Allama Uthmani writes, "Prophet Yaqub (Peace be upon him) said to Yusuf (Peace be upon him) "Do not disclose this dream to your brothers. The Satan is always lying in ambush for man; he may instigate your brothers against you through insinuation, because the interpretation of the dream is too clear. "
It was not a difficult thing for the brothers of Yusuf (Peace be upon him) to understand the meaning of the dream. They were the sons of a great Prophet and therefore Yaqub (Peace be upon him) apprehension was not wrong. Perhaps he might have also felt beforehand that the stepbrothers of Yusuf (Peace be upon him) were jealous of Yusuf because of the attention and love their father reserved for him. So Prophet Yaqub (Peace be upon him) thought that if his brothers heard the dream, they would surely do something harmful to Yusuf (Peace be upon him) and thus degrade themselves arid make their end disastrous.
The Satan would play his most active role in this drama because the matter belonged to no less than a Prophet and his family. This was the reason why Yaqub (Peace be upon him) forbade Yusuf (Peace be upon him) to disclose his vision before his stepbrothers. As for his real brother Binyamin, although there was no fear that he would harm Yusuf, it was very likely that Biny amin might disclose it before other people, as he was a boy younger than Yusuf (Peace be upon him), and thus the news might reach the ears of the stepbrothers.
Ruyaa literally means a dream. Dreams are of three types:
1) Hadithun Nafs: The conversation of the heart. When a person engages himself in a task throughout the day, he may see that in his dreams at night e,g. a person in love shall see his beloved one, one who is engrossed in the election sees the assembly halls, a students worried about exams sees exam related scenes, etc.
2) Adhgaathu Ahlaam: Disturbing dreams. Dreams seen through the instigation of Shaytaan. These are sometimes terrifying, sometimes worrying and sometimes pleasing; wet dreams also come under this category.
These two types do not hold any interpretation. A person affected by satanic attacks should recite Aayatul Kursi before retiring to bed. In a Hadith in Sahih Bukhari the Prophet (Peace be upon him) has said that if you recite Aayatul Kursi before retiring to bed, Allah will command an angel to stand by your bedside and no Satan will be able to come close to you. The angel stays there until you wake up.
3) Ruya-e-Salih: Just and pious dreams. Dreams that are free from self-indulgence and Satanic attacks.
The Ulama say that this is a sort of spiritual sighting. When a person sleeps and his external senses are out of function, the spirit observes and listens to the matters of the unseen world. The spirit sometimes listens to the sayings of Allah, His angels, sometimes it sees original forms of worldly things and sometimes their identical/similar appearances which indicate towards the future events e.g. Yusuf’s (Peace be upon him) dream of eleven stars, the sun and the moon bowing before him which indicates future events. These are the true dreams and they require interpretations from an expert in this field. In the Hadith, these dreams are said to be the forty-sixth part of Prophethood. Meaning that the Prophets were first bestowed with true dreams and then with Prophethood.
Since the Prophets are free from self-deceit as well as from the instigations of Satan, their dreams are also Wahi. Satan can never overpower them; thus whatever they dream is a revelation from Allah. Ibrahim (Peace be upon him) dreamt that he was slaughtering Ismail, his only son at the time, and he acted accordingly.
The Awliya are not ma'soom and thus their dreams cannot be regarded as Wahi. Their dreams are called ilhaam. The dreams of a saint will be according to his virtues and piety i.e. the more piety, the more truthful his dreams. The average Muslim's dreams are sometimes true and sometimes false.
Note, Sometimes a fasiq or even a kafir also sees true dreams. Like in our story, the ruler of Egypt, a kafir, saw seven cows and seven green ears of com and it was interpreted by Yusuf (Peace be upon him).
Some philosophers deny the concept of dreams. Their main argument is that during the sleep or a state of unconsciousness the senses of a human being are out of function thus they cannot see nor hear nor feel anything.
One may ask, 'Did these philosophers never see a dream during their lifetime?' Certainly, they must have dreamt something at some stage. Our answer to their objection is that the senses are merely a creation of Allah. He is capable of showing us something without the aid of the senses.
The definition of dreams according to Imam Nawawi and Imam Mazri is, "Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) creates within the heart of a sleeper some observations in the same manner as He creates within the heart of the one awake. He can do whatever He wishes, sleep nor being awake can stop Him from fulfilling His desire."
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