How can someone see bad dreams in Ramadhan bearing in mind the devils are chained up?
In the name of Allah, the most Beneficent, the most Merciful.
If it is a good dream then it is from Allah (SWA); he should thank Him and may tell others of the dream. If it is a bad dream, one should seek refuge from Allah (SWA) and should not tell anyone of the dream.
Saaiduna Abu Saaed ul-Khudri Radiallahu Anhu narrates that he heard the Prophet of Allah Sallallahu Alahi Wasalam say ‘When someone amongst you sees a good and pleasing dream, he should know that it is from Allah, and so he should praise an thank Allah, and describe to others what he saw in his dream. But is he sees something that he dislikes then it is from Shaitan, so he should seek refuge from Allah (SWA) from its evil and should not mention it to anyone’. (Sahih Bukhari p.1034 v.2)
The following ahadith have been taken from Imam Nawawi’s Riyadhus Saliheen with regards to seeing a bad or scary dream.
Saaiduna Abu Qatadah Radiallahu Anhu reports that the Prophet of Allah Sallallahu Alahi Wasalam has said, “A good vision (dream) is from Allah and a bad dream is from the Satan. He who sees something in a dream that he dislikes, should blow thrice on his left, must seek Allah’s Refuge from the evil of the Satan (i.e., by saying: A`udhu billahi minash-Shaitanir-Rajim). Then it will not harm him.” (Sahih Bukhari and Sahih Muslim).
Saaiduna Jabir Radialahu Anhu reports that the Prophet of Allah (PBUH) said, “When one of you sees a bad dream let him blow three times on his left, seek refuge in Allah from the Satan three times (i.e., by saying: A`udhu billahi minash-Shaitanir-Rajim) and change the side on which he was lying.” (Sahih Muslim) (Extracted from Riyadhus Saliheen p.245)
From the aforementioned ahadith we can conclude that scary dreams and nightmares are from Shaitan and they have no meanings. One should not tell anyone of the scary dream and as mentioned in the hadith blow three times on his left, seek refuge in Allah from the Satan three times (i.e., by saying: A`udhu billahi minash-Shaitanir-Rajim) and change the side on which he was lying.
With regards to your question on how is it possible for someone to see a bad dream in Ramadhan when the Shaitan is locked and chained up. I will firstly mention the hadith which is narrated by Saaiduna Abu Hurairah Radiallahu Anhu that the Prophet of Allah Sallallahu Alahi Wasalam said: “When Ramadhan comes, the gates of Paradise are opened, the gates of Hell are closed, and the devils are chained up.” (Sahih Bukhari p.255 v.1 & Sahih Muslim). There are two opinions regarding the aforementioned hadith. The first opinion held by Qadhi Ayadh Maliki (RA) is that the devils and shayateens are in reality changed. The second opinion held by Allahmah Turpushti (RA) is that the devils are not changed during the month of Ramadhan, but it is an indication from this hadith that a person will be inclined to do more good deeds and refrain from sins. From this opinion we can gather that the shayateens are not locked up, hence, it is possible for them to instigate a bad dream. (Dars Tirmizi p.515 v.2)
Some scholars have said that only the Maarid (strong devils) are chained and not the small ones, hence, it is possible for Muslims to experience bad dreams in Ramadhan. (Fathul Bari p.137 v.4)
Only Allah Knows Best
Mohammed Tosir Miah
Darul Ifta Birmingham.