Sadiq and the Desert Star
Interview with the Author:
Allah tells us in the Quran :
6:97 It is He Who has made for you the stars that you may follow the right direction in the darkness of the land and the sea. We have indeed spelled out signs for the people who have knowledge.
What is a star?
A star is a huge ball of hydrogen n helium gas that gives off light and heat due to the large amount of energy that it produces which travels out from the star which helps give off the glow. Without the sun earth would be a dark, frozen planet with no life.
Red – coldest star
Yellow- in between
Blue – hottest star
As well as the sun, there are around 300 billion stars in our galaxy which are light years away from Earth, which makes them look like tiny dots of lights.
Astronomers use stars as a map to navigate where places are on earth. So long before GPS, satellites and clocks, sailors at sea used the stars to navigate when there was no land nearby. Around a hundred years ago, people made tools which could measure angles between the stars and the horizon to help them navigate and calculate their latitude. Latitude is the distance from the Equator to an area of rbe earth either North or south.
The easiest star to find in the sky is the North Star (also called Polaris or Pole Star) and it is the most important star as it helps with navigation. The North Star is at the tip of the constellation called the Little Dipper and the Little Dipper can be found by finding the Big Dipper and follow its pointer stars in a line through the sky to the North Star.
If we learn the constellations and the positions of the stars then we will never be lost no matter where we are in the world. By being able to recognise the stars no matter where we are in the world, we can work out North and other directions, what the latitude of the area is and what time of year it is with out needing a calendar.
In ancient times, the Bedouin Arabs taught their children how to measure the latitude by observing the stars. They used their fingers as a measurement tool. The altitude of the North Star was measured with four fingers with the hand outstretched in the front. The latitude at a location is approximately equal to the altitude of the North Star from the horizon at that location.
The Golden Age of Islam was between the 8th-14th centuries CE. It was a time when science, technology, arts and cultures flourished, due to the scholarly pursuits of the Abbasid Caliphate. This was the same time as the Dark Ages in Europe.
Astronomy is the study of the skies to understand the behaviours of the planets, stars, galaxies and the Universe in general. Astronomy is a science and allowed and astrology is what is not allowed. Muslims have always studied the stars to navigate through the desert, to work out the direction of the Qibla and to find out the exact time of salah. And Muslims use the moon to work.out the days of the months.
Teachers Guide PDF
Navigating by the stars:
Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star
BY JANE TAYLOR
Twinkle, twinkle, little star,
How I wonder what you are!
Up above the world so high,
Like a diamond in the sky.
When the blazing sun is gone,
When he nothing shines upon,
Then you show your little light,
Twinkle, twinkle, all the night.
Then the traveler in the dark
Thanks you for your tiny spark,
How could he see where to go,
If you did not twinkle so?
In the dark blue sky you keep,
Often through my curtains peep
For you never shut your eye,
Till the sun is in the sky.
As your bright and tiny spark
Lights the traveler in the dark,
Though I know not what you are,
Twinkle, twinkle, little star.