Astrology, the study of how the positions and movements of celestial bodies impact human lives, has been practiced for thousands of years.
However, in Islam there is an ongoing debate around whether astrology is permissible (halal) or prohibited (haram). In this in-depth blog post, we will explore the various perspectives and evidence around astrology’s permissibility in Islam.
Arguments That Astrology is Haram
Several arguments have been made that astrology goes against Islamic principles and should be considered haram (forbidden):
Astrology Promotes Shirk (Idolatry)
Some Islamic scholars argue that astrology promotes shirk (idolatry) by encouraging people to believe celestial bodies have power over their lives. This violates the core Islamic principle of Tawhid – the absolute oneness and sovereignty of God. Those against astrology say only Allah has knowledge of the future and control over human destiny, not the stars or planets.
Lack of Support in Quran and Sunnah
There is no clear evidence in the Quran or Sunnah (teachings and traditions of the Prophet Muhammad PBUH) that directly supports or encourages astrology. Some verses are interpreted as being critical of astrology, such as:
“And among His Signs are the night and the day, and the sun and the moon. Prostrate not to the sun nor to the moon, but prostrate to Allah Who created them, if you really worship Him.” (Quran 41:37)
Since the primary sources of Islamic guidance do not promote astrology, some argue it should be avoided.
Astrology Promotes Uncertainty and Conjecture
Islamic scholars emphasize the importance of certainty in faith and cautions against conjecture. Astrological predictions are not definitive and often vague. Some argue astrology therefore clashes with Islam’s principles of certainty and should be avoided.
“Verily, conjecture can be of no avail against the truth.” (Quran 53:28)
Relying on astrology for major life decisions may lead people away from sound reason and certainty.
Arguments That Astrology is Halal
On the other hand, some Islamic perspectives and evidence suggest astrology may be permissible (halal) if practiced properly:
The Stars as Signs of Allah’s Creation
While the Quran warns against worshipping celestial bodies, some verses also describe the stars, sun, and moon as powerful signs of Allah’s infinite wisdom and creation:
“And it is He who created the night and the day and the sun and the moon; all [heavenly bodies] in an orbit are swimming.” (Quran 21:33)
As long as astrology appreciates celestial patterns as Allah’s miraculous signs rather than causes of human destiny, some argue it does not violate Tawhid.
Evidence of Some Early Muslims Practicing Astrology
There are some records of early Muslims, including some companions of the Prophet Muhammad PBUH, studying astrology and even consulting astrologers for major battles. This suggests at least some forms of astrology were not outright forbidden.
Astrology Used as Loose Guidance, Not Dogma
Many contemporary Islamic astrologers argue that astrology is permissible when used as a loose guide rather than an absolute doctrine. Seeking patterns in creation is not necessarily shirk, as long as God remains the sole determiner of human fate.
Allows Finding Optimal Timing in Worldly Affairs
Some Islamic scholars ruled that astrology is permissible for worldly matters such as finding the best time to schedule meetings, travel, business deals etc. However, major life decisions like marriage must rely on spiritual wisdom.
In Summary: A Nuanced Debate
As we have seen, perspectives on astrology’s permissibility in Islam vary greatly. While some insist it is haram based on its potential to contradict Tawhid and promote conjecture, others argue it can be halal if practiced with wisdom and moderation. There is evidence on both sides, highlighting the nuanced, ongoing debate around astrology in Islam.
Ultimately, Muslims must carefully analyze astrology and determine whether it aligns with their faith and principles. Those who do practice astrology should do so with caution, moderation and an appreciation of God’s supreme power over all destinies and fates.
Alhasan, Luqman. “Astrology Between Islam and Science.” Yaqeen Institute, 8 Aug. 2021, https://yaqeeninstitute.org/luqman-alhasan/astrology-between-islam-and-science/.
Esposito, John L. The Oxford Dictionary of Islam. Oxford University Press, 2004.
Ghamidi, Javed Ahmad. “What Does Islam Say About Astrology and Soothsaying?” Al-Mawrid, 2012, https://www.al-mawrid.org/index.php/question/view/what-does-islam-say-about-astrology-and-soothsaying
Kalin, Ibrahim. “Islam and Astrology: Can They Be Reconciled?” The Question of Cosmology, State University of New York Press, 2021, pp. 89–104.
Salamone, Frank A. Encyclopedia of Religious Rites, Rituals, and Festivals. Routledge, 2004.
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