, can be meeting with dead. For examples of dreams that deal with future see Reference # 2, 3 and 4.
NO RELATION WITH PAST, PRESENT OR FUTURE
Dreams from Shaitan are meaningless and have no relation whatsoever with past, present or future.
AS A RESULT OF SOME HAPPENING IN NEAR OR DISTANT PAST
Dreams from Nafs are a result of some feeling deposited in the brain as a result of some happening in near or distant past. For example : A child wishes to eat an ice-cream, but his parents don't fulfill his wish during the day, then the child's wish might be fulfilled in the dream. Also, dreams from Nafs might express the general behavior, mentality or actions of the dreamer. Hence, one is advised to tell dreams only to the one who loves, because telling a dream of Nafs by mistake to someone not appropriate, might reveal some of your secret to him.
Filter # 8 : It is pretty tough to differentiate between dreams on this characteristic, as this is a hidden characteristic not evident to the dreamer. Any extreme pending wish taking some shape in the dream can be mistakenly take as a glad tiding for future. Dreams that come from Allah are of vital importance, hence, fulfillment of an ice cream wish can easily be identified as type 3 dream, and fulfillment of one's wish for umrah can be taken as a glad tiding from Allah (See Reference # 9).
Characteristic # 9
Dreams from Allah are mostly symbolic but they can also be direct. See Reference # 2,3 and 4. All the dreams mentioned in Surah Yusuf are symbolic in nature. Dreams from Allah can also contain plain events, but those are so simple in their interpretation that they don't create any confusion. When one gets dreams that contain symbols, then he gets confused between type 1 and type 3.
Dreams whose source is Shaitan contain events rather than symbols and indications.
MIXED SYMBOLIC AND DIRECT
Dreams from the Nafs are mostly direct and it's very rare that they are of a symbolic nature. Symbolism in dreams from Nafs seems vague and irrelevant.
Filter # 9 : I don't have any other proof for it other than my own experience, that in the present world most of the dreams from the Nafs are of direct nature, and hence, a dream containing symbols is most probably from Allah. Also, symbols of type 1 dream are very clear, whereas symbols of type 3 dreams seem meaningless and vague.
Characteristic # 10
LOGICAL AND SEQUENTIAL
Dreams from Allah are logical and contain a valid sequence of events.
RANDOM AND CONTRADICTORY
Dreams from Shaitan seem pretty random even when experiencing them. They contain many events that do not conform to our logical mind. One cannot imagine the ways how shaitan confuses us by inventing events that do not make any sense. So, any 'crazy' dream, as people call them, is definitely a work of Shaitan.
LOGICAL, BUT MIXED EVENTS
As dreams from Nafs are based upon our daily experiences, hence they tend to be logical in nature, but they are jumbled up (See the meaning of اضغاث احلام, explained above) .
Characteristic # 11
SPECIFIC TOPIC AND BRIEF EVENTS
This characteristic is found in almost all the dreams of Sahaba and the dreams mentioned in the Holy Qur'an but Prophet Muhammad narrated long dreams to Sahaba as well.
NO TOPIC AND A LONG STORY
Dreams from Shaitan have no topic and they contain long stories, just like horror movies.
MIXED SUBJECT AND MANY EVENTS
Dreams from Nafs contain jumbled up events and no main theme.
Filter # 10 : Hence dreams from Allah are almost always 'short' and they have a specific topic and brief events, whereas in other dreams it is hard to make out what the central theme or what the dream is trying to convey. They either contain long stories that do not make up any sense, or numerous jumbled up short events that do not match with each other.
Characteristic # 12
URGENCY TO RETURN TO THE PHYSICAL WORLD
Ibn e Khuldun likes in his muqadma : " the person who has the dream vision wakes up quickly, as soon as he has perceived it. It seems as if he is in a hurry to get back to being awake and having sensual perception. Were he (to continue) to sleep soundly, the perception given him would weigh heavily on him. Therefore, he tries to escape from the state (in which he has supernatural perception) to the state of sensual perception in which the soul is always fully immersed in the body and the corporeal accidents. " (Muqamda ibn e Khuldun , Chapter: The Science of Dream Interpretation)
From Shaitan and Nafs
NO SUCH URGENCY
Urgency to return to the physical world is not found in dreams of type 2 and type 3.
Filter # 11: One experiences a certain jolt as he returns to the physical world, sometimes with a a little pain in the heart, on seeing a dream of type 1.
Characteristic # 13
CAN SEE ANY TIME
Scholars have mentioned different times during which a true vision is seen. Ibn e Sireen has mentioned that they are seen during Spring or Fall. Few scholars mention that true dreams are seen during the fruit ripening season. There is no proof of these characteristics from the texts. As a general rule true dreams can be seen at any time of the day or night and during any portion of the year. But, one can expect to have visions from Allah during the last third of the night as during it Allah comes down to the Sky of the earth. Also, there is a weak narration regarding it (See Reference # 24) . So, one expect dreams from Allah at holy times and in holy places (sleeping in Masjid e Haram etc). Also, one should not expect a dream from Allah when sleeping through the fajr salah etc.
CAN SEE ANY TIME
Dreams from Shaitan can also be seen at any time during any portion of the year.
CAN SEE ANY TIME
Dreams from Nafs can also be seen at any time during any portion of the year.
Differences mentioned in books which don't seem logical
SIDE OF SLEEP
Few books mention that if one is able to sleep on the right side only then he gets good dreams. But, that does not seem to have any proof. Rather the prophetic narrations suggest that on which side you sleep has no relation with the type of dream that you get. That is why we are ordered to change our side when we have a bad dream, regardless of the fact on which side we were before (See Reference # 33).
