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December 2012

1. DEAR ABE: I would like to know the true interpretation of my dream.  There were many suns in the sky.  To the east were half of the suns and it was sunrise.  The other suns were in the western sky where it was complete daytime and the sky was yellow.   What is the meaning of this dream?  – MOHAMMAD, PAKISTAN

DEAR MOHAMMAD: Dreams do not mean anything and serve no purpose. The physiological explanation of our dreams is that the brain uses fragments of images and memories to create a story during our REM sleep, since our brain is disconnected from sensory input from the outside world.  Dreams typically incorporate things that are happening in our lives at the time. Joseph’s dream interpretations had a significant impact, but he was the only one that we are made aware of who was taught the ability to interpret dreams from the angels [1].  He was authorized by God.  Some people put a lot of emphasis on dreams.  But, the Quran gives no relevance to the dreams we might have.  In fact, the Quran warns us against putting too much emphasis on our dreams [2].

Relevant Quran Verses:  [1] 12:21, 12:36-49, 12:101; [2] 52:32.


2. DEAR ABE: The Quran tells about hazrat Yusuf’s dream interpretation, and there is a hadith that dreams have meaning.  Also the prophet Muhammad had a dream that someone did black magic on him and the source was near a well.  Sufis also have dreams that are interpreted.  Does the Quran give us an understanding about our dreams and their interpretation? –NIMAL, SRI LANKA

DEAR NIMAL:The Quran certainly talks about Prophet Joseph's interpretation of dreams.  That gift was given to Prophet Joseph by God's leave.  We know of the reference to Joesph’s ability, his father Jacob’s interpretation of Joseph’s childhood dream [1], and the dream of Prophet Abraham [2]. There is nothing in the Quran about interpretation of dreams beyond these three incidences.  The story about Prophet Muhammad in your email has no basis in the Quran. It is a story fabricated by the scholars and carries no weight [3]. If anything, we are warned against putting too much emphasis on our dreams [4] .

Relevant Quran Verses:  [1] 12:4-9; [2] 37:102-111;  [3] 9:31, 6:114, 31:6;  [4] 52:32.


3. DEAR ABE: Is circumcision mandatory in islam? – JEDD, MIDWESTERN USA

DEAR JEDD: The Quran does not address circumcision. Thus we cannot say that it is mandatory [1].

Relevant Quran Verse: [1] 6:114-115, 45:6, 77:50, 3:94.

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