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