بِسْمِ اللَّـهِ الرَّحْمَـٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ
In a previous post we looked at how the Deobandis believe that the Prophet (ﷺ) came to someone in a dream in the form of Deobandi mulla Rashid Ahmad Gangohi. The reason this is considered blasphemous and so objectionable is because the Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) is the most beautiful and illuminated personality that it is inconceivable he would appear to someone in the form of anyone else. The Prophet (ﷺ) said: “Whoever sees me in a dream will see me when he is awake; the Shaytaan cannot take my shape.” (Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 6592; Muslim, 2266). For this reason, if anyone claims to have seen the Prophet (ﷺ) in a dream, it is essential that the person describe precisely the image he saw in order to determine whether that is indeed the Prophet (ﷺ) or not: We have narrated it with a complete isnaad from Ismaa’eel ibn Ishaaq al-Qaadi from Sulaymaan ibn Harb – who was one of the shaykhs of al-Bukhaari – from Hammaad ibn Zayd from Ayyoob who said: If a man told Muhammad (meaning Ibn Sireen) that he had seen the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) [in a dream], he would say, “Describe to me the one whom you saw.” If he gave a description that he did not recognize, he would say, “You did not see him.” Its isnaad is saheeh, and I have found another report which corroborates it. Al-Haakim narrated via ‘Aasim ibn Kulayb (who said), my father told me: I said to Ibn ‘Abbaas, “I saw the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) in a dream.” He said, “Describe him to me.” He said, “I mentioned al-Hasan ibn ‘Ali and said that he looked like him.” He said, “You did indeed see him.” Its isnaad is jayyid. Fath al-Baari, 12/383, 384. These traditions establish the fact that the Prophet (ﷺ) can only be seen in his own Surah (form) and it is impossible that the Prophet (ﷺ) should appear to anyone in another form apart from his own. The wisdom behind this is that since it is impossible for Satan to appear in the form of the Prophet (ﷺ) it would be very easy to determine whether a person really saw the Prophet (ﷺ) in a dream or not. But if the Prophet (ﷺ) appears to people in various forms it would become difficult perhaps even impossible to determine whether the dreamer really saw him or not.
But contrary to this, the Hakim-ul-Ummat of the Deobandi sect, Ashraf Ali Thanwi asserted that it is possible for the Prophet (ﷺ) to be seen in the form of someone else:
حضور صلی اللہ علیہ وآلہ وسلم کا کسی کی شکل میں نظر آنا ممکن ہے: حضور صلی اللہ علیہ وآلہ وسلم کا خواب میں کسی دوسری صورت میں بوجہ کسی تعلق خاص کے نظر آنا ممکن اور واقع ہے۔ ایک شخص نے خواب میں دیکھا کہ اس کے سامنے حضرت مولانا کلید مثنوی ہاتھ میں لۓ پڑھ رہے ہیں اور قرینہ سے معلوم ہوتا ہے کہ پڑھ کر بتاتے ہیں کہ تم پڑھو اس نے غایت ادب سے سکوت کیا تو حضرت مولانا نے کلید مثنوی اس کے ہاتھ میں دی اور فرمایا لو پڑھو۔ یکا یک معلوم ہوا کہ حضرت مولانا نہیں ہیں حضور صلی اللہ علیہ وآلہ وسلم ہیں۔ اس خادم نے یہ خواب حضرت مولانا سے عرض کیا تو نہایت خوش ہوۓ اور فرمایا وہ حضور صلی اللہ علیہ وآلہ وسلم ہی تھے اور یہ علاوہ باتوں کے ان شاء اللہ کلید مثنوی کی مقبولیت کی دلیل ہے۔
Translation: It is possible for the Prophet (ﷺ) to appear in the form of someone else: For the Prophet (ﷺ) to appear in some other person’s form, due to a particular spiritual relationship with him, is possible and something that actually transpires. A person saw in a dream that before someone Hadrat Mawlana [Ashraf Thanwi] is reading the book Kalîd-e-Masnawi, and while reading it says “you read it”. With utmost politeness he remained silent, so Hadrat Mawlana [Ashraf Thanwi] placed Kalîd-e-Masnawi in his hand and said: “Here, read it”. Suddenly it became known that this is not Hadrat Mawlana [Ashraf Thanwi] but it is the Prophet (ﷺ). That servant informed Hadrat Mawlana [Ashraf Thanwi] about this dream and the latter became extremely happy, saying: “That was indeed the Prophet (ﷺ), and this, despite other things, is In Sha Allah a proof for the good reception of Kalîd-e-Masnawi.”
Reference: Malfûzât Hakîm-ul-Ummat; v.29 p.46