Ikhwan us Safa – Astronomy

The science of the stars is of three kinds: astronomy (علم الهيئة) which is the structural knowledge of planetary bodies, (علم الزيجات) the science of times and seasons, and (علم الاحكام) astrology, which forecasts events.

The study begins with astronomy. The earth—not the sun—is the centre of the universe. The earth is surrounded by nine aflaak (spheres). Seven spheres belong to each of the seven planets, the eighth sphere is that of the fixed stars. The final sphere, the one that encircles the whole universe is the Falak e Muhit-the Prime Mover.  The Falak e Muhit moves from east to west above the earth and from west to east beneath the earth completing one rotation a day and making all the other spheres move with it. The Falak e Muhit is made up of the twelve zodiac.

When scholars study the planets and stars, they yearn to be transported to space and see the planetary bodies with their own eyes. The soul, when emancipated from the body will in fact, climb to the stars and witness celestial wonders. However if the soul is impure it will remain on earth.  Idrees NabiAS lived with the stars for thirty years, upon coming back to earth he taught the people about the motion of the planets.

Astrology is the most fascinating of the three types.  The rays of the planets fall equally on the earth, yet their influence vary according to the composition of each thing and its capacity to receive the rays. For example, when the sun shines on the snow the snow melts, when it shines on wet ground the ground dries up. The sun whitens the clothes of the launderers, yet it blackens their faces; it strengthens the eyes of most animals, but weakens the eyes of bats and owls. It penetrates glass, yet it bounces back from mirrors. Similarly, a beggar and a prince may be born at the same time, under the same planetary influence, yet their lives will chart out quite differently.

Astrology is not advised for novices as knowing what awaits one in the future can only give rise to fear and anxiety. However for scholars and sages it is a means of exploring the universe and desiring the hereafter. For he who seeks the hereafter, is not troubled by worldly matters.

Clearly, the benefits of astrology are undeniable. Forecasting catastrophes helps people to prepare for the worst, knowing of course that nobody can escape fate. However, dua is a means of seeking succor from calamities.

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