Astrology: What’s the Difference? I am often asked about the difference between astrology and astronomy. The practice of astrology, which predicts one’s fate and fortune based on the positions of the sun, moon, stars, and planets, dates back to ancient times. But, don’t trust it to make any serious decisions for you. It’s surprisingly common for people to not know that there is a difference between astronomy and astrology. But considering they both, in part, involve the stars and planets, it’s understandable that the two can get confused. Merriam-Webster.com defines astronomy as, “the study of objects and matter outside the earth’s atmosphere and of their physical and Continue reading Astro Q&A. Astrology is a pseudo-science which claims that the positions of the heavenly bodies have an effect on the lives of human beings and events on Earth. A long time ago, astronomy and astrology were the same.
At work someone mentioned Astronomy and Astrology, as though the two are the same. I find these two terms are often mis-used or mis-understood. But in Islam, they have been clearly distinguished apart, one being halaal (permissable) and one being haraam (forbidden)! So we need to make sure not to confuse the two. Below is some research I did recently, as I wanted to clarrify these two terms:
Astronomy is based on the laws of physics (and therefore mathematics) and aims at describing what is happening to the universe based on what we observe today. An example of this is weather forcasting:
Forecasting the weather does not come under the heading of astrology or claiming to have knowledge of the unseen, rather it is based on physical evidence and experience, and study of the natural laws established by Allaah. The same applies to knowing the times of solar and lunar eclipses, or when there are likely to be strong winds and rainfall.
Astrology on the other hand claims it can predict what will happen to individuals (or guess what is happening to them), or to mankind, based on such things as solar system configurations and birth dates. Common applications include horoscopes and such. Regardless of whether there is scientific support for astrology, its goal and methods are clearly distinct from those of astronomy.
In Islam the practice of astrology is totally Haraam. Whether it be visiting an astrologist, listening to his predictions, buying books on astrology, reading coffee / tea cups, superstition, reading one’s horoscope, tarot hands, or palm reading . these are all forbidden! Those who part-take in astrology and its likes come under the ruling contained in the Prophet’s (S) statement:
“Whoever approaches a fortune-teller and believes in what he says, has disbelieved in what was revealed to Muhammad.” [Reported by Abu Hurayrah and collected by Ahmad and Abu Daawood]
“The Salaah (daily prayer) of the one who approaches a fortune-teller and asks him about anything will not be accepted for forty days and nights.” [Reported by Hafsah and collected by Muslim]
The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Whoever learns anything of astrology has learned a branch of witchcraft (al-sihr)…” [Abu Daawood]
This practice is so dangerous and evil that if one believes in the above mentioned practices, one runs the risk of falling out of the folds of Islam.
Only Allah SWT has knowledge of the absolute unseen, depending on something other than Allaah and believing that benefit and harm come from something other than Him is associating partners with Allah (which is Shirk), as one is regarding something created to have such powers which only our Creator Allah possesses.
“And with Him are the keys of the Ghayb (the absolute unseen), none knows them but He. And He knows whatever there is in the land and in the sea; not a leaf falls, but He knows it. There is not a grain in the darkness of the earth nor anything fresh or dry, but is written in a Clear Record” [Soorah al-An’aam 6:59]
“Say: None in the heavens or earth knows the unseen except Allaah.” [Soorah an-Naml 27:65]
The grammatical structure used in the original Arabic – starting with the negation laa (translated here as “none”) followed by the word illa (“except”) – is one of the most emphatic ways of expressing exclusivity.
Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: The noblest of the angelic Messengers, Jibreel, asked the noblest of the human Messengers, Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), “Tell me about the Hour.” He said: “The one who is asked about it is does not know any more about it than the one who is asking” meaning, just as you have no knowledge of it, I have no knowledge of it either. End quote. [Sharh al-‘Aqeedah al-Waasitiyyah, p. 158 ]
Source: For more, please read: Astronomy Vs Astrology by Sh Munnajid
Both astronomy and astrology are study fields that on the outside might seem similar; nevertheless, they are very different. Hundreds of years ago, they functioned together; astronomy was actually a consequence of astrology. Nowadays, astronomy is considered one of the most important sciences. In contrast, astrology has been left, according to some people, only for the ignorant and the hucksters. Both study stars and celestial bodies; however, astrology interprets their movements and positions as if they had influence over human affairs. Astronomy studies movements, phenomena and everything that’s outside of the Earth’s atmosphere from a scientific and academic approach.
|Definition||Astronomy is the science that studies the Universe: celestial bodies, planets and their satellites, comets, meteorites, interstellar matter, stars, galaxies and anything related to everything outside the terrestrial atmosphere.||Astrology, on the other hand, is the belief that celestial phenomena affect people’s lives and the way events occur all over the Earth. According to astrology, there is a parallelism between the stars (cause) and everything that happens within the Earth (effect).|
|Etymology||The word astronomy comes from the Latin astronomía, which comes from the Greek ἀστρονομία. Astro means stars, while nomos means law, regulation. It literally means regulation of the stars, of heavenly bodies.||Astrology is less ancient of a word than astronomy. Given that they both share the same Greco-Latin roots; they meant the same for a while and were used indistinctly. However, logos, from ἀστρολογία: (astrology) means study, treaty. So, astrology literally means study of the stars.|
|History||Astronomy has existed for as long as humans have been on Earth. Many, maybe even all, ancient civilizations felt curious about stars and dedicated long time to their observation, study and comprehension. The Chinese, Greeks, Egyptians, Mayans, Aztecs and Incas were only some of the best astronomers. Historically, astronomy started with cosmogony. Cosmogony used to try to explain the origin of the universe by religion and mythology.||Astrology, per se, was born in ancient Egypt and Babylon. Back then, astrology was seen as a respectable science. Several times, astrologist would rather to use calculation and observation instead of divination and interpretation. After this time of prosperity, astrology began to be attacked both by religion and science, and it lost all of its credibility. It wasn’t until a few years ago, with the whole new age movement that astrology became relevant again.|
|Science||Nowadays astronomy is one of the most respected sciences. It usually Works along with physics, chemistry, biology and mathematics. It is considered a very hard career path, only made for a few.||Astrology is considered a pseudoscience. It has never been validated by science, nor has it been accepted as a true science or an exact art.|
|Personalities||Aristoteles, Thales of Miletus, Claudius Ptolomeo, Pythagoras, Hypatia of Alexandria, Nicolaus Copernicus, Galileo Galilei, Johannes Kepler, Isaac Newton, Albert Einstein, Carl Sagan, Stephen Hawking, and many others.||Most astrologers are considered opportunistic and defamatory people. However there are a few famous astrologers, such as Rick Levine, Walter Mercado (for the Hispanic market), Robert Hand, etc.|