I definitely know that the theme of "Dreams" in Islam is one of the most difficult and challenging topics. Only few were/are able to dive into this field of science and I also understand that Allah subhana gives this blessing to only few people. It is very interesting and that is why I am asking this precise question.
Which are the scholars that are most known and proficient in the field of "Dreams" in Islam, and what are the most popular islamic books for this?
Dreams have always fascinated human beings from the earliest of times. Regardless of culture and religion, it holds much significance in people's lives. Interpreting and understanding dreams have become one of the most elusive and sought after abilities to any society. Study of it has become a science, oneirology.
Many efforts has been made by people in interpreting and understanding dreams, muslims and non-muslims included. Numerous books have been written on this subject, trying to explain, understand and interpret them. As I personally explored this field out of curiosity, what I found was there is no better way to seek the truth in anything other than the way of Quran and authentic Sunnah.
FROM THE QURAN is the best way to start before reading anything else on this subject. When you read about this subject in the Quran you will have a foundation to better understand and comprehend it in other works. With the proper word for dream in Arabic (ahlam) it is mentioned 3 times and as a topic or with other words I found 11 mentions. When you read the tafsir of the verses it will pave the way forward, for further understanding.
For reference here are the verses ; (12:44), (21:5), (52:32), (8:43), (37:102), (37:105), (48:27) and literally the whole surah Yousuf. Namely verses 4-5, 36, 43, 45, 46-49 and 100.
FROM THE SUNNAH has to be the next avenue which we explore. Dreams and dream interpretation are mentioned countless times but I would recommend to start with THE BOOK OF VISION ( kitab Al-ruya) in sahih Muslim. Namely they are Hadith from 5613 to 5652. Try to read the commentry and tafsir of the ahadith for more understanding. ( highly recommend to read and understand any other authentic narration regarding dreams as well )
FROM THE SCHOLARS are where we further explore this field and hone our understanding. I have seen countless number of books written on this subject by Islamic authors and scholars. After much deliberation and scrutinizing, I have a few personal favourites.( I don't think it's possible to say that any one book is the best because every book is great in it's own right and this is purely dependant on opinion)
THE DREAMERS HANDBOOK [ sleep etiquettes & dream interpretation in light of Sunnah ] by MOHAMED MUSTAFA AL-JIBALY
AUTHENTIC DREAM INTERPRETATIONS [ from the works of ibn Al-Qayyim & Al-Baghawi ] explained by SHEIKH ABDULLAH IBN JÀRU ALLÀH
INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS by IBN RAASHID AL-BAKRI AL-QASFI
These are the books that I found to be most valuable on this subject. But one has to understand that we should not limit ourselves just to a few number of books. Throughout the writings of many other scholars, dreams and dream interpretation has been addressed. Sadly most does not appear compiled as a whole book but only addressed on need to know basis. Like when someone asks a scholar about a dream they had and so forth.
DISCLAIMER : as you have mentioned popular in your question, if you go into any Islamic bookstore and ask for a book on dream interpretation. I believe the first book that they would recommend would be THE GREAT BOOK OF INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS ( tafsir al-ahlam al-kabir ) by IBN SIRIN. there is no doubt that ibn sirin was a great scholar and he used to interpret dreams but there is NO authentic proof that he wrote any book on that subject. That book is wrongly attributed to him.
The evidence for this lies with two of the greatest imams on this concept IMAM AL-DHAHABI in SIYAR A'ALAM AL-NUBALAA and IBN KATHIR in AL-BIDAYA WA AL-NIHAYA whom wrote the biography of ibn sirin and did not mention this book. And even the great scholars of latter generations like sheikh bin Baz, sheikh fawzan and sheikh uthaymeen ( may Allah have mercy on them ) have said the same. ( You can find references for their claim online )
I would like to quote from another book before ending just to remind myself as well,
Ibn Qutaybah ad-Dinawari رحمه الله says in his book about dream interpretations, “There is nothing in which people deal with from the different sciences that is more obscure, delicate, exalted, noble, difficult and problematic than dreams because they are a type of revelation and type of Prophethood.”
may Allah the mighty and sublime grant us mercy and guide us to the straight path.
Allah knows best
As Salaamu 3laykum,
I hope you are doing well. I know of ibn Sirin and there is a book of his. I dont know how authentic it is. I have copy/pasted from the reference link regarding what he had mentioned about dreams and also what Imam Malik said:
Among the Muslims of the succeeding generation, the most eminent interpreter was Ibn Sirin, who warned against amateurs: “This matter is connected with religion, so look well from whom you take your religion!” When Imam Malik was asked whether anyone could interpret dreams, he replied: “What! Is religion a plaything?”