Ala Hazrat and Astronomy

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The knowledge of Ala Hazrat Imam Ahle Sunnat  Ash Shah Imam Ahmad Raza Khan Qadri (Radiallahu Ta’ala Anh) in the various Islamic and worldly sciences was phenomenal. There is no one in this era comparable to Sayyidi Ala Hazrat (Radiallahu Ta’ala Anh) nor anyone who has been blessed with such immense knowledge of so many different sciences. 

When we ponder over the knowledge of Sayyidi Ala Hazrat (Radiallahu Ta’ala Anh) we realise that we cannot fathom nor comprehend the extent of the knowledge and Maqaam that Allah Ta’ala has granted to him. And if we cannot even understand the status of the slave of Rasoolullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam), how will anyone be able to understand the status of the Master, Sayyiduna Rasoolullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) himself? It is therefore imperative that we do not dare equate ourselves to Rasoolullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) nor to the Awliya Allah, as we are not even worthy of being equated to the dust underneath their blessed feet.

Hereunder is a glimpse of the knowledge of Sayyidi Ala Hazrat (Radiallahu Ta’ala Anh) in the field of astronomy, one of the many sciences in which he was an expert and genius.

On 18 October 1919 a  thrilling news appeared in the English “Daily Express” published from Bankipur, Patna (Bihar). It was regarding a unique and dreadful forecast made by Prof. Albert F. Porta of America, who happened to be an astronomer and mathematician of international repute. 

His forecast was that on 17 December 1919, six planets which are the most powerful, viz. Jupiter, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Saturn and Neptune will be aligned and the Sun will be in the opposite direction of these planets. These planets would attract the sun towards them with all their gravity. The result will be that the magnetic properties of these planets will pierce into the sun and it will inflict a hole into the sun which will be in the shape of a big dagger. And such a hole in the sun will be visible which everybody would see on 17 December 1919 with  the naked eyes. He further predicted that the alignment of such planets, which was not witnessed for the last twenty centuries, would cause disorder in the air and it would bring about big storms, terrible rains and powerful earthquakes. He stated that the earth would return to its normal position after several weeks.

The news spread like wildfire. Panic gripped the whole world. Some of the Muslims fell prey to it as well. Hazrat Maulana Zafaruddin Bihari (Alaihir Rahmah), a Mureed and Khalifa of Ala Hazrat (Radiallahu Ta’ala Anh) apprised Ala Hazrat (Radiallahu Ta’ala Anh) of such a forecast of Prof. Albert Porta. Thereupon, Ala Hazrat (Radiallahu Ta’ala Anh) wrote an article belying the forecast, and brandishing it as baseless and bogus. This was published in the monthly “Al Raza” Magazine from Bareilly Shareef. This contradictory article also gained equal publicity.

Ala Hazrat (Radiallahu Ta’ala Anh) was challenging Prof.  Albert Porta. A “Maulana” was challenging an astronomer. An Indian was challenging an American. It was towards the middle of November and the people were waiting impatiently for 17 December. In order to alleviate the fear on the part of his Muslim brethren, Ala Hazrat (Radiallahu Ta’ala Anh)  rose to the occasion and chose to get his article published. Ala Hazrat (Radiallahu Ta’ala Anh) consoled the frightened Muslims and advised them, “O Muslims! Be afraid of Allah. Do not be afraid of Albert. His forecast is false and baseless. It is neither desirable nor permissible for you to pay any heed to it.” 

Ala Hazrat (Radiallahu Ta’ala Anh) gave as many as seventeen arguments to disprove the said forecast. The arguments presented by Ala Hazrat (Radiallahu Ta’ala Anh) were astronomical and technical in nature. Men of common understanding cannot  even understand the details of his technical arguments. These were published in his treatise titled ‘Mueen-e-Mubeen Bahr Daur-e-Shams-o-Sukoon-e-Zameen’ – A Manifest Helper for the Rotation of the Sun and Stationary State of the Earth. 

However, to present something for the layman, Ala Hazrat (Radiallahu Ta’ala Anh) argued vehemently that the very basis of such a forecast was wrong. The forecast was based on the principle that the sun is stationary and the earth moves around the sun. In the light of Holy Qur’an, Ala Hazrat (Radiallahu Ta’ala Anh) declared, “The sun and moon do move according to their course. They are sailing within a circle. It is the earth (not the sun) that is stationary around which the sun and other planets revolve.”

According to the forecast of Prof. Albert Porta the mutual distance of the six planets on 17 December 1919 worked out to 26 degrees, whereas Ala Hazrat (Radiallahu Ta’ala Anh) presented a detailed chart depicting the real position of such planets on 17 December, according to which, such mutual distance worked out to 112 degrees. There was such  a huge difference between the two. 

Prof. Albert Porta gave all the weight of his argument to the Law of Gravitation. Refuting it, Ala Hazrat (Radiallahu Ta’ala Anh) argued that even the said alignment of the planets did not conform with the Law of Gravitation. Either of the two shall have to be discarded then. Ala Hazrat (Radiallahu Ta’ala Anh) rhetorically asked in his treatise, “Have all the planets made a pact together to attack the sun alone? Why will they not attack each other?” 

Ala Hazrat (Radiallahu Ta’ala Anh) argued, “If the Law of Gravitation is correct, it is bound to affect all, with a greater effect upon what is nearer and a more intense effect upon what is weaker. When the attack of six planets can cause such an injury to the sun, then why would Saturn not be destroyed by the gravity of the remaining five planets, especially when Saturn is smaller than the Sun by a thousand times. Mars is smaller than Saturn. Mercury is the smallest of all. So in this way, these are bound to be shattered into pieces. What an absurd argument it is, to believe that the weaker might not suffer at all and the strongest (sun) will lose the battle.” Even on the basis of the Law of Gravitation, there can be no such  effect due to the alignment of the planets. 

Therefore Ala Hazrat (Radiallahu Ta’ala Anh) disproved Prof. Albert Porta’s theory from both ends; using the actual facts, as well as using the Professor’s own application of the Law of Gravitation. 

Nonetheless, the time passed and the crucial day of 17 December 1919 arrived. As the sun rose, the panic-stricken people began to take it as Doomsday.

The routine life went to standstill. Clouds of horror hovered heavily. Some people laid hope in Albert. Some people laid hope in Ala Hazrat (Radiallahu Ta’ala Anh). The names of Albert and Ala Hazrat (Radiallahu Ta’ala Anh) were running on the lips of one and all. By the Grace of Allah Ta’ala, the day  proceeded peacefully. The sun had set in the evening, setting the turmoil at rest. Nothing untoward took place anywhere. The position of Albert was disproved. Everybody witnessed that what Ala Hazrat (Radiallahu Ta’ala Anh) had observed and declared, came true word by word. Prof. Albert Porta eventually also conceded to the brilliance of Ala Hazrat (Radiallahu Ta’ala Anh) in the field of astronomy.

May Allah Ta’ala grant us the Taufeeq to seek knowledge from the works of Ala Hazrat (Radiallahu Ta’ala Anh) and grant us true understanding of the various sciences, as contained in the Holy Qur’an, Allahumma Ameen.

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