What is the Term Spiritual Dream Interpretation and How to Do it?

What is the spiritual dream interpretation and how to do it? What are the history and basic principles of spiritual dream interpretation?

History of Spiritual Dream Interpretation Tradition

In ancient Egyptians, Assyrians, and Greeks, one of the most significant tasks of oracles and wizards was interpreting dreams. The initial texts on the term dream were written by the Assyrians in the 5000s BC. The earliest work to date on this subject is an Egyptian papyrus preserved in the British Museum and estimated to date back to 2000 BC. In this papyrus, 200 kinds of dream interpretation are included.

According to ancient Egyptian belief, there is a god named Serapis whose duty is to warn the dreamers and answer their questions. Oracles and dream interpreters lived in temples belonging to this god. In the library of Assyrian Emperor Asurbanipal, who lived in Ninova between 669-626 BC, Lithography works about the dream were found.

The Vedas, written in India in 1500-1000 BC, contain lists of dreams. The ancient Greeks believed that in sleep, the soul left the body and went to visit the gods. On the subject of dreaming, some works are attributed to Hippocrates, Plato and Aristotle. [1]Türek, s. 13; Çoruh, s. 59-62 It was determined that twenty-six books of dream interpretation were written in Greek from Democritus to the emergence of Christianity. Of these, only Artemidoros of Ephesus had a Huneyn b. Isaac’s work, which was translated into Arabic by Isaac under the name of “Book of Dream Interpretation“, has survived to the present day.

In the first three books of this work, which collects the understandings of Greece, Italy, and Anatolia in five books, dream expressions are included, and in the last two, the conditions required to be a dream interpreter are included [2]Çoruh, s. 59-62.

In the Tekvin section of the Torah, Hz. Yusuf’s dreams are mentioned. Moreover, there is a chapter about dreams in the last part of the Talmud. There are 12 different words in the Bible that mean dream. Meanwhile, the existence of many Jewish and Christian dream interpreters is known.

In the pre-Islamic period in Arabs, the term dream was a common practice. One of the Oracle‘s tasks was to interpret dreams. These include famous names like thevElegant, Satih, Rabia b. Nasr el Lahmi and Sevad b. Karib. The first revelation came to the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.v) in the form of a dream, and the revelation continued in this way for 6 months. In the books where the words of the Prophet were compiled, the dreams and interpretations of the Islamic Prophet were included. After the morning prayers, the Prophet of Islam asked the congregation, “is there anyone among you who dreams?” It is known that he interpreted if any [3]Buhari, “Tabir”, 47; Ebu Davud, “İman”, 10; Darimi, “Rüyâ”, 13.

It was also recorded that he told and interpret his own dreams from time to time or had one of his disciples interpret them. It was stated that he welcomed the narrative and interpretation of good dreams and did not want bad dreams to be narrated and interpreted.

Types of Dreams According to the Literature of Spiritual Dream Interpretation

Three types of dreams are mentioned in the spiritual dream interpretation literature:

  1. Divine Dream: This is the first thing that comes to mind when it comes to dreams. These types of dreams have been described as good news. In the literature, the expression of good news means “the relationship of man with the metaphysical realm and the good news information and signs he receives from it”.
  2. Satanic Dream: They are mixed dreams, dreams and suggestions that occur with the deception, delusion, and intimidation of Satan. Explanation and interpretation of them are not recommended.
  3. Psychological Dream: The dreams and delusions of the nafs are dreamed about external influences during sleep and daily occupations [4]Seyyid Süleyman el Hüseyni, I, 4.

Opinions of Eastern Sages on the Interpretation of Dreams


Compiling general opinions about the dream, Ali b. Huseyin al-Masudi states that dreams will be more or less real according to the degree of serenity and clarity of the soul [5]Muruc uẕ Zeheb, II, 175-179.

Al Ghazali

Ghazali explains the dream as the reflection of some of the things written in the (Book of Destiny) on the human mind with the lifting of the curtain between the human soul in sleep and the preservation of the plate [6]Ihya, IV, 903.

Fakhr al-Din al-Razi

Fahreddin Razi also makes similar explanations [7]Mefatiḥul Gayb, XVIII, 135.

