Thrilling news appeared in the English daily "Express" of the 18th October 1919 published from Bankipur, Patna (Bihar). It was regarding a unique and dreadful forecast made by Prof. Albert of USA, who happened to be an astronomer and mathematician of international repute. Its gist was as under:
"On 17th December, 1919, six planets which are most powerful viz. Jupiter, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Saturn and Neptune will be in conjunction and the Sun will come in opposite direction of these planets. These planets will fetch the Sun towards them with all their gravity. The result will be that the magnetic properties of these planets will pierce into the Sun and it will inflict hole into the sun, which will be in the shape of a big dagger. And, such a stain on the sun will be visible which everybody would see on the 17th December 1919 with naked eyes. Prof. Albert further predicted that conjunction of such planets, which was not witnessed for the last twenty centuries, would cause disorder in the air and it would bring about big storms, terrible rains and powerful earthquakes. The earth will return to its normal position after several weeks".
The news spread like wild fire. Panic gripped the whole world. Some of the Muslims fell prey to it as well. Mawlana Zafaruddin of Bihar, a disciple and caliph of Alahazrat apprised Alahazrat of such forecast of Prof. Albert. Thereupon, Alahazrat wrote an article belying the forecast tooth and nail brandishing it as baseless and bogus, which was published in the monthly "Al Raza" of Bareilly. This contradictory article too gained equal publicity. Alahazrat was challenging Prof. Albert. A Mawlawi was challenging an astronomer. An Indian was challenging an American. It was towards the middle of November and the people were waiting impatiently for 17th December. In order to allay the fear on the part of his Muslim brethren, Alahazrat rose to the occasion and chose to get his article published. Alahazrat consoled the frightened Muslims and advised them:
"Muslims, be afraid of Allah. Don't be afraid of Albert. His forecast is false and baseless. It is neither desirable nor permissible for you to pay any heed to it". Interestingly enough, Alahazrat gave as many as seventeen arguments to disprove the said forecast. The arguments advanced by Alahazrat are astronomical and technical. Men of common understanding cannot understand. So, it is of no use to reproduce them in full. However, those who can and those who wish to make a deep study of these arguments, may please go through the booklet "Prof. Albert F. Porta Ki Peshin Goi Ka Rad" published from Maktaba Gharib Nawaz, Allahabad.
However, to present something for a common man, I would like to point out that Alahazrat argued vehemently that the very basis of such forecast was wrong. The forecast was based on the principle that the "sun is stationary and the earth moves around the sun". In the light of the Holy Quran, Alahazrat declared: "The sun and moon do move according to their course. They are sailing within a circle. It is earth (not sun) that is stationary around which the sun and other planets revolve".
According to the working of Prof. Albert, the mutual distance of six planets as on 17th December 1919, worked out to 26 degree, whereas Alahazrat presented a detailed chart depicting the real position of such planets as on 17th December, according to which, such mutual distance worked out to 112 degree. There was such a lot of difference between the two.
Prof. Albert gave all the weigh to Law of Gravitation. Confuting it, Alahazrat argued that the said conjunction did not conform with the Law of Gravitation as well. Either of the two shall have to be discarded then. Have all the planets made a pact to attack the sun alone? Why will they not attack each other, Alahazrat quipped? If the Law of Gravitation is correct, it is bound to affect all - more effect upon what is nearer and sharper effect upon what is weaker. When the attack of six planets can cause such an injury to the sun, then why the Saturn could not be destroyed by the gravity of the remaining five planets, especially when the Saturn is smaller than Sun by thousand times, Alahazrat asked.
Mars is smaller than Saturn. Mercury is the smallest of all. So in this way, these are bound to be shattered into pieces. What an absurd it is to believe that the weaker might not suffer at all and the strongest (sun) will lose the battle, Alahazrat argued. Even on the basis of the Law of Gravitation, there can be no such conjunction of planets, Alahazrat declared. That is Alahazrat beat Albert from both ends.
By and by, the time passed and the crucial day of 17th December arrived. As the sun rose, the panic-stricken people began to take it as Doomsday. The routine life went to standstill. Clouds of horror hovered heavily. Some people laid hope in Albert. Some people laid hope in Alahazrat. The names of Albert and Alahazrat were running on the lips and tips of one and all. By the grace of Almighty Allah, the day went off peacefully. The sun set setting the pandemonium at rest. Nothing untoward took place anywhere. The position of Albert was all burst.
Everybody witnessed that what Alahazrat had observed and declared, came true word by word. It bagged three cheers for Alahazrat. Prof. Albert also conceded the talent of Alahazrat in the field of astronomy.