First Matter which is the First Booklet: Facts about dream interpretations.
The First Matter, which is the First Part
In the Name of Allah, the Merciful, the Compassionate.
If it be that you can interpret dreams.1
S e c o n d l y : You want me to interpret now the dream you had three years ago, three days after meeting me, whose meaning has long since become apparent. That beautiful, happy, and auspicious dream has been consigned to the past, so am I not right to say the following in the face of it, since it has demonstrated its meaning?
I am neither the night nor a lover of the night; * I am a servant of the Sun; it is of the Sun that I speak.
Those illusions which are the snare of the saints, * Are the moon-faced reflections of the garden of Allah.
Yes, my brother, we have become accustomed to discussing with you teachings concerning pure reality. Since to discuss in investigative fashion dreams, the doors of which are open to fancy and illusion, is not completely in keeping with the way of investigative scholarship, in connection with that minor incident of sleep, we shall explain Six Points of Reality about sleep, the small brother of death, according to scholarly principles and from the angle indicated by verses of the Qur’an. In the Seventh we shall make a brief interpretation of your dream.
An important element of Sura Yusuf is Yusuf’s dream, just as the Qur’an shows in veiled fashion through verses like:
And We made your sleep for rest2
that there are important truths contained in dreams and sleep.
Those who follow the path of reality are not in favour of relying on the interpretation of dreams and taking of omens by means of the Qur’an. The reason is this: the All-Wise Qur’an strikes at the unbelievers frequently and severely. When this severity against the unbelievers is shown to one taking omens, it causes him to despair; it confuses his heart. Dreams too, while good, since they sometimes appear to be opposed to reality, are thought to be evil, causing a person to fall into despair, destroying his morale, and causing him to think badly of things. There are many dreams which although they take a terrifying, injurious, or unclean form, their meanings and interpretations are very good. But since everyone cannot find the relation between the form of the dream and the reality of its meaning, they become unnecessarily anxious, despairing, and unhappy. It was only because of this aspect that, like Imam-i Rabbani and those who follow the path of reality, I said at the beginning: I am neither the night nor a lover of the night.
According to an authentic Hadith, one of the forty constituents of prophethood was manifested in the form of true dreams during sleep.3 This means that true dreams are both truth and they are connected with the functions of prophethood. Being extremely important, long, profound, and connected with prophethood, I am postponing this Third Point to another time, and not opening this door for now.
Dreams are of three sorts. Two of these, in the words of the Qur’an, are A confused medley of dreams;4 included among these, they are not worth interpreting. If they have any meaning, it is of no importance. Either due to an ailment, the power of imagination mixes things up and depicts them in accordance with the person’s sickness, or the imagination recalls some stimulating event which occurred to the person that day, or previously, or even at the same time a year or two earlier, and it modifies and depicts it, giving it some other form. This sort too are A confused medley of dreams, and not worth interpreting.
The third sort are true dreams. With the senses that bind man to the Manifest World and roam in that world resting and ceasing their activity, the dominical subtle faculty in man’s essential nature finds a direct relation with World of the Unseen and opens up a window onto it. Through that window, it looks on events whose occurrence is being prepared; it encounters the manifestations of the Preserved Tablet and one of the types of samples of the missives of Divine Determining; it sees some true occurrences. Sometimes the imagination governs in those occurrences, dressing them in the garments of form. There are numerous types and levels of this sort of dream. Sometimes they turn out exactly as dreamed; sometimes they turn out slightly concealed, as though under a fine veil; and sometimes they turn out heavily veiled.
It is narrated in Hadiths that the dreams Allah’s Most Noble Messenger (Upon whom be blessings and peace) had at the outset of the Revelations turned out as true and clear as the breaking of morning.5
True dreams are a higher development of premonitions. Everyone has premonitions to a greater or lesser degree. Animals even have them. At one time I discovered scientifically, additional to the famous external and inner senses like the unconscious instinctive senses which impel and stimulate, and hearing and sight, two senses including premonition. Philosophers and the people of misguidance mistakenly and foolishly call those little known senses “Natural instinct.” God forbid! They are not ‘Natural’ instinct; rather, Divine Determining impels man and animals through a sort of innate inspiration. For example, some animals like cats, if they lose their sight, through this impelling of Divine Determining, go and find a plant which is healing for their eyes, rub it on them, and they get better.
Also, birds of prey like eagles, which, like the public health officials of the earth, are charged with the duty of removing the carcasses of nomadic animals, are informed through that impelling of Divine Determining, that inspiration of the sense of premonition, that Divine drive, of animal remains a day’s distance away, and they go and find them.
Also, a young bee newly come into the world, flies a day’s distance in the air when only a day old without losing its way, and through that drive of Divine Determining and impelling inspiration returns to its hive. And it happens frequently to everyone that while speaking of someone, the door opens, and totally unexpectedly the same person enters. There is even a saying in Kurdish which goes: “Talk of the wolf and ready your gun, for the wolf will appear.” That is to say, through a premonition, that dominical subtle faculty had perceived the person’s coming in summary fashion. But since the conscious mind had not comprehended it, it prompted him to speak of it, not intentionally, but involuntarily. Intuitive people sometimes say that someone is coming almost like wonder-working. At one time in myself, even, sensitivity of this kind was acute. I wanted to incorporate the condition into a principle, but I could not adapt it and was unable to. However, in the righteous, and particularly in the people of sainthood, premonition develops to a high degree, showing its effects wondrously.
