By now we have a basic idea as to what is a dream and how significant it is in Islam. Dreams have been defined as a sequence of images, ideas and sensations and emotions which take place involuntarily in our mind, while we are asleep. At this stage a question may arise in our mind that how do dreams occur? After having understood the meaning of dreams and their importance in Islam now let us try to understand about their mechanism. If a dream is a series of images, ideas etc then how come such images pop up in our minds while we are fast asleep?
Science has presented numerous theories regarding the mechanism of dreams. The more we delve into those theories the more confusion will be produced in our minds. I shall mention about a few puzzling theories here:
Some of the scientific researchers opine that dreams do not serve any purpose at all and they are just random images.
Some claim that the dreams help to de-clutter our minds, manage our moods and to organize our memories.
The others believe that the dreams serve the purpose of psychotherapy by enabling the dreamer to establish a link between different emotions and thoughts, in a secure environment.
Modern scientists believe that dreams occur so that we may practice how to cope with fight or flight situations in our real life.
According to some scientists dreams are akin to de-fragmentation of a computer’s hard-drive.
These varied viewpoints about dreams were enough to create utter confusion in our minds. However, the different branches of science which look at dreams from different perspectives have simply added fuel to fire and have created more confusion.
A brain scientist may be concerned about the effect of sleeping and dreaming on the health.
An anthropologist may be more interested in finding about the effect of dreams on the way people interact with each other in a tribe.
A psychologist may try to decipher the mechanism of dreams in order to help people improve their quality of life
These numerous theories floating around prove that science has no inkling about the real purpose of dreams. Nor can science prove with surety how dreams actually occur. If science could prove the purpose and the mechanism of dreams then there would not have been so many different theories doing the rounds. So basically, these umpteen theories that I have mentioned above are unproven, till date. Science has not been able to understand the concept of dream accurately simply because dreams have a spiritual side to them.
We should try to understand the concept of dreams only in the light of Islam otherwise there are chances that we will go up a blind alley.
In my next post, Inshallah I shall discuss about the concept of soul travel during one’s sleep, (in the light of the Holy Quran) which is instrumental in the occurrence of dreams.