Theory of Evolution and Charles Darwin
Charles Darwin benefited from the Books of Islamic Scientists and Scholars such as Ibn Tufail (Abu-Bucer), Ibn Badja (Avenpace), Abu Nasr Farabi and Ibn Miskawayh who supported the idea of evolution and gradual development of man. Dr. Muhammad Hamidullah, expert in hadith, Islamic law and author of over 200 books suggested that Charles Darwin benefited from the books of these scientists when he joined Cambridge University to study Christianity and Comparative Religions. Charles Darwin knew Arabic and read directly from their books. According to Dr. Hamidullah, Darwin learned Arabic in order to understand Islam. He was initiated into Islamic culture in the Faculty of Religion at the University of Cambridge under an orientalist Samuel Lee (1783 - 1852), who was a professor of Arabic and Hebrew. Since Charles knew Arabic, had access to Arabic literature and enjoyed company of Orientals, who also knew Arabic, there is no doubt that he must have read plenty of medieval Islamic scientific works including those on evolution. John William Draper, a contemporary of Charles Darwin mentions “Mohammadan Theory of Evolution” in reference to the prevalence of this theory in the Islamic world and highly commended how the civilization was teaching doctrines of evolution and development in their Madressahs (universities) long before Europe.
Siddeeq Ahmad Nagrah writes that Charles Darwin conducted independent research and developed further on the existing evolution theory. He undertook a five year long voyage and studied large number of plants and animals before he published his famous Theory of Natural Selection (1859). Through this theory he pointed the world in the right direction to explain the evolutionary process. But his theory was defective because it could not explain creation of new organisms (individual life form) and why evolution from one species to another did not take place anymore. With Mendel’s law of inheritance and knowledge gained from experimental (selective) breeding much more was learned and added to Darwins theory and Natural selection was revised. Today our understanding of Natural Selection has improved with knowledge gained about mutation, chromosomes reconstruction, mixing and transfer of genetic code by inheritance through sex. The fusion of living cells and genes produce new types of cells with new characteristics through successive generations. Evolution is screened by natural selection but it acts through inheritable variations which decide those better suited for survival in an environment and eliminate others. However, even modern theory is incomplete because at times there were inexplicable extinctions despite favorable environments for a species, replacements after long intervals, appearance of new species and sudden jumps in the process of creation. Besides, it does not explain the present stable state of a species.
Evolutions Theory According to Islamic Scientists
Dr. Sultan Shah lists all Islamic scientists that supported the evolutions theory before Charles Darwin. He states that Abu Uthman Amr ibn Bahr commonly known as al-Jahiz was the originator of idea of evolution through his famous work "Kitab al Hayawan" (The Book of Animals). For al-Jahiz, the will of Allah ﷻ served as the antecedent for all mutation or transformations. It was his ideas on evolution that permeated the works of later scholars ad-Damiri, al- Biruni, Ibn Tufail, Ibn Khaldun etc. All Islamic evolutionists supported the idea that the creation of human beings initiated from water evolving into inorganic minerals which then evolved in to plants, then into animals then animals evolved in to instinctive humans (homo sapiens) and then in to modern human beings (homo sapiens sapiens) gifted with a conscious soul and intelligence. Dr. Hamidullah states that it was Ibn Miskawayh (932 - 1030 CE) who stated evolution of humans from apes and it must’ve been his theory that influenced Darwin. Dr. Hamidullah comments on Ibn Maskaway’s theory from his work al-Fawz al-Asghar, also found copied in Encyclopedia of Ikhwan Al Safa (Brethren of Purity) that:
“[These books] state that God first created matter and invested it with energy for development. Matter, therefore, adopted the form of vapour which assumed the shape of water in due time. The next stage of development was mineral life. Different kinds of stones developed in course of time. Their highest form being mirjan (coral). It is a stone which has in it branches like those of a tree. After mineral life evolves vegetation. The evolution of vegetation culminates with a tree which bears the qualities of an animal. This is the date-palm. It has male and female genders. It does not wither if all its branches are chopped but it dies when the head is cut off. The date-palm is therefore considered the highest among the trees and resembles the lowest among animals. Then is born the lowest of animals. It evolves into an ape. This is not the statement of Darwin. This is what Ibn Maskawayh states and this is precisely what is written in the Epistles of Ikhwan al-Safa. The Muslim thinkers state that ape then evolved into a lower kind of a barbarian man. He then became a superior human being. Man becomes a saint, a prophet. He evolves into a higher stage and becomes an angel. The one higher to angels is indeed none but God. Everything begins from Him and everything returns to Him.”
What's most important to note is whether Al Jahiz, Ibn Miskawayh or Maulana Rumi - the great Sufi, all mentioned Allah ﷻ, as the source of evolutionary process from its inception to modern human beings. One does not find atheistic tendencies in their approach towards creation as commonly found in the arrogant secular scientists of today. Maulana Rumi (1207 - 1273 CE) in his famous Mathnawi attributes the human evolution process to Allah ﷻ:“It came first into the realm of the minerals…and from there it fell in among the plants. When it left the plants and fell in among the animals, it remembered nothing of the state of plants, Then that Creator whom you know kept on pulling it from animality toward humanity.”
