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Religion and the natural sciences; Astrology

Religion and the natural sciences

Religion and the natural sciences

“Whosoever studies works of science must, if he wants to find the truth, transform himself into a critic of everything he reads.”

Ibn al-Haitham (d. ca. 1041)

Initially, scholarship and learning were strongly encouraged by the Islamic religion. The pursuit of truth was seen as the road to Paradise for a faithful Muslim.

Although, ‘science’ was not understood as a distinct field of knowledge in the modern sense, there were many overlapping disciplines that were classified in a hierarchy of interrelated studies. These included disciplines such as astrology and alchemy.

Page last modified: 05 February 2013



The practice of ‘judicial’ astrology, the study of the correspondence between celestial events and events on earth, held an important place in Islamic culture although it was frequently criticised by religious leaders.

Reigning caliphs and princes employed astrologers to make predictions that affected political and military planning. Astrology was important in other areas of life such as medicine.

Astronomy and astrology were strongly interwoven disciplines, and very precise and scientific observations were made to provide astrological data. Astronomical instruments such as the astrolabe frequently incorporated astrological information and were used in creating astrological charts.