Islam and Astrology
In modern life, we are used to putting up with many controversial things without questioning them. We are used to the notion that every opinion has the right to exist. However, Muslim culture is not that open-minded towards many issues, and astrology is clearly one of them.
When you think about astrology, what are the first things that enter your mind? We are more than sure that these are zodiac signs and horoscopes. However, astrology is much more complex than just that despite the fact that most scholars refuse to call it a real modern science. The thousand-year history of astrology development can’t but prove that it is much more than a mere source of entertainment.
The way astrology works is through the constant research of celestial bodies in search of the precise way they may affect us. It is true that astrology is not just a whim of modern society. When you look at all the researches available, it is easy to claim that it is thousands of years old. Of course, ancient people didn’t have the means that modern scholars have to observe all changes and effects of stars and planets on human life. Nevertheless, it didn’t stop them from being curious about something that we call a non-science now. Many things traveled to the present day from the past: a lunar calendar, various astrological works, and astronomical discoveries, etc. Many components add up and result in the knowledge of the planets and stars that we have now. Yet, not all cultures appreciate the ancestry equally.
Very often, religions are inclined to trust scientific discoveries and deny something that they view as mere fortune-telling. You guess it right – many religions view astrology as mere fortune-telling. Islam is clearly not the exception; yet, there is a more complicated situation between this religion and astrology. Today we are going to try and determine whether Muslim people believe in astrology.
To begin with, it needs to be mentioned that astrology, as well as astronomy, was highly popular among the Islamic population back in the day. If we look at the medieval times, many astrologers and astronomers were of Persian and Arabic origin. It is true that they didn’t use astrology the way we use it now. However, it was used to identify time, seasonal changes, directions, etc. Many discoveries took place thousands of years ago, and they remain valid up to this day. Do Muslim people accept astrology these days too?
It is hard to give a straight ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer. Just like any other religion, Islam is against all sorts of fortune-tellers and folks alike. The holy book of this religion – the Quran – views anything connected with the prediction of the future as a sin and deception. Thus, if the Koran frowns upon it – it gains a negative reputation.
However, Islamic scholars are at issuance when it comes to astrology – not all of them are ready to call it a sin or demonic science. For instance, in Sufism, scholars claim that astrology has the right to exist since it is not a demonic practice or some sort of illusion but a practice that is based on the knowledge that drives people to research their own purpose and place in this life.
The history of Islamic teaching is quite contradictory as well. If we take one of the Muslim prophets, Idris, you would find certain information stating that the prophet knew a lot about the stars and other celestial bodies, and he applied his knowledge to life. Of course, it is hard to say that he was an astrologer since judging by the information, he was more of an astronomer. Yet, the fact remains. It should be added that the prophet was born in Babylonia and then moved to Egypt. If you track the history of astrology, it is said that it emerged in Babylonia and then spread to Egypt. When you combine the two facts, you may even spot a pattern. Needless to say that Islamic theologians do not accept this.
One of the well-known Islamic prophets is undoubtedly Prophet Muhammad, and anything claimed by him is viewed to be the sole truth. It is not that difficult to guess that the Prophet Muhammad was against fortune-telling. Once, his followers asked him why he viewed astrology as a demonic practice. The answer was simple to its core – all fortune-tellers lie. However, such an answer did not satisfy his followers since they knew that some predictions were very correct and came to life. That is why the Prophet Muhammad told them the story about jinns.
You may have heard about these supernatural creatures from one source or another while not quite believing that they may exist in real life. The word ‘jinn’ itself comes from Arabic, and it is translated as ‘hidden.’ The fact is that there are jinns mentioned in the Koran too. They are something that looks like a fire without smoke. If you compare them to Christianity, jinns would be children of Satan, if you can call them that way. Just like any descendants of Satan, their sole purpose is to deceive and mislead people. How do they do that, you may ask?
