of Twitter accounts, hundreds of apps, and countless millennial conversations
on the topic. If astrology came to mind after reading that first sentence, then
you guessed right. The pseudoscience - that makes predictions and assumptions
about human and terrestrial events by studying the movements and relative
positions of celestial objects - has got some millennials in a state of
Celestial map, signs of the Zodiac and lunar mansions
in the Zubdat-al Tawarikh, dedicated to the Ottoman Sultan Murad III in 1583
some people may think the study of orbiting moons to tell you everything you
need to know about your crush is a modern age phenomenon, you'd be surprised to
know it goes a long way back.
there is a general consensus that both astronomy and astrology arose in the
Middle East and later spread to ancient Greeks and Romans. The two fields are,
in fact, inter-related as astronomy studies the positions, motions, and
properties of celestial objects while astrology delves more into how these
movements affect people and events on our dear planet.
have been of much importance to the Muslim world. For starters, while Europe
was in an intellectual coma due to the suppression of secular education by the
church during the 13th century, the Islamic empire was entering its own Golden
Age, relying upon knowledge of the constellations to make timely calculations
for prayers and fasting. Medieval Muslims had to study celestial bodies to make
accurate guesses of the direction of the Kaaba (which Muslims face while
praying) and predictions on when Ramadan would arrive.
of the most prominent names in the study of the universe is Ibn Yunus, an
Egyptian astronomer who found mistakes in his predecessors' calculations about
the movement of planets. He discovered that the Earth wobbles one degree every
70 years, and later used that math to conclude that Earth was indeed not the
center of the universe, revolutionizing the science of astronomy forever. As
time went on, other Islamic scholars advanced Ibn Yunus' work and built upon it
to develop theories in trigonometry and algebra.
be surprised to find out that astronomical observatories were built in Iraq
very early on and were used to study the movement of the stars and neighboring
orbiting planets. Subsequent models were later built in Iraq and Iran, way
before the telescope was even invented.
Al-Haytham, who way down on the timeline in the 16th century became a
world-famous astronomer for cracking the code about how humans perceive light.
You might remember him as the father of optics because he was the one to figure
out that light doesn't travel in a straight line out of our eyes.
name camera obscura ring a bell? It's a scientific experiment developed by
non-other than Al-Haytham under which light-sensitive materials where placed in
the opening of a simple box to reveal a projected reversed and inverted image.
Not only did his work later aid in the development of the telescope but he also
coined the term "scientific method" to refer to the use of experiments
to test a theory.
honestly, one cannot talk about Muslims and astrology without mentioning the
Ottomans. Astrologers were deeply rooted in Ottoman society during the rule of
Sultan Mehmet Al-Fatih, or Mehmet the Conqueror, who conquered Constantinople
(modern-day Istanbul) and brought an end to the long-reining Byzantine Empire
when he was just 21 years old.
It is said
that during his reign, mathematics, astronomy, and astrology reached their
peak, as he would regularly invite and assemble scholars from all over the
world to discuss these issues and advance their studies.
of the six centuries of Ottoman rule, both astrology and astronomy were
combined into a highly respected discipline; there was even a chief astronomer
instituted at the Ottoman court in the mid-15th century who combined
astronomical observations for purposes such as drawing up annual calendars and
astrological functions. (This role is no longer existent.)
Ottoman empire, astrologers played a big role in mosques to determine the times
of the five daily prayers. And just like any field, the study of astrology
became an intricate one that called for proper education. And without
universities, the advancement in the field wouldn't have been possible. All
credit goes to one Muslim woman.
Fatima al-Fihri established the University of Al-Qarawiyyin in Fez, Morocco,
which is not only the longest-standing university but also the oldest existing
educational institution in the world. Al-Qarawiyyin grew to become one of the
leading spiritual and educational centers in the Muslim world, attracting
scholars and students from various religions and locations. The university
expanded its course offerings to include educational subjects apart from
religious teachings including astrology, math, and physics.
of pages can be written on the impact Muslims had had on the study and
advancement of both astronomy and astrology, but unfortunately today, the same
exhilaration is nowhere to be found.
scholars today make a clear distinction between astronomy and astrology,
considering the former lawful for being used in the direction of prayer and the
sighting of lunar months. Astrology, on the other hand, is believed to be based
on illusions and considered haram (unlawful) for predicting the unknown, which
only Allah (God) knows.
what your personal beliefs on astronomy and astrology are, it's safe to say
knowing a brief of Islamic history is enchanting at the very least.
Headline: Sorry millennials, but Muslims' fascination with astrology goes way
Source: The Steep Feed