Is it wrong to talk about a bad dream or nightmare? Some people say it is not allowed in Islam.

ⓘ Supported by Al Medina 313.



Islamic Text

بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَنِ الرَّحِيمِ

In the Name of Allah Most Merciful Most Kind

Short Answer

Yes, it is wrong to talk about a bad dream or nightmare. This is because the Prophet ﷺ advised against it. When we adhere to the advice of the Prophet ﷺ we will find greater blessings and better outcomes.

Prophetic advice
عَنْ أَبِي سَلَمَةَ، قَالَ: إِنْ كُنْتُ لَأَرَى الرُّؤْيَا تُمْرِضُنِي، قَالَ: فَلَقِيتُ أَبَا قَتَادَةَ، فَقَالَ: وَأَنَا كُنْتُ لَأَرَى الرُّؤْيَا فَتُمْرِضُنِي، حَتَّى سَمِعْتُ رَسُولَ اللهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ يَقُولُ: الرُّؤْيَا الصَّالِحَةُ مِنَ اللهِ، فَإِذَا رَأَى أَحَدُكُمْ مَا يُحِبُّ، فَلَا يُحَدِّثْ بِهَا إِلَّا مَنْ يُحِبُّ، وَإِنْ رَأَى مَا يَكْرَهُ فَلْيَتْفُلْ عَنْ يَسَارِهِ ثَلَاثًا وَلْيَتَعَوَّذْ بِاللهِ مِنْ شَرِّ الشَّيْطَانِ وَشَرِّهَا، وَلَا يُحَدِّثْ بِهَا أَحَدًا فَإِنَّهَا لَنْ تَضُرَّهُ

Abu Salamah said, I used to see dreams that would cause me to fall ill. I saw Abu Qatada who also said, I used to see dreams that would cause me to fall ill until I heard the Messenger of Allah ﷺ say: Good dreams are from Allah. So if any one of you sees that which he likes, he should not disclose it to anyone but whom he likes. But if he sees something he dislikes, he should blow spittle on his left side thrice and seek refuge with Allah from the mischief of Shaytan and its mischief. He should not convey it to anyone. Thus it will not harm him. (Sahih Muslim, 2261 – 4).

The Hadith narration above is very clear regarding the fact that one should not talk about a bad dream or a nightmare. The blessed Prophet ﷺ reassures the Muslims that it will cause no harm if they follow the guidance provided. Unfortunately, some Muslims are unaware of this and cause themselves great distress by contradicting the Prophetic guidance.

The Hadith is certainly advising Muslims not to worry about bad dreams or nightmares. Therefore, such visions should cause a Muslim no concern whatsoever. Rather it is to be completely ignored. It is an attempt by the Shaytan to cause him or her concern. When it is dismissed and given no consideration, the Shaytan fails.

Scholarly commentary
وفى أمره بنفثه وبصقه ثلاثاً: طرد للشيطان الذي حضر رؤياه المكروهة، واستقذاره لها. (إِكمَالُ المُعْلِمِ بفَوَائِدِ مُسْلِم)

In his command to blow spittle three times is the expelling of the Shaytaan who is involved in a bad dream. It also expresses his disgust for it. (Imam Qadi Iyad, Sharh Sahih Muslim).

وَأَمَّا قَوْلُهُ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ فإنها لا تَضُرَّهُ مَعْنَاهُ أَنَّ اللَّهَ تَعَالَى جَعَلَ هَذَا سَبَبًا لِسَلَامَتِهِ مِنْ مَكْرُوهٍ يَتَرَتَّبُ عَلَيْهَا كَمَا جَعَلَ الصَّدَقَةَ وِقَايَةً لِلْمَالِ وَسَبَبًا لِدَفْعِ الْبَلَاءِ. (المنهاج شرح صحيح مسلم بن الحجاج)

As for his ﷺ saying: It will not harm him, it means that Allah Most High made it a cause for his safety from harm that would result from it. Just as He made charity a protection for money and a means to ward off calamity. (Imam Yahya bin Sharaf al-Nawawi, Sharh Sahih Muslim).

The Nusoos (texts) above, clarify that following the guidance in the Hadith is a means of protection and belittling the Shaytan. So, if a Muslim does not talk about a bad dream or nightmare, he has protected himself from sadness and concern. When he seeks refuge from Shaytan and blows spittle he has belittled Shaytan.


When a Muslim learns and practices the teachings of Islam he benefits abundantly. He benefits in this life and the next. It is sad to see that so many Muslims have very little knowledge of their religion. Thus, they lose out in this life and the next. Many Muslims see a bad dream and become distressed. This impacts them in this life and causes them to miss out on reward for the afterlife.

The blessed Prophet ﷺ taught us to refrain from talking about a bad dream or nightmare. We are also taught to think nothing of it and not allow it to concern us. By following this guidance, we would have peace of mind and be rewarded for following the Sunnah. Unfortunately, many are neglectful of the Sunnah due to ignorance.

Something that further complicates the issue is ignorant religious leaders. Sadly, not every Imam in a Masjid or teacher in a Madrasah is genuinely knowledgeable. Nor is everyone who has been taken as a religious leader or guide. Thus, such people often provide the wrong advice and increase anxiety and concern, whilst simultaneously contradicting the Sunnah. Therefore, a Muslim must have a strong connection and familiarity with Quran and Sunnah and study Islam with scholars who follow the tradition of Ahl al-Sunnah.

And Allah Most High Knows Best.

Answered by Shaykh Noorud-deen Rashid (22.03.24)