I had concluded my previous post with an exercise for those who are interested in learning how to interpret their dreams. The dream goes like this:
“A woman remembered having seen a dream during her childhood that a tiger had swallowed her and she could feel herself sliding into his stomach. Later on she could hear a rumbling sound within the lion’s stomach”.
This dream is not a fabrication but a real one. Now we will have to start the interpretation step by step. A tiger is a carnivorous animal and getting swallowed by it would definitely have to do something with one’s enemies. So in this dream the tiger would depict the enemy. The second most important clue which can help us get to the root of the dream is that though the girl had been swallowed by the tiger yet it could hear the rumbling noise within the body of the tiger, i.e. she was still alive. This implies that though the girl’s enemies will try to overcome her yet they will not be able to cause her any harm. The fact that the girl had survived despite being gobbled up by a ferocious animal such as a tiger shows that the girl may have many enemies who will try to get the better of her but they will be in vain.
Now let us move on to the main topic of this post, i.e. wet dreams, which are also known as nocturnal emissions, nightfall and night ejaculations. Before I go into the details of nightfall I shall explain its meaning and its cause first.
As far as women are concerned even a layman may have a rough idea about the menses which take place every month. The lining of the uterus becomes thick in order to receive and nourish the fertilized egg every month. If the woman does not get pregnant, i.e. if the egg is not fertilized then the body sheds the uterus lining. This process of shedding the lining of the uterus along with bleeding, is known as menstruation.
On the other hand, nightfall refers to the release of the semen through the male copulatory organ while they are asleep. Though there are several theories related to nightfall but the soundest one is that nightfall is a way by which the body expels its built-up semen. Semen, which is a whitish fluid, starts accumulating in the testicles after puberty. The amount of semen produced by the body can become more than the body can assimilate. Therefore, whenever the semen is produced more than the body can hold, it gets discharged through nocturnal emissions.
The nocturnal emissions may take place along with erotic dreams, known as wet dreams. Although a lot has been written about wet dreams but I have decided to dedicate this post to this topic for two reasons. Firstly, there is some amount of guilt associated with such dreams which I would like to discuss in the light of Islam. Secondly, there is some confusion between the totally natural wet dreams and those sex-related dreams which are shown to us by Shaitan. Somewhere along the line the two have been mixed up and have created confusion.
As I have explained above there is a biological reason due to which such nocturnal emissions take place. Now, as far as the erotic dreams (along with the discharge of semen while sleeping) are concerned I shall mention a hadith, which shows that there is no reason to feel guilty about either the discharge or the sexual dreams.
Narrated Ali Abu Ibn Talib, ‘there are three whose actions are not recorded: a lunatic, whose mind is deranged till he is restored to consciousness, a sleeper till he is awake and a boy till he reaches puberty’. (Sunan Abu Dawood, volume: 3, hadith #:4389)
This shows that a person cannot be held responsible for any sexual dream which he sees while he is fast asleep. Therefore, he should not feel guilty unnecessarily. Moreover there is a hadith which proves that even the Companions (ra) of the Holy Prophet (pbuh) used to see wet dreams.
Yahya related to me from Malik from Hashim ibn Urwa that Zuyayd Ibn As-salt said, ‘I went with Umar Ibn al- Khattab to Juruf and he looked down and noticed that he had a wet dream and had prayed without taking a bath. He said, ‘By Allah I realize that I had a wet dream and I was not aware about it and I did not take bath. So he took a bath and washed away whatever he saw on his clothes and sprinkled with water whatever he did not see. Then he gave the adhaan and prayed in the mid-morning’. (Malik’s Muwatta)
What we notice in this hadith is that whereas the wet dream is not frowned upon, since it is a natural phenomenon, the main focus lies on restoring one’s state of purity so that namaz can be offered.
Now coming to the second point, I find that there is some confusion about the erotic dreams which are often associated with the nocturnal emissions. These sexual dreams are often confused with the evil sort of dreams which are shown to us by Shaitan. If we maintain that both nocturnal emission, (which is a natural phenomenon), as well as Satanic dreams can lead to erotic dreams along with discharge of semen then how can a person identify the type of dream that he has seen? Well, the Satanic dreams can be easily identified because they tend to make the person sexually perverted so that he goes astray. The normal wet dreams may have some sexual content but they will not create evil thoughts in the mind.
The gist of the matter is that if the person who experiences wet dreams is absolutely sure of a discharge from his or her private parts then they will be considered to be in a state of major impurity. In such a case It will become compulsory for them to take a full bath of purification so that they an offer namaz.
I shall wind up this topic with another hadith which makes it clear that what is of utmost importance in this case is to restore one’s purity by taking a full bath.
Hazrat Ayesha (ra) reported that Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) was asked about man who found semen discharge but could not remember having seen an erotic dream. Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) said, ‘He should take a bath’. Then he was asked about a man who remembered having seen an erotic dream but he did not experience a discharge. Prophet Mohammad (pbuh), ‘He does not need to take bath’. Umm Sulaim asked, ‘Does a woman need to bathe if she sees something like this? Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) replied, ‘Yes, verily women are the counterparts of men’. (Musnad Ahmad-25663)
So whether a sexual dream is shown to us by Shatian or due to the natural phenomenon of nocturnal emission, what is of utmost important for us is that we need to take a bath for purification in order to resume Salaah.