Eclipse Prayer

Bismillah Ar-Rahman Ar-Rahmeen

It is a well known fact that around the world at the time of an eclipse men turn into werewolves or zombie-like creatures and begin to dance in the middle of the woods. This has been well documented in both North America as well as in Southern India with rare footage of two separate, yet almost completely indistinguishable, events at the two links below.

North America: http://youtube.com/watch?v=AtyJbIOZjS8&feature=user

South India: http://youtube.com/watch?v=LbvP7dT3Dx0

Sike, just playing…

Inshallah this Wednesday evening there is predicted to be a total lunar eclipse for much of the world. I wanted to just spread some knowledge about the Islamic Eclipse Prayer, Salatul Khasuf, that was passed along to me by an anonymous source of light.

Fiqh-us-Sunnah, Volume 2: Salatul Kasuf, prayer of the solar and lunar eclipse

The scholars agree that the prayer of the eclipses is a sunnah mu’akkadah, a stressed one, which is to be performed by both men and women. It is best to pray it in congregation although the congregation is not a condition for it. The people are called to it by announcing as-salatu jami’ah “prayer in congregation.” The majority of the scholars hold that it is to consist of two rak’at and that in every rak’ah one is to perform two bowings (ruku’) instead of the customary one.

‘Aishah narrates: “There was a solar eclipse during the time of the Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam and the Prophet went to the mosque, and he stood and made the takbir, and he put the people in rows behind him, and he made a lengthy recital during the salah. Next, he made the takbir and made a long ruku’, but it was not as long as the recital. Following that, he raised his head, saying: ‘Allah hears him who praises Him. And to You, our Lord, belongs the praise.’ Afterward, he stood and made another long recital but it was shorter than the first one. Again, he made the takbir and made a ruku’ that was shorter than the first one. Then, again he said: ‘Allah hears him who praises Him. And to You, our Lord, belongs the praise.’ After this, he prostrated. He did the same in the next rak’ah and finished four ruku’ and four sujjud. The sun appeared again before he finished. Finally, he stood and addressed the people and praised Allah as He deserves it and said: ‘The sun and the moon are two signs from among Allah’s signs and there is no eclipse due to someone’s death or life. If you see them occurring, hurry to pray.'” This is related by alBukhari and Muslim.

Bukhari and Muslim also record that Ibn ‘Abbas said: “There was a solar eclipse during the life time of the Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam and he prayed with a long standing, similar to what it takes to recite alBaqarah. Then, he made a long ruku’. After which, he stood and made another long recital but shorter than the first one. Again he went into ruku’, but for a shorter time than in the first one. Following this, he made sajdah [twice]. Next he made another long standing (qiyam) which was also not as long as the first. After that, he made another lengthy ruku’ but it was not as long as the first one. Again, he made another long qiyam [and recital] but it was not as long as the first one. After which, he made another lengthy ruku’ but it was not as long as the previous one. Following this, he went into sajdah [and so on]. When he had finished, the sun had appeared. He concluded his prayer and said: ‘The sun and the moon are two signs from the signs of Allah, and there is no eclipse due to the death or life of anyone. If you see it, make remembrance of Allah.'” Grading these reports, Ibn Abdul Barr says: “These two hadith are the most authentic reports on this topic.”

Ibn al-Qayyim observes: “The authentic, clear, and prepondering sunnah concerning salatul kasuf is that the ruku’ is to be repeated [twice] in every rak’ah. This is based on the hadith from ‘Aishah, Ibn ‘Abbas, Jabir, Ubayy ibn Ka’b, ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Amr ibn al-‘Aas, and Abu Musa alAsh’ari. They all report that the Prophet repeated the ruku’ in one rak’ah. Those who mention the repeating of the ruku’ are more in number, weightier, and closer to the Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam than those who do not mention it.” This is the opinion of Malik, ash-Shaf’i, and Ahmad.

Abu Hanifah is of the opinion that salatul Kasuf consists of two rak’at, similar to salatul ‘id and jumu’ah, based on the hadith of An-Nu’man ibn Bashir who says: “The Messenger of Allah sallallahu alehi wasallam prayed the salatul kasuf with us like one of your prayers. He went into ruku’ and performed sajdah, praying two rak’at by two rak’at, and supplicated to Allah until the sun reappeared clearly again.”

In the hadith from Qabsah al-Hillali, the Prophet said: “If you see that [i.e., an eclipse], pray as you pray the obligatory prayer.” This is related by Ahmad and an-Nasa’i.

The reciting of al-Fatihah is obligatory in each rak’ah, and one may recite whatever one wishes to, after Al-Fatihah. It is allowed to make the recital audible or silent, but al-Bukhari says: “Audible recital is more proper. ”

Volume 2, Page 36: The time for al-kasuf is from the beginning of the eclipse until the eclipse finishes The prayer of the lunar eclipse is similar to that of the solar eclipse. Al-Hassan al-Basri reports: “There was a solar eclipse and Ibn ‘Abbas, the governor of Basra, went out and prayed two rak’at with two ruku’ in each rak’ah. Then, he mounted his mount and said: ‘I prayed as I have seen the Prophet praying.'” This is related by ash-Shaf’i in his Musnad.

