Why Won’t Muslims Talk About Their Bad Dreams And Nightmares?

In Saudi Arabia, no one will talk to you about their bad dreams. In Islam, we remain quiet about the matter.

When my children get nightmares, I instruct them not to speak about them. They have learned not to.

Today, they only mention they had a bad dream, then try to forget it and go on about their day. 

However, it has always seemed insensitive NOT to hear them out when they wake up in a distressed state. 

(4.30 mins reading time)

So Why Exactly Won’t Muslims Talk About Their Bad Dreams Or Nightmares?

Muslims refuse to talk about bad dreams based on Prophet Mohammed’s (SAW) advice that good dreams are from Allah (SWT), so we praise Allah and share them. Conversely, bad dreams are from Satan, so we do not talk about them. We should seek refuge in Allah from their evil so that they won’t cause any harm.

Several of Prophet Mohammed’s (SAW) companions (Sahabah) heard him make similar statements about bad dreams and later reported them. 

All Muslims accept these narratives (Hadith) that instruct us to remain silent after having nightmares. 

However, the narratives do not give adequate reasons why we should refrain from relating details of the bad dreams to others. 

What Dreams Mean In Islam

In Islam, dreams are subconscious visions, fantasies, or mental perturbations. 

There are three types of dreams:

  1. Positive Communication From Allah (SWT)
  2. Matters On The Mind Of The Dreamer
  3. Terrifying Visions From Satan

Abu Hurairah reports Prophet Mohammed (SAW) interpreted the three types of dreams that appear in Sunan Ibn Majdah 3906 Chapter of Dream Interpretation 35, Hadith 14.

In this particular Hadith, Prophet Mohammed (SAW)  permits Muslims to tell others about the dreams they like and to abstain from talking about the ones they dislike.

 “Dreams are of three types: Glad tidings from Allah, what is on a person’s mind, and frightening dreams from Satan. If any of you sees a dream that he likes, let him tell others of it if he wishes, but if he sees something that he dislikes, he should not tell anyone about it, and he should get up and perform prayer.”

Sunan Ibn Majdah 3906, 35/14

Positive Communication From Allah (SWT)

These are the happy dreams, visions, inspirations, joys, fulfilments, déjà vu, and occasional predictions. 

Matters On The Mind Of The Dreamer

These are from the dreamer’s unconscious mind, and represent feelings and personal observations. They may be positive, neutral, or even displeasing. 

Terrifying Visions From Satan

These are deliberate evil attempts to scare the dreamer and cause distress. They are confusing, disturbing visions and leave the dreamer frightened and upset. 

Possible Reasons Why We Should Share Positive Dreams

The Sunnah does not contain any specific reasons why we should talk to others in detail about the first and second types of dreams; positive communication from Allah (SWT) and matters of the dreamer’s mind.

However, listed below are five possible reasons why we really should. 

1. Prophet Mohammed Encouraged Us To Share Visions/Good Dreams

In many Hadith, Prophet Mohammed (SAW) explicitly tells us to praise Allah (SWT) and to share happy dream experiences with others.

2. Good Dreams Are 1 Part Of 46 Parts of Prophecy

Abu Huraira (RA) reported Prophet Mohammed (SAW) saying that when the end of time approaches, the dreams of a believer are rarely false. 

Their dream is one part of the forty-six parts of prophecy. And, that which is prophecy can never be false.  

Sahih Al Bukhari 6614 Sahih Muslim 2263

3. Visions From Allah Are Special

For most Muslims, visions or the glad tidings from Allah (SWT) rarely occur. These positive visions feel meaningful and should be shared with others. 

4. Positive Dreams Uplift

Positive dreams and visions unite Muslim hearts and minds. They bring us closer together in a spirit of love and sharing.  

5. Positive Thoughts Turn Into Positive Realities 

The world around us once existed only as a thought in the minds of others.

