In Islam is it correct to say that dreams are just your thoughts?

ⓘ Supported by Al Medina 313.



Islamic Text

بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَنِ الرَّحِيمِ

In the Name of Allah Most Merciful Most Kind

Short Answer

No, it is not correct to say that dreams are just your thoughts. Although that is one type of dream, there are other types too. Dreams include inspiration from Allah (Most High), depressing dreams from the devil and your own thoughts.

وَالرُّؤْيَا ثَلَاثَةٌ: فَرُؤْيَا الصَّالِحَةِ بُشْرَى مِنَ اللهِ، وَرُؤْيَا تَحْزِينٌ مِنَ الشَّيْطَانِ، وَرُؤْيَا مِمَّا يُحَدِّثُ الْمَرْءُ نَفْسَهُ، فَإِنْ رَأَى أَحَدُكُمْ مَا يَكْرَهُ فَلْيَقُمْ فَلْيُصَلِّ، وَلَا يُحَدِّثْ بِهَا النَّاسَ

Abu Hurairah (May Allah Most High be pleased with him) narrated that the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said: Dreams are of three types. A good dream which is a good tiding from Allah (Most High). A dream which causes sorrow, which is from Shaytan. And a dream based upon what he was thinking about. So, if any of you sees a dream which he does not like, he should stand and pray. He should not convey it to people. (Sahih Muslim 2263 – 6).

In the Hadith above, the blessed Prophet ﷺ clarified that there are at least three types of dreams. Therefore, it is incorrect to say that dreams are just your thoughts. Rather dreams can be from any of these categories. However, your thoughts or concerns is one of the categories. So, it is a good idea to think about something that you would like to dream about.

ورؤيا مما يحدث به المرء نفسه. ويلازمه في يقظته ويهتم في أمره من الأعمال والعلوم والأقوال. (شرح سنن أبي داود)

A dream based upon what he was thinking about. (Meaning) He is attached to it whilst awake and is concerned about it in his actions, learning, and speech.

Think about the Prophet ﷺ

Since your thoughts and concerns can impact what you see in a dream, it is useful to focus them. Hence, it is a great idea to think about seeing the Prophet ﷺ. This thought or concern may assist in seeing the blessed Prophet ﷺ in your dreams. It will not guarantee seeing the Prophet ﷺ, since that is an immense gift from Allah (Most High) and he selects people for it. But it may increase the chances of it happening.

Warning not to spread bad dreams

In the Hadith above, we once again find our beloved Prophet ﷺ discouraging us from sharing bad dreams. Rather the response to a bad dream is to pray or supplicate and then ignore it. One should neither speak about it nor think about it. Taking these actions will limit the impact it has. The Muslim should be a positive optimistic person. Thus, he does not dwell upon negativity.


Although it is not correct to say that dreams are just your thoughts, they do impact what you see. Consequently, you should try to think positively. Such positive thoughts and concerns will make it more likely that your dreams are positive. However, it will not guarantee positive dreams because the Shaytaan can also influence the dreams you see.

If a Muslim does see a satanic dream, then he must not spread it. Nor must he allow it to cause him concern or anxiety. Rather, he is to ignore it. A dream that causes sorrow or depression is likely to be from Shaytan. The Muslim should ignore it and focus on positive matters. Such positivity will play a role in changing the dreams he or she sees.

And Allah Most High Knows Best.

Answered by Shaykh Noorud-deen Rashid (30.03.24)