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?

The Details of the Question

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? It is said that those who say that they saw the Messenger of Allah in their dreams cannot know him since they did not see him when he was alive and that they think the person they saw was the Prophet; is it true?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

A person’s seeing the Prophet (pbuh) in his dream meaning he really saw him does not mean seeing him as if he saw him in the world. That is, it is not like the seeing by the Companions. It aims to tell that the person seen in the dream is the Prophet since Satan cannot be disguised as the Prophet (pbuh).

Is the person in the dream really the Prophet?

One of the main true dreams that a believer sees is the dream that is enlightened by the rays of the sun of the Prophet (pbuh) because the dreams in which he is seen are definitely true though some of them need interpretation. The Prophet (pbuh) states the following in a hadith reported in many hadith books:

"Whoever has seen me in a dream, then no doubt, he has seen me, for Satan cannot imitate my shape." [see Bukhari, Tabir 2, 10; Muslim, Ruya 10; (2266); Muwatta, Ruya 1, (2, 956)]

Researchers expressed different opinions related to the statement of the Prophet above and the truth it includes. Some of them say if the person that somebody sees in his dream gives him the feeling that "he is the Prophet", he is really the Prophet whether he has a beard or not, whether he is tall or short, whether he is old or young and no matter how he is seen.

Others say that when the person seen in the dream has the features and shape of the Prophet, he is the Prophet; otherwise, Satan can appear in a face and shape other than the Prophet’s and say "I am Muhammad".

Imam Rabbani says, "When the Prophet is seen in his own shape, he will be seen truly; Satan cannot imitate his shape." Muhyiddin Ibn Arabi, who has a different school, says, "No matter what the shape and form is, a person that appears in the heart of somebody saying, "I am the Prophet" is really the Prophet. The majority of the scholars tend to think like Muhyiddin Ibn Arabi.

Imam Nawawi says that whether a person sees the Prophet with his known features or in another way, he will be regarded to have really seen him. (see Nawawi, the explanation of the hadiths in question)

According to Qadi Iyad, the dream of a person who sees the Messenger of Allah in a shape that is outside his known features needs interpretation.

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