Seeing the Prophet in a dream
January 06 2022 11:47 PM

Abu Hurairah (radhiallahu ‘anhu) said that the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said: “Name yourselves with my name, but do not call yourselves with my nickname; and whoever sees me in his dream, he has [truly] seen me, for Shaytaan never appears in my image. And he who purposefully speaks a lie against me, will have his seat in the Fire.” (Al-Bukhari)
Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah said: 
“It is mandatory for us to love the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) more than ourselves, our parent, our children, our families, and our wealth. We must revere him, honour, and obey him, outwardly and inwardly. We must also befriend and ally ourselves with those who support him, and disassociate ourselves and maintain enmity with all who oppose and disbelieve in him.
“We know that there is no path to Allah, except by following His Messenger’s (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) way, and one cannot be a friend of Allah, or a true believer, nor can one be saved from punishment – by any means – except by believing in him, and following him, both inwardly and outwardly. And there is no means of achieving nearness to Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) except by believing in and obeying him (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam), he is the best of all who lived before, and all who will live, he is the seal of the prophets. He alone has been distinguished with the great intercession on the Day of Resurrection, making a distinction between himself and all of the other prophets, as Allah has granted it.
“He is the one who holds the most praised rank, he will carry the banner of praise [on the Day of Resurrection]. Adam and all who came after him [Muhammad] will be under his banner. He will be the first to open the door to Paradise, thereupon the door keeper will say, ‘Who is it?’ and the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) will reply ‘I am Muhammad.’ The door keeper will say, ‘I have been commanded to open the door to Paradise for none before you.’”
Those who understood this love, and acted according to its requirements in the best fashion are the noble companions of the Prophet, and those great scholars and guided leaders who followed them. They were the best at understanding the Book and the Sunnah, so if they agreed upon a matter, then it is the truth, for his (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) nation does not agree upon error.
In the case of any disputes that they suffered, they were directed, upon the tongue of the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) to refer back to the Book and the Sunnah, as Allah said (which means);
“O you who believe! Obey Allah and obey the Messenger and those in authority among you. If you differ in anything among yourselves, refer it to Allah and His Messenger if you indeed believe in Allah and the Last Day, that is better and more suitable for a final determination.” (An-Nisaa’ 4:59)
The Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said:
“Indeed whoever lives after me among you will see much difference. So adhere to my Sunnah and to the Sunnah of the Rightly-Guided Khalifahs after me. Cling to it firmly, and beware of newly invented matters, for every newly invented matter is an innovation and every innovation is misguiding.” (A well known authentic hadith recorded by at-Tirmithee and others)
Among these newly invented matters is the claim of seeing the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) in a vision while awake, and that he hears those who greet him, and returns their greetings. Truly, these are some of the newly invented matters and deviations that neither existed among the companions nor among the best of the Ummah. Rather this is misguidance from Shaytaan who inspires people, confusing them when they violate the shar‘ (legislation). So he causes them to fall victim to the same things the previous nations and disbelievers fell victim to.
Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah said:
“The people of India [claim to] see someone from among their pious people who they revere. The Christians see personalities from among their prophets, the disciples and others whom they revere. The deviators among the people of the qiblah [ie, Muslims] see those whom they revere, whether it be the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) or another prophet. This occurs while they are awake, and he speaks to them, and they to him. They might seek his advice and ask him questions regarding some hadiths so he answers them. To some of them, it [miraculously] appears as if a rock has opened up and the Prophet came out of it and embraced the onlooker and his companions. Some might imagine that he gave them salaams in a loud voice, such that it reached the distance of days or a distant place.”
Shaykh ‘Abdur-Ra’oof Muhammad ‘Uthmaan wrote a splendid section in his book Love of the Prophet. Some of it follows:
“But these myths occurred only among some latter ignorant people, taking advantage of the ignorant state of that Muslims suffered from, leading them into the captivity of myths and legend – like fables. [For example]:  ‘Umar bin Sa’eed an-Noonee wrote in his book Ar-Rumaah, that the awliyaa’ see the Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) while they are awake, he attends any gathering or any place he wishes in both body and soul, he moves freely throughout the Earth and the Universe, doing so as he is, as he appeared before his death, nothing having changed. And that he is normally hidden from the vision of humans just as the angels, who although they have forms, they are normally unseen.
