Astronomy at the Service of the Islamic Society

Ilias Fernini

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


The Islamic society has great ties to astronomy. Its main religious customs (start of the Islamic month, direction of prayer, and the five daily prayers) are all related to two main celestial objects: the Sun and the Moon. First, the start of any Islamic month is related to the actual seeing of the young crescent after the new Moon. Second, the direction of prayer, i.e., praying toward Mecca is related to the determination of the zenith point of someone in Mecca from any point on Earth. Third, the proper time for the five daily prayers is related to the motion of the Sun. Everyone in the society is directly concerned by these customs. This is to say that the major impetus for the growth of Islamic astronomy came from these three main religious observances which presented an assortment of problems in mathematical astronomy. This paper will discuss the development of Islamic astronomy in light of the requirements of the Islamic society to observe its religious customs.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the International Astronomical Union Symposium 260, eds. D. Valls-Gabaud & A. Boksenberg, Vol. 5, 514-521, 2011.
PublisherIAU Symposium 260
Publication statusPublished - 2012
EventInternational Year of Astronomy 2009: Astronomy at the Service of Society - Paris, France
Duration: Jan 1 2009 → …


ConferenceInternational Year of Astronomy 2009: Astronomy at the Service of Society
Period1/1/09 → …


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