Abu Ameenah Bilaal Philips
Not only is the practice of astrology Haraam, but also visiting an astrologist and listening to his predictions, buying books on astrology or reading one’s horoscope are also forbidden! Since astrology is mainly used for predicting the future, those who practice it are considered fortune-tellers. Consequently, one who seeks his horoscope comes under the ruling contained in the Prophet’s statement: “The Salaah (daily prayer) of whoever 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 (Sahih Muslim (English Trans.), vol. 4, p. 1211, no. 5440).]
As was mentioned in the previous chapter, the punishment in this Hadeeth is simply for approaching and asking the astrologist, even if one is in doubt about the truth of his statements. If one is in doubt about the truth or falsehood of astrological information, he is in doubt about whether or not others know the unseen and the future besides Allaah. This is a form of Shirk because Allaah has clearly stated:
“With Him are the keys to the unseen and none knows it except Him” [Soorah al-An`aa,m 6:59]
“Say: None in the heavens or earth knows the unseen except Allaah.” [Soorah an-Naml 27:65]
If, however, one believes in the predictions of their horoscope, whether spoken by an astrologist or written in books of astrology, he falls directly into Kufr (disbelief) as stated by the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) “Whoever approaches an oracle or 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 (Sunan Abu Dawud (English Trans.), vol. 3, p. 1095, no. 3895).]
Like the previous Hadeeth, this Hadeeth literally refers to the fortune-teller but it is just as applicable to the astrologist. Both claim knowledge of the future. The astrologist’s claim is just as opposed to Tawheed as the ordinary fortune-teller. He claims that people’s personalities are determined by the stars, and their future actions and the events of their lives are written in the stars. The ordinary fortune-teller claims that the formation of tea leaves at the bottom of a cup, or lines in a palm tell him the same thing. In both cases individuals claim the ability to read in the physical formation of created objects knowledge of the unseen.
Belief in astrology and the casting of horoscopes are in clear opposition to the letter and spirit of Islaam. It is really the empty soul, which has not tasted real Eemaan (belief) that seeks out these paths. Essentially these paths, represent a vain attempt to escape Qadar (fate). The ignorant believe that if they know what is in store for them tomorrow, they can prepare from today. In that way they may avoid the bad and ensure the good. Yet, Allaah’s messenger was told by Allaah to say:
“If I knew the unseen, I would surely have only sought the good. But, I am only a warner and a bearer of glad tidings for believers.” [Soorah al-A`raaf 7:188]
True Muslims are therefore obliged to stay far away from these areas. Thus, rings, chains, etc., which have the signs of the Zodiac on them should not be worn, even if one does not believe in them. They are part and parcel of a fabricated system which propagates Kufr and should be done away with entirely. No believing Muslim should ask another what his sign is, or attempt to guess his sign. Nor should he or she read horoscope columns in newspapers or listen to them read. And, any Muslim who allows astrological predictions to determine his actions, should seek Allaah’s forgiveness and renew his Islaam.