One should not forget that scientists and Sufis like Rumi were also Islamic scholars and carried deep knowledge of the Quran and Prophetic hadith. They took these sources as guiding lenses to study creation. They never studied various branches of knowledge as separate compartments as done by secular scientists of today (e.g. reductionism). They considered all branches of knowledge as originating from a single tree of Tawhid - oneness of Allah ﷻ, His Divine Lordship, the primary source of all creation. Studying God’s creation was a way not only to gain knowledge of various sciences but also come closer to Him, His divine wisdom and knowledge, which is purpose of humankinds existence. That is why we notice Rumi indicates special development or divine intervention by mentioning the Creator, Allah ﷻ as primary reason for evolution of animals into developed humans. And Ibn Miskawayh goes even further in his understanding of the process by not stopping at human being to be last stage of evolution rather our ability to continue spiritually evolving in to saints, (reaching status of) prophets and then angels with the aim to get closer and closer to Allah ﷻ, our Creator.
Evolution Theory in the Quran
As mentioned that several Muslim scientists were also Islamic scholars whose inspiration of studying the creation came from Islamic teachings, we can find much support for evolution in the Quran. Yasir Qadhi, world renown Islamic scholar with a scientific study background was inquired “Is it possible to reconcile the theory of evolution and faith in the Quran?” to which he responded "By and large, yes." adding “the theory of evolution is good science”. Qadhi says literal Quran has no problem with most of the theory of evolution, criticizing the way many Muslims around the world dismiss and remain ignorant of the theory. We even find endorsement of this theory among recent Islamic scholars who carried expertise in the Quranic sciences. 20th century Islamic scholars like Maulana Amin Ahmad Islahi & Muhammad Asad (formerly Leopold Wiess) and others. According to Maulana Islahi, author of famous Tadabbur-i-Qur’an (Pondering on the Quran), mankind has passed through uncouth animal like stages before God fashioned man to the present state and blessed him with Divine Spark, soul and faculties of head and heart. It transformed a predominantly instinctive being into human being - a distinguished and honored creation (Al quran 23:14, 17:70). The breathing in of the Divine spirit and soul at the embryonic stage is repeated before the birth of every human child. It turns the infant Homo Sapiens into the infant Homo Sapiens Sapiens (humans beings):
“…He began the creation of man from clay (earth, including organic, inorganic substances); then spread his progeny from the best part of the despised fluid (semen) then He fashioned him (in accordance with what he was meant to be) and breathed in to him (something) of His spirit; and He gave you (the faculties of) hearing, and sight and heart( feelings & understanding)…” (Al Quran 32:7–9)
Muhammad Asad in his Message of the Quran refers to the evolutions theory in his comments to verses 17–19 of Surah 71: “And God has caused you to grow out of the earth in [gradual] growth (like a plant, tree); and thereafter He will return you to it [in death]: and [then] He will bring you forth [from it] in resurrection.” (Al Quran 71:17–19) - Asad gives 2 explanations of this verse. He says it either refers to the evolution of human body in stages from embryonic stage to full developed adult being. Secondly, it alludes to the evolution of the human species, which, starting from the most primitive organisms living on earth, has gradually ascended to ever higher stages of development until it has finally reached that complexity of body, mind and soul evident in the human being.
There are several verses in the Quran that clearly refer to the evolution of all creation in 6 days where “days” called ayyam in Arabic refers to long periods of times in astronomical terms. A heavenly or astronomical day in the Quran is equal to 1000 or 50,000 years (Al Quran 32:05, 70:04). The universe was created in 6 phases and the creation of life, its evolution and provisions for its sustenance on earth was done in 4 phases out of those 6: “SAY: "Would you indeed deny Him who has created the earth in two aeons? And do you claim that there is any power that could rival Him, the Sustainer of all the worlds?" For He [it is who, after creating the earth,] placed firm mountains on it, [towering] above its surface, and bestowed [so many] blessings on it, and equitably apportioned its means of subsistence to all who would seek it: [and all this He created] in four aeons.” (Al Quran 41:9–10) - Asad Translation.
Hence the Islamic scholars of the old and the modern ones agree on the evolution’s theory for creation and its support in the Quran: that humans evolved from a single cell in to vegetation and animals to instinctive beings that carried similar physical features like modern humans but were devoid of intellect and intelligence. They lived just like animals. They lived in this state till Allah ﷻ willed and then His divine decree decided to create a more reformed being, whose animal side was more reined and balanced with potential for advanced faculties of speech, intelligence, understanding and conceptual thinking. The question however remains is whether the latest refined human being is an improvement of now extinct Homo Sapiens or was it a special act of creation, an independent parallel evolution from earthly substances. In either case the Quran hints towards gradual evolution with special developments at various stages.
“Allah effaces what He wills and establishes (what He will); With Him if the Mother of the Book (the Master Plan).” (Al Quran 13:39)
 Pre-Darwinian Muslim Scholars’ Views on Evolution, Dr. Muhammad Sultan Shah, Islamic Studies, G.C. University, Lahore - http://pu.edu.pk/images/journal/uoc/PDF-FILES/%2811%29%20Dr.%20Sultan%20Shah_86_2.pdf
HISTORY OF THE CONFLICT BETWEEN RELIGION AND SCIENCE, By John William Draper - History of the Conflict Between Religion and Science, by John William Draper, M. D., LL. D.