“Therefore if Allah desired any servant to see him He would lift the veil so that the Prophet could be seen in his original form. Such innovations lead many different Sufi cults to call themselves the “Muhammadiyyah” Path. Their followers claim that these rituals of theirs have been taken directly from the Prophet. Examples of these groups include the Tinjani order, the Ahmadiyya Idreesiya order, and others among the different Sufi tareeqahs. Such ideas also founded the Hadaras and Mawlids.
“The Sufis claim the hadara that they participate in was so named because the Prophet attends these gatherings, attending either with his soul, or with both his body and soul. They also believe in such ideas regarding their Mawlid celebrations for the Prophet. This is a time when they get together and chant verses of poetry, read the Qur’an, and await the arrival of the Prophet. One of them will say, ‘The Prophet has come! The Prophet arrived!’ To ensure the misguidance of the people, they will say, ‘Only the perfect worshippers will be able to see him. Those who are not perfect, the sinners, he will be shielded from their vision. Similar to their beliefs about the Qutb, one whom they believe is unseen none can meet him except for the great awliyaa’.  This claim is similar to the Shia belief of the hidden – awaited Imaam.”
So the subject of this article concerns the Prophet’s (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) saying,
‘Whoever sees me in a dream, then he has [truly] seen me.’ (al-Bukhari, Muslim and others) In one narration, ‘Then he will see me while awake.’
There are other hadiths with slightly different wordings, which speak of seeing him in a dream. The meaning of these statements is that seeing him in a dream is not falsehood, or misleading, because Shaytaan cannot assume his appearance.
The answer to this question is that the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) after his burial, will not be seen in this world while they are awake. But his (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) saying,
‘Whoever saw me in a dream shall see me while awake.’
This refers to the people of his time who believed in him, although they did not see him, meaning that they would migrate to him and see him. So Allah granted such a dream to them. It has also been said that the meaning of this is that they will see the Prophet in the Hereafter. So it is not possible to understand these hadiths to mean that the Prophet  (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) can be seen by someone who is awake during this life as the Sufis and the people who follow their desires claim.
Ibn Hajar said: “This is a severe problem. If it were interpreted as it appears, then these people who see him would be Sahaabahs, and until the Day of Resurrection one could join the rank of the Sahaabahs. To cause further problem for such claim, there is a large number of people who saw him in a dream, but none of them claimed to have seen him while awake, and what he (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) informed us of could not be contradicted. That is if this meaning was correct, then everyone who saw him in a dream would be one who actually saw him while awake!”
As for the hadith: “Whoever has seen me in a dream has seen me, for Shaytaan does not appear in my image.”
And the hadith of Abu Hurairah:
“The dream is one of three: the good dream, which is good news from Allah, a sad or bad dream, which is from Shaytaan, or a dream in which the dreamer speaks to himself.”
This hadith has revoked any chance of Shaytaan appearing in the Prophet’s form, but it leaves the chance that Shaytaan could appear in a different form. The scholars agree that if one has a dream, but the descriptions of the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) do not match the real descriptions of him, then this is from the dreamer’s imagination as if it were to say he was talking to himself in the dream.
Ibn Abi Jamrah (a commentator on Mukhatasar Saheeh al-Bukhari) said:
“There are those who say that the Shaytaan cannot assume his exact appearance, so whoever sees him in a good appearance, that is because of the goodness of the religion of the one dreaming, and if the appearance was bad then that is because of a deficiency in the religion  of the one dreaming. And he said that this is the truth.” Then he said; “Similarly what he said about his (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) Sunnah during the dream, whatever agrees with it is good, and what contradicts it then it suffered from the influence of the one listening. So the dreamer’s vision of his noble presence is true, while the bad influences are from the dreamer.”
Additionally, it is not feasible to limit the statement; ‘And whoever saw me has [truly] seen me’, to apply only to the companions, since the companions did not mention such limitations, rather the opposite of this has been reported from them. As in the case of Ibn ‘Abbaas when he asked a person who claimed to have seen him (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) in a dream to describe the vision he had in the dream, in order to validate or invalidate it. Similarly this was done after him by the great Imaam of the Muslims, Muhammad bin Seereen. So the hadith is generally applicable to all dreamers, yet the validity of actually seeing him can only be ascertained by those who are familiar with his appearance, like the companions, or the next generation who saw his resemblance in his close relatives like Faatimah and her children, or al-Hasan and his children, may Allah be pleased with them.
