Supplement 3

Then, let us think, said I, ''as to how this knowledge was acquired. And let us use if it be correct to say that all people cannot acquire it, though all are born in connection with the movements of the planets and stars. I am ready to grant that only few people learn and master the science. But the question is how did they learn or master it-specially the knowledge which declares one star to be ill-omened and the other to be auspicious? How have they fixed the time, hour and degrees, the slow or rapid movements of the planets and the stars, their exact position over or below the Earth; and their predictions which you mention? How have they gathered them? I believe that any of the creatures inhabiting this globe are so advanced as to penetrate the secrets of the visible and invisible Universe.

You may not believe, said he. "But that they have done so, I am positive about it.

"When you assert, said I, that all the Earth's inhabitants are born in conjunction with the movements of the stars and planets, the wise man (Hakim) who first discovered the science of astronomy must have been born like-wise.

"Of course, he exclaimed, "he must be included in the category of the human race. Then does not your reason guide you to the fact that these planets and stars existed before the birth of that wise man, who, as you say discovered the science of astronomy, and was born in conjunction with the movements of the stars and planets?

"Indeed, said he, "the planets and stars must have existed prior to his birth.

Tell me said I, how could the wise inventor of the science learn the method of calculating the stars with- out a master to teach him? If you say that he had a master, then that master must have existed before the existence of the stars. And indeed must be He, Who established the rules and regulations for those movements, on which you say the events of a life are based, and from which the future of a new born child is foretold. Taking this for granted, the wise man inventor of the science- must have been the follower and pupil of that master, who had existed before the stars, and had created them-the wise man-in conjunction with the movements of certain of them.

Then He who established the science, was He who lived before the stars, the Creator of them and the people born according to their movements. Presupposing the age of the wise man to be ten times that of the Earth, he must have had the same observation of the stars as we have now. They must have twinkled over-head as they down-where lay the difference between him and us? How did he know the exact calculation whilst we do not? Had he special power to go nearer to this very high firmament, and more closely study the secrets of the stars, their position and movements; learn, which of them eclipse the Sun and the Moon; which are consistent with the birth of children;

which are ill-omened and suspicious, rapid or slow, and many other things, such as the length of time they are concealed under the Earth, and the exact hours of their appearance and disappearance? How chances it that a human being has so great a knowledge of things heavenly, since deep reflection cannot give it to him and his senses cannot reach so far? How did he invent the method of calculation by which is known the movement of the Sun and Moon, and the knowledge--which among the seven planets suspicious or ill-omened; the exact position of these luminaries, and correct judgment as to which was rising or a setting one? How could he-on the surface of the Earth-study that which was in the heavens? 

How could he see those stars which are made invisible by the Sun's blinding luster? If you suggest that he flew up to the skies, my mind still misgives me, for even then her could not master the science without a teacher; w hen one cannot master an earthly science thus, how can he master a science not of the Earth ?" 

I do not even recollect, said he, "of hearing of a human being going up to the skies. Perhaps, I suggested, the wise man may have done so, and you may not be aware of it.

I would not accept its truth , he said, "from any source.

I agree with you there, I said, "but let us suppose the fact of the wise man's ability to climb up to the skies. In that case we shall have to believe that he performed incredible journeys, visited every star and planet, staying with them as they set or rose till he had gained fullest knowledge about those functions; and as some of the planets take as much as thirty years to complete their rotation, he must necessarily have stayed with them for the prescribed period however long it may have been in order to fully collect all information. Let us take all this for granted also, that he not only ascended to the skies, but he traveled in company with each and every luminary, till he had become fully acquainted with their habits.

Still however, his observations could not be called complete until he had studied those stars under the Earth. In this he must take the same amount of time, that he took t in observing the heavenly stars, for the movements of the stars beneath the Earth cannot be said to be the same, and to master the science to its present accuracy of calculation he must miss no point of knowledge. 

To know the period of time these stars remain invisible, whether by day or by night, is very necessary; besides, the question must be settled fully and for ever as there was only one wise man to do it. If there had been more than one wise man, they must have differed in their calculations. Now really does not strike you that it is only you who can hold the idea of a wise man, who dived down into the depths of the seas, and penetrated through the darkness of the Earth; who floated along the shies, clinging to the stars and the planets and acquiring the knowledge of their movement and doing the same to stars under the Earth!

I do not hold, said he the opinion that any man can ascend the skies, or dive to the bottom of the seas, or penetrate the interior of the Earth. As you don't hold this opinion, said I, tell me then how could the wise man (whom you think to be inventor) learn the science of Astronomy? How could he complete his researches in connection with it when he came into existence long after the creation of the stars he knew all about?

In face of your arguments he said, it does not seem prudent or wise to say that this science was invented by a being of this Earth? Then, said I, you admit that this science can only be known to one cognizant with the ins and outs of heaven well as Earth? If I do so, he said, '.I must admit Allah, who you say is the creator of heaven and earth. 

Have you not told me, I asked, that the calculations based on Astronomy are perfectly correct and the birth of children correspond to certain movements of the stars?

"Yes" he replied, "I have told you so, and also I have no doubt of this, but I have a doubt as to there being a creator" . That doubt will be removed, said I; have you not said that no human being can scale up to the skies, or travel in company with the movements of the Sun, moon and stars -East, West or in any direction?

To scale up to the skies is impossible, he said. "Well I said, "what other alternative have you beyond admitting that it was a heavenly teacher who taught this science?"

If I say so; said he, that no teacher taught this science, I am absurd; and if I say it was an earthly teacher, it would be an equally irrational statement, for no human being ever by himself acquired knowledge of heaven above, or of hell beneath; for no human being has the power to pry into those things beyond the range of his eye's observation. Even granting closeness of observation no inward knowledge can be gained, for according to my belief nothing is real except what is known through the medium of senses, and it is obvious that the senses have no hand here. The eye can only perceive movements, and nothing beyond that. The knowledge and calculation of the movements, the differences between rapid and slow, the season of the disappearing and the reappearing of the stars are beyond the scope of the senses.

If you wish to study the science of the heavens, asked I, would you choose an earthly being or a heavenly being as your teacher? I would choose a heavenly being, he replied, Because the stars hand in his region, where earthly being cannot reach Alright. Now I hope you will give yourself to profound thought, and clear up all doubts from your mind.

"If all the people of the earth have their birth in conjunction with the movements of the stars-either sinister or auspicious, it stands to reason that the stars pre-existed the people of the earth, Don't you think so?" Yes, I do, he replied.

Well then, said I, "your statement as to man having existed on earth, has been contradicted by you yourself. You have admitted without the least doubt, that the human race came into existence after the stars, and if the stars pre-existed the human race, it necessarily follows that the earth also pre-existed the human race. 

"I do not say, he said, that the earth pre-existed them. 

If the earth, said I, which the Almighty Allah created as a carpet for men to walk on, did not pre-exist the race, these beings together with the lower orders of life, would have had nothing to rest upon. It is not reasonable to state that they lived in space, for they do not possess wings. Of what good would wings have done, said he, when they had no means of subsistence.

Bravo, said I, Do you now entertain doubts as to the pre-existence of the earth as well as the stars?

No, said he, now I am fully convinced of the pre-existence of both. I'll now, said I, dilate upon such subjects that exciting your curiosity, may add to your store of knowledge. Your previous arguments, he said are sufficient to remove my doubts.

You know I suppose, said I, that it is in the Sky, the Sun, Moon and Stars perform their duties. Yes I do he replied.

"Would you not call it the basis and foundation of luminaries? Yes, I would, he replied.