Praise be to Allaah.
It is not permissible for the one to whom Allah has given
the gift of interpreting dreams to accept payment for doing that. This is
for a number of reasons:
Interpretation of dreams is something that may be useful but
there is no certainty about that and there is no way to measure its benefit,
and payment can only be accepted in return for work that has a clear and
well known benefit. In this regard it is akin to working as a judge.
Ibn Qudaamah said concerning judges: As for seeking payment
for that, it is not permissible. ‘Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) said:
It is not appropriate for the Muslim judge to receive payment for passing
judgement. This is the view of al-Shaafa’i and we do not know of anyone who
disagreed with him… and because it is work that is not measurable. End
The closest analogy to dream interpretation is issuing fatwas.
The majority of scholars are agreed that it is not permissible for the mufti
to accept payment for his fatwa whether his giving the fatwa is an
individual obligation or a communal one.
It says in al-Mawsoo’ah al-Fiqhiyyah (32/42):
With regard to payment, it is not permissible to accept it
from any of those who sought a fatwa, according to the more correct view of
the Shaafa’is. This is also the view of the Hanafis and Hanbalis. The
Hanbalis said that because issuing fatwas should be done for the sake of
drawing closer to Allah and because it is conveying something from Allah and
His Messenger, so it is not permissible to accept compensation for it. If he
were to say to him: I will not teach you about Islam or wudoo' or prayer
unless you pay me, they said: this is definitively haraam and he has to give
back the payment and not take possession of it. They said: He has to give an
answer free of charge for the sake of Allah, verbally or in writing if the
enquirer asked for an answer in writing, but he is not obliged to provide
the paper and ink. End quote.
Ibn al-Qayyim said: if he accepted payment, that is not
permissible for him, because issuing fatwas is conveying from Allah and His
Messenger, so it is not permissible to accept payment for it. End quote.
I’laam al-Muwaqqi’een, 4/231
Dream interpretation is a kind of issuing fatwas.
Shaykh al-Sa’di said:
Knowledge of dream interpretation is one of the branches of
Islamic knowledge and a person will be rewarded for learning it and teaching
it. Interpreting dreams comes under the heading of fatwas, because Yoosuf
used a verb related to the word fatwa when he said to the two young men in
prison, “Thus is the case judged concerning which you both did inquire (tastaftiyaan)”
[Yoosuf 12:41], and the king said to Yoosuf, using a word from the same
root, “Explain to me (aftooni) my dream” [Yoosuf 12:43], and the
young man said to Yoosuf (interpretation of the meaning): “Explain to us
[aftinaa] (the dream) of seven fat cows” [Yoosuf 12:46]. So it is not
permissible to interpret dreams without knowledge. End quote.
Tafseer al-Sa’di, 1/407
It is not permissible to draw an analogy between accepting
payment for interpreting dreams and accepting payment for ruqyah, because
ruqyah comes under the heading of remedies and treating disease, and it is
permissible to ask for payment for them according to scholarly consensus.
Although some people say that it is permissible to seek
payment based on what is mentioned in Majma’ al-Anhar (3/533), where
there is a discussion on accepting payment for acts of worship, he says: …
unlike building mosques, paying zakaah, writing out Mushafs, fiqh, teaching
people how to write, astronomy [meaning learning astronomy in order to work
out directions and times from the stars], medicine, dream interpretation and
literary arts, and it says that it is permissible to accept payment for all
of these according to consensus –
this conclusion is not quite right, because what is meant by
teaching dream interpretation is not interpreting dreams per se, based on
the fact that it is mentioned in conjunction with teaching fiqh, writing,
medicine and literary arts.
This is clarified by what it says in al-Fataawa al-Hindiyyah
(4/448), which is a Hanafi book, where it says: If he asks for payment in
return for teaching his child how to write or about the stars or medicine or
dream interpretation, that is permissible according to scholarly consensus.
The difference between teaching knowledge of dream
interpretation and interpreting dreams is like the difference between
teaching Islamic knowledge and issuing fatwas and shar’i rulings.
Shaykh Ibn Jibreen (may Allah have mercy on him) was asked:
What is the ruling on accepting payment for dream interpretation?
We think that it is not permissible, because dream
interpretation relies on speculation; it is not permissible for the
interpreter to give a definitive interpretation, because of the possibility
that there may be a different interpretation other than what this
interpreter thinks, so there is no reason to take payment for that. End
quote from the shaykh’s website [in Arabic]:
And Allah knows best.