Ibn Khaldun

According to Ibni Khaldun, the dream consists of dreaming the shapes and figures of the beings who hinge on themselves from the future as a result of the human soul falling into the realm of meaning in sleep. If this reflection is weak, it needs an interpretation [8]Mukaddime, I, 380-384 . Ibn Khaldun talks about the interpretation and interpretations of dreams, the signs that indicate the correctness of the dream, and the relationship of the dream with the revelation in the professions section of Muḳaddima. [9]Mukaddime, 1136-1141.

Eastern philosophers explain the dream as a reflection of certain symbols (images) from the imagination to common sense according to them, divine dreams arise from the relationship of the soul with the spiritual realm.


Yakub b. İshak el Kindi states in his treatise on Sleep and the Nature of the Dream that sleep and dream are a function of the human ego and that dream interpretation has an important place among the natural sciences. Kindi says that, in response to the sensory powers that are disabled in sleep, the powers of design and thinking are released, thus the dream event takes place [10]Felsefi Risaleler, s. 130.


Farabi also associates dreams with imagination. He notes that this power has a decisive function in the formation of dreams [11]El Medinetül Fażıla, s. 108-113.


According to Ibn Sina, who wrote a treatise called El Ḳavl fi Sebebil Menamat to explain the reason and interpretation of dreams; The dream occurs because of the receptivity of the mind’s imagination. The mind, which is in a free state during sleep, can receive information from the metaphysical realm during sleep. A person whose mind is freed from the control of external senses increases his orientation to the trans physical realm. If there are no obstacles such as poor physical health and imagination and remembering powers not working well, the self will turn to the divine realm.

At the same time, the information coming from there takes place in the self, so that a perception of the metaphysical realm is realized. Sometimes the imagination intervenes between the self and the trans physical realm, blocking the image. Dec. According to Avicenna, dreams are not based only on the effects that come to the self from the metaphysical realm. There are also dreams that are caused by the physiological state of man. It is of this kind that a hungry person dream food, and a cold person dream fire.

In this case, the self begins to form dreams about what it needs and desires. These are mixed dreams and can only be explained with words. The mind sometimes imagines events in their real form, sometimes in similar ones. And sometimes the self-acts as if it is really observing something without communicating with the spirit world. However, the self-dream is not its original, but it’s similar [12]Durusoy, s. 106-114.

Dreams and Their Interpretation, According to Modern Scientists

Modern physiology and psychology have focused their research on the roles of external and internal factors in the formation of dreams. It is generally accepted in physiology that the dream is related to the events of the self in the big brain and that it is formed depending on external and internal factors. Some scientists have found physiological clues that allow determining the exact moment when the dreaming was.

A person spends about a third of his life sleeping, and during this time the body rests. Dreaming, on the other hand, is more common in intermediate Decays called rapid eye movements (REM). As in the case of those who have Hafiz (people who memorize the entire Qur’an) repeating their memorization in a dream, it is observed that REM sleep increases in those who concentrate on some tasks in daily life. Sleep and dreaming have biological, physiological, and psychological functions such as resting the body, regulating emotions and temperament, and revealing the subconscious [13]Güven – Belbağı, s. 48-52.

Louise Ferdinand Maury

Louise Ferdinand Maury, the first to scientifically study the effects of external stimuli on sleepers, used various stimuli in the form of contact, smell, and taste during sleep, applied them to himself and then recorded his dreams. XX. studies of dreams and their interpretation in the XIII century were continued by researchers of psychology and physiology.

Sigmund Freud

According to Sigmund Freud, the founder of psychoanalysis, the source of human life and the purpose of activity of a living organism are the instincts of protection and sexuality. In parallel with the development of civilization, when the instinct of protection was pushed to the second plan, the instinct of sexuality remained. This is also planned in the administrative centre called libido.

The conflict of rules in society with sexual feelings or the pushing of these desires into the subconscious creates several complexes in a person. What is dream is a veiled manifestation of these complexes, freed from the censorship and oppression of the mind of unconscious desires [14]Türek, s. 23-31.

Alfred Adler

Alfred Adler, on the other hand, draws attention to the feeling of inferiority in interpreting dream events; he argues that dreams perform the function of helping to plan the future rather than the past.

