Dreams and Istikhara in Islam

islamic dream interpretation

For Muslims, dreams provide a means of obtaining guidance and insight into the future. However, not all dreams have a clear Islamic dream interpretation.

Dreams that are true, come from Allah and His Messenger (peace and blessing be upon him). One can have a truthful vision by speaking honestly, eating halal food, abiding by the shari’ah, sleeping in a state of purity facing the Qiblah and remembering Allah.


In Islam, dreams are often interpreted symbolically rather than literally. Depending on the context of the dream, symbols can represent things in the real world or aspects of the dreamer’s personality. For example, the presence of a cat in a dream may symbolize a person who is causing harm to the dreamer.

Moreover, people who appear in a dream are also often interpreted as symbols. These can be people from the dreamer’s waking life or other spiritual figures. In addition, the type of clothing worn by those in a dream can have meanings.


Seeing one’s name in a dream usually indicates that spiritual guidance is on the way. It may also be a reminder to be more mindful of one’s actions or a sign that Allah is guiding the dreamer.

The Islamic system of dream interpretation, or oneiromancy, is based on the Quran and Sunnah. It varies from the Freudian system in that it incorporates spiritual teachings and laws.


It is important to note that the prophet emphasized that when it comes to a dream a believer can only trust his own visions and that a dream of another person is unlikely to be correct. This is also why a Muslim should not share his dreams with non-believers and only tell them to those he trusts.

He told his son, Hazrat Yusuf (AS), that he should only reveal his dreams to those he liked as he was aware that others may use the information for evil purposes. Yaqoob (AS) instructed Yusuf to keep his dream of eleven stars bowing to him a secret as he was concerned about his brothers planning to harm him.

Time of Year

Dream interpretation (Su’uh) is a major part of Islamic life. It is used in marriage choice, business decisions, political choices and a range of other matters. Studies (Edgar 2007) show that dream interpretation is an important part of contemporary Islam and that Istikhara is a widely practised form of Islamic decision-making.

Dreams are often short and concise. However, it is advisable not to make major life decisions based solely on the basis of dreams because they may be misleading. Also, it is prohibited to add or subtract things from a dream when relating it for interpretation.

Derivation of Benefit

In Islam, dreams are seen as a type of spiritual perception. Dream interpretation, which is known as oneiromancy, has been a subject of research among Muslim scholars for over 1500 years. Many of their observations and understandings correspond to theories proposed by modern psychologists.

The Prophet peace be upon him taught that whoever sees something in a dream that he dislikes should not mention it to anyone and should get up and pray instead. He also said that one should not add or subtract anything from a dream when relating it for interpretation.

Warning of Harm

There are certain things that can harm a person through dreams. The jinn, which includes Satan can enter one’s dream and do him or her harm. For this reason, it is best not to share a dream with other people. Hazrat Yaqoob (AS) instructed his son, Yusuf (AS), not to relate his vision of eleven stars prostrating to him. This was because the jinn may have been planning something against him.

On the other hand, some overestimate dreams to a degree that they base major life decisions on them. This can be dangerous, for example it is haram to divorce your husband because of what you saw in a dream.


A person should not make a major decision or derive laws & legislation (such as what is halal &haram) from dreams. This is because a dream may be interpreted one way while reality plays out quite differently. It is also possible that a dream is false.

For this reason, the Prophet commanded that one should only mention a truthful dream to those whom they love and trust. For example, he advised Yusuf ‘alayhi salamah not to tell his brothers about his dream because it could have fueled their jealousy.

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