Monday, August 6, 2012

Dream Interpretations

My wife likes to tell me about her dreams. She often ends with, “What does that mean?” Being a believer in reference material, I bought her a book that lists things and tells you what they mean if they appear in a dream. They are pretty silly, and not too long after that, she told me someone had said that getting those books is the last thing you should do for dream interpretation. It is better to think about what is going on in your life and try to come up with allegorical explanations of the dream that help you tell your own story. That’s how I felt all along, so that has worked out well.

In the Koran, there is a nice little piece of poetry about a dream Muhammad had. He flies far away and meets spiritual leaders of the past and then meets God. This is sometimes referred to as “The Night Journey” and is the basis of the legend of the “Al-Aqsa” (farthest) mosque. The Al-Aqsa mosque that was later constructed is also called “The Dome of the Rock”. You’ve probably heard of it.

But first the dream. Muhammad studied religion and was writing spiritual material. Clearly, in this dream he is seeing himself as worthy of the company of the great prophets in history. His writings draw for Judaism and Christianity and some case could be made that they offer some improvements.

The details of that don’t really matter to me. In the end, they are the writings of a man (or possibly men). They prove nothing. We all have had dreams where we are flying, so discussions of whether or not he actually flew that night are just silly. Discussions of where he went are equally silly, but Islamic scholars did just that, at length, before actually building the mosque. Fighting over it, well, do I have to say it?

What would be less silly is if we all had this dream. Or we could just close our eyes and visualize it. We are all just as good at thinking about what is right and how we should lead a just and noble life as anyone who wrote about it 1,500 years ago. Most of us could spend 10 minutes with the 10commandments and improve upon them. Anyone could take a red pen to Shari’a lawand clean it up. Go ahead, take your place with the great prophets of history, you have my permission.

No comments:

Post a Comment