Ibn Hajar wrote: “Whenever Muhammad bin Seereen was told by someone that he had seen the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) in a dream he would say; ‘Describe what you saw to me.’ If the person described unfamiliar characteristics to him, he would reply, ‘You didn’t see him.’ The chain for this report is authentic. And there is support for this from al-Haakim by way of ‘Aasim bin Kulayb who said that his father told him, ‘I said to Ibn ‘Abbaas, I have seen the Prophet in a dream.’ He said, ‘Describe him for me.’ He replied by mentioning that he looked like al-Hasan bin ‘Ali. Ibn ‘Abbaas said, ‘You saw him.’ The chain for this report is good. There is also support for this in the Musnad of Ahmad, where Yazeed al-Faars said, ‘I saw Allah’s Messenger in a dream during the time of Ibn ‘Abbaas.’  A narrator said Yazeed was a Qur’anic scribe. ‘I said to Ibn ‘Abbaas, “I saw Allah’s Messenger (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) while dreaming.” Ibn ‘Abbaas said, “Allah’s Messenger said, ‘Shaytaan is not able to appear as me, so whoever has seen me in a dream, he has [truly] seen me.’ So are you able to describe this man you saw to us? I said, “Yes,...[he was] between brown and white, with a good smile, appearing to have kuhl around his eyes, a handsome face, his beard flowing from here to here, down to his chest.” ‘Awf said, “I was not aware of all of these descriptions of him.” Ibn ‘Abbaas said, “If you had seen him while awake, you wouldn’t be able to describe him more accurately.’” (Fath al-baaree)
This proves that the decisive scholars considered it a condition for the correctness of the dream that the vision be in accordance with how he actually appeared, a portrait which Shaytaan is unable to imitate.
The answer to this question is no, because the Sahaabah are those who saw him during his life.
The answer to this question is no, due to the condition for evidence being that it was transmitted via precise hearing, and the one sleeping is not in such a state.
(This is a translation of the article which appeared in At-Tawheed magazine.)

A perfect example of moderation
Muhammad (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam – may Allah exalt his mention) was a perfect example of moderation to his followers in every walk of life. In expenditure, he advised them to spend within their means, neither to be so lavish as to make themselves destitute, nor to hold back their wealth from those who had a claim on their resources. “Do not hold back altogether out of miserliness and render yourself blameworthy, nor spend without restraint and exhaust your wealth, thus becoming yourself destitute.” [Qur’an 17:29]
He gave mankind a golden rule of moderation between the two extremes of lavish expenditure and miserliness; neither to be extravagant in ordinary spending as well as in charity, nor to be niggardly. The people who practice this rule in their lives are praised in these words “Who are neither extravagant nor miserly in their spending, but keep a just balance between the two extremes.” [Qur’an 25:67]
He taught, by his own example, the same rule of moderation in eating, in dressing and in worship (‘ibaadah). Abdullah ibn Amr ibn al-’Aas said that once he decided to engage himself in worship all the time; to fast during the day and read the whole Qur’an during the night. His father married him to a young woman. Once his father asked his wife about him, and she replied, “He is a very pious man and never comes to his bed for sleep nor keep any relationship with anyone.” His father became very angry with him and said that he had married him to a very gentle woman and that he had kept her in suspense all this time. But in his enthusiasm for worship, he did not take notice of this. His father complained to Allah’s Messenger (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam), who said to him, “I have heard that you fast during the day and pray all night.” He replied that that was right. Then Allah’s Messenger (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said, “Don’t do that, but instead fast sometimes and eat sometimes; pray during the night and sleep as well, for your body has a claim on you; your eyes have a claim on you; lack of sleep will weaken them; your wife and children and relatives have a claim on you, too.”’ Abdullah bin Amer tells that the Prophet said, “Allah likes to see the marks of His bounty on his servant.”
A similar hadith is reported by Al-Bukhari. Some companions of Allah’s Messenger (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) resolved to engage in worship; one said that he would pray all night; another said that he would always fast and never stop; the third said that he would never marry and never have any relations with women. Allah’s Messenger heard about them and said, “I swear by Allah that I fear Allah and realise my responsibilities to Him more than you, but this is my way: I fast sometimes and sometimes I do not fast; I pray during the night and sleep as well; and marry women. Anyone who does not like my way has no relation with me.”
Anas (radiallahu ‘anhu) reported Allah’s Messenger (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) as saying, “Don’t be too cruel to yourselves, certain nations adopted severity towards themselves so Allah punished them. You can see their remnants in churches and monasteries.” Muhammad forbade asceticism and renunciation of the normal pleasures of life, nor did he like perpetual and formal prayers in isolation. He told people to live the normal lives of ordinary human beings, for service to Allah was done through pure lives in the turmoil of this world. He wanted men to mix with other men, so that they could discipline themselves and learn resistance to evil and uphold the standard of Truth and Justice against heavy odds, wherever necessary.’
