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Salat-al-Kusuf : The Prayer of the Eclipse

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Hat-tip to Shaykh Abul-Hussein. Tomorrow early morning, inshallah, a lunar eclipse is expected and we have the opportunity to engage in a rare Sunnah, the Salat-al-Kusuf.

The Earth’s shadow will creep across the moon’s surface early Tuesday, slowly eclipsing it and turning it to shades of orange and red. West Coast folks will have it better because the sun will be rising. Here are more details on the timing in all zones. This website offers more info.

The total lunar eclipse, the second this year, will be visible in North and South America, especially in the West. People in the Pacific islands, eastern Asia, Australia and New Zealand also will be able to view it if skies are clear.

People in Europe, Africa or the Middle East, who had the best view of the last total lunar eclipse in March, won’t see this one because the moon will have set when the partial eclipse begins at 4:51 a.m. EDT. The full eclipse will begin an hour later at 5:52 a.m. EDT.

Some ahadith related to this:

Yahya related to me from Malik from Hisham ibn Urwa from his father that A’isha, the wife of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “There was an eclipse of the sun in the time of the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, led the people in prayer.

He stood, and did so for a long time. Then he went into ruku, and made the ruku long. Then he stood again, and did so for a long time, though not as long as the first time. Then he went into ruku, and made the ruku long, though not as long as thefirst time. Then he rose, and went down into sajda. He then did the same in the second raka, and by the time he had finished the sun had appeared.

He then gave a khutba to the people, in which he praised Allah and then said, ‘The sun and the moon are two of Allah’s signs. They do not eclipse for anyone’s death nor for anyone’s life. When you see an eclipse, call on Allah and say, “Allah is greater” and give sadaqa.’ Then he said, ‘O community of Muhammad! ByAllah, there is no-one more jealous than Allah of a male or female slave of his who commits adultery. O community of Muhammad! By Allah, if you knew what I knew, you would laugh little and weep much’.”

Here is more detailed information on the Sunnahs related to this prayer. Some tid-bits:

  • Solar and lunar eclipses are reminders of the Day of Judgment, when the sun, moon and stars will all lose their light.
    “When the sight is dazed, and the moon is buried in darkness, and the sun and moon are joined together: Man will say on that day, Where is the refuge?.” (Surat al-Qiyamah, the Resurrection)
  • Ruling: Most of the people of knowledge (‘ulama) regard it as an important sunnah (mu’akkadah); Imam Abu Hanifah said it was obligatory (wajib), whilst Imam Malik regarded it as equal to Salat al-Jumu’ah (Friday Prayer) in importance.
  • Format: The eclipse prayer consists of two rak’at.
  • Congregation: The Sunnah is for the prayer to be held in congregation in the masjid, although individuals who cannot reach the congregation may pray alone. Women may attend the congregation or pray at home individually.
  • Khutbah (Sermon): This is given by the Imam after the congregational prayer, based on the admonition of the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, part of which is quoted at the beginning of this article. The khutbah is recommended (mustahabb)
  • Timing of the prayer: The time for the eclipse prayer lasts throughout the eclipse. The prayer must be started during the eclipse, although it can end after the eclipse is over. The khutbah is delivered after the prayer, whether or not the eclipse is still in progress.
  • Length of the prayer: The eclipse prayer should be longer than normal daily, weekly or annual prayers.
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Alhamdulillah, we're at over 850 supporters. Help us get to 900 supporters this month. All it takes is a small gift from a reader like you to keep us going, for just $2 / month.

The Prophet (SAW) has taught us the best of deeds are those that done consistently, even if they are small. Click here to support MuslimMatters with a monthly donation of $2 per month. Set it and collect blessings from Allah (swt) for the khayr you're supporting without thinking about it.

Abu Reem is one of the founders of MuslimMatters, Inc. His identity is shaped by his religion (Islam), place of birth (Pakistan), and nationality (American). By education, he is a ChemE, topped off with an MBA from Wharton. He has been involved with Texas Dawah, Clear Lake Islamic Center and MSA. His interests include politics, cricket, and media interactions. Career-wise, Abu Reem is in management in the oil & gas industry (but one who still appreciates the "green revolution").

