Sunday, 15 July 2007

Why we dream & discussing dreams with others

There are few things we do with such regularity and intensity as sleep and dream.We spend
almost one third of our lives sleeping and we dream on average for a total of 2 hrs or so, every night.Yet precisely why we dream is still uncertain.Many theories have been put forward: for the scientist, dreams are a product of certain kind of sleep and a way for the brain to process important data; for they mystic, they are an opportunity for the soul to leave the body and experience other dimensions; while for the psychologist they represent the workings of the unconscious mind.
Sleep Patterns: Through a night of around seven to eight hours of undisturbed sleep, we
experience two alternating types of sleep
1) Orthodox or slow-wave deep sleep,
2) Paradoxical or light sleep.
Orthodoxical sleep lasts for 90 minutes, and is followed by a shorter period of paradoxical sleep.Paradoxical sleep is marked by rapid eye movement and it is during this type of sleep that we dream. Laboratory testing has shown that if you deprive people of REM sleep, the subject becomes unwell very fast. Within a few days, unpleasant symptoms such as depression, anxiety, nausea, irritability and general disorientaion are experienced. Irrespective of whether or not we remember them, it seems our dreams play an important part in health and wellbeing. It has even been suggested that we sleep in order to dream.
A little death: Dreams are also linked with our spiritual growth. Sleep is regarded as an intermediate stage between life and death. Every night we experience a "little death" as we fall into unconsciousness, and dreams regarded as gateways into altered states of mind.Learning how to navigate the world of dreams becomes an important preparation for when the soul will eventually leave the body permanently at death.
The language of dreams: The dream world is not something that exists outside of ourselves
but reside deep within. During the day, the conscious mind is in control and we negotiate the everyday world through reason and logic.At night,the unconscious mind takes over and enters the dream world using visual imagery, symbols and metaphors.To understand our dreams we need to listen with the heart rather than the head, developing our intuition while temporarily suspending judgement ad disbelief.

Apart from dreams being a creation of our mind, dreams can be from
-Allah (good visions)
-Satan (evil dreams)


Discussing dreams is from the Sunna of the Prophet (Peace and blessing of Allah be upon him). There are a number of sound narrations where the Prophet (sa) would ask his companions (May
Allah be pleased with them), after the Fajir prayer, if they had any dreams. In another narration the Prophet (sa) equated the righteous dream with a part of Prophet-Hood itself.
However, there are a few points that should be noted:
1. There is an agreement amongst the scholars that dreams cannot be used as proof regarding
Islamic Law.
2. The interpretation of dreams and the like is not something that is learned, but is a gift from Allah (The Most High) given to some of His servants.
3. Good dreams should be shared with one's close and sincere friends. It is recommended that dreams should be shared with one's Sheikh or Imam only for the following reasons:
a) You will avoid the jealousy and animosity of others.
b) You will avoid the danger of showing off and falling into showing off.
4. If one has a frightening dream, he should spit on is left side and not inform others of it. This is based on the statement of the Prophet (sa) related by Al-Bukhari:
"The good visions are from Allah and the evil dreams are from Satan. If one sees a dream which one does not like, one should spit on one's left side and seek the refuge of Allah from Satan; it will not do any harm, and one should not disclose it to anyone, and if one sees a good vision one should feel pleased but should not disclose it to anyone but whom one loves."

-The dictionary of dreams and thier meanings by Richard Craze


Attique said...

Great work compiling all this information about dreams. I think it would be nice if we discuss actual dreams and what people experience with them.

Syra said...

thanks for acknowledging :)
good idea but i don't think ppl are comfortable discussing their dreams in public,and like the Prophet(sa) said dreams shouldn't be disclosed...however i have plenty of interesting stuff to share on dreams, will do so InshahAllah as time allows.