Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Sharia Stance on Astrology - I


 In the thick of the battle of the Islamic sharia to free minds from the errors of illusions and myths, as well as the falsities of soothsaying and divination, it has nullified all the customs of the pre-Islamic era that pertained to this practice. The sharia has adopted a strict stance regarding this issue through clarification, warning, advising and notification in order to maintain the originality of the message of Islam and purify it of all aspects and manifestations of polytheism and paganism. The stance of sharia on astrology comes in the forefront of these measures.

Astrology is the means pursued by many irrational people so as to know what Allah Almighty conceals from His creatures about the hidden unseen and the unknown future. From a long time ago, they started by following up the movement of the stars in their orbits and observing their positions in the east and the west. Then they eventually reached the utmost of deviation when they claimed that these celestial objects can influence earthly events.

When we refer back to the texts of the Quran and the Sunnah and examine them, we find that the proofs that discuss this topic are as various as the issues that are relevant to astrology.

The texts start by presenting the right conception of the reasons behind creating the starts as well as the wisdom behind this. Then they refute the claim of the ability of the stars to influence and change, and clearly state the arenas of the unseen, whose knowledge is exclusively specific to Allah Almighty. Moreover, there are specific texts dealing with astrology in particular. Here we will discuss these texts, seeking help and power from Allah, the Exalted.
Wisdom behind creating the stars:

The stars are part of the overall system of the universe, which Allah Almighty has created in truth, not in vanity, play or falsehood. The Creator, the Almighty, has clarified this in numerous Quranic verses. Allah says (what means):

{And We did not create the heavens and earth and that between them in play. We did not create them except in truth, but most of them do not know.} [Quran 44: 38-39]

{And We did not create the heaven and earth and that between them in play. Had We intended to take a diversion, We could have taken it from [what is] with Us – if [indeed] We were to do so.} [Quran 21: 16-17]

{And We did not create the heaven and the earth and that between them aimlessly. That is the assumption of those who disbelieve, so woe to those who disbelieve from the Fire.} [Quran 38: 27]

Undoubtedly, the way Allah, the Exalted, has created His creatures reflects His perfect ability, which necessitates that the impacts of His beautiful names and sublime attributes are reflected on His creatures.

This is the general wisdom behind creating the stars. Additionally, there is specific wisdom behind the creation of the stars, which Al-Bukhari, may Allah have mercy upon him, alerted to in his book Saheeh Al-Bukhari. He narrated a Mu‘allaq report on the authority of Qatadah, may Allah have mercy upon him, which reads: “Allah has created these stars for three purposes: adornment of the heavens, protection against every rebellious devil and landmarks for guidance.” The verses of the Noble Quran assert these three matters. The stars are adornment for heavens as indicated by the statement of Allah Almighty (which means):

{And We have placed within the heaven great stars and have beautified it for the observers.} [Quran 15: 16]

{Have they not looked at the heaven above them – how We structured it and adorned it and [how] it has no rifts?} [Quran 50: 6]

{Indeed, We have adorned the nearest heaven with an adornment of stars.} [Quran 37: 6]

The stars act as a compass by means of which travelers are able to identify the different directions during their journey. Allah says (what means):

{And it is He Who placed for you the stars that you may be guided by them through the darknesses of the land and sea.} [Quran 6: 97]

{And landmarks. And by the stars they are [also] guided.} [Quran 16: 16]

The stars are also used to protect the heavens against every rebellious devil. Allah Almighty says (what means): {Indeed, We have adorned the nearest heaven with an adornment of stars. And as protection against every rebellious devil. [So] they may not listen to the exalted assembly [of angels] and are pelted from every side, repelled; and for them is a constant punishment, Except one who snatches [some words] by theft, but they are pursued by a burning flame, piercing [in brightness].} [Quran 37: 6-10]
It is necessary to consider the difference between the meanings of words used by the sharia for these celestial bodies and their concepts in the contemporary science of astronomy.

