Astrology as a means of seeking knowledge of the future: Kitaab at-Tawheed, Chapter 29

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“Ash-Sharh al-Moojaz al-Mumahhad li Tawheed al-Khaaliq al-Mumajjad alladhi allafahu Shaikhul-Islaam Muhammad”
(The Concise, Simple and Straight-forward Explanation of the Tawheed of the Exalted Creator – which was Authored by the Shaikhul-Islaam Muhammad b. Abdul-Wahhaab)

This is an explanation of Kitaab at-Tawheed of Shaikhul-Islaam Muhammad b. Abdul-Wahhaab (d. 1206H, rahimahullaah) by ash-Shaikh al-Allaamah Ahmad b. Yahyaa an-Najmee (rahimahullaah).

So Shaikhul-Islaam Muhammad b. Abdul-Wahhaab (rahimahullaah) said:

What has been reported regarding Astrology

Bukhaaree said in his Saheeh:

Qataadah said:

“Allaah created these stars for three purposes: Decoration for the heavens, fiery missiles against the devils, and as signs for one navigate by. Whoever interprets them to mean other than this is mistaken, loses his share of reward and burdens himself with that of which he has no knowledge.”

(Bukhaaree in mu’alaq (disconnected) form 4/107)

Qataadah disliked the studying of the lunar phases, and Ibn `Uyainah did not allow it. This was narrated by Harb (rahimahullaah) from them both. However, Ahmad and Ishaaq (rahimahumallaah) allowed the learning of the moon phases.

(See: Tabaqaat al-Hanaabilah, 1/145. Ibn Rajab in Fadlu ‘Ilmis-Salaf, 31-32, as stated by the verifier of Fathul-Majeed, Shaikh Al-Waleed Ibn Abdur-Rahmaan Aali Firyaan, 2/531)

Abu Moosaa (radiyallaahu ‘anhu) said: Allaah’s Messenger (salallaahu ‘alaihi wassallam) said:

“There are three who will not enter Jannah: The one addicted to drinking alcohol, the severer of the ties of kinship, and a believer in magic.”

Reported by Ahmad, and Ibn Hibbaan in his Saheeh.

(Ahmad, 4/399, no. 19587. Ibn Hibbaan in his Saheeh, 12/165, no. 5346. Al-Albaanee declared it saheeh due to supports in Saheeh At-Targheeb wat-Tarheeb, 2539)

Explanation of Shaikh Ahmad (rahimahullaah):

The definition of “Tanjeem” (astrology): Astrology are those affairs which are interpreted for events occurring on earth and of the universe. This knowledge was taken from the misguided nations that preceded the Prophet-hood of our Prophet (salallaahu ‘alaihi wassallam). People would believe that if a certain star aligned with the moon – and if one of them married on that night then something would happen; or if a person travelled on that night, then something would happen.

The astrologers take the name of a person and the name of his mother, and gather the letters of their names – in this method they have an inherited way taken from the people of falsehood that gather together various affairs that negate the Sharee’ah legislation as follows:

  1. Their claim of having knowledge of the unseen.
  2. Their claim of having an effect upon the creation due to the alignment of the stars with the moon.
  3. Their assertion that there are partners alongside Allaah [in controlling the universe] since they claim that the celestial bodies and stars have an effect upon the events in this creation – that is major Shirk (polytheism).
  4. Their claim that there is a connection between [the place and movement of] the stars and the minds of the people and their intellects – that the stars have an effect upon the minds of the people. All of this is lies, deceit of the highest order and misguidance – we ask Allaah for safety from that.

The science study of the stars is divided into two categories:

  1. `Ilmut-Tasyeer (study of the moon phases)
  2. `Ilmut-Ta’theer (study of the influence of the stars)

As for `ilmut-tasyeer: then it is the study of the movement of the moon and its phases. This is done in order to acquaint oneself with the times of cultivation of the fields and crops and so on. There are twenty eight moon phases that are divided across four seasons. For each season there are seven phases that are completed in thirteen days, i.e. three months for every season. Autumn has seven phases, winter has seven phases, spring has seven phases and summer has seven phases. So each season is three months.

So this is ‘ilmut-tasyeer (knowledge of the moon phases) in which there is no harm, even if a few of the Salaf disapproved of it. Both Imaams, Ahmad and Ishaaq permitted its use.

