The Power of a Dream

Sailing ship on the ocean

Ship of dreams

By Wael Abdelgawad |

The world of possibilities is a vast ocean, and Allah has given each of us our own ship to sail on that ocean, following our dreams and vision where they take us. But so many of us never leave the dock. We listen to others who say, “Your dream is impossible, it’s not practical, you can’t do it.” Or we listen to a negative whisper from our own minds that says the same thing.

So we take a drill to our own ship and bore a hole in the bottom, and sink the ship at the dock. Blub blub blub, there goes the dream. We do that to ourselves! We sink our own dreams.

Replace that negative voice with faith. Allah gave you that ship, that idea, that dream, for a reason! He gave you that ship of dreams so you could sail out onto the sea and change the world, make a difference, exercise your unique talents, and fulfill your special mission in this world.

Allah is a God of dreams, don’t you know that? True dreams come from Allah. Allah is a God who sends a Prophet, a single man unassisted, to an entire nation with the mission to call them to Allah, to save the nation, and to change the world. That is a huge dream! And most amazing of all, many Prophets fulfilled that mission because they believed it was possible. Because they trusted Allah, and believed that the enormous mission entrusted to them was possible, the aid and guidance of Allah came and made the impossible possible.

When others say, “You can’t do that,” pay them no mind. They can’t sink your ship because it resides in your heart. Shaytan will denounce his followers on the Day of Judgment, saying, “I had no power over you. I only called you and you followed.” You see, the voices of cynicism and despair have no true power if we do not heed them. No one knows your hidden potential but Allah. No one has the right to try to limit you, to define you narrowly, to tell you that you’re not good enough or capable enough, or to tell you that your dreams are too big.

Why shouldn’t your dreams be big? If you’re going to dream, dream big! No one says, “My dream is that tomorrow my commute will take 35 minutes instead of 40 minutes.” That’s not a dream. If you’re going to dream, then dream big! No one knows what is possible except Allah.

I am sure that when the first youth went out in Tunisia to demonstrate against the dictator Ben Ali, their families said to them, “What? Are you crazy? You are just some kids, you will never get rid of Ben Ali, this is insanity.” And now look. The dictator has fled, political parties have been unbanned, the press is free, political prisoners have been freed, and all because of some youth with a dream who would not listen to those who told them, “No.”

As I write this, plainclothes police and paid thugs are shooting at the Egyptian youth in Tahrir square. Some of you may be thinking, “This dream of freedom for Egypt is over.” You know what? Don’t count them out yet. The power of an idea cannot be underestimated. The power of one man, one woman, standing up and pursuing a dream of freedom against all odds, cannot be calculated. They are not giving up on their dream. We will see what tomorrow brings, Insha’Allah. I am praying for the people of Egypt tonight, praying for the youth, praying for justice, praying for freedom. My hands are trembling as I write this. But I’m not giving up on the power of a dream. There is no change and no power except by Allah!

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Article by Wael

Wael Abdelgawad is an Egyptian-American living in Fresno, California. He is the founder of several Islamic websites, including and, and also of various technology and travel websites. He is a writer and poet, and has been a web developer since 1997. This project,, is very dear to his heart, as it has allowed him to express ideas that have growing inside him for many years. Wael is divorced and has one lovely young daughter. He practices and teaches martial arts (somewhat obsessively), and loves Islamic books, science fiction, and vanilla fudge ice cream. Wael is an advocate for human rights and blogs about these issues at He is also a volunteer with the MyDeen Muslim youth organization in Fresno. Wael tagged this post with: , , , , , , Read 266 articles by
13 Comments Post a Comment
  1. Leyla says:

    Beautiful mashaAllah :0)

    Your message reminded me of something.

    I went to a life coaching session once and the person giving the talk drew a circle on the board and said: “this is what you know”. The circle was a symbol of the small and limited nature of the knowledge and experience we have. Within that knowledge was “false knowledge” – which were statements such as “there’s no point” and “it’s not worth it” and “these things never work out” – statements that we experience as the truth, but are actually false truths.

    Around that circle, he drew a larger one around it. And that circle was called “what you know you don’t know”. This was knowledge that we are aware of, such as knowing that something is possible – because we have seen others do it, but at the same time being aware that we don’t know how to do that which others have achieved. So for example we know it is possible for a black man to become president of America – but we don’t know how to do it ourselves. Again, the circle represents the limited nature of this knowledge and reasoning.

    Outside of both circles there remained a space. No circles. This space was “the world of infinite possibility” and “what we don’t know that we don’t know”. The space is unlimited and free, with no restraints.

    What the man was teaching us, was that we must step out of the circles and step into a world where the only knowledge we really invest ourselves in, is the knowledge that “anything is possible and the world is full of infinite possibility”. The only way to access those possibilities is to be completely open to the philosophy that what you know, and what you know you don’t know limits your development as an individual, whereas all of that stuff that you don’t know you don’t know can open us to our full potential and not limit you in any way.

    The way to get there, to achieve it is to first of all accept that everything you know is practically nothing, and then open yourself to the idea that every interaction you have, every decision is a path of learning and entering the unknown world of possibility, and not close yourself off to possibilities because of what you tell yourself “you know”. It may be that what you “know” is that you can’t do something – but in the world of infinite possibility “you can” you just don’t know that you can.

