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“I Have A Dream”… Let Your Imagination Run Free

When the destitute pupil wrote down in his essay his childhood dream that he wanted fields, horses and a racetrack, his teacher crossed off the student’s grade and denied him the pleasure of his dream. He said:

“How can you dream of such things when you do not even have the money to pay for the notebook you write your dreams in? It was given to you by a charity.”

The teacher offered the student the chance to rewrite the test, but the student answered proudly:

“You can keep your grade. I will keep my dreams.”

When you uphold a lofty position, refuse to be dispossessed, and persevere, you will find yourself in the end where you want to be. It is the challenge that compels you sometimes to persist on your path and pay no attention to those who would try to rob you of your dreams.

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When Martin Luther King said: “I have a dream,” he was speaking on many levels, the most important of which was the level of all humanity.

The dreams we have when we are asleep are from our imagination. Humanity has persisted until it has realized many of the most fantastical and seemingly impossible of those dreams, like flying in space. We have shown great ingenuity and surmounted even greater obstacles to get where they are today.

Dreams Are Greater than Ambitions

A goal is a dream within a small frame of time. As for real dreams, they are permanent desires that persist like a heartbeat and reside in our minds, spirits, and imaginations.

When a dream comes true, it is as if it evaporates. Like a flower, once it is plucked it dies. The greatest thing in life is the waiting. Moments of expectancy charged with extraordinary activity constitute the pinnacle of life.

A dream will remain a dream, nourished by our tears, sustained by our fascination, transfixed in our waking hours and in our sleep.

Martin Luther King said:

“Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree.”

He was quoting from the heritage of human wisdom when he said this.

Prophet Muhammad had expressed the exact same idea when he said:

If the Hour arrives and you have a sapling in your hand, then if you are able to remain where you are and plant the sapling, you should do so. (Al-Bukhari)

A truly beautiful dream never dies. This is because it does not just revolve around oneself. It includes others and is not selfish.

The true promise of Allah’s reward sustains our hopes even in our worldly activities, even when we know that they will not provide us with profit. The mere act itself protects our humanity. This is referred to in psychology as “logotherapy”.

This is the secret of the strength in the reward in the Hereafter. It gives us another motivation to act besides our belief in the importance of the act itself.

A Window to the Future

A dream transports us from the narrowness of our present circumstances to the expansiveness of the future. It takes us from despair and gives us hope. And it takes us from a state of fear to one of optimism and expectancy.

A poor child may dream of an apple he can sink his teeth into or a comfortable bed to sleep in or a nice toy to play with. And a person in fear dreams about safety and nothing else.

Fear is the enemy of dreams. When a person is consumed with fear, it is as if they are bound in chains.

A man can live in a prison cell he can see with his eyes, with bars he can touch with his hands, and he can sense that he is confined. Likewise, people can live in prisons they cannot see, with bars they cannot feel, and believe that they are free.

Consider how you speak. How many times a day do you say something like: “Yes, but I’m afraid that…”

Having a family is a good dream. It fulfills our desires and perpetuates the human species. And it allows one to see another as bodily separate but spiritually and emotionally connected with oneself.

The apex of the pyramid is to have confidence in yourself and your abilities and to be bold enough to take the first steps towards realizing your greatest dreams.

There are those who confine and constrict people’s lives. The worst of those are the ones who constrict people’s dreams. They do not want people to dream or stretch their imaginations beyond their daily preoccupations.

Happiness is a dream.

Success is a dream.

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About Salman al-Ouda
Muslim scholar. Al-Ouda is a member of the International Union for Muslim Scholars and on its Board of Trustees. He is a director of the Arabic edition of the website Islam Today and appears on a number of TV shows and authors newspaper articles.