WHAT MUSLIMS MUST KNOW OF SUN/MOON ECLIPSES
WARNING: NEVER LOOK DIRECTLY TOWARD THE SUN — EVEN DURING THE ECLIPSE! Your Vision May Be Damaged Permanently!
Question: “Does Islam Have Sun or Moon Worship?” — NO!
Al Hamdulillah. Allah Says in Quran (Yunus, chapter 10, verse 5):
“It is He (Allah) Who made the sun a shining thing and the moon as a light and measured out for it stages that you might know the number of years and the reckoning. Allah did not create this, but in truth. He explains the ayaat (proofs, verses) in detail for people who have knowledge.” (Yunus 10:5)
وَمِنْآيَاتِهِاللَّيْلُوَالنَّهَارُوَالشَّمْسُوَالْقَمَرُۚلَاتَسْجُدُوا لِلشَّمْسِوَلَالِلْقَمَرِوَاسْجُدُوالِلَّهِالَّذِيخَلَقَهُنَّإِنْكُنْتُمْ إِيَّاهُتَعْبُدُونَ
“And from among His (Allah’s) Signs are the night and the day, the sun and the moon. Prostrate yourselves NOT to the sun nor to the moon — Instead, prostrate yourselves to Allah, Who created them, if you (really) worship Him” (Fussilat 41:37)
Eclipses are signs from Allah by which Allah makes His servants afraid. Allah Says in Quran:
ذَٰلِكَمِمَّاأَوْحَىٰإِلَيْكَرَبُّكَمِنَالْحِكْمَةِۗوَلَا تَجْعَلْمَعَاللَّهِإِلَٰهًاآخَرَفَتُلْقَىٰفِيجَهَنَّمَمَلُومًا مَدْحُورًا
“And We (Allah) did not send signs except to warn, and to make them afraid (of destruction).” (Al Israa’ 17:39)
SALAT AL-KUSUF — is Sunnah Mu’akadah (a confirmed, stressed sunnah) agreed upon by majority of Muslim scholars. Evidence is from Muhammad, peace be upon him.
ECLIPSE IN MUHAMMAD’S (p) TIME
When the moon eclipsed the sun during the time of our prophet, peace be upon him, he rushed nervously to the masjid (mosque), dragging his cloak right behind him and led the people in salat (for prayer). He said the eclipse was one of the signs of Allah, by which Allah makes His servants fearful, and it could be the cause of punishment coming upon the people.
He then commanded them to do things that can prevent Allah’s punishment. He ordered the people to offer salat (for prayers) anytime an eclipse occurs, and to make dua (supplication), asking forgiveness from Almighty Allah (God Most High) and to give charity, free any slaves and do other righteous deeds. All of this to avoid punishment that could otherwise occur or even destroy the people.
So an eclipse is a strong warning and reminder for all people, to alert them and cause them to repent and follow the Commandments of Almighty God, Allah. Particularly those who believe in the God of Adam, Abraham, Moses, Solomon, Jesus and Muhammad, peace be upon them all.
Prior to the advent of Islam, most people believed eclipses honored the death or birth of some saint or great person. However, Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, exposed that notion as false and gave clear explanation of Divine Wisdom for such occurrences of eclipses.
Ibn Masud Al-Ansari, may Allah Mercy on him, said, “The sun was eclipsed on the day Ibrahim, the son of prophet Muhammad peace be upon him, died. People were saying, ‘The sun is eclipsed due to the death of Ibrahim (son of Muhammad, peace be upon him).’ The prophet, peace be upon him, said, ‘The sun and the moon are two signs from Allah, and they DO NOT become eclipsed for the death or the brith of ANYONE. If you see that, hurry to remember Allah and to make dua (pray and supplicate). [Bukhari & Muslim]
And in another hadeeth in both collections of Bukhari and Muslim, he, peace be upon him, said, “Keep calling on Allah and pray until it is over (the eclipse)”
“These signs Allah sends are NOT for the death or life of anyone — but Allah makes His servants fearfully aware through them, so if you see anything of this (eclipses), hurry to remember Allah and call upon Him and seek His Forgiveness.” [Abu Musa, in Bukhari]
Eclipses occur to show us even the sun and the moon are created and subject to ultimate changes and imperfections, just like any other created thing. So this demonstrates Allah’s Qadr (Perfect Ability & Destiny) and He, only — is worthy of any worship.
TIME OF SALATUL KUSUF
The time for the salatul kusoof is from the beginning of the eclipse until it is finished. The prophet, peace be upon him, said, “When you see it (the eclipse), then offer the salat (for prayers and supplications)”. [Agreed upon]
And, “If you see anything of this, then pray until it is finished.” [Muslim]
Salatul Kusoof is not to be done after the eclipse is finished, as it is over. If the eclipse finishes before someone becomes aware of it, they are not required to offer the salat, as it is no longer there.