    I loved this talk, and I remind myself of “the world of infinite possibility” as often as I can, and when I feel myself slipping into false knowledge like “you need more skills for this job that I have” or “now I am arguing with my partner I can’t have a good day” or anything that limits my possibility as a human being.

    Anything is possible, but first you have to accept that it’s possible , accept you don’t know everything there is to know about the world and yourself, accept that you don’t know what you are capable of: and then you feel an open space in your potential (to be happy, to be successful, to love – whatever it is) and you feel a freedom to pursue it.

    I believe this is what that phrase “you can’t fill a cup that’s already full” is trying to express.


    • wael says:

      Really interesting. I’ll have to use that! The same diagram (a simple circle) can be used to describe the realm of the haram versus halal. What is haram is within the circle. It is limited to what Allah and His Messenger (pbuh) have specifically forbidden. However, the halal is everything outside the circle. It’s a good response to those who claim that Islam has too many rules or that too many things are forbidden. In reality the realm of haram is quite limited, while the realm of halal is infinite.

      • Leyla says:

        Sounds good!

        A world without rules in chaos.

        A mind without discipline is the same: chaos.

        A human in a world with no rules and a mind with no discipline – is an animal. Dangerous.

  2. Shireen says:

    Very motivational post Masha’Allah…… *you’re stressing me out Wael!* , like a talking conscience..ahhh!!

    • wael says:

      What? Now I’m Jiminy Cricket? I’m not trying to stress you out…

      • Shireen says:

        Yes you are, except no one listened to lil mister Jiminy Cricket,poor guy. I’m sure you don’t mean to stress me out…although maybe you do 😛 .. I normally have that “go-getter” mentality and I’m trying to put on some breaks. Maybe just explore all options till I feel confident in my decision, problem is I’m doing a slow job in my exploration :-/

  3. Shireen says:

    Thanks so much for sharing that Leyla!! That’s a nice way of looking at it.

    With the help of Allah swt, there’s nothing to fear except fear itself. Good to know, often dreams needs patience, because it’s small steps that create leaps InshaAllah

  4. María M says:

    As salamu alaykum,

    I do believe in dreams, and if you alloud me not big, huge dreams, nobody can put a limit to our dreams, only Allah(swt) or us, thank to those who dreamt, we are here right now with so many things done, some for the best, others not so good, but here we are moving on, step by step assimilating all that a couple of years ago was the dream of many.

    The subject here as Leyla mentioned, is that we should believe we can move in the infinite world were the infinite possibilities are possible for all of us, but we need to believe it and go for it.

    Through the centuries, so many people had a vision of what could be if they do something, and they went for it, even when they were not always well seen, … we are living daily the dreams of others until we realize our responsibility to build up our own dreams, and we go for them.

    I really like the figure of the ship crossing the oceans, I sometimes see living as sailing, but this is a personal view,…

    Our roots are our foundations, ..once again it comes to my mind the power of just one being that believed in the message he has to give to the world and changed the world once and again.

    Wael, thank you for this article.

  5. lkulsum says:

    Nice post and comments. Dreaming is something that keeps all of us alive. Dreaming gives us hope. Dreaming makes us. Dreaming is like irrigating a dying plant.
    We need to dream in order to realize ourselves ;our purpose in life. Dreaming is all we need to know our potential.

  6. Mina says:

    Assalamulikum sir,

    Once sumone told me tht this world consist of two ppl, Good ppl aka believer n bad ppl aka disbeliever. After reading ur article, today i finally understand the meaning of tht statement. I dont have enough words to thank Allah because He’s the one who sumone whispered in my heart to search about dreams and look what is found.. Number of Inspiration articles written by you, sir wael. I hope that u continue working and try to change or shood i say brainwash these pessimistic human being.. Im 18 years old and my dream is to become a successful Hollywood photographer but people call me ‘daydreamer’ Just because i live in Pakistan.. I wood definately admit that those negative ppl n whispers deep down in my heart managed to overshadow my optimistic mindset but your article in twenty mins changed my entire world.. I wanted to ask u. Am i living in fantasy? Ppl think im insane stupid n just wasting my time. U knw wht its bout time tht i shood start anwsering those questions thru my actions

  7. Salma says:


    I wanted to ask u.. Being a Fashion designer, photography or creative director is not prohibited in islam??? Becuz my dream is to becum famous in these field?’plzhelp me??

    Thank you for all these amazing articles 🙂

  8. Mia says:

    It is Ramadan, and I’m trying to do as good as possible and to become a better person. I’m trying to figure out what I want and trying to learn to make du’a for it. (without feeling selfish) Cause only Allah can help me. I’ve been walking around for 2years in something like vaccum. I feel lost, and that I can’t manage to finish what I’ve started. One thing are my Uni studies. I so want to get my degree, cause rigt now I have this thought “if only I had my degree, I could become anything”. I feel guilty and ashamed for not making it as I once did. Somewhere on the road I just lost it. Yet I got this feeling letting me know that it’s possible. I can do it. Still I don’t study and do the exam’s.
    Anyway thanks for a great article, I use to motivate people aswell to “think big. And go for it. Just do it”…

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Pieces of a Dream
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