Ibn Seerïn's Dictionary of Dream Interpretation
By Shaykh Muhammad Al-Akili
Publisher: Pearl Publishing House
© 1996-2016 Pearl Publishing House
(And We taught Adam the names of things, then we proposed to the angels to qualify them. We said: Tell Us the names of these things, if you truly know! They replied: Our Lord, we only know what Thou have taught us. Then We said: O Adam, tell them the names of these things.)
All praises be to Allãh, Lord and Cherisher of the universes. He created the night for people to rest, and the day for them to seek their livelihood. He is the Lord and Sustainer of the Divine Throne. His sovereignty pervades the entire existence. His supremacy governs all actions. He hears and sees everything, including the steps of the smallest black ant, crouching over an opaque stone, in the middle of a moonless night. There is no god except Him. He chose His messenger, the seal of prophethood, and He strengthened him with wisdom and protection. He sent him as mercy to mankind, and to guide them away from heedlessness. God's Prophet, upon whom be peace, delivered the message of his Lord, advised the people, brought glad tidings to the believers, and warned them about the consequences of failing to fulfill the commandments of their Lord. May God's eternal blessings shower upon him, his companions, and followers in this world and in the hereafter.
When it came to selecting a name for this book, I browsed though the names of masters in this art, and found that the name of Imãm Muhammad Ibn Seerïn is most honored because of his outstanding work, and knowledge in this field, and particularly his extensive work Muntakhab Al-Kalãm fi Tafsïr Al-Ahlãm (i.e., The Leading Declamation on Dream Interpretation) which is considered by dream interpreters in the Muslim world as a major source of knowledge that enriched the spirit of readers as well as dream interpreters for over one thousand years. Other Islãmic works on dream interpretation and Arabic references referenced in this dictionary include the book of Shaikh Abdul-Ghani Nabulsi TaÎatïr-ul Anãm Fi TaÎabïr Al-Manãm (i.e., Enchanting the Creation with Dream Interpretations); the book of Nasr Bin Abi YaÎaqüb Bin Ibrãhim Al-Dainouri on dream interpretation, which he compiled for the Abbassid Caliph Al-Qãdir Billãh; the book of Shaikh Ibn Shãhïn Al-Zãhiri, Al-Ishãrah fi Ilm-il Ibãrah (i.e., Hints about Dream Interpretation); the book of the Imãm Shaikh Ibi Tãhir Burhãnud-Deen Al-Maqdisi Al-MuÎallam ÎAlã Hurüf Al-MuÎjam (i.e., Indexed Paragon of Dreams), which was commented on by Shaikh Imãm Muhibbud-Deen Muhammad Al-Maqdisi in his work Al-Muhkam fi Ikhtisãs Al-MuÎallim (i.e., Teacher's Lexicon on Dream Interpretation); the book of Shaikh Abil-Hassan Al-Khalili which he titled Al-Muntakhab (i.e., The Select); the book of Shaikh Imãm Jalãlu Deen Sulaimãn Al-Muzani also called Al-Ishãrah fi Ilm-il Ibãrah (i.e., Hints about Dream Interpretation); and the book of Shaikh Imãm Shahãbu-Deen Abi AlAbbãss Al-Maqdisi Al-Badrul-Munïr fi ÎIlmit-TaÎabïr (i.e., The Radiant Moon on Dream Interpretation); among others. Most of these masters agree on the basic interpretations, based on their common understanding of the principal references of religious interpretations.
First time in English, this unique indexed dictionary of dreams is made available to readers from all walks of life. It includes the opinions of most master cited hereinabove. The meaning of synonyms vary, though I have used some contemporary appellations, idiomatic phrases, Arabic terms, specialized definitions, as well as Islãmic terminologies and proper names in certain parts of this dictionary. It is important for the reader to commence by studying the Introduction, and the Guide To Using This Dictionary of Dreams before sailing into his search for the meaning of his or her dream. Except for a student, or a professional dream interpreter, one should take what applies to his prevailing circumstances, and discount the rest. The reader must use his wisdom and take what benefits him, and discard what does not suit him. The more knowledge and background one may have in this field, the easier it is for him to develop an understanding from this dictionary. However, the less knowledge one has, then reading this dictionary will help him ascertain a point of view on a day-to-day basis when he lacks the opportunity of knowing a wise Shaikh, or a dream interpreter.
