Abu Razin narrated that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: “A vision is hung in a bird’s legs as long as it is not interpreted, but when it is interpreted, it settles. And I think he said: Tell it only to one who loves you (i.e. friend) or one who has (a good) judgment.” (1)
(A vision is hung in a bird’s legs): The meaning is: The vision flutters over a man and it will not take place unless it is interpreted. It is like something hung in a bird’s legs.
(as long as it is not interpreted): It was narrated by passive form in most narrations i.e., unless it is interpreted.
(but when it is interpreted, it settles): i.e., These visions happen to the one who sees them i.e., they will truly become true.
(Tell it only to): i.e., Do not tell your visions.
(one who loves you (i.e. friend)) Someone who loves you because he will not interpret it to you but with something you like.
(or one who has (a good) judgment): i.e., A wise person or a scholar.
The point of similarity:
This is an example for the unsettlement of things. The meaning is: Visions have not settled yet (or become true) because they are like something hung in a bird’s legs. The meaning is: It is like something hung in a bird’s legs which has no stability i.e., It will not come true unless it is interpreted which indicates that the quickness of making it becoming true depends on its interpretation. Visions are like birds which do not settle in one place, so how would be the thing they carry between their legs. (3)
Types of visions: Visions are of three types:
1- True vision: which is a glad tiding from Allah to His Servant.
2- False vision: which results from Satan’s insinuations.
3- Self-talk: in which a person thinks about something during wakefulness and when he sleeps, he sees it in his sleep, and there is no interpretation to such a vision.
Sahih Al Bukhari [vol. 6 – p. 2582].
(1) Sunan Abu Dawud No. (5017), Sunan Ibn Majah No. (3914), and Musnad Imam Ahmad No. (16182) and Al Albany graded it as authentic; see As-Silsilah As-Sahihah 1\237 No. (120)
(2) see `Awn Al Ma`bud Sharh Sunan Abu Dawud by Al `Azhim Abady 13\248.
(3) see `Awn Al Ma`bud Sharh Sunan Abu Dawud by Al `Azhim Abady 13\248.