 The Truth, Siddeeq Ahmad Nagrah, National Book Foundation Islamabad, Chapter 5, The Guided Evolution, pgs 44–51
 Dr. Sultan, Pre-Darwinian
 Historical Dictionary of Islam, By Ludwig W. Adamec, pg 290–291 - Historical Dictionary of Islam
 Rumi’s Doctrine of Evolution, William C. Chittick, Iqbal Academy Pakistan - Rumi’s Doctrine of Evolution
 The Perception on the Theory of Evolution, Man from Ape: A Cross Ethnic, Education and Religious Backgrounds Study, Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences MCSER Publishing, Rome-Italy, Vol 6 No 1 S1 January 2015 - https://www.richtmann.org/journal/index.php/mjss/article/view/5545/5348
 Muslim scholar explains relationship between evolution and the Quran, The Daily Pennsylvanian, By Eunice Lim, 9/13/2014 - Muslim scholar explains relationship between evolution and the Quran
 Siddeeq, Truth
 Message of the Quran, Translated And Explained by Muhammad Asad, The Seventy-First Surah Nuh (Noah), Pg 1213 Note 8 -
Islamic Foreshadowing of Evolution - Muslim Heritage
The Great Conjunction December 21 2020
On Monday 21 December 2020 Jupiter and Saturn will be less than a degree apart in the night sky. It’s called the Great Conjunction that normally takes place every 20 years and brings these 2 great planets closer to each other generating much interest in the world of astronomy and astrology. Since Jupiter takes 12 years to orbit the Sun and Saturn takes 30 years, every 20 years they appear to pass each other in the night sky.
The astronomers with their high-tech telescopes are closely observing the movement of both planets, as they gradually draw closer a few degrees till Dec 21st where they will be only 0.06 degrees apart. Apart from simple observations of their movement and positioning in the space there is something of greater interest that attracted the attention of the world of astrology for millenniums including those of the Islamic golden age. Pre-Islamic Greek and Persian astrologers, also expert astronomers, studied the pattern of Jupiter & Saturn conjunctions to forecast the socio political and religious changes on earth. When the Muslims acquired books on various sciences from other cultures, and further developed that knowledge, many Islamic scholars became expert astronomers and astrologists. They continued this tradition of combining both subjects in their studies. Unfortunately, in our age knowledge has become very secularized which resulted in astrology being completely divorced from astronomy. Independent astronomy has brought down this science to the level of mere observation and entertainment devoid of any deeper meaning for our lives on earth.
Conjunction Cycles in Astrology
In astrological terms, the Jupiter-Saturn conjunction takes place in 3 cycles: every 20 years, 240 years and 960 years. The conjunction cycles involve 12 zodiac signs and 4 elements (also called 4 Triplicities): Fire, Earth, Air & Water. The first cycle brings the 2 planets into conjunction in each zodiac sign every 20 years. The second cycle brings the two planets into conjunction in each element every (12 x 20) 240 years. After progressing through all 12 zodiac signs and in all 4 elements they complete their (240 x 4) 960 years cycle. The upcoming Dec 21, 2020 conjunction is of great importance in astrology because it will complete 2 cycles: small 20 years cycle and bigger 240 years cycle. On Dec 21 Jupiter-Saturn will not only enter in a new zodiac sign but also enter from element of Earth into element of Air.
Conjunctions in Islamic Astrology
At the beginning of Islam, the predictions were mainly sought from Prophetic hadith, the sayings of the learned companions and the Jewish sources, also which many companions had knowledge of. Many of the prophet’s companions and their students made forecasts based on the statements of the Prophet ﷺ, what they knew from the Quran like the muqatta’at (few Arabic letters at the beginning of several Surahs) and knowledge from Jewish sources. Another source of forecasts was made by Prophet’s family such as the Imams of his household and the Sufis that related knowledge of the future through dreams and kashf – unveiling of unseen knowledge due to their spiritual nearness with Allah ﷻ through worship and piety. After the knowledge of the Greeks and Persian cultures made their way into the Muslim world, Muslims became learned in science of astronomy and astrology and became more inclined to attempting to predict the future through them. Many of them made forecasts about the future, some were right, some were wrong.
Ma Sha Allah ibn Athari (740–815 CE), a Persian Jewish astrologist, astronomer & mathematician, was one of the first to introduce astronomy and astrology in Baghdad during 8th and early 9th century Abbasid era. One of his works “On Conjunctions, Religions, and People” observed world historical facts based on the pattern and conjunctions of Jupiter and Saturn. He focused on several socio-political and religious shifts in world history that happened during the conjunctions. His works subsequently influenced several Islamic astrologists. Abu Ma’shar (787 – 886 CE), a Persian Islamic scholar also one of the early pioneers of astronomy and astrology. Also well versed in the Persian astrology, he was of the opinion that when Jupiter is moving towards Saturn but still has 120 degrees to travel, prophecies will appear; when it has 90 degrees to go, religious and political leaders’ affairs will alter; and when there are 60 degrees left, conditions will be similar to those that prevailed when the 120 degree situation took place. 
