Islam and the Super natural knowledge
In the foreword you said that no body knows anything about his future. However some people predict future on the basis of astrology i.e. on the position of stars at the time of one's birth. The predictions of some famous astrologers have often come true. What do you say about it?
Many people in the society assume that knowledge of one's date of birth, position of stars etc will tell us of what happens in future. Daily newspapers having wide circulation carry columns on astrology which claim to tell us of what will happen to us that week. It is certainly a great achievement if we could get correct information about what would happen to us in the following week. Then one could avoid unnecessary worries, discard hopes about the unattainable and one could be more careful in planning things. However the truth is that it is impossible to know future by astrology. The former Prime Minister of India Mrs. Indira Gandhi, for example, certainly knew her date of birth, the signs of Zodiac, the stars and she had also the habit of consulting astrologers frequently. Yet nobody informed her that she would be shot dead by one of her body guards. The case of her son and former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi was also not different. No one could predict that he would be killed in a bomb blast in Tamil Nadu. Many victims of Lathur earthquake had good knowledge of their date of birth and such other details. Interestingly the victims including even astrologers could not predict. They had no knowledge of earthquake.
Our experience is such that many predictions of well-known astrologers like P.J.S Gyani, P.K. Chackrobarthy, Jagjit Uppal, Raman Thakkar, and Malathi Sircicar have not been fulfilled. The prediction of Uppal that Rajiv Gandhi would come to power after the ninth Loksabha election proved false. Bajanbharuwala had predicted that the Gulf war will not occur in near future just one day before the Gulf war happened. People often forget such false predictions. At the same time predictions which come true quite accidentally or those which are merely interpreted as correct get wide publicity. Truth remains that no astrologer or others of his sort could predict and warn people about the Bhopal gas tragedy or the natural calamities like Cyclone in Bangladesh, or earth quake in Iran which resulted in the loss of thousands of human lives or Tsunami.
People approach astrologers out of ignorance, superstition and unquenchable desire to know their future. The educated, the intelligentia scientists, the rulers and the cultural leaders are no exception to this. They attribute supernatural knowledge and divine powers to the astrologers and introduce them as competent to predict future. However, no one except God the creator of the universe has knowledge of supernatural things. No one knows what is in store for the future. The religion of Islam has declared it in clear terms. Jesus Christ, for example, took his disciples closer to Olive trees as he could not discern from a distance whether there were fruits on them or not. When there was slander against his beloved wife Aysha, Prophet Muhammed could not out rightly deny it as a baseless lie. He understood the fact only after a divine revelation. Sri Rama could not recognize his own children Lava and Kusha, - who were born and brought up in jungle - when they chanted the legend of Rama in front of their father. Nor he could find out through supernatural means his own wife Sita, who had been abducted to Lanka. All these tell us beyond doubt that prophets or holy persons are not capable of knowing future before it actually occurs.
No one, except God, knows the supernatural things which are beyond cause and effect. This is a fundamental concept of the belief in God in Islam. The Holy Quran has emphasised it.
''Say: none in the heavens or on earth, except God knows what is hidden'' (27:65)
''Say: ''I tell you not that with me are the treasures of God, nor do I know what is hidden'' (6:50).The foolish assumption that holy persons by way of supernatural means had divine wisdom existed at all times in history as in our age. So all prophets had tried to correct and put an end to such superstitions. They emphasised that no one including themselves had any supernatural knowledge. Prophet Noah told his people thus:
''I tell you not that with me are the Treasures of God, nor do I know what is hidden'' (11:31)
So there is no supernatural knowledge beyond cause and effect attributed to prophets, saints, the self claimed gods, astrologers or to anyone for that matter. The claim that they have this power is a lie. Astrologers' prophecy and deciding one's destiny from stars are wrong and superstitious.
Swami Dayanands Saraswathi has clearly described the horoscope as false and deceptive. He presents this issue in the form of questions and answers.
Q: Is it not through the influence of stars, then, that some people are rich and others poor, some are rulers, whilst others are their subjects?
Ans: No, it is all the result of their deeds...good or bad.