Once again, when compared to Christianity, jinns are creatures who listen in plans that God or Allah has for you, and they aim at destroying those plans. So, when a jinn knows a secret about someone, it passes the knowledge to those who call themselves fortune-tellers. When you think about it, it seems that there is nothing wrong with such a deed, on the contrary. However, let’s not leave out the fact that these are evil creatures, and they distort the information they pass on to a fortune teller. Thus, God’s plan gets coated with lies and leads to confusion, misery, depression, etc.
Of course, after reading the story, it seems nothing but a myth, legend, or a fairy tale. However, the fact that the creatures are mentioned in the Holy Koran adds some seriousness and truthfulness to the story. Besides, Philip Imbrogno, a paranormal researcher, after years of research, states the tales to be very real.
After you learn how unwelcome fortune tellers are in Islam, it is safe to assume that you won’t come across any of them in any of Muslim countries. However, this is not true. Predicting the future is one of the most common and favorite things to do in most of the countries. Yes, it is mostly forbidden by their religion, but there is nothing you can do about the human desire to lift the curtain over the future.
It should be clarified that fortune-telling in Islamic society has nothing to do with actual astrology as we know it. There are no thorough calculations and observations to be treated as a prediction. Usually, a fortune-teller needs the name of your mother to tell you something about the future. You may say that it is nothing but deceiving people and false predictions, and we support the point. However, in many cases, those predictions come true. How is that possible? Well, taking all the stated information into consideration, it is natural to say that jinns do exist, and they whisper in the ear of fortune-tellers.
Any self-respecting astrologer is going to argue with the fact of supernatural interference when it comes to composing charts, calculations, house systems, and astrological aspects. However, you need to realize that astrology is viewed as Tarot or I-ching practices in Arabic countries. For the most part, all these calculations are not even mentioned about. So, this is where all the demonic background comes from. Also, there is another story connected with the Prophet Muhammad denying the power of astrology.
Prophet Muhammad had a son. When his son was two years old, he died unexpectedly. You may say that the information is irrelevant to the subject, but he died during a solar eclipse. It was only obvious that folks would assume a solar eclipse to be a notion that has a negative effect on people. However, Prophet Muhammad stepped up, and he claimed that there was no connection between the movement of heavenly bodies, the sun in particular, and the death of his son. People had no other choice but to take his words for truth.
So far, we have learned that predictive astrology is not favored by Islamic society. However, as you may already know, that is not the only branch that exists. There are others, too, and when it comes to Islamic astrology, only a psychological aspect is accepted. Very often, the way that heavenly bodies line up can influence the way you are going to behave today. For instance, everything may go well in the morning, but then you feel overly depressed for no obvious reason. There are two sciences that can try to explain the phenomenon, and those would be psychology and astrology. Often the two are combined to discover deeper issues within the human psyche. These are the facts that even Islam can hardly deny. That is why more and more often, astrological psychology is spoken of and advised to be introduced into contemporary philosophy. There are many supporters of this incorporation; however, not all of them can speak their minds openly since the number of restrictions exceeds the number of matters you are allowed to discuss and speak openly about.
In the course of our research, we have come to the conclusion that Islamic society is not ready to accept astrology for what it is due to its ill fame formed over the centuries. We are not trying to deny the words of Allah or the Prophet; however, not while some prophets are accepted for unknown reasons blindly, others are frowned upon for the very same reasons.
Western astrology has a lot of useful information to bring into the lives of every person. Many inexplicable notions come from the sun and moon, other stars of the solar system and the whole space. Non-Muslim scholars try to decipher them while Islamic scholars pretend that they do not exist at all.
When you think about it, it seems quite strange that centuries ago, Arab people were the ones to develop astronomy along with astrology, and these days, one of these matters is either denied or viewed as something negative and even demonic.
To sum it all up, it is safe to say that the relation between Islam and modern astrology is an arguable one. However, times are changing, and even the strictest religions become more open-minded when there is no way to deny the obvious.