by Shaykha Asma Bhaiyat
As a solar eclipse is expected today, it is important that as Muslims we understand the Islamic perspective of such an event along with its pertinent rulings.
Solar and lunar eclipses are reminders of the Day of Judgment, when the sun, moon, and stars will lose their light. Allah ta’ala says in the Quran “When the sight is dazed (by fear), and the moon is eclipsed, and the sun and moon are united: On that day man will say, ‘Where is the refuge?”(Al-Qiyamah: 7-10)
It is for this reason that during the lifetime of the Prophet ﷺ when a solar eclipse occurred, the Prophet ﷺ was in a state of anxiety and immediately turned to Allah by praying long rakahs and making dua and istighfaar throughout the entire eclipse.
Narrated ‘Aisha : In the life-time of Allah’s Apostle the sun eclipsed, so he led the people in prayer, and stood up and performed a long Qiyam, then bowed for a long while. He stood up again and performed a long Qiyam but this time the period of standing was shorter than the first. He bowed again for a long time but shorter than the first one, then he prostrated and prolonged the prostration. He did the same in the second Raka as he did in the first and then finished the prayer; by then the sun (eclipse) had cleared. He delivered the Khutba (sermon) and after praising and glorifying Allah he said, “The sun and the moon are two signs amongst the signs of Allah; they do not eclipse on the death or life of anyone. 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 (self-respect) 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.
Based on this, rather than making an eclipse a spectacle where people get together to watch, we were taught to make this an opportunity to turn back to Allah and remember the Final Day.
Rulings pertaining to Salaatul Kusoof (Salaah of solar eclipse)
1) It is sunnah mu’akadah to perform Salaatul Kusoof.
2) One should be engaged in ibaadah throughout the eclipse by either performing lengthy salah with long rukoo’ and sajdah or by making dua.
3) The salaat should be performed in congregation. If it is not possible to have the prayer with congregation, salah may be performed individually. It is also better for women to pray individually in their homes.
4) There is no adhan or iqaamah for salaatul kusoof.
5) The Qiraat in Salaatul Kusoof may be recited audibly.
6) In Salaatul Kusoof one should recite long surahs similar to Surah Baqara or however long they are able to recite.
7) It is best for salaatul kusoof to be performed in two rakaats. However it is also permissible to perform more.
بقلم الشيخ عمر بيك