In his Muqaddimah, 14th century statesman, Islamic Scholar and father of Sociology, Ibn Khaldun shares his understanding on conjunctions and the views of early pioneers such as Abu Ma’shar, Yaqub bin Ishaq Al Kindi and Jirash bin Ahmad al-Hasib. Ibn Khaldun divides the conjunctions in to three and discusses their implications: Great Conjunction - 960 years, Medium Conjunction - 240 years and Small Conjunction - 20 years. He claims that the great conjunction indicates great events, a change in royal authority or dynasties, or a transfer of royal authority from one people to another (e.g. from Arabs to Turks). The medium conjunction indicates appearance of persons in search of superiority and royal authority. The small conjunction indicates the appearance of rebels or propagandists, and the ruin of towns or of their civilization. Since the conjunction occurrences are related to the political and religious changes it attracted keen interest of many Islamic rulers. Abu Ma’shar discussing the historical pattern in his “Book of Conjunctions” refers to Venus as important for Arabs and that it had moved from its position which brought down the Arab Umayyads and replaced them with Abbasids. Nizam Al Mulk, the powerful vizier of the great Seljuk Empire, an experienced statesman, also discussed such heavenly occurrences for governance purposes. A learned named Jirash bin Ahmed Al Hasib composed a book for Nizam which said: “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. It has been said that the conjunction occurred at the deaths of Ali, of the Umayyad Marwan, and of the Abbasid al-Mutawakkil.” Ibn Khaldun also mentions forecasts of Yaqub bin Ishaq Al Kindi (801 – 873 CE), one of the greatest Islamic philosophers, also a personal astrologer to Abbasid rulers Harun Al Rashid and his son Al Mamun. Al Kindi’s book on conjunctions forecasted the destruction of Abbasid dynasty and fall of Baghdad in the middle of 13th century, and that their destruction will be due to destruction of Islam. This was correct because Baghdad was destroyed by Mongols in 1258 CE and the destruction was as a result of Caliph and Muslims becoming weak in their faith and were given to worldly pleasures and entertainment. However, Ibn Khaldun does mention that he has not read Al Kindi's book but references to his work from other sources.
Socio Political and Religious Changes after Conjunctions of 1980 & 2000
In the latest conjunctions of 1980 & 2000 we also experienced a similar historical pattern of replacement of rulers, religious wars, rise and fall of international political powers. The May 2000 conjunction brought significant changes in the world especially post 9/11, 21st September 2001. There was US led invasion of Afghanistan and after 20 years of fighting and victory no where in sight, the US and its allies have decided to withdraw after a Qatar based US- Taliban agreement on February 29, 2020. The agreement will exit all foreign forces in next 14 months and end the longest war in US history. The post 9/11 also brought major changes in the Middle East such as invasion of Iraq, national and religious insurgencies throughout the region, mainly during Arab spring that led to weakening of several states: Syria, Libya, Yemen, Iraq. While on the other hand it strengthened Israel. The insurgencies and Arab spring may be a reference to Abu Ma’shar’s views on changes when Jupiter has only half distance (60 degrees) left towards Saturn which was in 2011 when so called Arab Spring occurred, or as per Ibn Khaldun rebellions occur every small cycle of 20 yrs. In the international world, we noticed the rise of China’s political and economic power, Russian attempting to gain back its political foothold against West in Europe and Middle East, Turkey becoming a major Muslim power, rise of Islamophobia in the world, rise of white nationalism in the West. A major social change was the global usage of mobile phone and social media. A somewhat similar pattern was noticed after Conjunction of 1980, like US, USSR invaded Afghanistan in 1980 and decided to withdraw in 1990 after a 10-year war and defeat. It also resulted in disintegration of the USSR into several independent states. This tipped the power balance in favor of the Western military block NATO. Pakistan’s Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto was hanged in 1979 which made Pakistan enter into agreement with West to counter Russia in Afghanistan. Pakistan did the same post 9/11 in 2001 but this time Pakistan suffered as a result of terrorism wave that gripped the country for more than a decade. In 1979 Egypt became the first Arab state to recognize Israel. Iranian revolution happened in 1979 and changed the dynamics of Middle East for good. Iran became stronger but as a result of Saudi vs Iran rivalry much Shia Sunni violence happened in Pakistan, Lebanon, Afghanistan, Iraq etc.
Implications of Dec 21, 2020 Conjunction
As we enter in to a new 240 year cycle, we can expect significant religious, political and social changes in the world. The Afghan people will finally get some relief after expected US withdrawal in 2022, this may result in Taliban gaining back control and formation of an Islamic government. A wave of terrorism that spilled into Pakistan from neighboring region, primarily due to wrong policies of its past corrupt rulers, has come under much control and the country is expected to emerge political and economically stronger under new leadership of Imran Khan, an honest, hardworking and good Muslim. We may expect deaths of famous religious scholars across the globe as per Jirash's conjunction forecast to Nizam Al Mulk. Few famous Pakistani religious personalities have passed away this month (Khadim Rizvi, Mufti Zar Wali, also Maulana Tariq Jameel is already ill, we pray for his recovery). And obviously Allah ﷻ knows best. In a surprise, an increasing number of Arab & Muslim states have recognized Israel in the last few months, UAE, Bahrain, Sudan, Kosovo, Morocco, all at the behest of Saudi crown prince Mohammad bin Salman (MBS), who sees himself as the future king, bypassing many senior princes who don’t agree to Israel’s recognition (such as Turki Al Faisal and his likes). MBS bargaining chip with West is to help him secure throne so he will unconditionally recognize the Zionist State. With Israel and covert Western support on its back MBS will force himself on the throne, after death of his old and ailing father King Salman, eventually leading to major schism within the ruling House and possible civil war inside the country including Yemen’s war spilling into Saudi territory. As also prophesied in ahadith. Saudi Arabia has two major regional rivals: Iran & Turkey. With its new Muslim allies Israel will assist Saudis to minimize and destroy their influence so Saudis become dependent on Israel instead of US. Israel will work to end Iran’s regional influence either through military options or through foreign backed massive protest wave resulting in civil war inside Iran and eventual overthrow of Islamic government, or Allah ﷻ know best. Turkey, which is aspiring to become an Islamic country, is already on the target list of Israel & Western countries and expect to face greater challenges in future. Turkey may see a possible military confrontation with one of the Western states over natural resources in the Mediterranean or harsh economic sanctions from EU or US (imposed yesterday as I was writing) making Turkey weaker resulting in overthrow of Erdogan’s government through foreign backed massive protests and replacement with a Western puppet government, an indication of “Roman control of Constantinople” in the last age before its final Muslim conquest as implied in ahadith literature. (Please also read Turkey’s Geo-Political Role & the Second Conquest of Constantinople (Istanbul)) If Libya’s civil war intensified and Egypt decides to enter on behalf of Western backed Khalifa Haftar and counter Turkey backed Western GNA government, then the war might also spill into Egypt and make regional situation more chaotic, as also prophesied in ahadith which first mentions destruction of Iraq, then Syria and then Egypt. And obviously Allah ﷻ knows best as He is the Knower of Al Ghayb (Unseen).
