Why Did the Prophet Interpret a Black Woman That He Saw in a Dream as a Plague?


Why did the Prophet interpret a black woman that he saw in a dream as a plague?


Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

Dear questioner,

Thank you for your important question.

The hadith is in Sahih al-Bukhari and reads:

In a dream I saw a black woman with unkempt hair leaving Medina and going to Mahya’ah (Juhfah). I interpreted it as a plague that was to beset Medina but then was moved to [Mahya’ah].

Al-Qastallani explains this saying:

The logic in this interpretation is that black (sawda’) is sounds like two words, namely evil (su’) and sickness (da’). Thus he interpreted it as an [evil sickness] because the word combined these two words. He interpreted unkempt (tha’ir) to mean that which kindles (yuthir) evil in Medina. (Irshad al-Sari, Al-Qastallani)

So the interpretation is based on the sounding of the words, and not on their meanings, and it is by no means a racial comment. Islam is not racist, and the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) was not racist. Please also see:

I pray this helps.

[Ustadh] Farid Dingle

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadh Farid Dingle has completed extensive years of study in the sciences of the Arabic language and the various Islamic Sciences. During his studies, he also earned a CIFE Certificate in Islamic Finance. Over the years he has developed a masterful ability to craft lessons that help non-Arabic speakers gain a deep understanding of the language. He currently teaches courses in the Arabic Language.