The science of dreams in Islamic perspective

Representing unconscious intentions and desires, reading spontaneous impulses from the body and brain as you sleep, compiling and digesting information acquired throughout the day, and acting as a kind of psychotherapy are a few of the theories that may apply.

24 Jan 2024 05:14pm
Artwork by Daniel O'Connell
Artwork by Daniel O'Connell

The painting above is an artwork that shows Daniel O'Connell inside a thinking bubble while he dreams of confronting George IV.

What are dreams? According to the Oxford Dictionary, dreams are a sequence of ideas, pictures, and feelings that come to mind while one is asleep.

Another way to describe them is as a mental state when a person appears to be unconscious of their immediate surroundings and it may be deeply held ideals, goals, or dreams.

They could also be an exaggerated or delusional fantasy, a person or object that is seen to be amazing or flawless might appear in dreams as well. It is possible to have dreams when you sleep.

People can have daydreams or fancies about things they want, and they can also see, hear, or feel them in dreams. Individuals can consider doing anything or thinking that something might be the case.

Dreams are a fascinating topic and have been studied by scientists and psychological doctors for many years. There are a few theories explaining why humans dream.

Representing unconscious intentions and desires, reading spontaneous impulses from the body and brain as you sleep, compiling and digesting information acquired throughout the day, and acting as a kind of psychotherapy are a few of the theories that may apply.

According to research, dreaming may accomplish the following objectives, including offline memory reprocessing; dreaming is a subsystem of the waking default network, the part of the mind active during daydreaming; it assists in developing cognitive abilities; it reflects unconscious mental function; and it serves the need for psychological balance and equilibrium.

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The brain combines learning and memory tasks and endorses and records waking consciousness in this process. Although it is challenging to examine dreams in a lab, new research methods and technological advancements may help us better comprehend dreams.

In the Islamic point of view, Islamic scholars have written extensively about the science of dream interpretation. According to Arshad Ali (2014), It takes an extensive understanding of Dīn's several sciences to interpret dreams.

Dreams do not always come true as they appear when a person is asleep as they often have a deeper significance that must be correctly understood in the context of the Qur'ān and Hadīth. Therefore, dream interpretation is not a career for everyone.

To interpret a dream, one has to know more than just the many signs pointing to the reality of the dream.

It's important to use caution while telling someone about a dream. It must only be interpreted by an Aalim who is skilled in dream interpretation.

In addition, Islam says that dreams can be meaningful, but scholars have warned that not all dreams should be considered as such.

Dream interpretation is a challenging topic that experts approach with extreme caution, according to renowned Islamic scholar Ibn Sirin, who wrote a classic study on the subject.

The Prophet (pbuh) also mentioned in his hadith, narrated by 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."

This Hadith emphasises how crucial it is to run to Allah for shelter if you're having a horrible dream. It's said that Satan uses ominous or frightening dreams to trick Muslims, therefore spitting to the left and running to Allah for safety will shield the dreamer from its attacks.

It's noteworthy to note that Sufi Muslims use lucid dreaming or dream incubation as a means of achieving greater awareness in their prayer. The Sufi scholar Ibn Arabi wrote of the "great benefits" of learning to have lucid dreams in the 12th century. Islamic philosophy has a rich history of dream interpretation.

It is believed that dreams are a way for Allah to speak with His followers. Since dreams are frequently seen as messages and signs from Allah, Muslims see dreams as a type of vision that may provide insight and direction.

According to a collection of prophetic traditions, dreams are categorised in Islamic dream lore as either "true" and "veridical," or "false" and "misleading."

Some dreams are terrifying or irrational, influenced by the devil, while others are seen as joyful news (mubashshirat) from God.

The third kind consists of perplexing dreams that depict scenarios Written by: Amiera Amani Binti Mohd Kamal Institution: Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia and imagery from the dreamer's everyday interactions and activities and have the potential to mislead a devout Muslim.

The Islamic perspective on dreams encourages believers to approach dream interpretation with a balance of scientific understanding and spiritual awareness.

While acknowledging the scientific aspects of dreams, Muslims are also taught to consider the potential divine messages that may be conveyed through their dreams.

Seeking guidance from knowledgeable individuals, such as scholars or those well-versed in dream interpretation, is recommended to ensure a comprehensive understanding that encompasses both scientific and spiritual insights.

In conclusion, the Islamic point of view on the science of dreams incorporates both the scientific understanding of the brain's activities during sleep and the belief that dreams can serve as a channel for divine communication.

This holistic approach encourages Muslims to explore the multifaceted nature of dreams, recognising the interconnectedness of the physical, psychological, and spiritual dimensions.

This article is written by Amiera Amani Mohd Kamal Institution from Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia.

The views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect those of Sinar Daily.