18 Comments

18 Comments

  1. Abdur Rahman

    August 28, 2007 at 1:15 AM

    In the case of it being so close to fajr, what should be done? Should the (eclipse)prayer be stopped when fajr comes in?

  2. Yus from the Nati

    August 28, 2007 at 6:52 AM

    Subhan’Allah, it was beautiful…(never seen a lunar eclipse before)

  3. aarij

    August 28, 2007 at 9:23 AM

    subhan Allah!

    today was my first time of trying to follow this sunnah: http://trueword.wordpress.com/2007/08/21/as-easy-as-123-a-hajj-and-umrah-a-day/

    I read on MSNBC that the eclipse ended 7:22 am EST…so when I prayed Doha today with the afore-mentioned Sunnah in mind, I actually managed to “catch” the eclipse…even though I didn’t know about it nor was that my intention…but I’m still hopeful of the reward, in sha Allah.

    Very interesting nonetheless, would be awesome to know about the next eclipse ahead of time though.

  4. ...

    August 28, 2007 at 9:32 AM

    Oh SubhanAllah i missed it =( i wish i had checked this site last night- but khair will do it next time if im alive by then inshaAllah

    • FZ

      November 3, 2013 at 9:25 AM

      i like your answer, cause i have missed the Salat of the eclipse today 03/11/2013, i have called my mum after Salat duhr and told me about it

  5. UmmTooba

    August 28, 2007 at 10:12 AM

    SubhanAllah, I was ready for it but I didn’t see it, I was checking for about 30 mins. And Allah is the Best of Planners.

  6. ...

    August 28, 2007 at 10:13 AM

    The next total lunar eclipse occurs Feb. 21, 2008!!! inshaAllah

  7. SrAnonymous

    August 28, 2007 at 11:16 AM

    Just wondering who is Abul-Hussein…in terms of his knowledge background in sha Allah. Jazahullahu khayra for his beneficial posts.

  8. AnonyMouse

    August 28, 2007 at 1:43 PM

    I was faaaaaast asleep at 3 in the morning (when it happened/ could be seen where I am), but one of my friends managed to get it AND pray the sunnah… masha’Allah.

  9. muhsinmuttaqi

    August 29, 2007 at 4:33 PM

    Assalamu Alaykum wa Rahmatullahee wa Barakatu

    I witnessed the lunar eclipse while I was working graveyard hours as security guard. I was inside a building for a while, but when I went outside I was wondering what is happening to the moon. I even did not know that this day was to be a lunar eclipse. I was looking at it and first thought that it was just covered with clouds, but it was not. When I saw the shadow uncovering the moon again, I remembered that I should pray the Khusouf Prayer.

    However, I did not know how to pray it. so first I had to study how to pray it. I had the book Fiqh Al Ibadah (Shafi-i Jurisprudence) and studied how to pray it. When it was Fajr time I prayed Fajr and after that I prayed the Khusouf Prayer.

  10. ExEx Blogger

    August 30, 2007 at 9:23 PM

    Alhamdulillah we prayed the Kusuf prayer.

  11. Pingback: muslimmatters.org » Reminder: Lunal Eclipse Tonight!

  12. Pingback: Photos Of Lunar Eclipse | Pafos Photos

  13. Pingback: Lunar Eclipse Today! Here is what to doMuslimMatters.org

  14. A Karim

    April 14, 2014 at 11:34 PM

    Can someone elaborate on the hadith posted?

    *Name has been changed to comply to our Comments Policy*

    • Aly Balagamwala

      April 16, 2014 at 2:26 AM

      Dear A KArim

      Our Comments Policy requires a valid name or Kunyah to be used when commenting. You may also use a blog handle provided your blog is linked, the email address is a valid one, and it is not advertising a product.

      Best Regards
      Comments Team

  15. Omair

    July 27, 2018 at 10:15 AM

    A better translation of the Hadith mentioned:

    So when you see the eclipse, remember Allah and say Takbir, pray and give Sadaqa.” The Prophet then said, “O followers of Muhammad! By Allah! There is none who has more ghaira (selfrespect) than Allah as He has forbidden that His slaves, male or female commit adultery (illegal sexual intercourse). O followers of Muhammad! By Allah! If you knew that which I know you would laugh little and weep much.

    https://sunnah.com/bukhari/16/5

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