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.
IS IT POSSIBLE FOR ANYONE TO SEE THE PROPHET WHILE THEY ARE AWAKE?
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!”
DOES THE PERSON HAVE ANY INFLUENCE OVER THE DREAM?
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.
IS SEEING HIM AS HE REALLY LOOKED A CONDITION FOR THE VALIDITY OF THE DREAM?
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.
IS ONE WHO SEES HIM IN A DREAM CONSIDERED ONE OF THE SAHAABAH?
The answer to this question is no, because the Sahaabah are those who saw him during his life.
ARE THE HADITHS HEARD FROM HIM DURING A DREAM ARGUMENTATIVE EVIDENCES?
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.)
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