Amina Inloes, Amina Inloes is originally from the US and has a PhD in Islamic Studies from the University of Exeter on Shi'a hadith. She is the program leader for the MA Islamic Studies program at the... Answer updated 2 months ago

There are two separate questions here: first, ruling regarding receiving astrological advice or services, and, second, belief.

(a) Ruling regarding receiving astrological advice or services. There is some variance on rulings here depending on the situation. For instance, are you reading horoscopes in the newspaper, paying an astrologer (which goes under laws of transaction) and if yes what kind of services are you paying for, etc.

Sunni scholars tend to disallow astrology.

There is somewhat more variety among Shi'i scholars, and some will distinguish between what they will consider permissible or impermissible matters. 

In general, Shi'i scholars agree that astrology is impermissible if it includes the belief that the planets and stars act independently from Allah or can override the divine decree, because this would be shirk.

Beyond that, the ruling depends on your situation and what specifically is going on. 

Contemporary Shi'i scholars generally express the view that they do not consider there to be a basis for or benefit in things like horoscope columns.

(b) Believing that astrology is real. This is slightly more complicated.

From a Shi'i perspective, the Shi'i hadith collections, like al-Kafi, contain narrations indicating that astrology, as a theoretical branch of knowledge, has a truth value and that the Imams have full knowledge of it. However, they also say that other people do not have full or correct knowledge of it, and they do not encourage people to focus on astrology or consult astrologers. Instead, they encourage people to focus on prayer, and remind us that du'a and good acts can change our destiny with Allah. 

Of course, some people might reject these narrations and say it is all pseudo science and that is fine. It is not necessary to accept it; I am simply saying there is a textual basis within the Shi'i tradition for accepting that it has a reality.

Even if there is a theoretical correctness to astrology, there is no guarantee that what is being said on social media about it has any truth value. Some things that shared on Instagram and Twitter today about astrology are either baseless (in the sense of the historical practice of astrology) and are just pop psychology, or are too general to be meaningful. 

Similarly, most horoscope columns are too general to have any usefulness to anyone since they apply to millions of people. The historical practice of astrology in the cultures where the Imams (A) lived was much more complex and nuanced than this.

So, regardless of one's views, it is good to take things that one reads online or elsewhere with a grain of salt. 

 

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