Astronomy for Muslims

Astronomy arose from observations that were seen with the naked eye. With the development of ancient civilizations in many regions such as Persia, Mesopotamia and China, maps of the locations of stars and planets were developed with explanations and visualizations based on the fact that the Earth is the center of the universe. With the discovery of the telescope and the fact that the planets revolve around the sun, many of the erroneous data circulated within the framework of astronomy, which is today one of the most advanced sciences during the past six decades, changed.

Astronomy.. its origins and development

Astronomy is one of the oldest and most important sciences known to man since ancient times. Astronomy has played an essential role in human life; Where its importance was historically recorded by all the ancient civilizations in Babylon, Egypt and other civilizations of the ancient world, and therefore man relied on astronomy in various different aspects of life from knowing and determining the time, seasons of agriculture, climatic changes, and determining trends in travel and walking in the desert, and man has been keen Since ancient times, he has learned astronomy in order to be able to keep pace with the requirements of life.
Astronomy is concerned with studying everything related to the universe and its genesis, and the movements of celestial bodies on which man depends mainly in knowing the days and years, and studying the physical and chemical compounds of the stars and planets around us through spectral monitoring of those stars and celestial bodies that revolve around us, and astronomy has passed like other sciences At different stages through the ages and times, it led to its development and the change of many astronomical misconceptions.
A group of scholars believes that astronomy arose as a science in the Babylonian civilization in Mesopotamia, while another group believes that astronomy originated in the countries of the Nile and specifically in Egypt.
Since the prehistoric era, astronomy began to track the movements of stars and planets in orderly cycles; Where the first man occupied his thoughts with the apparent repetitive movement of the sun and the moon, and through them he was able to make calendars that chronicle the events in his life, and the first man also divided the stars that he saw into constellations in order to be guided by them in his travels at night, and by observing and observing the times of ascending stars and observing them in general A year later, and by observing the movement of the sun, and following all that in time and place, they came to inference from these houses to know the changes of the four astronomical seasons, which are relied upon in knowing the seasons of agriculture and the weather.
After that, astronomy developed rapidly, using simple astronomical machines, and then building astronomical observatories that were used to monitor various astronomical phenomena such as solar and lunar eclipses, and the observation of stars. In the modern era, astronomy has kept pace with the tremendous development in modern technology; As astronomers recently used modern technology, including software and machines, to launch into outer space to study and monitor the universe around us, by launching spacecraft controlled by scientists from the surface of the Earth, and was able to launch space observatories used to monitor the movement of many solar phenomena such as storms. The solar system, which has a direct impact on the earth, days before those storms reach the earth in order to take the necessary precautions

branches of astronomy

Astronomy is divided into two main branches:

Optical astronomy

Optical astronomy is concerned with the study of celestial objects within the range of visible light, and can be inferred through images provided by space probes and telescopes, such as the Hubble Space Telescope, which gives a large amount of information about the nature of these Objects, their structure, and their evolution.

Non-visual astronomy

This science depends on the use of tools to study celestial bodies within the range of invisible light, and this branch can be divided according to the lengths of light waves into several sections, such as astronomy based on the use of infrared radiation, gamma rays, radio rays and others.

