Document Type : Original Article


1 Assistant Professor of Religions and Mysticism faculty, Azarbaijan Shahid Madani University

2 PhD student of Islamic Mysticism, Institute of Imam Khomeini- Tehran- Iran


Sleep and dreams are among the salient concepts in religious-mystical studies and psychology that religious scholars, Muslim mystics, and psychologists have paid particular attention to and expressed thoughtful opinions. In the thought of mystics, one of the ways that a person can communicate with the unseen world is the world of dreams, in which the meanings of the unseen world take on sensual ecstasy and express particular concepts and themes. One of the mystics who paid distinct attention to the issue of dreams in his works is Mohi Al-Din Ibn Arabi (1240-1165 AD). The issue of dreams in Ibn Arabi's intellectual-mystical system has an inseparable association with uncovering, intuition, and spiritual experiences. He has dedicated the Yousefi and Ishaq chapters of Fosus Al-Hikam and a large part of the Meccan conquests, including chapters 99 and 180, to this issue. He considers the dream language to be symbolic and believes that the science of interpretation helps elicit the true meaning of what has been witnessed in a dream.
On the other hand, dreams have been the focus of psychologists and psychoanalysts in psychology because they are related to the human psyche and are the source of many human behaviors. Erich Fromm (1900-1980), a German-American psychoanalyst, sociologist, and renowned social psychologist of the Frankfurt school (Miri768,9 2014: 10), in his valuable work entitled “The Forgotten Language,” examined dreams thoroughly using previous findings and experiences on psych activities. According to his belief, dreams rooted in human thoughts and ideas are entirely authentic and meaningful and express the thoughts, interests, and desires of people. Erich Fromm considers the language of dreams to be a symbolic language that needs interpretation. Understanding the symbolic language is necessary for anyone who wants to know himself, and if he does not understand this language, he will miss the various points in sleeping. Therefore, the art of dream interpretation task is to understand the motivations of human behavior (natural and unnatural) and to distinguish the reasonable and higher parts of the dream from the unreasonable parts.
Given the importance of the dream issue in the thoughts of mystics and psychologists, the researchers of the present paper are to investigate the supra-natural viewpoints of Ibn Arabi and the natural approach of Erich Formm based on comparative analysis and according to the librarian evidence with a fresh view. So far, some research has been written about sleep and dreams. Among them is "Sleep and Dream from Ibn Arabi's Point of View" written by Abdolreza Mazaheri, which discussed topics such as dreams, the world of absolute and binding examples, spiritual hermeneutics and interpretation, and imagination from Ibn Arabi's viewpoint. Vahidah Haddad and Mohammad Bidhandi, in the article "The Nature of Sleep and Dreams from the Point of View of Farabi, Suhrawardi, and Ibn Arabi," have compared the views of Suhrawardi, Farabi, and Ibn Arabi about dreams. Ali Arshad Riahi and Fatemeh Zare, in a paper entitled “Comparison Study on Dream in the View of Ibn Arabi and Mula Sadra" explained their comparable and discrepant views upon dreams. Meanwhile, no study has focused on comparing Ibn Arabi and Erich Formm concerning the issue of dreams and their language. Therefore, this article tries to answer critical questions in this regard. Among these questions are: What is the origin of sleep and dreams in humans? What are the types of sleep and dreams? What is the language of sleep and dreams? Should dreams be interpreted, and if they are interpretable, who should do it?
The research findings indicate that Ibn Arabi and Erich Forumm work on the issue from a specific aspect.
The similarities between Ibn Arabi's and Eric Fromm's views on dreaming reflect broader trends in the history of psychology and religious studies, each emphasizing the importance of self-knowledge and personal growth. Both thinkers believe that dreams can reveal hidden aspects of oneself and the interpretation of these dreams can lead to greater self-knowledge and understanding. At the same time, the differences between their perspectives reflect broader trends in the history of psychology and religious studies that highlight different approaches to understanding human experience and consciousness. Ibn Arabi's point of view is rooted in a mystical cosmology that emphasizes the importance of self-transcendence and achieving unity with the world of meaning and the unseen. Eric Fromm's view, on the contrary, is rooted in humanistic psychology, which emphasizes the importance of self-actualization and personal growth. These different approaches to understanding human experience and consciousness have important implications for our understanding of ourselves and our relationship with the world. For Ibn Arabi, the soul is ultimately the manifestation of God and the goal of human life is to achieve union with God through spiritual practices such as meditation and thinking. According to Eric Fromm, the self is a unique being that has the possibility of growth and self-fulfillment through the realization of its unique potential. As a result, by exploring these different perspectives, we can gain a deeper understanding of the complexity and richness of human experience and better understand how we can achieve greater self-knowledge and personal growth and use this knowledge to make positive changes in our lives.


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