Eventually, these thoughts took shape and became manifest into the physical objects and environments that surround us. 

Likewise, contemplating visions and dreams causes them to take flight, assume certain forms, and become manifest in the real world. 

Imagine a world where every positive vision and dream becomes manifest.

Possible Reasons Why We Should NOT Share Bad Dreams 

Likewise, the Sunnah does not provide details on why we should NOT talk to others about the third type of dream; the terrifying visions from Satan.

In this matter, after waking up, Muslims only refrain from relating any details about their dreadful nightmares to anyone. 

They unconditionally trust Prophet Mohammed’s (SAW) wisdom and obey his instructions.

They mention that they had a bad dream, and seek comfort and reassurance from parents and family members, but DO NOT repeat any details of the nightmare that had occurred during sleep.

However, listed below are three possible reasons why we really should NOT share details of bad dreams. 

1. Visions In Dreams From Satan Are Intended To Provoke Others

Evil visions, images, influences, and whisperings occur in bad dreams and nightmares. Satan and demons appear in our sleep and plant them there deliberately to terrify and disturb. 

Such visions are in accord with his evil intentions. 

By ignoring these dreadful dreams and NOT speaking to others in detail about them, Muslims deny Satan. 

We may think about them, but we do not share them and deny Satan the power to influence others negatively through our thoughts and words. 

2. Negative Dreams Dishearten

Relating details of nightmares or bad dreams and visions scare other Muslims causing them pain and distress. 

They have the negative effect of breeding fear, despair, and making sad hearts. 

3. Negative Thoughts Turn Into Negative Realities

The world around us once existed only as a thought in peoples’ minds.

Eventually, these thoughts took shape and became manifest into the physical objects and environments that surround us. 

Likewise, contemplating visions and dreams causes them to take flight, assume certain forms, and become manifest in the real world. 

Imagine a world where nightmares and bad dreams have become a living reality.

What Should Muslims Do When They Experience Terrifying Visions In Sleep?

The Sunnah provides Muslims clear guidance about what to do immediately after experiencing nightmares or bad dreams. 

How Muslims Should Deal With Bad Dreams -The 10 Ways 

  1. Acknowledge the bad dream/nightmare
  2. Understand that the terrifying visions are from Satan
  3. Deny Satan any leverage by ignoring and trying to forget the dream
  4. Get out of bed
  5. Do a dry spit three times to the left side
  6. Waft the bedclothes over the bed/sleeping area
  7. Refrain from talking to anyone about the bad dream  
  8. Seek refuge in Allah (SWT) From Satan and his Evil 
  9. Pray two Rakahs and make Dua
  10. Return to bed and turn over to sleep on the opposite side of the bed  

Summary 

In conclusion, we ask Allah (SWT) to protect every Muslim from the evil influences of Satan. 

If nightmares should occur, we encourage them wholeheartedly to follow these steps that are from the Sunnah

They are the tried and tested remedies from our beloved Prophet Mohammed (SAW

Related Questions

How Do I Tell the Difference Between Dreams From Satan And Dreams From The Unconscious Mind?

You can tell by the level of disturbance you experience. Dreams inspired by Satan cause pain, and severe disruption and are grotesque in nature. Dreams that emanate from the unconscious mind can seem bizarre but can be explained by events, feelings, and circumstances of your life.

Can I Get Closer To Allah (SWT) In My Dreams? 

Yes! However, start by making intentions, fasting, meditating, praying, spending time in nature, making dua, reading Quran, asking for forgiveness, helping others, remembering Allah (SWT), and keeping your thoughts and discussions positive. 

References And Useful Links

Your Visions Will Devise A Plot Against You.-Quran Yusuf 12:5

What Dreams Are And What To Do After Having Bad Dreams-Islam Q&A

Hadith on Dreams: Good dreams of believers part of prophecy-Daily Hadith Online

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I am a UK national, a college teacher, father of 3, writer and blogger.

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