Q: Is the science of stars untrue then?
Ans: - No, that part of it which comprises Arithmetic, Algebra, Geometry, etc., and which goes by the name of Astronomy is true; but the other part that treats of the influence of stars on human beings and their actions and goes by the name of Astrology is all false.
Q: Is then the horoscope of no value?
Ans: No, and it should be named not horoscope, but death-knell of happiness; because the birth of a child gladdens every heart in the family, but this happiness lasts only so long as the horoscope is not cast, and the aspect of the planets is not read out to the parents.
When the priest, after the birth of the child, suggests the casting of a horoscope, his parents say to him. "Oh, Sir! Cast a very good horoscope." Then the astrologer brings the horoscope, well bespangled with red and yellow lines if they be rich, or a plain one if they be poor. They ask him if the aspect is beneficent. He answers "I will read it out to you as it is; his stars of nativity are good, and so are the stars that govern the relation of social intercourse, consequently he will be a rich man and will make a name for himself; he will command respect among his associates; will have good health; and be ruler among men." Upon hearing this, the parents say "Well done Sir! Well done! You are a very nice man."
The Astrologer thinks it would not pay him to say nice things only, so he adds "These are all his lucky stars, but there are others that maleficent. On account of the position of such and such stars he will meet with his death in his 8th year." On learning this, all their happiness is converted into great distress, and they to the Astrologer "Oh Sir! What shall we do? What shall we do now?" The astrologer answers "Propitiate the Stars. They ask "How can we do it?" He says "Do such and such an act of charity, have the hymns relating to the stars chanted, fee the priests, and it is very likely that the malfeasance of the stars will be warded off."
The qualifying words very likely have been used by the way of precaution, because, if the child died he could say "How could I help it? I cannot override the will of God. I did my utmost and so did you, but it was so ordained from the first on account of his misdeeds in the previous life. "But, if the child lived he could say "Behold the power of our incantations, gods and priests; I have saved the life of your child." But really, if their incarnations and prayers fail, and the child dies, these rogues should be made to pay double or treble the money given to the, and if the child lives, they should still be made to pay because, as they themselves say, there is not soul living that can undo the law of God or evade the consequences of one's deeds.
Parents can say to them "This child has survived in consequence of his deeds, and according to the laws of God, and not through your help." The same answer should be given to Gurus (so called spiritual fathers or teachers),) who prescribe certain acts of charity to their dupes and then appropriate the gifts themselves, as has been given to the astrologers above. (Sathyartha Prakasham, Arya Pradeshik's Prathinidhi Sabha, Punjab).
In order to expose the meaninglessness of astrology Swami Vivakananda told the following story. "There is an old story of an astrologer who came to a king and said, "You are going to die in six months." The king was frightened out of his wits and was almost about to die then and there from fear. But his minister was a clever man, and this man told the king that these astrologers were fools. The king would not believe him. So the minister saw no other way to make the king see that they were fools but to invite the astrologer to the palace again. There he asked him if his calculations were correct. The astrologer said that there could not be a mistake, but to satisfy him he went through the whole of the calculations again and then said that they were perfectly correct. The King's face became livid. The minister said to the astrologer, "And when do you think that you will die?" "In twelve years", was the reply. The minister quickly drew his sword and separated the astrologer's head from the body and said to the king, "Do you see this liar? He is dead this moment." (Vivekananda Sahitya Sarwaswam Volume - IV)
Swami Vivekananda writes: ''It is people who are getting old who talk of fate. Young men generally do not come to astrology. We may be under planetary influence, but it should not matter much to us. Buddha says, "Those that get a living by calculation of the stars by such art and other lying tricks are to be avoided"; and he ought to know, because he was the greatest Hindu ever born. Let stars come, what harm is there? If a star disturbs my life, it would not be worth a cent. You will find that astrology and all these mystical things are generally signs of a weak mind; therefore as soon as they are becoming prominent in our minds, we should see a physician, take good food and rest.'' (Ibid)
The belief that no one except God has supernatural knowledge is an essential part of pure belief in God. So, Islam has emphasised it.