DESCRIPTION OF SALAT TO OFFER
SALATUL KUSUF is done in the manner of two rakah, but a bit different then the usual two rakah salat.
Recite Quran out loud, according to one of two scholarly opinions. First racket, start with Al Fatihah (chapter 1, of Quran) and then a longer surah (chapter), even all of Baqarah (chapter two has 286 verses), if you are able. Then bow in ruku’ for long time, then raising your head and say “Sami Allahu Liman Hamidah. Rabanna wa lakul Hamd” (Allah listens to the one who praises Him. Our Lord to You is the Praise).
Then after recite Al Fatihah (chapter one of Quran) again, and another long surah (chapter), but shorter than the first recitation, maybe 100 verses or so.
Next, another ruku’ (bowing to Allah) for a long time, but short than the first. When raising back up say, “Sami Allahu liman Hamidah. Rabbana wa lakul Hamd. Hamdan katheeran tayyiban mubarakan fih, mal’ as-samawati wa mal’ al-ard wa mal’ ma shi’ta min shay’in ba’d (Allah listens to the one who praises Him — Our Lord to You be Praise. Much good and blessed praise, filling the heaven and the earth and whatever You Will besides that).”
Next, make sajdah (prostration) on the ground twice, each for a long period, but not making the jalsa (sitting period) too long.
Then raise up to the standing position again and repeat the same as in the first rak’ah, with two long rukus and two long sujud (plural of sajdah or prostration), as in the first rak’ah.
Then recite the Tashahud (bear witness with shahadah to the end).
Say the tasleem (Salam alaykum wa Rahmatullah wa Barakatah - peace be upon you and the Mercy and Blessings of Allah). [Reported in many isnaads, including Bukhari and Muslim]
Ayesha, may Allah be pleased with her said, “The sun was eclipsed by the moon during the time of the prophet, peace be upon him, and he went out, stood up, saying Takbir (Allahu Akbar) and the people formed rows behind him.
He recited a lengthy recitation, then did a long ruku’, then raised his head saying, “Sami Allahu Liman Hamidah, Rabbana wal laka’l Hamd”. He then recited another long surah, but shorter than the first.
Then he did another ruku’ for a long period, but shorter than the first. Then he raised his head saying, “Sami Allahu Liman Hamidah, Rabbana wal laka’l Hamd”. Then he did the sujjud (prostrations).
Then in the second rak’ah he did the same, until he completed four ruku’a and four sujjud. And the eclipse was finished before he finished the salatul kusoof.” [agreed upon]
JAM’AH OR ALONE
Sunnah for Salatul Kusoof is Jamm’ah (collective congregation) as this was what prophet, peace be upon hm, did. However, it’s also permissible to do it individually, like other non-obligatory salat. But Jamm’ah (together) is better.
IMAM’S ADDRESS TO OTHERS
The Imam (prayer leader) should address the followers after the salatul kusoof, warming and reminding them about being forgetful or uncaring and being misguided, and exerting them to make much dua’ (supplication and prayers), asking for forgiveness.
Ayesha, may Allah be pleased with her said the prophet, peace be upon him, finished the salatul kusoof, then began speaking to the people, beginning with praising Allah, then saying, “The sun and the moon are two signs of Allah, and these do not become eclipsed for the death or birth of anyone. If you see this, then call upon Allah, do your salat, give charity . . .”
BEFORE OR AFTER ECLIPSE
Salatul Kusoof is not started until the eclipse can be noticed happening at the location of those offering the salat, and it can continue until the eclipse is completed.
Even if the eclipse is still going after the salatul kusoof is finished, it should not be repeated as this was not done by the prophet, peace be upon him, nor any of his companions.
The famous Sheikh Al-Islam, Ibn Taymiyah said: “Sometimes eclipses last a long time, and sometimes a short time. It depends on how amount of sun or moon being eclipsed.
The whole sun or moon could be eclipsed, or only half, or one-third. If it’s a total eclipse, the Salatul Kusoof should last long enough for Surah Baqarah (chapter two) or similar length to be recited and the next rak’ah to be similar but somewhat shorter than the first.”
It is recommended to shorten and end the salatul kusoof if the eclipse finishes while the salat is still going on. — Majority of scholars have ruled this due to the salatul kusoof being done for a prescribed, specific purpose. When the eclipse ends, the reason no longer exists and one should not offer salatul kusoof, because the eclipse is gone.
Based on Answers from Islam Q&A
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