Peace, one and all…
‘And that it is He who is the Lord of Sirius’ (Surah al-Najm 53:49).
I have always loved gazing up at the night sky. It has always evoked in me a strong sense of the beauty and grandeur of life. If I recall correctly, I believe it was Socrates who said ‘Philosophy starts from a sense of wonder’. My own philosophy started from looking at the stars of heaven in wonder.
Sirius is the brightest star in the night sky. According to Sol Station, Sirius A is a blue, main sequence star. It is much heavier and brighter than our own sun and is some 8.6 light years away from us, with a much dimmer companion star, known as Sirius B (source).
Given this brightness, it is perhaps small wonder that Sirius has played a role in many cultural and religious systems. The ancient Egyptians accorded a very important place to Sothis (almost universally believed to be Sirius). Sirius was thus one of the few stars to receive a cult, in commemoration of her supposed role in the annual Nile innundation (see Erik Hornung, Conceptions of God in Ancient Egypt, 80). There is also an apparent reference to Sirius in the myths of ancient Ireland. n Hindu mythology, Sirius is known Mrgavyadha (‘deer hunter’) or Lubdhaka (‘hunter’) and is believed to represent the god Shiva. In medieval Europe, Sirius was one of the 15 Behenian fixed stars, which were important in kabbalistic magic.
However, perhaps the most famous reference to Sirius is found in the Dogon people, where visitors from Sirius are said to have taught the Dogon their culture. However, it has to be said, that this interpretation remains controversial. Nevertheless, Sirius remains extremely important to the Dogon.
The pagan Arabs are said to have venerated Sirius, which thus explains the context for the Quranic passage quoted above. The aim, it seems, of this verse is to emphasise that for all its brightness, Sirius is still only a created thing and thus only God is truly worthy of worship.
Wa akhiru da’wana an il hamdu lillahi rabbil alameen