(RAHNUMA): The Prophet Muhammad ﷺ was born under a Jupiter-Saturn Conjunction
Ibn Khaldun held the view major political epochs were linked to planetary cycles
(RAHNUMA) According to some of the earliest written sources by Muslim and non-Muslim astronomers, the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ was born under a Jupiter-Saturn Conjunction.
A ‘conjunction’ is when the orbits of two or more celestial bodies line up.
Many ancient cultures judged the Saturn and Jupiter conjunction to be particularly auspicious or portentous, because they are considered to be the two greatest planets in our solar system – and hence their lining up is known as the ‘Great Conjunction’.
The view that the Prophet Muhammad was born under a Great Conjunction was a widely held notion in the Golden Age of Arab Islamic civilization.
Saturn and Jupiter come into conjunction about once every 20 years. Each time there is a Great Conjunction, the two planets appear in a new sign of the zodiac.
One of the earliest written sources for this is found in the works of Mashallah b. Athari (d. 815), a Persian Jewish astronomer who worked as a court astronomer for the Abbasids. He wrote that the Prophet was born under the Great Conjunction in the constellation of Scorpio.
Another early source of this is one of the greatest Muslim astronomers of Baghdad, Abu Mashar (d. 866). Mashar was a prolific writer and polymath, and wrote around 50 books. He studied religious science and hadith at a young age, and then specialised in astronomy in his 50’s until his death. He was employed by the Abbasids in their courts. In the West he is seen as a hugely important figure in modern astronomy, and is known as Albumasar.
This view was also highlighted by Ibn Khaldun. In Al Muqaddima, “The return of Mars to Scorpio has an important influence upon the Muslim religious group, because it is its significator. The birth of the Prophet took place when the two superior planets were in conjunction in the sign of Scorpio. Whenever the conjunction reoccurs there, trouble is brewing for the caliphs. There is much illness among scholars and religious personalities, and their conditions are reduced. Occasionally, houses of worship are destroyed. It has been said that the conjunction occurred at the deaths of ‘Ali, of the Umayyad Marwan, and of the `Abbasid al-Mutawakkil. If such judgments are taken into consideration, together with the judgments based upon the conjunctions, they are exceedingly reliable.”
One of the most common dates given for the Gregorian Calendar for the date of the Prophet’s ﷺ birth is 20 April 571.
In the late 1800’s an Ottoman Astronomer
Mahmoud Pasha Effendi concluded the Gregorian date through an ingenious method.
To arrive at his conclusion, Mahmoud Effendi corroborated multiple sources, including non-Islamic Calendar sources which offered a date for the Prophet Muhammad’s birth. He then used astronomical data, such as the birth of new moons, and the established belief of early Muslim astronomers who said that the Prophet was born shortly after the conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn in the constellation of Scorpio.
Bringing these sources together helped him arrive at the date of Monday 20 April 571.
Abenezra (Abraham Ibn Ezra) (d. 1167) a Jewish Biblical commentator and astronomer after whom a crater is named in his honour on the moon, believed that Great Conjunctions took place when prophets were born, including Moses, Jesus and the Prophet Muhammad.
Ibn Ezra wrote, “and the conjunction [of Saturn and Jupiter] in the sign of Scorpio took place before the emergence of the prophet of the Muslims.”
The Great Conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn has been seen as a huge portent, associated with a change in order, a new age, or a new epoch, across many ancient cultures.
According to some Christian astronomers, the Star of Bethlehem that was the portent for Jesus’ birth was actually a Jupiter-Saturn Conjunction.
Credits: Imad Ahmed. New Crescent Society, UK. #thankfulgratefulblessed