Abu Hurairah (radiallahu ‘anhu) reported Allah’s Messenger (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) as saying, “Religion is easy, but if anyone overdoes it, it gets the better of him, so keep to the right course, approximate to perfection and rejoice.” Ibn Abbas reported Allah’s Messenger (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) as saying, “A good manner of conduct and moderation are a 25th part of Prophethood.” Allah’s Messenger is also reported to have said, “Moderation is the best of actions.’’ He lived the moderate life of an ordinary person, though he was Allah’s Messenger and ruler of a state. He enjoyed the ordinary pleasures of life, worked like an ordinary man in his house and in public, upheld the principles of Truth and Justice in his private well as public life and always abstained from the extremes of life. All his life, in Makkah as an ordinary trader and in Madinah as a ruler, he led a simple life, avoiding extremes, and taught his followers by his personal example to live a similarly moderate life.
The following hadiths (Prophet sayings) are just examples of what Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) ordered the people to follow: 1. Narrated ‘Aishah (radiallahu ‘anhaa): The Prophet came in when a woman was sitting beside me. He asked me, “Who is she?” I said: “She is the one whose performance of Salat (prayer) has become the talk of the town.” Addressing her, he (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said, (What is this!) You are required to take upon yourselves only what you can carry out easily. By Allah, Allah does not withhold His Mercy and forgiveness of you until you neglect and give up (good works). Allah likes the deeds best which a worshipper can carry out constantly.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim] Commentary: a. This Hadith prohibits ‘ibaadah beyond one’s capacity lest one gets tired and renounces it altogether. One should be, therefore, moderate in this respect. b. Allah likes that good action which is done regularly, even if it is a small one. Any deed, which is done continuously, will also have an everlasting reward. On the contrary, a good deed, which is done for a short period, will have a short return.
2. Narrated Anas (radiallahu ‘anhu): Allah’s Messenger (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) came into the mosque and noticed a rope stretched between two poles. He enquired, “What is this rope for?” He was told: “This is Zainab’s rope. When during her voluntary prayer, she begins to feel tired, she grasps it for support.” Allah’s Messenger said, “Untie it. You should offer prayers so long as you feel active. When you feel tired, you should go to sleep.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim] Commentary: This Hadith deals with the following three points: a. First, it forbids undue strictness and taking support of anything in the course of Salat. b. If anything forbidden can be checked by hand, it must be stopped immediately. c. One should be moderate in ‘ibaadah and select such times for optional and voluntary prayers when one feels real pleasure in them.
3. Narrated Jabir Ibn Samurah (radiallahu ‘anhu): I used to observe prayer with the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) and his Salat (prayer) was of a moderate length and his (Khutbah) sermon too was moderate in length. [Muslim] Commentary: This Hadith tells us that Imam should neither lengthen the Salat nor give long sermon in the congregational Salat because both these things are against the practice of the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam).
4. Narrated Ibn ‘Abbas (radiallahu ‘anhumaa): While the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) was delivering Khutbah (religious talk), he noticed a man who was standing, so he asked about him and was told that he was Abu Israel who had taken a vow to remain standing and not sit, or go into the shade, or speak while observing fasting. Thereupon Allah’s Messenger said, “Command him to speak, to go into the shade, to sit and to complete his fast”. [Al-Bukhari] Commentary: a. This Hadith makes it abundantly clear that one cannot attain the Pleasure of Allah by means of self-invented methods. It can only be achieved by ways and means prescribed in the Qur’an and Sunnah. b. One should never vow for anything which is smeared with sin or which is not permitted by religion. An instance of this is quoted in the above mentioned Hadith. c. The majority of ‘Ulama’ (religious scholars) who do not think the expiation of such vows necessary, quote this Hadith in support of their view. They argue that the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam)  has not prescribed expiation in such cases as is evident from this Hadith.
At the time the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) ordered the people to perform acts of worship, he warned them against going to extremes (in practising religion). He did so in order to prevent them from harming themselves physically or spiritually and from neglecting their other responsibilities and activities. The Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) asked people to do good actions regularly, no matter how small. He said, Allah likes the deeds best, even if it is a small, which a worshipper can carry out constantly. If the Prophet saw any one of his companions being immoderate, he would be displeased and would then instruct him to moderation.

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