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Astronomy and Astrology in the Context of Islam And insight to this month's full moon

The study of Islamic astrophysics is categorized in two groups; astronomy and astrology.  Astronomy is the knowledge of the size of the planets, their attributes, and the measurements of their movements as well as their overall impact. Within the realm of astrology, the idea of celestial bodies as divinities is believed to represent each constellation and the god that rules it. The birth of astrology was found in the basis of mathematical data and later was used more in occult practice and divination.

Some practitioners take this area of science further by worshiping the planets and the corresponding deity. Names and dates of these constellations were identified pre-Islam dating back to Mesopotamia, Ancient Greece, Rome and thus have been modified with the influence of Islamic scholars.

Astronomy – Ilm al-Falak the science of the heavens – has significant influence within Islam. In fact the effect of astronomy is woven throughout the Quran. Perhaps the most pivotal point in Islamic influence on astronomy was for the purpose of time keeping. Since Muslims are required to pray five times a day at a specific time in relation to the sun, astronomical time keeping was the most accurate way to determine the time for prayer. Additionally, it was also used to identify religious holidays. The Muslim calendar is based upon the moon.

Another significant religious use for astronomy was for the determination of latitude and longitude. Using the position of the stars several tables were compiled which calculated the latitude and longitude of notable cities in the Islamic world. Using this information, Muslims could be assured that they were praying in the direction of Mecca, as specified in the Quran.

“Blessed is He Who made constellations in the skies, and placed therein a lamp, and a moon giving light” (25:61).

Separate from religious use, astronomy was used as a tool for navigation. The astrolabe, an instrument that calculated the positions of certain stars in order to determine direction, was invented by the Greeks and adopted and perfected by the Arabs.

Renowned Islamic scientists such as Al-Biruni, Ibn Taymiyya, Ibn Shatri, and Al-Ma’mun, mastered understanding the movement of the planets and the ability to calculate their positions in the future. The science dealing with such influences was termed astrology, Ilm an-Nujūm.

Energetic movement of the orbit is described in the scripture, “It is He who created the night and the day, and the sun and the moon: All (celestial bodies) swim along, each in its rounded course (orbit).” (21:33).

These celestial bodies, presently known as constellations, make up the galaxy. The descriptions of these bodies swimming along indicate the rotation of the stars and planets.  “I have created buruj (Zodiac signs) on the sky and decorated them for viewers and I have also protected them from evils […]” (15:16).

The common theme throughout my column, to date, is the discussion of energy. Everything has energy. The planet’s energetic influence on our spiritual and physical body should not be ignored. Prophet Muhammad (SAW) birth was predicted by an astrologer, “I have seen in the books of the ancients that the astrologers informed Khosraw that the Arabs would gain royal authority and prophecy would appear among them. The signification of the Arabs is Venus, which was then in its exaltation” (Muqaddima, Khaldun). It has been reported Prophet Muhammad (SAW) was born on April 20th, which would have made him a Taurus, a sign ruled by planet Venus.

What is Venus most known for? Love.

Let’s take a break from our history lesson and take a look at what’s going on in the cosmos, presently.

Mercury finally went direct so you can no longer blame your poor choice of words on the retrograde. However the post shadow will radiate for another few weeks, some astrologers go as far as saying a month. In this post transition, communication will slowly resume normalcy and technical glitches should be coming to a halt. You may be feeling brain fog, heaviness within your physical body, and overall fatigue. Sit with yourself and look to see what is causing this energetic weight.

January 12th – that’s tonight! – will bless us with a full moon in Cancer. Cancer is a water sign that rules our emotions and intuition, so be prepared to have a serious case of the feels! Full moon energies are potent and the emotions associated with the planet are heightened. Now is the time to embrace our truth and harness our inner power. I advise to accept whatever emotions are bubbling to the surface. Accept. Allow. Release. Accept what you are feeling. Allow the emotion to reveal itself and most importantly, release it.

Significant situations will likely boil thus decisions will need to be made. Additionally, clarity should also come to the surface and a light bulb of awareness turns on. Full moon’s mark an ending. What are you battling with that you do not want to carry over? Heartache? Financial instability? Chocolate co-dependency? Oops that seems to just only be my problem.

As if this full moon isn’t intense enough, we have five planets involved in a mash up. Please don’t take this as a negative premonition. Since full moons mark an ending, take this alignment to release what no longer serves you. I have recently been working with moss agate and chanting “Al-Ahad” and I’ve found insurmountable healing, in regards to matters of the heart, in the release work I have been engaged in.

Attributes to meditate on during this transit: Al-Khaliq (The Creator); Al-Bari (The Evolver) and Al-Mughni (The Enricher).

Guided questions to use for reflection:

1. Have I been co-dependent or insecure this month?

2. Have I been avoiding an issue instead of tackling it head-on?

3. Have I been moody, emotionally instable or manipulative?

4. Have I spent enough time with family or people I consider family?

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