Know that the interpretation of dreams falls into various categories. Dreams may be interpreted in the light of the Qur’aan or in the light of the Sunnah, or by means of the proverbs that are current among people, or by names and metaphors, or in terms of opposites. (Sharh al-Sunnah, 12/220)
He gave examples of this, such as:
Interpretation in the light of the Qur’aan: such as a rope meaning a covenant, because Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“And hold fast, all of you together, to the Rope of Allaah…” [Aal ‘Imraan 3:103]
Interpretation in the light of the Sunnah: such as the crow representing an immoral man (faasiq), because the Prophet Sall Allahu alaihi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) called it such.
Interpretation by means of proverbs: such a digging a hole meaning a plot, because people say “Whoever digs a hole will fall in it.”
Interpretation by means of names: such as seeing a man called Raashid meaning wisdom.
Interpretation by means of opposites: such as fear meaning safety, because Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“And He will surely give them in exchange a safe security after their fear” [al-Noor 24:55]
Hadhrat Hakimul Ummat said:
“Piety is not among the necessary attributes of a person who interprets dreams. Abu Jahl was an expert interpreter of dreams. Just as it is not a requisite for a Buzrug (Saint) to be a medical practitioner, so too is it not incumbent for him to be a muabbir (interpreter of dreams).
Interpretation of dreams is a special science which is unrelated to piety. When Hadhrat Sayyiduna Abu Bakr Siddique (radhiyallahu anhu) interpreted a dream, Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) commented that part of the interpretation was correct and part erroneous. If piety was a necessary corollary of interpretation, then there is none superior to Hadhrat Abu Bakr (radhiyallahu anhu) in piety. Inspite of this, he erred in the interpretation while Abu Jahl, the arch-enemy of Islam would offer correct interpretations).”
Question: It has been said that Satan cannot assume the form of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) in one’s dream. This is the authoritative and accepted view of the Ulama. If one sees in a dream Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) giving an instruction, and such instruction appears to be contrary to the teaching of the Shariah, what course should one adopt?
Answer: There exists total unanimity (Ijmaa) of the Ummah that dreams as well as “kashf” (inspiration or forms of revelation to the Auliyaa) even if thousands of persons witness such dreams or kashf, shall not be accorded preference in the event of it conflicting with the Proofs of the Shariah, viz., Qur`aan. Sunnah, ljmaa and Qiyaas. Any kashf or dream which conflicts with the Shariah shall necessarily be rejected. If the one who claims such a dream (instruction from Rasulullah – sallallahu alayhi wasallam) or kashf (which conflicts with the Shariah) is not a reliable person then he shall he branded as a liar and a fraud. And, if he happens to be a pious person, then it shall be said that he has been the victim of some confusion and misunderstanding. For example, a certain pious man in Egypt saw in his dream that Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said: “I drink liquor.” All the Ulama of Egypt unanimously proclaimed that this pious person erred as a result of confusion in the dream. Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) must have said something else which this man misunderstood. A further explanation regarding such dreams in which one sees Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) issuing an instruction in contradiction to the Shariah, is the view presented by the Ulamu-e-Baatin, viz. Ulama who have attained perfection in Tasawwuf. They state that the “Zaat-e-Mubaarak” (the holy nature or being of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) in the realm of Barzakh (the state which follows death) is like a mirror. On certain occasions the one who sees Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) in a dream will view his (the dreamer’s) own actions mirrored in the glorious “zaat” of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). In view of these interpretations as well as the existence of other possibilities it is not permissible to rescind any teaching of the Shariah on the basis of such dreams and revelations.