Some of the rarest treasures of Muslim's inner understandings, have rarely surfaced in the West, and is being presented for the first time in this book. The resourcefulness of synonyms, and attributes used in this dictionary could only come from rich traditions, and elaborate social structures. The opinions stated here represent a wealth of similarities between nations, and contain spiritual values that must not be overlooked. Also, this book reveals cultural substances that were once held as a common human understanding. Hopefully today, it will be a bridge between people, and its wisdom can quench the thirst of students, and seekers on the path of Islãmic inner traditions.
Looking one's dream in this book, one must realize that the human mind is capable of stretching into endless horizons. Only God knows what the human mind can imagine, or what exact interpretation really relates to one's dream. The interpretation of the elements contained in this book of dream remain closely functional, and will most surely satisfy the initial quest for interpreting one's dream. Still, the final explanation, and joining the elements should come from a knowledgeable person in dream interpretation, a scholar, or a true Shaikh.
The nouns, adjectives, and sometimes verbs immediately following the element are put in brackets to indicate related synonyms. It feels important to say here, that this book is not an astronomical or a numerical charts, nor it is a handbook. Each component has to be seen in relationship to one's own state, and surrounding conditions. However, this dictionary does represent the common understanding of people, as they are, and it will prove to be a well established reference for basic interpretation of one's dreams.
Attributes used in this dictionary are not intended to portray anyone, though a thorough examination of the character-actor within each element depicts some characteristics, or portrays a common cultural, social, or spiritual understandings that may affect society's views, knowledge; or judgment. A dream interpreter studies the human nature through its own perception and interpretation of the surrounding elements. Philosophy also dominates the views and values of things in this book of dream. For example, Selling in a dream, means giving preference and value to, or being in need of a merchandise. If what is being sold is worldly, the preference is given to the benefits in the hereafter. Selling also means exchanging or bartering one condition with another. In inner eastern traditions, to sell means to part with. In a dream, the buyer represents the seller, and the seller represents the buyer. The concept relating to each element, is most realistic and functional. The interpretation of each element in a dream, seams as if it were taken from the perspective of that element of itself. For example, a mosquito sucking blood may feel strong at that moment, and perhaps healthy, because of the blood flowing in its veins. However, in reality, its scale may not measure to the creature it is sucking its blood.
Dreams are connected to one's true spirit and intentions. On the other hand, they maybe a mere organization of one's mental condition, or they could be the product of mixed emotions. The value placed on each element highly represents the ideal perception, which must be taken in reality. However, one must recognize that whatever a person may do in a dream, the true act is God's act.
The imagery of the interpretation provides beauty, and eloquence. The cultural and spiritual perception of these elements, represents the clarity of the seer and the interpreter. It also to be noted here that the original names of things came from their description. There is also a philosophical attitude in interpreting dreams such as comparing big apples and small apples, a bird and an airplane, a whale and a submarine, earth and mother, etcetera. In Islãmic inner traditions, the Qur'ãn is seen as a beautiful garden when one looks at it, and its verses are the fruit of knowledge and wisdom, the reader can pluck, or pearls one gathers. The Arabs call a garden whose owner is not known a Jannah, which is also a term used to mean paradise, its comfort and bliss. Jannah in Arabic carries the connotation of hidden, invisible to the naked eye, hidden comfort, etcetera. In a dream, dates are like money, for they do not have a long shelve life. The allegorical interpretation of a mosque when understood to mean the ruler of the land, means time. Its lights mean the noble retinue, and the wise men of his epoque, the ceiling represents the knowledge contained in the books which protect his justice, and his reference, the minaret then represents his prime minister or advisor, the pulpit represents his servant, the prayer niche represents his wife, or it may represent his lawful earnings, or a righteous and chase wife.
It helps to identify a universal perception of things, and to recognize the human qualities in dream. The shift in cultural understandings varied throughout the history of mankind. The moral values also changed. For example, in contemporary Western traditions, a pigeon represents a fool, a dupe or a victimized person, while in the original understanding and valuation of a pigeon, it meant in Eastern traditions: A trustworthy messenger; a truthful friend; a comforting beloved; or a chaste wife. What a change, and a difference in moral standards! Once upon a time, piety meant something valuable, though in today's cultures, as the moral standards are degraded, and outside of a religious significance, piety no longer connotes uprightness, devotion, faithfulness, allegiance, loyalty, etcetera.
I cannot underestimate the amount of work which is left for the students of this art to complete, in order for them to fully document the references cited in this book. I pray that they will use it wisely, and in conformance with the dictates of the Holy Qur'ãn, and the Sunnah traditions of God's Prophet, upon whom be peace. I thank Allãh for the opportunity He allowed me, and the time needed to complete this part of the work.
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, October 1991
Al Faqir ila Rabbihi Muhammad Al-Akili
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