As for `ilmut-ta’theer: This is the belief that the stars have influence over the children of Aadam and tied in to the stars are their lives and deaths, their health and sickness, their security and war, their ease and hardship, their poverty and richness – all of these are tied in, in the claim of these people, to astrology, i.e. to the stars and their influence. This saying is sheer falsehood and this belief is haraam (forbidden in Islaam) – and whoever believes in it leaves the fold of Islaam. Whoever dies whilst holding this belief, dies an unbeliever deserving of eternity in Hell. This is because the verses of Allaah (in the Qur’aan) clarify for us that the knowledge of the unseen is the sole right of Allaah and not for anyone else, and none from the creation have an entry point into it – and astrology has no influence upon the lives of His servants.

Indeed Allaah alone is the one who affects and influences and organizes the affairs of His servants, He is the One who created them, He is the One who provides sustenance for them; their lives and their deaths are in His Hand; their health and sickness is in His Hand; their poverty and richness is in His Hand; their happiness and wretchedness is in His Hand; their ownership and absence of it is in His Hand; their honour and might and their lowliness and humiliation is in His Hand. No one can give if He prevents, and no one can prevent to whom He gives. There is no way out or path for the one He has decreed over. Everything is in His Hand, under His charge and His power.

This is the correct ‘aqeedah and belief which Islaam has come with. Whoever opposes it or contradicts it and believes that the stars influence the creation and influence the lives of the people due to the reading of certain books that spread this baseless knowledge such as the book of Abu Ma`shar al-Balkhee the astrologer (died 886CE) and the book Shamsul-Ma’aarif and other such books [of the knowledge of astrology]. So whoever interprets the purpose of the stars other than what is known is mistaken, and has burdened himself, and has lost his share of the Hereafter.

For this reason he mentioned the saying of Qataadah:

“Allaah created these stars for three purposes: Decoration for the heavens, fiery missiles against the devils, and as signs for one navigate by. Whoever interprets them to mean other than this is mistaken, loses his share of reward and burdens himself with that of which he has no knowledge.”

The proof that the stars are a beautification of the heavens is His (the Most High) saying:

“And We have certainly beautified the nearest heaven with stars..” [Al-Mulk:5]

The proof that they are missiles against the devils is in His saying:

“And have made [from] them what is thrown at the devils..” [Al-Mulk:5]

The proof that Allaah made the stars signs that one is guided by in the darkness on land and by sea is His saying:

“It is He Who has set the stars for you, so that you may guide your course with their help through the darkness of the land and the sea.” [An`aam: 97]

And there is the hadeeth of Abu Moosaa (radiyallaahu ‘anhu) who said: Allaah’s Messenger (salallaahu alaihi wassallam) said:

“There are three who will not enter Jannah: The one addicted to drinking alcohol, the severer of the ties of kinship, and a believer in magic.”

Reported by Ahmad, and Ibn Hibbaan in his Saheeh.

This is negation of entry into Jannah is explained in two ways:

  1. Whoever permits continual drinking and addiction to alcohol and makes that permissible and makes permissible the breaking of the bonds of kinship, then such a person will never enter Paradise. Rather he will remain eternally in Hellfire, and Allaah’s refuge is sought from that.
  2. Or the meaning could be: The one addicted to alcohol, and the one who cuts the ties of the womb (kinship) will not enter the Gardens prepared for the believers but they will enter the lower gardens after they have been punished and been purified and cleansed. So these are the Gardens that the people of major sins will enter.

As for the saying: “…and a believer in magic” will not enter Paradise. The believer in magic is an unbeliever, and the unbeliever will enter Hellfire forever. As for our interpretation of the first two sinners in the manner mentioned then that is because addiction to alcohol is from the major sins – its performance does not entail the disbelief that exits one from the Religion, and likewise is the case of cutting the ties of kinship – as for the one who believes in magic, then he is a disbeliever as we have mentioned.

[Note: The mention of this hadeeth regarding magic in the chapter of astrology is due to the saying of the author in Chapter 25 on the types of Magic:

Ibn Abbaas narrated that Allaah’s Messenger (salallaahu `alaihi wassallam) said:

“Whoever acquires knowledge of a branch of astrology has certainly acquired a branch of magic – he increases in it as he continues acquiring it.”

(Reported by Abu Daawood, declared hasan (good) by Al-Albaanee in Saheeh Ibn Maajah, 2002)

And in Chapter 26 on fortunetellers and soothsayers, wherein he states that the Messenger said:

“Whoever approaches a fortuneteller or soothsayer and believes in what he has says, has surely disbelieved in that which was revealed to Muhammad.”

(Reported Abu Dawood, declared saheeh bu Al-Albaanee in Saheeh Ibn Maajah, 566)]

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