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CHAPTER 6 – ASTROLOGY- not permissible But Astronomy is.

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1 CHAPTER 6 – ASTROLOGY- not permissible But Astronomy is

2 Muslim scholars of the past referred to the field of star and planetary calculations collectively as Tanjeem and they divided it into 3 main categories for the purpose of analysis and classification according to Islamic law. The 3 categories are as follows: 1.The 1st category represents the belief that earthly beings are influenced by heavenly bodies and future events may be forecasted by the observation of the movement of these bodies.

3 For over two thousand years astrology exacted a dominant influence on religion, philosophy and the science of pagan, then Christian Europe. This belief was also held by Sabians to who the Prophet Ibrahim (as) was sent. The Sabians deified the sun, moon and the stars and prostrated to them. They also built special places of worship in which statues and pictures representing the heavenly bodies were placed. It was their belief that the spirits of the heavenly bodies descended into the idols, communicated with them and fulfilled the needs of the people.

4 This form of astrology is considered kufr (disbelief) because it destroys Tawheed al-Asmaa was-Sifaat (the unity of Allah’s names & attributes). Such belief gives the planets, stars and the galaxies some of God’s unique qualities. Those who practice astrology are also in kufr, because they claim knowledge of the future which is only known to Allah. Astrology is also classified as Haraam (forbidden) based on the hadeeth of Ibn Abbas in which the Prophet (pbuh) said:

5 “Whoever acquires knowledge of any branch of astrology has acquired knowledge of a branch of magic. The more he increases in that knowledge, the more he increases in sin”. [Abu Dawud & Ibn Majah] 2. The 2nd category represents those who claim that Allah has willed that the movement and configurations of heavenly bodies indicate the occurrence of earthly events. This was the stated belief of Muslim astrologists who learned and practised the Babylonian science of astrology.

6 Astrology was introduced into the royal court by the later Umayyad Caliphs, as well as the early Abbaasids. Each caliph used to have by his side a court astrologer, who would advise him on his day to day affairs and warn him of impending dangers. Because astrology in its original form was known by the masses of Muslims to be kufr, a compromise was made by those Muslims who wished to practice it in order to make it appear acceptable Islamically. Consequently, astrological predications were attributed to Allah’s will.

7 However, this form is also Haraam (forbidden) and those who practice it should also be considered a kaafir (disbelieiver) as there is no real difference in essence between this belief and that of the pagans. Allah’s powers are given to heavenly bodies and those who claim to interpret their formations claim knowledge of the future which only belongs to Allah. 3. The 3rd and final category is the use of star formations by sailors or desert travellers in order to determine directions. It is also used by farmers to determine the arrival of the seasons in order that they may know when to plant crops.

8 Those and similar practical uses represent the only aspect of astrology which is Halaal to Muslims according to the Quran and the Sunnah. The basis for this exception is the following Quranic verse: وَهُوَ ٱلَّذِى جَعَلَ لَكُمُ ٱلنُّجُومَ لِتَہۡتَدُواْ بِہَا فِى ظُلُمَـٰتِ ٱلۡبَرِّ وَٱلۡبَحۡرِ‌ۗ “He is the One who made the stars as guidance for you in the darkness of the land and the sea.” [Surah al –Anam 6:97]

9 and وَلَقَدۡ زَيَّنَّا ٱلسَّمَآءَ ٱلدُّنۡيَا بِمَصَـٰبِيحَ وَجَعَلۡنَـٰهَا رُجُومً۬ا لِّلشَّيَـٰطِينِ‌ۖ “Verily We have beautified the earthly skies with lamps and used them for the stoning of the devils.” [Surah al-Mulk 67:5] Hence Allah made the stars for directional guidance and for stoning the devils. Muslims are therefore obliged to refrain from using stars for purposes other than those clearly defined by Allah.

10 The Islamic Ruling on Horoscopes Not only is the practice of astrology Haraam but also visiting an astrologists and listening to his predictions, buying books on astrology or reading one’s horoscope are also forbidden. Since astrology is mainly used for predicting the future, those who practise it are also considered fortunetellers. Consequently, one who seeks his horoscope comes under the ruling contained in the Prophet’s (pbuh) statement: “The salaah of whoever approaches a fortuneteller and asks him about anything will not be accepted for forty days and nights.” [Muslim]

11 As mentioned in the previous chapter, the punishment in this hadith is simply for approaching and asking the astrologist, even if one is in doubt about the truth of his statements. If one is in doubt about the truth or falsehood of astrological information, he is in doubt about whether or not others know the unseen and the future besides Allah. This is a form of Shirk because Allah has clearly stated: وَعِندَهُ ۥ مَفَاتِحُ ٱلۡغَيۡبِ لَا يَعۡلَمُهَآ إِلَّا هُوَ‌ۚ “With Him are the keys to the unseen and none knows it except Him.” [Surah al-Anam 6:59]

12 قُل لَّا يَعۡلَمُ مَن فِى ٱلسَّمَـٰوَٲتِ وَٱلۡأَرۡضِ ٱلۡغَيۡبَ إِلَّا ٱللَّهُ‌ۚ “Say: None in the heavens or earth knows the unseen except Allah.” [Surah an-Naml 27:65] If, however, one believes in the predictions of their horoscope, whether spoken by an astrologist or written in books of astrology, he falls directly into kufr (disbelief) as stated by the Prophet (pbuh): “Whoever approaches an oracle or fortuneteller and believes in what he says, has disbelieved in what was revealed to Muhammad.” [Ahmad & Abu Dawud]

13 Like the previous hadith, this hadith literally refers to the fortuneteller but it is just as applicable to the astrologist. Both claim knowledge of the future and hence both oppose Tawheed. Belief in astrology and the casting of horoscopes are in clear opposition to the spirit of Islam. These paths represent a vain attempt to escape Qadr (fate). The ignorant believe that if they know what is in store for them tomorrow, they can prepare from today. In that way they may avoid the bad and ensure the good. Yet Allah’s messenger (pbuh) was told by Allah to say:

14 وَلَوۡ كُنتُ أَعۡلَمُ ٱلۡغَيۡبَ لَٱسۡتَڪۡثَرۡتُ مِنَ ٱلۡخَيۡرِ وَمَا مَسَّنِىَ ٱلسُّوٓءُ‌ۚ إِنۡ أَنَا۟ إِلَّا نَذِيرٌ۬ وَبَشِيرٌ۬ لِّقَوۡمٍ۬ يُؤۡمِنُونَ “If I knew the unseen, I would surely have only sought the good. But, I am only a warner and a bearer of glad tidings for believers.” [Surah al-Araf 7:188]

15 True Muslims are therefore obliged to stay away from such practices. Thus, rings, chains etc which have the signs of the Zodiac on them should not be worn, even if one does not believe in them. Nor should he/she read horoscopes or listen to them. Any Muslim, who allows astrological predictions to determine his actions, should seek Allah’s forgiveness and renew his Islam.

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