The Dream in Islam: From Qur’anic Tradition to Jihadist Inspiration

The Dream in Islam: From Qur’anic Tradition to Jihadist Inspiration

The Dream in Islam: From Qur'anic Tradition to Jihadist Inspiration

The war in the Middle East is marked by a lack of cultural knowledge on the part of the western forces, and this book deals with another, widely ignored element of Islam-the role of dreams in everyday life. The practice of using night dreams to make important life decisions can be traced to Middle Eastern dream traditions and practices that preceded the emergence of Islam. In this study, the author explores some key aspects of Islamic dream theory and interpretation as well as the role and significance of night dreams for contemporary Muslims. In his analysis of the Islamic debates surrounding the role of “true” dreams in historical and contemporary Islamic prophecy, the author specifically addresses the significance of Al-Qaeda and Taliban dream practices and ideology. Dreams of “heaven,” for example, are often instrumental in determining Jihadist suicidal action, and “heavenly” dreams are also evidenced within other contemporary human conflicts such as Israel–Palestine and Kosovo–Serbia. By exploring patterns of dreams within this context, a cross-cultural, psychological, and experiential understanding of the role and significance of such contemporary critical political and personal imagery can be achieved.

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1 Comment

  1. Dream Catcher said,

    Wrote on June 30, 2016 @ 7:23 pm

    4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
    4.0 out of 5 stars
    From Osama and Mullah Omar to Everyday Muslim Life: Fascinating!, June 2, 2011

    I suppose this book is meant for an academic audience, but it is a very easy read. The book shows a different Islam than the one we most see on the television: the world of dreams. It was most fascinating to learn how important dreams are in Muslims’ day-to-day lives.
    Edgar found that dream incubation (called Istikhara) is used widely to help Muslims make important life decisions. The book tells how this incubation is done, how Muslims connect it to Muhammed and their faith, but it also has an interview with someone who professionally practices this incubation, in order to give advise to others. The interview is written down quite literally, which is very enjoyable to read.
    More political is the part of the book in which the author discusses the function and meaning of dreams in the formation of terrorist groups like Al-Qaeda and the Taliban. It is especially eye-catching that Osama bin Laden and Mullah Omar both act almost like prophets, as they hold their dreams to be revelations from Allah. Also, the dreams of certain known terrorists are documented and I learned how they might have interpreted their dreams as signs of the need for terrorist action, and in line with the will of God. This makes the book very contemporary, and the dream a tool to be reckoned with.
    The only downside to this book is the lack of historical background. There is no firm introduction into Islam, and the author clearly presupposes some knowledge about the different Muslim groups. But I suppose I could read that elsewhere, and it does not make the book difficult to follow. Thus, the book focuses on the dream in a very broad perspective (it even has a section on the dream’s place in Western traditions) and it is refreshing to read about an unknown, but clearly important, aspect of one of the largest religions in the world!
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