Volume 2, Page 36a: It is preferred to make the takbir, supplications, to give charity, and ask Allah for forgiveness during the eclipse Al-Bukhari and Muslim record from ‘Aishah that the Messenger of Allah said: “The sun and the moon are two signs from among Allah’s signs and there is no eclipse due to the life or death of anyone. If you see that [an eclipse] supplicate to Allah, extol His greatness, give charity and pray.” They also record from Abu MusaBukhari and Muslim record from ‘Aishah that the Messenger of Allah said: “The sun and the moon are two signs from among Allah’s signs and there is no eclipse due to the life or death of anyone. If you see that [an eclipse] supplicate to Allah, extol His greatness, give charity and pray.” They also record from Abu Musa that there was a solar eclipse and the Prophet said: “If you see something of this nature, rush to the remembrance of Allah, supplicating Him and asking His forgiveness.”

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5 Comments

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5 responses to “Eclipse Prayer

  1. Dear Paagal Ahdmee

    this is your dear football playing brother from the wonderful city of krunchi in snackistan, i mean pakistan. why must you hate on our beautiful footballing squad? we kick and punch and sonic boom our way to victory. anyway, keep up the good work, im learning alot. not sure if you’re familiar with this site, they do a nice little lesson of the day, although, sources are hard to authenticate, I think it has good advice either way. thought it might be worth mentioning in your blogroll since your now a star on the interweb.
    http://lessonsoftheday.blogspot.com/

    also wondering if the msa was thinking of incorporating a blog type thing for the site, although its difficult to moderate as someone would be editing peoples comments. oh well. if you don’t mind, i may throw in some comments or post some ideas about topics i know little about and maybe you could say a few words on them or point to places to learn about it. if i come across anything good or decide to write up something, ill send you it and if meets standards let me know you can post it. wow, i should have just sent this as an email, but i wanted to be one of the first commentators! sorry.

  2. oh man i cant stop

    wondering if you have been following this situation.

    http://www.freekareem.org/

    any thoughts? any comments from some of the “western” scholars (Imam Suhaib Webb comes to mind) studying at Al-Ahzar on this situation?

    salaams

  3. Sameer

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/sentenced-to-death-afghan-who-dared-to-read-about-womens-rights-775972.html

    oh and this story, wondering what you thought about the place for pugnacious criticism of islam within its on ranks and if islam is a religion open to such dissent.

  4. WannaBeScholar

    You can get more specific information about the total lunar eclipse at the website below. It should be around 10:00 pm EST.

    http://sunearth.gsfc.nasa.gov/eclipse/LEmono/TLE2008Feb21/TLE2008Feb21.html

  5. WannaBeScholar

    The two situations are actually new to me, and this is the first I have heard of either. Regardless, from the initial descriptions it seems as though both are examples of cases that have been carried out on numerous occasions and will more than likely continue in the future. From what I can tell, they both obviously seem like abuses of power and authority, yet to answer your question it can be argued that both victims in these cases aren’t necessarily posing criticism of Islam so to speak as you mentioned. Both the women’s rights issues as well as the criticisms of government and religious institutional institutes, such as Al-Azhar University, pertain to the conduct and actions of Muslims themselves (which in my opinion can be extended even further to the influences of others as well). I personally am completely open, and strongly encourage, people to question and thoroughly examine the ill treatment by those in power especially if they attempt to use Islamic justification for their oppression.

    However, you asked about the place of criticism of Islam within its own ranks (I assume you mean by Muslims), and that is a very different question. Allah (swt) says in the Qur’an:

    This day have I perfected your religion for you,
    completed My favor upon you and have chosen
    for you Islam as your religion. (Qur’an 5:3)

    Therefore, we as Muslims should be cognizant of the fact that Islam is perfect and universal in its message and teachings. As a Muslim I don’t think that Islam itself is open to criticisms in the least bit, but I do agree that individual interpretations and implementations are completely open to criticism. There will always be a level of dissent within Muslims, and that isn’t necessarily a bad thing always. Differences of opinion are fine as long as they have reasonable evidences, such as those even among the four Imams. We have processes of ijtihad to accomodate for independent interpretations, and even all layman Muslims are encouraged to think and ponder over the meaning of the Qur’an.

    What I think you are asking about is more along the lines of cultural and societal influences that are mixed with Islam. People will always criticize Islam, but in many cases what they really are fighting over is the societal norm. If a Muslim openly says they don’t agree with the teachings of Islam, in my opinion either they don’t have a proper understanding of the true message, are under the influence of cultural values which they equate as being equal or superior to Islamic ideals if they differ from one another, or honestly might just have weak faith.

    We can’t overemphasize the importance of the jamaa and unity within the Ummah, but there is a level of independent thought that can surely be accepted.

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