I have a question regarding true dreams. I myself have experienced true dreams especially after I changed and came close towards Allah. I started experiencing true dreams first precisely when I prayed istikhara and I myself have experienced how the Almighty guides you. Each of the dreams that I saw as a warning happened to be true and I got to experience His miracles. But aren't true dreams a part of prophethood? There is even a Hadith about it. But in that sense shouldn't only the believers have it? However I have seen numerous of people coming from different faiths who say they experienced warning dreams or others that came true. How true is the fact that we need to be a believer to be able to experience this leftover of prophethood? Why does Allah guide those people aswell who are not as close to Him?
Thank you for writing to us.
The hadith narrative you have referred to is as follows:
عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ إِذَا اقْتَرَبَ الزَّمَانُ لَمْ تَكَدْ تَكْذِبُ رُؤْيَا الْمُؤْمِنِ وَرُؤْيَا الْمُؤْمِنِ جُزْءٌ مِنْ سِتَّةٍ وَأَرْبَعِينَ جُزْءًا مِنْ النُّبُوَّةِ وَمَا كَانَ مِنْ النُّبُوَّةِ فَإِنَّهُ لَا يَكْذِبُ
Abu Huraira reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, "When the end of time approaches, the dream of a believer can hardly be false. The dream of a believer is one of forty-six parts of prophecy and whatever is from prophecy cannot be false." (Bukhari, Hadith 7017 )
Another hadith related to it is as follows:
حدثني سعيد بن المسيب أن أبا هريرة قال سمعت رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم يقول لم يبق من النبوة إلا المبشرات قالوا وما المبشرات قال الرؤيا الصالحة
Narrated Abu Huraira: I heard Allah's Messenger saying, "Nothing remains of prophethood except for things which give glad tidings." They asked: "What are these?" He replied: "Good dreams." (Bukhari, Hadith 6990)
The implication of the referred hadith narratives ascribed to the Prophet (pbuh) is that everything pertaining to prophet hood, including any reliable information of the unseen future has ceased to exist with the end in the chain of prophets of God. All that may exist is that a person, sometimes, get a hint or a sign for something in a dream.
This statement does not in anyway give dreams a religious significance. Obviously, a dream may come true, or it may just simply be a dream. We do not have any way of judging whether a dream is a sign for the unseen future or is merely a dream. Only time – when the future unfolds itself into the present – will tell whether a dream was a true sign for the future or not. If a dream comes true, it may be considered a sign from God. If it does not, it would only be considered a dream.
Whatever the case may be, it still needs to be determined what is the 'Islamic' significance of even a dream that really does come true? Would such an event imply that the person who was given such a sign is one-forty sixth a prophet of God? Would it signify that the future dreams of the person in question always be considered a sign from God? The answer is in the negative. A dream or a vision can neither be considered a source of guidance parallel to the Qur'an and the Sunnah of the Prophet (pbuh) nor can it be given any importance in matters pertaining to understanding or following the directives of the Shari`ah.
It is also not necessary that only 'believers' would have true dreams. The Qur'an itself has mentioned the dreams of several personalities who were not 'believers' strictly speaking. For instance, the dream of the Pharoah or the dreams of the cellmates of Prophet Jospeh (pbuh)in prison. Allah, according to His Wisdom, can choose to show something in a dream to any person He wishes to.
Hope this helps.