Texts indicating that knowledge of the unseen is specific to Allah:

Astrology is mainly based on claiming knowledge of the unseen. Many verses in the Quran, however, refute this claim and stress that the knowledge of the unseen is specific to Allah Almighty and that the secrets of the unseen are kept hidden by Him from His creatures, except a little part thereof which He has enabled some of His creatures to have access to. This fact is confirmed by many Quranic verses, including the verses where Allah Almighty says (what means):

{He Has [knowledge of] the unseen [aspects] of the heavens and the earth.} [Quran 18: 26]

{And to Allah belong the unseen [aspects] of the heavens and the earth and to Him will be returned the matter, all of it.} [Quran 11: 123]

{Say, "None in the heavens and earth knows the unseen except Allah…."} [Quran 27: 65]

The unseen is a door whose keys are with Allah, the Exalted, alone. Allah says (what means): {And with Him are the keys of the unseen; none knows them except Him.} [Quran 6: 59]

Verses of the Quran stress decisively and in a way that is not open to misinterpretation, that none of His creatures knows the unseen. The Prophets, may Allah exalt their mention, do not know the unseen, and they frankly exclude themselves from this. Allah says (what means): {[Be warned of] the Day when Allah will assemble the messengers and say, "What was the response you received?" They will say, "We have no knowledge. Indeed, it is You Who is Knower of the unseen"} [Quran 5: 109]

All the Prophets and Messengers of Allah, starting with Nooh (Noah), may Allaah exalt his mention, and ending with Muhammad, sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam, verbally stressed this fact.

Allah Almighty quotes Nooh, may Allaah exalt his mention, as saying (what means) : {And I do not tell you that I have the depositories [containing the provision] of Allah or that I know the unseen…} [Quran 11: 31]

Allah Almighty also quotes Prophet Muhammad, sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam, as saying (what means):

{..."I do not tell you that I have the depositories [containing the provision] of Allah or that I know the unseen…} [Quran 6: 50]

{...And if I knew the unseen, I could have acquired much wealth, and no harm would have touched me..."} [Quran 7: 188]

{Say, "I am not something original among the Messengers, nor do I know what will be done with me or with you. I only follow that which is revealed to me."} [Quran 46: 9]

Likewise, the angels, may Allaah exalt their mention, do not know the unseen. Allah Almighty reports their words through His saying (which means): {They said, "Exalted are You; we have no knowledge except what You have taught us. Indeed, it is You Who is the Knowing, the Wise."} [Quran 2: 32]

The Jinn, to whom sorcerers and soothsayers attribute knowledge of the unseen, are not an exception to this rule. They continued to work under the command of Prophet Sulayman (Solomon), may Allaah exalt his mention, for a long time after his death about which they were ignorant. Allah Almighty says (what means): {And when We decreed for Sulayman (Solomon) death, nothing indicated to the Jinn his death except a creature of the earth eating his staff. But when he fell, it became clear to the jinn that if they had known the unseen, they would not have remained in humiliating punishment.} [Quran 34: 14]

This indicates that knowledge of the unseen is not accessible to anyone, whether he is a favored angel or a sent messenger. There is no way to know about the unseen except as much as the portion which Allah Almighty allows whomever He wills of His creatures to know. Allah says (what means): {[He Is] Knower of the unseen, and He does not disclose His [knowledge of the] unseen to anyone, except whom He has approved of Messengers.} [Quran 72: 26-27]
Texts indicating that managing the affairs of the universe is specific to Allah Almighty:

Some astrologers claim that the positions and movements of the stars influence earthly events. They regard this influence a form of managing the affairs of the universe. It is known that none can do this except Allah Almighty, who says (what means):

{And [He created] the sun, the moon, and the stars, subjected by His command. Unquestionably, His is the creation and the command; blessed is Allah, Lord of the worlds.} [Quran 7: 54]

{Say, "Who provides for you from the heaven and the earth? Or who controls hearing and sight and who brings the living out of the dead and brings the dead out of the living and who arranges [every] matter?" They will say, "Allaah," so say, "Then will you not fear Him?"} [Quran 10: 31]

This universe with all its details is in need of Allah, the Owner of Majesty and Honor, Who has made managing the affairs of the universe evidence of His perfect care towards His creatures and His perfect Knowledge of everything. Allah says (what means): {Indeed, in the creation of the heavens and earth, and the alternation of the night and the day, and the [great] ships which sail through the sea with that which benefits people, and what Allah has sent down from the heavens of rain, giving life thereby to the earth after its lifelessness and dispersing therein every [kind of] moving creature, and [His] directing of the winds and the clouds controlled between the heaven and the earth are signs for a people who use reason.} [Quran 2: 164]

The occurrence of matters and change of events depend on the Power of Allah and His Will, which He enforces upon all His creatures. Allah says (what means): {And your Lord creates what He wills and chooses; not for them was the choice. Exalted Is Allah and high above what they associate with Him.} [Quran 28: 68]

The creatures own neither power nor strength for themselves, then how can they own this for others and with which ability can they influence others? Allah says (what means): {But they have taken besides Him gods which create nothing, while they are created, and possess not for themselves any harm or benefit and possess not [power to cause] death or life or resurrection.} [Quran 25: 3]

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