We all see dreams. Sometimes they are good and sometimes they are not. The frequency of seeing dreams varies with individuals. Sometimes we see strange things like dead friends/relatives, new places and information/warning future events and sometimes these are only the reflection of our day long activities and desires.
Many people do not give any importance at all to dreams but others consider it an important tool of getting knowledge and learning as they find some or most of their dreams becoming true. It is a fact that some dreams are true and people get information about happenings of future based on which they try to set their course of action.
Seeing true dreams is a Blessing of Allah Almighty as it is a channel of communication by which man can learn and get information which he cannot get from other material sources. Interpreting dreams however, requires knowledge and experience.
In the Holy Quran, there are many examples of seeing dreams and their interpretations by Holy Prophets. When the king of Egypt saw a dream, he asked his courtiers to interpret that dream but no one was able to do it. His dream was then interpreted by Hazrat Yousaf (AS). In the Holy Quran, the event has been narrated in Surah 12. Yusuf(AS)
12:43. The king (of Egypt) said: “I do see (in a vision) seven fat kine, whom seven lean ones devour, and seven green ears of corn, and seven (others) withered. O ye chiefs! Expound to me my vision if it be that ye can interpret visions.”
44. They said: “A confused medley of dreams: and we are not skilled in the interpretation of dreams.”
45. But the man who had been released, one of the two (who had been in prison) and who now bethought him after (so long) a space of time, said: “I will tell you the truth of its interpretation: send ye me (therefore).”
46. “O Joseph!” (he said) “O man of truth! Expound to us (the dream) of seven fat kine whom seven lean ones devour, and of seven green ears of corn and (seven) others withered: that I may return to the people, and that they may understand.”
47. (Joseph) said: “For seven years shall ye diligently sow as is your wont: and the harvests that ye reap, ye shall leave them in the ear,- except a little, of which ye shall eat.
48. “Then will come after that (period) seven dreadful (years), which will devour what ye shall have laid by in advance for them,- (all) except a little which ye shall have (specially) guarded.
49. “Then will come after that (period) a year in which the people will have abundant water, and in which they will press (wine and oil).”
True dreams are also sort of warning about coming things from Allah Almighty so that people can alter their course and stay safe. Egypt was saved when Hazrat Yousaf (AS) not only interpreted the dream of the King but also gave suggestion of overcoming this problem by appointing a wise man to govern Egypt in these times so that he can collect and save the harvest in good times for the coming bad times. The King was impressed by hearing the wise interpretation of Hazrat Yousaf (AS) and chose him to take the responsibility.
12: 54. So the king said: “Bring him unto me; I will take him specially to serve about my own person.” Therefore when he had spoken to him, he said: “Be assured this day, thou art, before our own presence, with rank firmly established, and fidelity fully proved!
55. (Joseph) said: “Set me over the store-houses of the land: I will indeed guard them, as one that knows (their importance).”
56. Thus did We give established power to Joseph in the land, to take possession therein as, when, or where he pleased. We bestow of our Mercy on whom We please, and We suffer not, to be lost, the reward of those who do good.
57. But verily the reward of the Hereafter is the best, for those who believe, and are constant in righteousness.
Dreams seen by other Prophets have also been given in Holy Quran like the dream seen by Hazrat Ibrahim (AS). The difference between dreams of common people and dreams of Holy Prophets (p.b.u.h) is due to difference between their spiritual strengths. Since spiritual powers of Holy Prophets are very high, there dreams are always from Allah Almighty and always true. Frequency of true dreams in common people depend on the spiritual status of individuals.
There are other examples of dreams seen by pious men.e.g. Once Mullah Wajih ud Din who was a pious person and living in the suburbs of Uch Sharif (a town in Bahawalpur division), saw in dream that a Buzrag (saint) is addressing large number of people and saying “One who preferred affairs of the world over affairs of Akhira, spoiled both of them”. When Mullah Wajih ud Din woke up, he asked people if there is someone in the area who guides people towards Allah Almighty. People told him about Hazrat Makhdoom Jahanian Jahan Gasht (RA) (Jalal ud din Hussain Bukhari) who used to preach in Uch Sharif. He went to meet the saint and recognized him as soon as he saw him because the saint was one whom Mullah Wajih ud Din has seen in his dream. Makhdoom Sahib said to him, “One should not prefer worldly affairs over the affairs of the Akhira”.
On hearing this Mullah Wajih ud Din became Murid of Makhdoom Sahib.
In this type of dream, a connection was established between two persons and helped them to meet each other. This form of dream may come under lucid dreaming. Lucid Dreaming is knowing that one is dreaming while one is doing it. When one knows that he is dreaming, he can also alter the dream course. It is like having control of the dream scenario. In lucid dreaming, there is possibility of sharing dreams and traveling in time and space and meeting with other people intentionally. This happens when one acquires adequate control over his dreams. In this mode, one can learn many things which he cannot learn normally, can travel intentionally to places of his interest, can travel in time (both future and past) and meet with other people. This thing can be acquired and different people give different mode of exercises but in spirituality, most important way of getting this through concentration / meditation.
It is said that if one sees a good dream, then he should narrate it to a pious person or his own close friend and not to everybody while one who sees bad dream should not narrate it to any one. One who sees bad dream (about himself) he should seek forgiveness and protection by praying from Allah Almighty. If there is some warning then he should try to alter his course. But seeing bad dreams while one is sleeping on his left side has no meaning as normally when we sleep on the left side, it puts pressure over heart and may result in bad dreams. Seeing bad dreams in extreme temperatures like sleeping in shivering cold also has no meaning.
Moreover, Satan cannot imitate the forms of Holy Kaaba, Holy Quran and Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) so any dreams in which one sees Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), says Kalima Tayyab, recites verses of holy quran or Azan, then its also true. If one sees other things, it might be true or false depending on various situations.
Usually, different things seem in dreams have different meanings. For example, If one sees himself dressed in fine clothing, he may acquire an elevated place among his peers, stained clothes represent bad reputation and worn out clothes show poverty. White colour dress represents happiness and success especially of Akhira. If one sees crossing the river successfully, he may overcome the problems, seeing being drowned shows failure. Seeing Fire is good, while seeing Mango or pomegranate may mean having a son. Seeing earthquake, red sky is bad for the people. If one sees himself taking a bath and he is sick, the dream indicates of his recovery and gaining health. Seeing climbing the stairs upwards represents progress while downwards is considered bad. Snakes represent enemies and if one kills the snake in dream, it represents victory over the enemy. If one sees Holy Kaaba or Madina Munnawara, its good for Akhira and he may perform Hajj/Umrah.
But in any circumstances, if one sees/hears something which is against the teachings of Islam, then the dream is FALSE.