Observing Eclipse: The SUNNAH Way

Solar and lunar eclipse is a natural geographic phenomenon. Both Sun and the moon are created by Allah and they revolve around in their defined orbits. Quran says: “It is not for the sun to overtake the moon, nor does the night outstrip the day. They float each in an orbit” (Ya-Sin 36:40). The Arabic word for solar eclipse is Kusoof, which is the partial or total cutting off of the sun’s light when the moon comes between it and the earth.
These eclipses are not the moments to cherish and celebrate. During the time of Prophet Muhammed PBUH eclipse did occur. It is also recorded by Abu Musa that there was a solar eclipse and the Prophet Muhammed PBUH said, “If you see something of this nature, rush to the remembrance of Allah, supplicating Him and ask His forgiveness.” (Bukhari and Muslim)

It so happened that Ibrahim, son of the Prophet Muhammed PBUH passed away on the day of eclipse. The companions wondered and asked Prophet PBUH whether the eclipse is due to the death of your son; to which Prophet PBUH replied, “The lunar and solar eclipse do not happen due to the death of anybody, or due to one staying alive, but they are one of the evidences (proofs, signs) of (the existence of) Allah. If you see that happening, remember Allah until that clears up” (Bukhari & Muslim).

The Prophet use to offer two rakah of sunnah mu’akkadah (confirmed sunna) prayers. The prayer is for both male and female believers. It is better to offer it in a congregation. Each rakah contained two ruku instead of one. The pattern of the prayer is recorded in the Hadith in this manner:

“Prophet PBUH went to the mosque, and he stood in salah and made the takbir and 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 sujud.

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, hasten to pray.” [Bukhari and Muslim].

Apart from prayers Prophet used to seek forgiveness from Allah SWT, supplicate and give charity. It is recorded from Ayesha RA, the Prophet 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 in charity and pray.” (Bukhari and Muslim).

There are many misconceptions among masses of Muslim population. The most common misconception is that many believe that the fetus of a pregnant woman gets affected by an eclipse. Hence, pregnant ladies are laid to rest in dark rooms and many more. As Muslims, it is our duty to shun all forms of superstitions from our lives and avoid linking the natural phenomena to certain physical calamities or disabilities which has no clear evidence in the doctrines of Shari’ah (Islamic code of law). The medical sciences are carrying a lot of research on this topic but still they have not come to a concrete platform to prove it.