Carl Jung

Carl Jung emphasizes that symbols have a special meaning for a person, based on the effects of the social subconscious [15]a.g.e., s. 31-33; Çoruh, s. 96-131.

Erich Fromm

Erich Fromm, who characterizes dreams as a language of symbols, just like fairy tales and myths, notes that this is a forgotten language. Fromm wrote his work Dreams, Fairy Tales, Myths to demonstrate the need to remember him again. According to him, mythos, one of the oldest works of human history, and dreams, which are the products of daily life, show amazing similarities with each other. Today’s man has forgotten to give them the necessary value and see them as a treasure trove of experience; therefore, he does not understand their language [16]Rüyalar, Masallar, Mitoslar, s. 23-38.

Principles of Spiritual Dream Interpretation

Interpretation of dreams is a common practice in Eastern culture. The phrase that means ”extracting the psychological and imaginary parts of the events experienced in sleep and moving on to the truth beyond them with an indicator” is the analysis of a symbolic language.

Characteristics of the Interpreter

The dream interpreter must be able to distinguish the inner and outer aspects of the imaginary shapes of a dream, reach the truth beyond them with the clues at hand, and be able to distinguish the divine from the demonic. Because to some people, events are shown as “filtered” in a dream, and to others as “unfiltered”. For this reason, Taşköprizade states that the dreams of philosophers and statesmen were given importance in the ancient Greeks, not the dreams of the rabble [17]Miftaḥus Saade, I, 335.

The speaker should have knowledge about topics such as religions, people, society, politics and especially psychology. This is essential for the correct interpretation of the symbols in the dream. Because the meaning of any symbol dream in a dream depends on the character of the person who dreams it, the time when the dream is, the social order, the political position, the social and especially the perceptions and beliefs of the person who dreams the dream.

The dream interpreter: It is necessary to know the parables and symbolic expressions in religious books and to use them when interpreting dreams. He should also know the etymology of words, proverbs, and idioms well. There are also those who claim that the interpretation of a dream is a tax from Allah, so it cannot be earned later. However, the majority agrees that it is considered a skill based on decoding ciphers expressed in symbols.

Those who want to be successful in this regard need to know aspects such as the type, class, and nature of the dream, to be able to combine them with each other and to determine where, how, when and by whom the dream they want to interpret was a dream.

Suitability of Dreams for Interpretation

Dream interpretation is not the interpretation of all dreams dream. Of course, every dream is a dream with a good or bad meaning. In the tradition of spiritual dream interpretation, since the explanation and interpretation of a dream are considered the first steps of its transition from the abstract dimension to the concrete dimension; dreams that are considered to contain a bad message or give a feeling in this direction should not even be interpreted, let alone interpreted.

Because a dream described according to the knowledge of spiritual expression will surely come true. In this regard, “… The dream rests on the foot of a bird (attached) until it is not explained. If it is told, it will fall immediately.” There is a saying of the prophet in the form of ” [18]Tirmizi, Rüya 6, h. no: 2279, 2280; Ebu Davud, Edeb 96, h. no: 5020.

Not telling bad dreams is an important measure taken to prevent them from coming true.

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1 Türek, s. 13; Çoruh, s. 59-62
2 Çoruh, s. 59-62
3 Buhari, “Tabir”, 47; Ebu Davud, “İman”, 10; Darimi, “Rüyâ”, 13
4 Seyyid Süleyman el Hüseyni, I, 4
5 Muruc uẕ Zeheb, II, 175-179
6 Ihya, IV, 903
7 Mefatiḥul Gayb, XVIII, 135
8 Mukaddime, I, 380-384
9 Mukaddime, 1136-1141
10 Felsefi Risaleler, s. 130
11 El Medinetül Fażıla, s. 108-113
12 Durusoy, s. 106-114
13 Güven – Belbağı, s. 48-52
14 Türek, s. 23-31
15 a.g.e., s. 31-33; Çoruh, s. 96-131
16 Rüyalar, Masallar, Mitoslar, s. 23-38
17 Miftaḥus Saade, I, 335
18 Tirmizi, Rüya 6, h. no: 2279, 2280; Ebu Davud, Edeb 96, h. no: 5020

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