# Episode 6: How The Muslim Prayer Led To Modern Astronomy?

“If faith were at Pleiades (A star group) even then some men from Persian Muslims would attain it” - Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)

This Hadith is a prophesy regarding the great scientific revolution which was spearheaded by Muslims starting from astronomy. The Muslim prayer was responsible for starting this revolution.

“Guard the obligatory prayers, and in particular the Asr prayer” (Quran 2:238)

According to historian David A. King the Asr prayer became the focal point of the development of mathematical geography and astronomy in the Muslim world.

As soon as the Muslims reached the Byzantine empire in Syria that was very early on in the 7th Century there was an immediate need of calculating the time of the five daily prayers.

The Quran ties the Asr prayer with the length of the Shadow at noon. While it is easy to determine the shadow at known in a place like Mecca it being comparatively close to the equator, a place like Damascus has a longer shadow at noon in the winter days.

So what did the Muslims do? Develop a brand new discipline of spherical trigonometry to calculate the time for Asr prayer.

Look at the equation they derived for the calculation of Asr time:

And those Geniuses had to solve these equations without the use of calculators for each and every city of the vast Muslim empire.

Not only did they calculate the prayer times but they ended up correcting all the Greek and Indian astronomical data like the motion of solar apogee, the rate of precession, inclination of the ecliptic, solar eccentricity and the solar equation. This is the sum total of the fundamental astronomical parameters most of which are used till today.

Professor at Columbia University, George Saliba says “The Salat is such a simple command but the minute you tie to shadows (as the Quran does) immediately you are tying it to astronomical phenomena bringing in mathematical geography and astronomy.

So if two words from the Quran “Wasalatil Wusta” can lead to the development of entire disciplines like spherical trigonometry and mathematical astronomy.

It just makes me think how much have we learned behind? How many treasures of knowledge lie hidden in the words of the Quran?

As the Prophet SAW said “The wonders of the Quran never cease”.