Hadhrat Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi (Rahmatullah alayh)

If you seek an interpretation for your dream, do not ask an ignoramus. Refer to an intelligent person who will present an intelligent meaning. In most cases, a dream materializes according to the  first interpretation given.

       A man saw in a dream that his one leg was in the west and the other in the east. He asked the interpretation from some moron who said that his legs will be amputated. Shocked and fearful, the man went to an expert muabbir (dream-interpreter) for an interpretation. The muabbir enquired if he had already  asked anyone for an interpretation. When the man  explained  what  had been said about his dream, the muabbir said: ‘Alas! What he has said will happen. If you had come to me first, I would have presented a good interpretation.’

Dreams are extremely weak forms of information and are reliant on interpretation. The Akaabir Auliya have clarified that even kashf, ilhaam (spiritual inspirations) and karaamat (miracles) are not phenomena of great importance. In fact, regarding karaamaat (miracles) which are generally considered to be of great importance and viewed with awe, some Auliya have said: “Karaamaat are the haidh (menses) of Men (i.e. of Auliya).”  In other words, just as females feel embarrassed and endeavour to conceal their menses, similarly do the Auliya endeavour to conceal their karaamaat. They become embarrassed when their miracles are exposed.

Many among the Ahlullaah (Auliya) had wished that they should not have the ability to demonstrate miracles. The reason for this attitude is a reduction in status in the Aakhirat which they perceive upon demonstrating a miracle. In the Aakhirat those pious and obedient Muslims who were not among the Auliya will be accorded status of Karaamat (honour) while those who had displayed karaamat here on earth will be deprived of that special  status of Karaamat. This is the secret underlying the disdain of the Auliya for  demonstrating miracles.

However, such Auliya who are Ma’thoon are  excluded from the deprivation explained above. (Ma’thoon Auliya are those who display karaamat by the permission  and  command of Allah Ta’ala. Others, due to their lofty ranks of Wilaayat, have been bestowed  the ability to display miracles which they sometimes demonstrate at will. The Auliya of this latter category will be somewhat deprived of Karaamat in the Aakhirat, – Mujlisul Ulama).

Now when this is the condition of even kashf, ilhaam and karaamat, one can understand the insignificance of dreams. But nowadays, dreams are given great importance.

If someone sees himself in a dream wallowing in an evil condition, but  on waking up if he takes wudhu and performs two raka’ts Namaaz, then  the dream regardless of how evil and fearful it may be, will not harm him in any way whatsoever. On the contrary if someone sees himself in a dream in a good state (e.g. he is by the Ka’bah or in Jannat), but when awake he indulges in evil and misdeeds and his beliefs  are buffeted by doubts, then  his good dream will be  of no benefit  for  him.

Thus, the state of  awakefulness is of importance. One has volition to act while awake whereas  dreams are phenomena beyond one’s volitional control. (A person should be  concerned with what he does whilst awake and not brood over what he sees in dreams). But today, some people elevate dreams to the level of Wahi. In fact, even  higher than Wahi. (Hence, they will override even the Shariah on the basis of dreams of pious people. Bid’atis and Tablighis suffer from this disease. – Mujlisul Ulama)

Then there are those who progress further than dreams. They experience kaifiyaat (spiritual states of elevation). For them  these kaifiyaat are the be all and the final word of Deen. They become oblivious of the actual  objective which is Amal in compliance with the Shariah for which Wahi was sent and for which the Ambiya (Alayhimus salaam) were dispatched. The importance  of this (the Shariah) is lost to  such persons.

By this exposition, I am not negating the reality of dreams, kashf, ilhaam, karaamat and kaifiyaat. While these conditions are existential realities in the Tareeq (Tasawwuf), they have to be maintained within their own category and not elevated above the Shariah. But people  have gone to extremes in these issues.

We therefore find that in some quarters the practice of initiating mureeds (Peeri-Mureedi) has become a mission in conflict with the Shariah. On the other hand, there are those who, due to being spiritually barren, negate Tasawwuf in entirety. Jahl (ignorance) is the common factor for both groups of extremists.

In this matter, the Bid’atis (such as the grave-worshippers) suffer greater ignorance than the Wahhaabis (Salafis). Remember that the criterion is always the Shariah, not dreams and miracles.

taken from the majlis volume 26 number 06

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