Can you establish something new based upon a dream in which you see the Prophet ﷺ?



Islamic Text

عَنْ أَبِي سَعِيدٍ الخُدْرِيِّ: أَنَّهُ سَمِعَ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ، يَقُولُ: «الرُّؤْيَا الصَّالِحَةُ جُزْءٌ مِنْ سِتَّةٍ وَأَرْبَعِينَ جُزْءًا مِنَ النُّبُوَّةِ

“Abu Sa’eed al-Khudri narrated that he heard Allah’s Messenger ﷺ saying, ‘A good dream is a forty-sixth portion of Prophecy.’”  (Sahih al-Bukhari, 6989).

The scholars have unanimously said that dreams are not a proof or evidence (Hujjah) in Islam. When the scholars speak about evidences in Islam, they mention Quran, Hadith, Ijma, Qiyas but they will not mention dreams.

Therefore, a person cannot see a dream and use that to establish a legal ruling or use it to say something is encouraged or discouraged in Islam, unless it is already established from Quran and Hadith. Qadi Iyad spoke about this issue in his commentary of Sahih Muslim:

لا أنه يقطع بأمر المنام، ولا أن تبطل بمثله سُنَّة ثبتت، ولا يُثبت به سُنَّة لم تثبت بإجماع من العلماء

“That which is seen in a dream is not considered to be a matter of certainty. And it does not invalidate a Sunnah, nor does it establish a Sunnah. This is according to the consensus of the scholars.” – (Qadi Iyad, Sharh Sahih Muslim, Vol. 1, p153)

Seeing the Prophet ﷺ in a dream is a great blessing and gift from Allah (Most High), we may not have the opportunity to physically meet the Prophet ﷺ in this life but we can see him ﷺ in our dreams. Such a blessing deserves abundant Shukr (gratitude).

Having said that, it is important to note the words of Qadi Iyad that even if it is the dream of the Prophet ﷺ, you cannot establish a new Sunnah. Furthermore, Imam Nawawi commented on this after quoting Qadi Iyad:

هَذَا الَّذِي ذَكَرْنَاهُ مُخَالِفًا لِقَوْلِهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ مَنْ رَآنِي فِي الْمَنَامِ فَقَدْ رَآنِي فَإِنَّ مَعْنَى الْحَدِيثِ أَنَّ رُؤْيَتَهُ صَحِيحَةٌ وَلَيْسَتْ مِنْ أَضْغَاثِ الْأَحْلَامِ وَتَلْبِيسِ الشَّيْطَانِ وَلَكِنْ لَا يَجُوزُ إِثْبَاتُ حُكْمٍ شَرْعِيٍّ بِهِ

“What has been mentioned does not contradict the words of the Prophet ﷺ, ‘whoever sees me in a dream has truly seen me.’ The Hadith means that the vision was true, and wasn’t the misguidance of Shaytaan or a false dream. However, it is not permitted to establish a legal ruling (Hukm Shari) using a dream.” – (Imam Nawawi, Sharh Sahih Muslim, Vol. 1, p115).

In conclusion, there is Ijma (consensus) that dreams are not a Hujjah and thus cannot be used to establish something in the Deen.

And Allah Most High Knows best.

– Answered by Shaykh Noorud-deen (01.02.2021)

See also:

Is there a Hadith about dreams being like prophecy?

Can we relate dreams about the Prophet ﷺ?