Thus, ordinary people may manifest a sort of sainthood so that like the saints, they dream of things pertaining to the Unseen and the future in true dreams. Yes, for ordinary people sleep may be like a degree of sainthood in respect of true dreams; so too for everyone it is a splendid dominical cinema. However, those with good morals think good thoughts, and one with good thoughts dreams of good things. Whereas since those with bad morals think bad thoughts, they dream of bad things. Furthermore, for everyone, true dreams are a window in the Manifest World looking onto the World of the Unseen. For restricted and transitory human beings, they are also an arena of infinite proportions manifesting a sort of eternity, and a place for gazing on the past and the future as though they were the present. They are also a resting-place for beings with spirits who are crushed beneath the responsibilities of life suffering great hardship. Thus, it is for reasons similar to these that with verses like:
And We made your sleep for rest,6
the All-Wise Qur’an teaches the reality of sleep, giving it importance.
THE SIXTH a n d m o s t i m p o r t a n t
Experiencing them numerous times, true dreams became for me like decisive proofs at the degree of ‘absolute certainty’ that Divine Determining encompasses all things. Yes, especially the last few years, these dreams have reached such a degree that it has become certain for me that the most insignificant events and unimportant dealings and even the most commonplace conversations I will have the following day are written and recorded before they occur, and that by dreaming of them the night before, I have read them not with my tongue but with my eyes. Not once, not a hundred times, but perhaps a thousand times, the things I have said in my dreams or the people I have dreamt of at night, although I had not thought of them at all, turned out exactly or with little interpretation the following day. It means that the most insignificant things are both recorded and written before they happen. That is to say, there is no chance or coincidence, events do not occur haphazardly, they are not without order.
Your beautiful, blessed, and auspicious dream was very good for the Qur’an and for us. Also, time has interpreted it, and is interpreting it; it leaves no need for me to do so. Its partial interpretation also turned out well. If you study it carefully, you will understand. I shall indicate only one or two points. That is, I shall explain a reality. The things that have happened to you, which are a sort of the reality of dreams, are the representations of that reality. It is like this:
That vast field was the World of Islam. The mosque at its end was the province of Isparta. The muddy water around it was the swamp of the dissipation, idleness, and innovations of the present and of time. Your swiftly reaching the mosque safely and without being contaminated by the mud was a sign of your adopting the lights of the Qur’an before everyone else and remaining unspoilt and your heart uncorrupted. The small congregation in the mosque were the bearers of the Words like Hakki, Hulûsi, Sabri, Süleyman, Rüshtü, Bekir, Mustafa, Ali, Zühtü, Lûtfi, Husrev, and Re’fet. As for the small platform, it was a small village like Barla. The loud voice was an allusion to the power and swift spreading of the Words. The position assigned to you in the first row, was the place vacated for you by Abdurrahman. The congregation, like wireless receivers, were the indication and fact of wanting to make the whole world hear its teachings, which God willing, will turn out at a later date. If the individuals now are like small seeds, with Divine assistance, in the future they will each be like tall trees. And each will be like a telegraph office. As for the turbanned youth, he is someone who will work together with Hulûsi, or even surpass him; he is destined to become one of the students and those who disseminate the Words. I can think of some of them, but I cannot say definitely. The youth is someone who will come into prominence through the force of sainthood. You can interpret the remaining points instead of me.
Speaking with friends like you is both agreeable and acceptable, so I have spoken at length about this brief matter, and perhaps I have been prodigal. But since I began with the intention of indicating a way of expounding the Qur’an’s verses about sleep, God willing, that prodigality will be forgiven, or even not be prodigality...
1. Qur’an, 12:43.
2. Qur’an, 78:9.
3. Bukhari, Ta’bir 2, 4, 10, 26; Muslim, Ru’ya 6-9; Abu Da’ud, Adab 88; Tirmidhi, Ru’ya 1, 2, 6, 10; Ibn Maja, Ru’ya 1, 3, 6, 9; Darimi, Ru’ya; Muwatta’, Ru’ya 1, 3; Musnad 2, 18, 50, 219; iv, 10-13; v, 316, 319.
4. Qur’an, 12:44.
5. Bukhari, Badi’ al-Wahy 3; Tafsiru Sura 961; Ta’bir 1; Muslim, Iman 252; Tirmidhi, Manaqib 6; Musnad vi, 153, 232.
6. Qur’an, 78:9
- Eleventh Principle: The similes in hadiths that need expounding and interpretation.
- First Important Matter: It explains with examples the mystery of the occasional contradiction of incidents seen and observed by saints through discovery with the realities in the visible realm.
- Is it possible to see the prophet in one’s dream? Is it true that only those who saw the prophet alive could see him in their dreams and that nothing can replace his shape in dreams?
- Sixth Sign: It includes the miracles of Hz. Muhammad (pbuh) about the future and an answer to a question about the Shi‘a’s love for Hz. Ali.
- "Whoever claims to have seen a dream which he did not see will be ordered to make a knot on a barley grain (on the Day of Resurrection)." Will you explain this hadith?
- Gleams: Flowers from the Seeds of Reality. A short ‘Mathnawi’ and collection on the subject of belief for the Risale-i Nur students.
- Is there anything like "dream interpretation" and how can one get the interpretation of his/her dream?
- Fourth Point: It explains why the style in the spiritual miraculousness of the Quran cannot be translated.
- How was the Gospel revealed/sent down to Hz. Isa (Jesus)?
- Is it sin to sleep by lying face down? What are the manners of sleeping?