وَٱلشَّمۡسَ وَٱلۡقَمَرَ وَٱلنُّجُومَ مُسَخَّرَٰتِۭ بِأَمۡرِهِۦٓۗ أَلَا لَهُ ٱلۡخَلۡقُ وَٱلۡأَمۡرُۗ تَبَارَكَ ٱللَّهُ رَبُّ ٱلۡعَٰلَمِينَ
(Al Quran 7:54)…and [He created] the sun, the moon, and the stars, subjected by His command. Unquestionably, His is the creation and the command; blessed is Allah, Lord of the worlds.
 If you haven’t seen Jupiter and Saturn, you’re missing something!, Earthsky, Posted by Deborah Byrd and Bruce McClure in ASTRONOMY ESSENTIALS | December 10, 2020 - https://earthsky.org/astronomy-essentials/great-jupiter-saturn-conjunction-dec-21-2020
 Explaining the Arab Revolts According to the Ancient Astrology of the Islamic World, STARLIGHT, Uranus, https://zyntara.com/explaining-the-arab-revolts-according-to-the-ancient-astrology-of-the-islamic-world/
 THE MUQADDIMAH, Abd Ar Rahman bin Muhammed ibn Khaldun, Translated by Franz Rosenthal, Chapter III – 52, Forecasting the future of dynasties and nations, including a discussion of predictions (malahim) and an exposition of the subject called "divination". - *Jirash is actually referring here to conjunction of Saturn & Mars which occurs every 30 years and not that with Jupiter which is the Great Conjunction*.
 Afghanistan’s Taliban, US sign agreement aimed at ending war, Al Jazeera, By Shereena Qazi, 29 Feb 2020 - https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/2/29/afghanistans-taliban-us-sign-agreement-aimed-at-ending-war
 Saudi prince strongly criticises Israel at Bahrain summit, Al Jazeera, 6 Dec 2020 - https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/12/6/saudi-prince-strongly-criticises-israel-at-bahrain-summit
 US sanctions NATO ally Turkey over Russian S-400 defence missiles, Al Jazeera, 14 Dec 2020 - https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/12/14/us-sanctions-nato-ally-turkey-over-russian-missile-defence
One of the major achievements in the field of Astronomy that has largely remained obscure to the world was the observations & discoveries of Ulugh Beg (b. March 22, 1394 in Sultaniyeh, Persia – d. October 27, 1449, Samarkand, Uzbekistan) a Timuri Sultan who carried greatest expertise in the world in Astronomy at that time. His achievements remained obscure partially due to the fact that his fate was quite different from his contemporary scientists who did not share 2 occupations: rulership & scholarship. Ulugh Beg had built the famous Ulugh Beg Observatory in Samarkand for astronomical observations where famous contemporary astronomers like Al Kashi & Al Qushji were his students among many other. After his assassination on his way to Makkah, plotted by his son who took over the throne, Beg’s students continued his legacy. After his death his observatory was destroyed and for many years it remained obscure. It was not till recent excavation that took place in the early 20th century by Russian archaeologists who then restored it by mid of 20th century.
Ulugh Begh Works & Achievements
When it comes to discussion on astronomical discoveries we do often hear famous European names such as Tycho Brahe, Copernicus, Kepler, and Galileo but the name Ulugh Begh remains virtually unknown. Since he was a pioneer in his field it is come to light that his achievements in astronomy preceded those attained by famous European scientists. Ulugh Begh Observatory also known as Samarkand Observatory was built in 1420 CE preceding the other 2 great observatories built by Taqi’al’din Muhammad bin Maruf in Istanbul 1577 CE and first major observatory built in Europe by Tycho Brahe called Uraniborg in 1576 CE. As per Kevin Krisciunas "he was one of the first to advocate and build permanently mounted astronomical instruments, and in the 1420's and 1430's Samarkand was the astronomical capital of the world." 
Star Catalog called Zij-i-Sultan (Sultan Tables)
The Zij-i-Sultani was a star catalog that improved the works of previous astronomers from Claudius Ptolemy (d. 170 CE) to early Islamic Astronomers. With the instruments located in the Samarkand observatory, Ulugh Beg composed a star catalog consisting of 1018 stars. Ulugh Beg utilized data from Al-Sufi’s Book of the Fixed Stars and based his star catalog on a new analysis that was independent of the data used by Ptolemy. This is generally considered the most accurate and extensive star catalog up to its time, surpassing its predecessors, including Ptolemy's work, Abd al-Rahman al-Sufi's Book of Fixed Stars, and the Maragheh observatory's Zij-i Ilkhani. It was not surpassed until the later works of Taqi al-Din and Tycho Brahe in the 16th century. 
