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['Aalim Network QR] Astronomy and Horoscopes

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|       In the Name of Allah, the Compassionate, the All-Merciful       |\
|  Greeting of Allah be upon Muhammad and the pure members of his House |\

Salamun alaykum,

	The following two questions on Astronomy and Horoscopes were kindly 
answered by Mohammed Soleiman-Panah.  He has discussed these two issues 
in detail.


Mustafa Rawji
Acting Moderator, ABDG-A


	I have a question regarding astronomy. I have heard that muslims
should not major in the field of astronomy. Is that true?  Also since
horoscopes are directly related to astronomy, how should a muslim act
towards it? I mean, should we have belief in horoscopes? A feedback will
be appreciated on the issue. 


	As salamu alay kum. I wanted to know what Islam says on horoscopes
and the zodiac.  The zodiac says that people have elements like water,
earth, fire and that Imam Ali (AS) called himself Abu Turab , and that he
had this earth element.  A very religious friend of mine told me that
there is some Islamic significance, I just wanted to know what it is , and
if there are any harm things to look out for . 


	Fuqaha have different opinion with regard to the issue of 
astronomy and astrology which are usualley referred to as Nujum. Here are 
some brief points which may help you to get some ideas with regard to the 
issue at hand.

1- Celestial bodies like every other entity in the universe (material and 
non-material) may have some causal relationship with other entities. 
There is nothing inherently "shirkful" in the ideas that some they, like 
other things, may have some effects. As to the nature of those effects 
one must look for convincing evidence before establishing certain 

2- The mere belief in the existence of causal relationship among entities
is not Shirk unless one considers them independent in their relationships.
In other words, believing things can have effects without God's permission
(izn-u- Allah). This was the case with non-Muslim astrologists. They
believed everything which happens in the world is a result of certain
arrangement in celestial bodies.  At the time of Prophet Muhammad (SA) a
Munajjem predicted rain for a certain day and it did in fact rained on
that day, but Prophet Muhammad (SA) said Munajjemun are liar.  His majesty
(AS) was not denying the fact that it rained on that day, it was an
observable fact but rather he was reminding people that even though the
Munajjem was right in his prediction he was wrong in his belief that
celestial bodies control the world.  The supereme ruler of the world is
Allah (SWT). Based on this view some shia scholars believe that Nujum like
any other science can be viewed as shirk if Allah's Izn is ignored, and
Ja'z (halal) if it is conceived within the world view of Tawhid. 

3- As to the issue of  horoscope, again it depends where you stand with 
regard to the issue of astrology. Those who see nothing inherently haram 
in astrology believe the correct practice by qualified people is not 
haram. But from the time of Greek astrologists down to through Islamic 
scholars and to the present day Shia scholars it has always been 
emphasised that there are two aspects in astrology: one related to 
celestial bodies and one related to the earthly objects. Like any other 
cause, the effect is received when receiver is Ghabel (qualified, 
prepared). Therefore the predictions of even a well qualified person may 
not come true because his knowledge is only about the celestial bodies. He 
may not know about other factors that may affect a particular outcome.
	Let me give you an example, suppose he predicts person X will lose
some money in a transaction, but on the other hand X helps his\her parents
and goes to a great burden to please them and the parents pray for
him\her. Here another set of rule comes into play: with God's permission (bi
Izn-e-Allah), Angels protect him\her against the loss. I cannot
elaborate more on this point here but I like to make it clear that since
many different relationships are at work in our universe and all are
governed by Allah (SWT), and Allah's blessing (Rahmah) is infinite, one who
seeks blessing should make him\herself Ghabel of blessing by being a good
servant of his, not by investing on anything as a substitute for being his
Abd (servant). May we all be good servants of his and good followers of
his holy prophet and his Ahlul Bayt (AS). 

5- With regard to the belief that the basic constitutive elements of  the 
material world being four i.e, water, soil, air, and fire, one should note 
that this was a scientific belief of the Greek inherited and accepted by 
many Muslim Scholars. This like any other scientific idea is subject to 
objective and empirical validation. Islam has no position with regard to 
many specific scientific finding. Imam Ali's (AS) kunyeh, Abu Turab, has 
nothing to do with this idea which was prevalent in what classical 
scholars used to call "Ta'abiyat" (Sciences related to Nature), it was 
given to Imam Ali (AS) by the holy Prophet (SA) in a historical event. As 
to the validity of this idea from an empirical perspective I believe 
there are not much scientific support for it.

Wa- Allah-u- 'Alamu bi- Ssawab.

With Regards


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