Astronomy for Muslims

Ancient civilizations knew astronomy and it was associated with astrology and knowledge of the unseen, which cast a shadow over astronomy among Muslims until recently, but in the civilization of Islam, that civilization that rejected astrology and considered it contrary to its faith, astronomy separated from astrology, and it has its scientific bases that are based on her. This separation was not the result of chance, but rather the result of scientific experience, measurement and deduction, and the Islamic need to determine prayer times and the direction of the qiblah, so that the mosques became not without an astronomer who determines the time through one of the astronomical instruments that Muslims knew and invented. Astronomy in ancient civilizations was lost, but Muslim astronomy had a special place in Islamic civilization, especially with the Abbasid era and in the caliphate of al-Ma’mun ibn Harun al-Rashid. The huge carefully manufactured, the care it received by the state, and the number of astronomers whose names are associated with it. Aydin Sayili – the most prominent Turkish researcher who studied astronomical observatories – believes that conditions arose associated with Islam, and were conducive to the development of observatories as institutions, because there is justification for saying that Islam formed a suitable environment for the emergence and development of observatories, as there was a special rank for astronomy in the Islamic world, There was interest in direct observation, accuracy of measurements, mathematical theories, increasing the size of machines, insisting that astronomers practice their work in groups, the tendency to specialize in narrow fields, and the empiricism of Islamic scholars. The observatories in the era of al-Mamoun had several important features, perhaps the most important of which were specific research programmes. The major task of those first observatories was to find astronomical tables based on recent observations of the sun and moon only. However, in addition to the limited programs drawn up for them, they were somewhat primitive in terms of financial management and organization. In fact, the specific nature of work assigned to the Al-Mamoun observatories in Shammasiya and Qasioun made them not rise to the levels of integrated observatories that the Islamic world later knew. In the context of talking about Muslim astronomy, we find that the Islamic observatory appeared in a more developed way after the time of al-Ma’mun about a century and a half, and was more organized from an administrative point of view. It came to include all the planets, and it was possible to achieve this last aspect of the development of observatories in two stages, as there is evidence that some of the observational programs were limited to observing the fast planets only in addition to the sun and the moon. The main task of the work of the observatory was to establish new astronomical tables for all the planets based on recent observations. There has been a clear tendency towards the manufacture of machines that increase in size over time and a tendency to provide a distinguished workforce, also due to the progress that has been made in this direction, and the developments will serve to reinforce the belief that the emergence of observatories, as institutions, has its origin in Caliphs and kings. The observatory, which was built by the Seljuk Sultan Malik Shah in Baghdad, is another stage of the development of work in observatories, although we do not have enough information so far about the work of this observatory. At the time, astronomers saw that it takes a period of no less than 30 years to complete an astronomical work.

Maragha Observatory

The seventh century AH is the most important period in the history of Islamic observatories; Because the Maragheh observatory was built this century, and this observatory is one of the most important observatories in the history of Islamic civilization. Maragha is located near the city of Tabriz. The observatory was built outside the city, and its remains are still present today, and it was established by “Mango”, the brother of “Hulagu”. Manju was interested in mathematics and astronomy, and he entrusted Jamal al-Din ibn Muhammad ibn al-Zaidi al-Bukhari with the task of establishing this observatory, and he hired a huge number of scholars, including: Nasir al-Din al-Tusi, Ali ibn Omar al-Ghazwini, Muayyad al-Din al-Aradi, Fakhr al-Din al-Maraghi, Mohi al-Din al-Maghribi and many others. . The Maragha Observatory is the first observatory that benefited from the endowment funds. As real estate and land were placed on it, in order to ensure the continuity of its work; Therefore, work continued in the observatory until the year 1316 AD, and it witnessed the rule of seven sultans who took care of it and sponsored it. The third feature of the Maragha Observatory lies in the important educational activity that took place in it. Many students at the observatory were taught astronomy and work on astronomical instruments. The observatory also had a huge library that contained thousands of manuscripts in various fields of knowledge.

Samarkand Observatory

This observatory was founded by Ulugh Beg, the grandson of Tamerlane in Samarkand, and in 1908 the location of this observatory was revealed when GL Vatekin succeeded in finding one of his endowments that determined its exact location in the city. During his archaeological excavations, he was able to find The large arc was used to mark midday, and is considered the most important astronomical instrument in the observatory. The observatory courtyard, which is about 21 meters high, is located on a hill with a rocky base. The surface area of ​​that hill is about 85 meters from east to west, and about 170 meters from north to south. The main building of the observatory is surrounded by a garden, and accommodation for the purpose of housing. This indicates the grandeur and grandeur of the building, and it is inferred from archaeological discoveries that this building was cylindrical in shape and had a precise and tight interior design. The destruction and demise of the Samarkand observatory were not, according to Vatkin, due to natural factors; It is possible that some of the damage was caused by the use of its marble in other construction operations. Astronomical tables have been developed in the observatory, known as the “Ulugh Bey” tables, and it is considered one of the most accurate tables in the world. It is known that the dome of the observatory was used to put tables; Where there were inscriptions on it specifying degrees, minutes, seconds and tenths of seconds for the epicycles, the seven planets, the confused stars, and the globe with its divisions in terms of regions, mountains and deserts. Among those who worked in this observatory was “Ghiyath al-Din al-Kashi,” who excelled in the field of mechanical models of celestial movements.

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