Calculation of the Earths Sidereal Year
Sidereal year is the duration Earth takes to orbit the Sun with respect to the fixed stars. Its recorded in his Zij-i-Sultani that their first calculation of the earth’s orbit of the sun was at 365 days, 6 hours, 10 minutes and 8 seconds, was later proved to be wrong. He was out only by 1 minute. However later Ulugh Beg measured a more precise observation 365 days, 5 hours, 49 minutes, 15 seconds which had an error of 25 seconds, making it more accurate than Copernicus (b. 1473 CE) estimate which had an error of 30 seconds. All this was accomplished without the use of a modern telescope.
Largest Instruments Used
For all his astronomical studies Ulugh Beg made use of the Fakhri sextant (al-suds al Fakhri) which was first invented by Abu-Mahmud Khojandi in the 10 century CE. What made Ulugh Beg’s observatory unparalleled was the size of its instruments and their setup. The observatory was a monumental building equipped with a huge meridian, made of masonry, a ‘Fakhri sextant’, of a radius of 40.4 metres. John Greaves writing in 1652 CE says that according to a trustworthy Turkish astronomer, the radius of that meridian arc was about equal to the height of the dome of the Ayasofya Mosque (Hagia Sophia) in Istanbul, Turkey, thus, approximately fifty metres! 
The catalog Zij-i-Sultani, one of the most original of the Middle Ages, was first edited by Thomas Hyde at Oxford in 1665 under the title Tabulae longitudinis et latitudinis stellarum fixarum ex observatione Ulugbeighi and reprinted in 1767 by G. Sharpe. More recent editions are those by Francis Baily in 1843 in vol. xiii of the Memoirs of the Royal Astronomical Society and by Edward Ball Knobel in Ulugh Beg's Catalogue of Stars, Revised from all Persian Manuscripts Existing in Great Britain, with a Vocabulary of Persian and Arabic Words (1917). Even though Ulugh Beg’s achievements till today may have remained unknown to the West including East due to curriculum based on Western model, yet his works were copied and studied after his death in the Muslim world and later translated in to European languages and studied in the West.
 The Tragic Story Of The Man Who Unlocked The Universe, Forbes, Jamie Carter, Senior Contributor, Science, https://www.forbes.com/sites/jamiecartereurope/2018/11/27/the-tragic-story-of-the-man-who-unlocked-the-universe/#715dca314b0b
 The Legacy of Ulugh Beg, Kevin Krisciunas http://vlib.iue.it/carrie/texts/carrie_books/paksoy-2/cam6.html
 Zij-i Sultani (Persian: زیجِ سلطانی) is a Zij i.e. astronomical table and star catalogue that was published by Ulugh Beg in 1438–1439. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zij-i_Sultani
 The Samarqand Observatory, by FSTC, Published on: 20th December 2002, Muslim Heritage, Discover The Golden Age of the Muslim Civilization, https://muslimheritage.com/samarqand-observatory/
Mali, a West African country is making headlines on international news channels as its president and prime minister were arrested by military after weeks of protests led by opposition and religious protest leaders. The West African country has been in a turmoil situation for more than a decade. It continues to suffer political instability and other issues like many of its neighbors, such as poverty, government corruption and not to forget the West's political and military interference since colonial era. However, very few know that this landlocked country used to be part of one of greatest Islamic Empires called Manden Kurufaba (Mali Empire) also called Manden, ruled by people belonging to West African ethnic group called Mandinka, millions of whom still inhabit the region. This great empire covered the entire region of modern-day countries of Senegal, southern Mauritania, Mali, northern Burkina Faso, western Niger, the Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Guinea, the Ivory Coast and northern Ghana. Some say that its territory was as big, or even greater than that of Holy Roman Empire.
Abu Bakari's Mystery Voyage
Mali Empire was founded in the 13th century CE and was the hub of gold production in the contemporary world. The gold needed to mint coins from Arab region to European lands came from the empire. Despite having so much wealth and land the Mansa (Sultan) of the empire Abu Bakari II was unsatisfied and craved for more land and discovery of new regions especially across the Western region, across the unknown territory of Atlantic Ocean. As the prophetic hadith states: “If Adam's son had a valley full of gold, he would like to have two valleys…” i.e. there is no end to the satisfaction of our desires. Timbuktu, was center of intellectual activity, sciences and learning in the African continent. Muslim scholars and experts of geography were exploring lands in Middle East, Africa, Europe, Asia and beyond, centuries before Malian Empire was on the globe’s map.
