DOES WEATHER FORECASTING COME UNDER THE HEADING OF ASTROLOGY OR CLAIMING TO KNOW THE UNSEEN?
All Praise be to Allaah.
Weather forecasting does not come under the heading of the knowledge of unseen or astrology. It is based on physical evidence and experience. It is the natural laws that are established by Allah (Subhana-wa-taala). It is similar to knowing the times of solar and lunar eclipse and also the times of other natural occurring like winds and rainfalls.
The times for natural occurrences depend upon some factors like the time for eclipses depend upon the movements of heavenly bodies and form them we can know if the eclipse will be partial or total.
There is nothing as unseen about them as the knowledge is given by the Allah, rather it is only “unseen” for those who have no knowledge of astronomy and it is not “unseen” for those who have knowledge of this science. That does not mean that solar and lunar eclipses are not among the signs of Allaah with which He instills fear in His slaves so as to bring them back to their Lord and to obedience to Him.
Similarly, weather forecast and prediction of rain or snowfall or saying which areas are going to receive heavy winds or hot summer is based on the knowledge of natural laws of Allah. One who has experience of these laws may say what he expects to happen, without certain knowledge, on the basis of scientific theories or common experience, so he expects that and predicts it on the basis of likelihood, not certain knowledge, and he gets it right sometimes and gets it wrong sometimes.
Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: The one who speaks of that which may be worked out by calculations is not a fortune-teller at all, because there is no element of fortune-telling in that which may be worked out by calculations. If a person predicts a solar or lunar eclipse, this is not fortune-telling because it is worked out by calculations. If he says that the sun will set at a 20-degree angle at such and such a time, this is not knowledge of the unseen, because it is something that may be worked out by calculations, and predicting something that can be worked out by calculation, even if it is in the future, is not regarded as being knowledge of the unseen, or fortune-telling.
The climatic conditions have to do with precise measurements that are to be carried out before claiming anything. Thus certain conditions are likely to produce rain and certainly does not. It is like the primitive predication that we make when we see clouds forming, and thunder and lightning and thick clouds, and we say: “It is going to rain soon.”
What matters is that what points to physical phenomena is not knowledge of the unseen, even if some of the common folk think that these things are matters of the unseen and say that believing in them is like believing in fortune-telling.
And Allaah knows best.