Few scholars have mentioned that dreams from Allah are dominated by brightness and colors, and those from shaitaan are predominantly dark and black. Although dreams from shaitaan seem to be of a dark nature, but one cannot differentiate on this basis between dreams that are of type 1 and type 3.
Few scholars have mentioned that when we cannot interact with dreams from Allah and we cannot change the course of events and one can interact with dreams from Shaitan and Nafs. But that doesn't seem to be a valid characteristic because there are numerous instances in which Prophet Muhammad or Sahaba interacted with the dream they had.
F- Guidelines For Those Who Have Dreams From Satan And Nafs Only
Behold! verily on the friends of Allah there is no fear, nor shall they grieve; Those who believe and (constantly) guard against evil;- For them are glad tidings, in the life of the present and in the Hereafter; no change can there be in the words of Allah. This is indeed the supreme felicity. (Surah Younus 10:64)
The glad tidings mentioned in the Ayat are the 'mubashiraat' that one has from Allah in dreams. This is a great blessing promised for those who are 'friends of Allah'. The type of dream that a person has depends so many variables that its not possible for us to control the types of dreams that we have. But, yes, the much we try to get close to Allah, and follow his commandment, and the more we supress our Nafs, and seek Allah's refuge from the Shaitan, there are more chances of getting meaningful dreams. A m'omin wishes to see dreams from Allah, because this way he can get messages from Allah, which are directed to him.
Narrated Ibn 'Umar: Men from the companions of Allah's Apostle used to see dreams during the lifetime of Allah's Apostle and they used to narrate those dreams to Allah's Apostle. Allah's Apostle would interpret them as Allah wished. I was a young man and used to stay in the masjid before my wedlock. I said to myself: "If there were any good in myself, I too would see what these people see." So when I went to bed one night, I said: "O Allah! If you see any good in me, show me a good dream." (Sahih Al Bukhari)
Yet, one ought not make this a 'sign' of one's piety or disbelief, because it is dependent on other varibales as well. It does indicate some lapse on his part, but that doesn't necessarily indicate his 'sins'. There have been non-muslims who have seen Prophet Muhammad dream and who turned to Islam on seeing such a dream. All praise be to Allah.
I mentioned in the beginning that I'll be giving practical steps in the end for those who don't have any dreams of type 1.
1- Try and Sleep as Early as possible after Isha
2- Try not to sleep after Fajr
3- Sleep for half an hour or an hour in the afternoon
4- Read Surah Al Falaq and Surah An Nas and blow it over your body before sleeping and have a firm belief that now I'm in Allah's protection from the Shaitan
5- Perform Ablution before sleeping
6- Try and keep yourself busy in Islamic activities during the day
7- Try and contemplate as much as possible on Surah Yusuf
8- If you remain in 'self-denial', then improve your 'self-image'.
9- If you remain confused and sad always, try to remain in a happy mood as the Prophet Muhammad used to be the one who smiled the most.
10- When in front of people try to smile, and your tears, sadness etc should be before Allah only or some chosen loved ones.
11- Make the du'a of Ibn e Umar before sleeping : O Allah! If you see any good in me, show me a good dream.
12- Try not to eat just before sleeping
13- Lie down on bed only when you are really tired and ready to sleep
In short : You have to keep yourself involved in matters that make you 'remember' Allah during the day, and remember that your Nafs and Shatain are with you and you've to try your best to supress them. Have a wish that Allah shows you signs in dreams. Don't make your life 'dependent' on dreams. Do wait for dreams from Allah, but never go into the slightest of discontent. Try and realize your 'self', your 'ruh' and your direct connection with Allah.
Before ending with du'aa, I would like to mention a blessing of Allah. He who has made this far, and read the article, would have done it for the love of Allah, and in order to try to be able to get and understand better messages from the loved one, Allah. And he who loves Allah, I love him too.
About six years ago, I saw a dream that I am ending Masjid e Nabwi of old times. I am moving towards the minbar (though I cannot see it), and I am sure once I reach the minbar I would find Prophet Muhammad sitting there. After a while my vision started diminishing, and and I couldn't see anything. For few seconds, I couldn't see anything. Then I heard an azaan in beautiful voice, I was sure that it's the azaan of Bilal رضى الله عنه. Then I could see again, I started moving towards the minbar again. After a while again, my vision started diminishing, and everything was blank again. Again I heard the azaan and the vision came back and I started moving forward. This happened four or five times. The last time when my vision was gone, I didn't hear the azaan, and I woke up. As soon as I woke up, I jumped from my bed, there was great pain in my heart, and I wept. I was very sad that I didn't see the Prophet Muhammad even after reaching that close.
Oh Allah! Forgive me if I said anything wrong in this article, and remove it from the minds of people and accept from me whatever I said right, and inculcate it in the hearts of the people.
I request everyone who has benefitted from any portion of my article to say Aamin at this du'aa:
" Oh Allah! After six long years, I still await the sight of Prophet Muhammad SAW. Oh Allah! I am not worthy of meeting the most blessed being of all times, but I ask you for your mercy. Oh Allah! If you see any good in me, show me good dreams, and show me your beloved Prophet. Oh Allah! Give me the knowledge of dream interpretation and open my mind to realize the marvels of the ruh. Oh Allah! Bless with you love and love of your loved ones. Oh Allah! These eyes weep and desire to see You and Your Prophet on the Day of Judgment. Oh Allah! Don't take away from me the greatest of all blessings, that is the sweetness of Your sight on the day of judgment, and don't take away from me the blessing of the sight of Your Beloved Prophet in dream "