Their findings on what lay beyond the Atlantic were already topics of discussions in various courts of the Sultans and scholarly circles of Dar Al Hikma (House of wisdom) in Baghdad and Cordoba, Muslim Spain, Timbuktu and other learning centers. To name a few by Dr. Youssef Mroueh, Muslim historian Al-Masudi (871-957 CE) mentions of a navigator named Khashkhash Ibn Saeed Ibn Aswad, from Cordoba, Spain sailed from Delba (Palos) in 889 CE, crossed the Atlantic. Historian Abu Bakr ibn Umar Al Gutiyya narrated that Ibn Farrukh, from Granada, sailed from Kadesh (February 999 CE) into the Atlantic, landed in Gando (Great Canary islands) visiting King Guanariga, and continued westward where he saw and named two islands, Capraria and Pluitana, arrived back in Spain in May 999 CE. Famous geographer and cartographer Al Sharif Al Idrisi (1099- 1166CE) in his Nuzhat al-mushtaq fi ikhtiraq al-afaq (Excursion of the longing one in crossing horizons) mentions a group of seafarers (from North Africa) sailed into the sea of darkness and fog (The Atlantic ocean) from Lisbon (Portugal). The Muslim reference books mentioned a well-documented description of a journey across the sea of fog and darkness by Shaikh Zayn Eddine Ali Ben Fadhel Al Mazandarani, who started from Tarfaya (South Morocco) during the reign of the King Abu-Yacoub Sidi Youssef (1286-1307CE) 6th of the Marinid dynasty, to Green Island in the Caribbean Sea in 1291 CE.
Mention of these works coupled with Abu Bakari’s personal desire to discover more, created obsession for the monarch to search for what lies across this foggy and dark sea. He designated a large area near the West African coast for his ship manufacturing project. Ship and boat manufacturing expertise was brought together from all parts of empire to prepare the best sailing ships which would traverse the sea. After assembling a large fleet of 200 vessels and each attached to a mini boat that would carry food, gold and necessities for survival, he set them off to explore the world beyond. After a while had passed one vessel returned to inform him that after traveling for long time they came across a huge river current that was flowing in to the sea, all ships passed the current and got lost from sight while they decided stay back and return. After hearing the story Abu Bakari decided to build even greater fleet, of thousands of ships, equipped with latest high-tech equipment and maritime expertise of the time, experts and scholars in all fields, holy men & saints, men, women, livestock, gold, and whatever necessary, would accompany him in this adventure journey. He appointed his brother named Musa, a very pious and practicing Muslim, as deputy ruler in his absence. Abu Bakari decreed that in case he was not to return after a particular period of time, then Musa would become the Mansa (Sultan) of the empire. When this huge fleet was prepared and ready to sail, Abu Bakari II bid goodbye and sailed off. History informs us that Musa became the Mansa and as long as he ruled, neither Abu Bakari nor any individual from his fleet ever returned.
Dr Abdullah Hakim Quick, a revert to Islam and American historian, claims that the Mandinka made contact with Brazil, the closest land mass to the West African coast and appeared to have used it as a base for exploration of the America. They traveled down South America and up in to Central America. Examinations of inscriptions discovered in ancient cities and stone tables in Bahia and Minas Gerais, Brazil confirm this. Their possible use of Mississippi river to explore present United States can also be confirmed by Mandinka inscriptions found in a cave of Four Corners, Arizona. Abdullah quotes Leo Weiner of Harvard University, who claims through his research, that the early Mandinka not only penetrated Central and North America, but inter-married native Iroquois and Algonquian people. Guyana born anthropologist Ivan Van Sertima in his 1977 book “They Came Before Columbus” provides strong and significant evidence of African arrival and presence in Americas long before Spaniards and other Europeans. He divides the African arrivals in to two stages, first ones reached around 1200 BCE and the next wave was of the Malians around 14th century. His evidence of Malian influence includes worshiping symbols and status such as Quatzacoatl, which is a symbol of rain in Mexico is equivalent to the Dasiri, the spirit invoked for rain by the Bambara, a Mandingo people of Mali. The ritual includes the use of trees and other symbols that are both found in Mexico and Mali practices. Ivan claims that religious practices in Mexico in Mayan culture include hieroglyphs on papers that includes gadwals, symbols used in Arabic and Sudanese cultures, even resembling symbols that carry similarity to Quran verses like Surah Fatiha. He also mentions about a priestly cap of the Magi (fire worshipers) of ancient Iran that was adopted by Arabs called it qu-bil-a and then West African term was ko-fil-a which is now co-pill-i in Mexican. He also mentions discovery of skeletons of ancient magicians of Mexico that have negroid features which indicates that black magicians were honored by the local Mexico population. Additionally Maya language and dialects carry the word na used as root for words like na-at (intelligence), na-ual (to prophecy), na-a (medicine man), na-ual-li (magician) carries similarity with Arabic like na-ba (prophecy), na-bi (prophet), na-ba (intelligent). Extraordinary animal skins entered Mexico from the South including a lion skin on display in 16th century as observed by Christopher Columbus, an animal which is not found in land of Americas. Ven Sertima also quotes Columbus’s writing that people of Hispanolia (Haiti & Dominican Republic) informed him of black people had come from South and Southeast Trading gold-tipped metal spears called guanin which had resemblance to the spears in use in African Guinea. Dr. Youssef Mroueh mentions that, guanin, a word of West African derivation meaning 'gold alloy' is also related to the Arabic word ghinaa which means 'wealth'. This and much more evidence unearthed in recent decades not only challenges and contradicts the Euro Centric historical narrative of America discovery while proving that West African Muslims were well settled here at least 2 centuries before Columbus.
