Bismillahir rahmanir raheem
Yusuf (as) was the son of Yaqoob (as). The Prophet (saw) said “The most honorable of men was Yusuf (as), the prophet of Allah, the son of a prophet of Allah, who was the son of a prophet of Allah, who was the son of the khalil (friend) of Allah.” [Bukhari]
With this great family lineage, came the knowledge of dream interpretation. First from Yaqoob (as) and then to his son Yusuf (as).
When Yusuf (as) was a young boy, he had in dream in which 11 stars, the sun and the moon were prostrating to him as Allah swt narrates in verses 4 and 5 in Surah Yusuf. Yaqoob (as) was scared that if the other sons knew of Yusuf’s (as) dream, they would harm him as a result.
Yusuf (as) was very young at this age but Yaqoob (as) treated him with love and respect. He told him the truth about his dream and did not sugar coat it for his convenience. As much as children should be allowed to enjoy their childhood’s, we take from this portion of Yusuf’s (as) story that we should be honest with children and explain things to them on a level they’ll understand.
The second time a dream becomes integral to the story of Yusuf (as) is when he is in prison. Two men (the king’s cook and his cup bearer) both saw dreams that they wanted Yusuf (as) to interpret. Before interpreting their dreams Yusuf (as) invited them both towards tawhid. Their dreams revealed that one of them would live (the cup bearer) and one would die (the cook). On release, the cup bearer promised he would not forget about Yusuf (as) upon release but he did.
From this we can take as an example the dawah technique used by Yusuf (as). He didn’t just give out dream interpretations ‘for fun’. He understood that his gift was from Allah swt and should be used to bring people closer to Allah swt and not as some kind of party trick. We hear about a lot of people who interpret dreams, their advertisements are in newspapers, on the internet and authubillah (I seek refuge in Allah) in some masajid (mosques). One thing that Sheikh Dawood Butt, the man who taught the Prophets of Allah course mentioned, was that those who do know how to interpret dreams never make it known to others because they know the consequences of people relying on such things.
The third time a dream made an impact on Yusuf’s (as) life was when he was again summoned by the Aziz. The Aziz saw a dream in which 7 fat cows were being eaten by 7 skinny cows followed by 7 ears of corn while 7 ears of corn were dry.
No one could give him a satisfactory interpretation for his dream. His cup bearer overheard him and suggested a man he had met in prison, Yusuf (as). Not only did Yusuf (as) interpret the dream, he advised the steps needed to minimise the negative part of the vision. Yusuf (as) refused to leave prison until the king cleared his honour. The king summoned the women who had cut their hands due to the beauty of Yusuf (as), all of whom unanimously proclaimed his innocence, Allahu Akbar!
The story of Yusuf (as) holds so many lessons for us subhanAllah. I attended a weekend course about it and sunhanAllah I learnt so much.
Yusuf’s story encompasses forgiveness, patience, and the importance of tawakkul (trusting in Allah). Dream interpretation is a complicated business and you should only go to people who you can trust that follow the Qur’an and Sunnah.
The Prophet (saw) said: “Dreams are of three types: a dream from Allah, a dream which causes distress and which comes from the Shaytaan, and a dream which comes from what a person thinks about when he is awake, and he sees it when he is asleep.” [Bukhari]
Knowing the difference can be complicated, so if you really think it is a necessity that you interpret your dream, find someone who is qualified inshaAllah.
Here’s a video with more information regarding dream interpretation inshaAllah