Prayer during eclipse


Saudi Gazette

On Monday, August 21, 2017, a total solar eclipse will be visible in totality within a band across the United States. A total solar eclipse will be seen in 12 states in the United States, beginning in Oregon. The eclipse will then move through Idaho, Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, Georgia, and South Carolina.

It will only be visible as a partial eclipse in other countries.

A partial eclipse will be sighted in some regions of Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean Islands, Iceland, Russia, and the Northwestern European countries, namely Ireland, Scotland, UK, Norway, Netherlands, Belgium, France, Spain, Portugal, and in the extreme northwest of Germany.

Those who will be able to see the total solar eclipse are in for an amazing sight. When the eclipse begins, at first it will appear as if the moon is taking a bite out of the sun. As the eclipse progresses, the sky will get darker, the temperature will drop, and if you pay attention, animals and birds will become quieter.

As the moon completely covers the sun’s surface, a diamond ring can be seen. Pink spots called prominences may also be seen near the diamond. As the sky turns dark, planets and stars hidden in the sky by the sun’s bright light will appear. Viewers can look for Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, and Venus during total eclipse.

An eclipse, whether it is a solar or lunar eclipse, is an amazing event in our universe and is a sign that reminds us of the greatness and might of our Creator. Witnessing such signs should inspire us to glorify Allah, praise Allah, and contemplate. It is a time to ask Allah for forgiveness.

An eclipse occurred in the lifetime of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), and when he observed the eclipse, he instructed his companions to think, to fear Allah, and to pray. In fact, a solar eclipse occurred on the day that the Prophet’s son, Ibrahim, died. The people of Madinah thought that the eclipse happened because of the death of the baby, Ibrahim.

Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) corrected the people and he said, “The sun and the moon are two signs amongst the signs of Allah; they do not eclipse because of the death of someone, and so when an eclipse occurs, pray and invoke Allah until the eclipse is over.”

A prayer in congregation is to be offered in a Muslim community only when the eclipse is sighted in that region. Praying alone in your home is also permissible if the eclipse has been sighted in your city.

How do you pray the eclipse prayer and how is it different from a regular prayer?

During the eclipse, you stand in prayer as you normally would, and you recite the opening chapter of the Qur’an and another chapter of your choice, but the Prophet (peace be upon him) used to read a long chapter. Bow down for ruku’, and when you lift up to stand, you again recite the opening chapter of the Qur’an and another chapter of the Qur’an. This recitation of the Holy Qur’an should be shorter than the first. When you bow down for ruku’ and stand up, then you proceed into prostration, and prolong your prostration to supplicate to Allah. Sit up and repeat another prostration. That is the completion of one unit of the eclipse prayer. The same unit of prayer is repeated once more, to complete two units of prayer in the same way.

The Prophet’s wife, Aisha, described in detail the eclipse prayer.

Aisha said, “In the lifetime of Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) the sun eclipsed, so he led the people in prayer, and stood up and performed a long Qiyam (standing in prayer and recitation of Qur’an), 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 sermon, and after praising and glorifying Allah he said, “The sun and the moon are two signs of 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 charity.”

The solar eclipse on August 21st will not be visible in Saudi Arabia, so we do not perform the eclipse prayer. However, it is good to learn this practice to know what to do when the next lunar or solar eclipse can be viewed in the Kingdom.