The Epic Hajj of Mansa Musa
Mansa (Sultan) Musa, also known as Kankou Moussa, successor to the Mailian throne, after resuming the throne decided to journey 4000 miles towards Makkah for the yearly pilgrimage called Hajj, with a huge caravan of 60,000 and 12000 servants. Greg Jenner of BBC in her homeschool history class mentions he embarked for Hajj in 1324 CE, travelling thousands of miles across the difficult terrain with 21,000 kilograms of gold (20 tonnes), 100 elephants and 80 camels. His caravan stretched as far as the eye could see and it was claimed that it took a whole day for the caravan to pass from any where. Today it is claimed that Amazon’s owner Jeff Bezos is the richest man in the world, however, Mansa Musa had twice the amount of wealth Jeff owns, estimated around $400 billion, which makes Musa richest man ever to have lived! In fact Rudolph Butch Ware, associate professor of history at the University of California claims that "Contemporary accounts of Musa's wealth are so breathless that it's almost impossible to get a sense of just how wealthy and powerful he truly was,". Its claimed that during this journey he generously gave away so much gold that it deflated the price of gold in Egypt and its environs for several years to come, he practically made the gold worthless! During his journey he built a mosque every Friday. Musa visited Egypt during the era of Mamluk Sultan Al Malik al Nasir (1299 – 1309 CE) in Cairo. Before the presence of Sultan, Musa was asked to bend his knee as a part of the protocol but he refused, saying that he would only bend the knee for Allah ﷻ, the King of all Kings. He then donated a large amount of gold as a gift to the Mamluk treasury. By the time he was on his way back to Mali he had spent everything he had, not to forget that they also got raided few times by bedouins of Saudi Arabia, he had to then borrow money from Sultan of Egypt. While returning to his empire he brought with him scholars, architects, scientists and experts of various fields, supporting them to settle in Timbuktu, with the aim to develop it and make it a hub of learning and knowledge in the world. He succeeded in this project that started with construction of University of Timbuktu, consisting of three mosques and madrassahs (Islamic seminaries), which began during his life and continued after his death. This university attracted students of learning from across the globe, having an attendance of 25000 students at a time. It was news of this epic journey of Mansa Musa that attracted people from around the world, placed the empire on the global map, an example is the Catalan Atlas map from 1375 CE depicts an African king sits on a golden throne atop Timbuktu, holding a piece of gold in his hand. (please see images on top)
Shihab al-Din al- Umari (1300 – 1349 CE), the renown historian of the time visited Egypt and Cairo 12 years after Mansa Musa, claimed that even after passage of so many years, his wealth distribution and generosity was still talk of the town throughout the region. During the caravan’s stay in Cairo, they spend so much, paying 5 dinars (gold coins) for single dinar items, that the people became wealthy. What’s very important to note here is that had it not been for Mansa Musa’s account of his rulership affairs copied in Al Umari’s writing, the world would not have known easily about his predecessor’s historical journey across the Atlantic ocean. An edited version of the original article penned by Late Professor Hamidullah mentions Al Umari quoting Musa:
“The ruler who preceded me did not believe that it was impossible to reach the extremity of the ocean that encircles the earth (meaning Atlantic), and wanted to reach that (end) and obstinately persisted in the design. So he equipped two hundred boats full of men, as many others full of gold, water and victuals sufficient enough for several years. He ordered the chief (admiral) not to return until they had reached the extremity of the ocean, or if they had exhausted the provisions and the water. They set out. Their absence extended over a long period, and, at last, only one boat returned. On our questioning, the captain said: 'Prince, we have navigated for a long time, until we saw in the midst of the ocean as if a big river was flowing violently. My boat was the last one; others were ahead of me. As soon as any of them reached this place, it drowned in the whirlpool and never came out. I sailed backwards to escape this current.' But the Sultan would not believe him. He ordered two thousand boats to be equipped for him and for his men, and one thousand more for water and victuals. Then he conferred on me the regency during his absence, and departed with his men on the ocean trip, never to return nor to give a sign of life.”
 Mali Empire, Manden Kurufaba- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mali_Empire
 Sahih Al Bukhari - (10) Chapter: The Fitnah of wealth should be warded off – Hadith 6439
 PRECOLUMBIAN MUSLIMS IN THE AMERICAS - C: ARABIC ( ISLAMIC ) INSCRIPTIONS - By: Dr. Youssef Mroueh - http://www.sunnah.org/history/precolmb.htm
 Abu Bakari II – History Revealed, 23 Jan, 2020.
 The African, and Muslim, Discovery of America – Before Columbus, Dr. Abdullah Hakim Quick - History of Islam, An Encyclopedia of Islamic History. https://historyofislam.com/the-african-and-muslim-discovery-of-america-before-columbus/
THEY CAME Before COLUMBUS – The African Presence in Ancient America – Ivan Van Sertima, 2003 Random House Trade Paperbacks Edition, New York.
 op.cit. Ivan Van Sertima
 op.cit. Dr. Youssef Mroueh
 Meet the richest person who ever lived: Mansa Musa - Homeschool History: Mansa Musa
 Not Jeff Bezos, or Bill Gates: Mali’s Mansa Musa was the richest man ever – TRT World, 25 NOV 2019 - https://www.trtworld.com/africa/not-jeff-bezos-or-bill-gates-mali-s-mansa-musa-was-the-richest-man-ever-31658
 Is Mansa Musa the richest man who ever lived? By Naima Mohamud BBC Africa
 I Gotta Story to Tell, Episode 8: The richest man in the history of the world
 Echoes of What Lies Beyond The 'Oceans of Fog' in Muslim Historical Narratives - An Edited version of articles written by late Professor Hamidullah "Muslims Discovery of America Before Columbus" Journal of the Muslim Students Association of the United States and Canada Vol 4 Issue 2