Dreams are of three sorts. Two of these, in the words of the Qur’an, are "A confused medley of dreams"; included among these, they are not worth interpreting. If they have any meaning, it is of no importance. Either due to an ailment, the power of imagination mixes things up and depicts them in accordance with the person’s sickness, or the imagination recalls some stimulating event which occurred to the person that day, or previously, or even at the same time a year or two earlier, and it modifies and depicts it, giving it some other form. This sort too are A confused medley of dreams, and not worth interpreting.
The third sort are true dreams. With the senses that bind man to the Manifest World and roam in that world resting and ceasing their activity, the dominical subtle faculty in man’s essential nature finds a direct relation with World of the Unseen and opens up a window onto it. Through that window, it looks on events whose occurrence is being prepared; it encounters the manifestations of the Preserved Tablet and one of the types of samples of the missives of Divine Determining; it sees some true occurrences. Sometimes the imagination governs in those occurrences, dressing them in the garments of form. There are numerous types and levels of this sort of dream. Sometimes they turn out exactly as dreamed; sometimes they turn out slightly concealed, as though under a fine veil; and sometimes they turn out heavily veiled.
True dreams are a higher development of premonitions. Everyone has premonitions to a greater or lesser degree. Animals even have them. At one time I discovered scientifically, additional to the famous external and inner senses like the unconscious instinctive senses which impel and stimulate, and hearing and sight, two senses including premonition. Philosophers and the people of misguidance mistakenly and foolishly call those little known senses “Natural instinct.” God forbid! They are not ‘Natural’ instinct; rather, Divine Determining impels man and animals through a sort of innate inspiration. For example, some animals like cats, if they lose their sight, through this impelling of Divine Determining, go and find a plant which is healing for their eyes, rub it on them, and they get better.
Also, birds of prey like eagles, which, like the public health officials of the earth, are charged with the duty of removing the carcasses of nomadic animals, are informed through that impelling of Divine Determining, that inspiration of the sense of premonition, that Divine drive, of animal remains a day’s distance away, and they go and find them.
Also, a young bee newly come into the world, flies a day’s distance in the air when only a day old without losing its way, and through that drive of Divine Determining and impelling inspiration returns to its hive. And it happens frequently to everyone that while speaking of someone, the door opens, and totally unexpectedly the same person enters. There is even a saying in Kurdish which goes: “Talk of the wolf and ready your gun, for the wolf will appear.” That is to say, through a premonition, that dominical subtle faculty had perceived the person’s coming in summary fashion. But since the conscious mind had not comprehended it, it prompted him to speak of it, not intentionally, but involuntarily. Intuitive people sometimes say that someone is coming almost like wonder-working. At one time in myself, even, sensitivity of this kind was acute. I wanted to incorporate the condition into a principle, but I could not adapt it and was unable to. However, in the righteous, and particularly in the people of sainthood, premonition develops to a high degree, showing its effects wondrously.
Thus, ordinary people may manifest a sort of sainthood so that like the saints, they dream of things pertaining to the Unseen and the future in true dreams. Yes, for ordinary people sleep may be like a degree of sainthood in respect of true dreams; so too for everyone it is a splendid dominical cinema. However, those with good morals think good thoughts, and one with good thoughts dreams of good things. Whereas since those with bad morals think bad thoughts, they dream of bad things. Furthermore, for everyone, true dreams are a window in the Manifest World looking onto the World of the Unseen. For restricted and transitory human beings, they are also an arena of infinite proportions manifesting a sort of eternity, and a place for gazing on the past and the future as though they were the present. They are also a resting-place for beings with spirits who are crushed beneath the responsibilities of life suffering great hardship.
By Bediuzzaman Said Nursi