Salat ul Kusoof (Pray of Eclipse)

18 02 2008

eclipse_home_01.jpg

Allah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“It is He 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. Allaah did not create this but in truth. He explains the Ayaat in detail for people who have knowledge.” [Yoonus 10:5]

“And from among His Signs are the night and the day, and the sun and the moon. Prostrate yourselves not to the sun” nor to the moon, but prostrate yourselves to Allaah Who created them, if you (really) worship Him” (Fussilat 41:37)

Salaat al-Kusoof is Sunnah mu’akkadah (a confirmed Sunnah) according to the consensus of the scholars. The daleel (evidence) for this is the Sunnah reported from the Messenger of Allaah SAWS (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him)

Eclipses are signs from Allaah by means of which Allaah makes His slaves afraid. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): “And We sent not the signs except to warn, and to make them afraid (of destruction)” [al-Israa' 17:39]

When the sun was eclipsed at the time of the Messenger of Allaah SAWS (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), he went out rushing nervously to the mosque, dragging his cloak behind him, and led the people in prayer. He told them that the eclipse was one of the signs of Allaah, with which Allaah makes His slaves afraid, and that it may be the cause of punishment coming upon the people. He commanded them to do that which could prevent the punishment, so he commanded them to pray when an eclipse happens, and to make du’aa’, seek His forgiveness, give charity, free slaves and do other righteous deeds so that the punishment would go away and not befall the people. So the eclipse is a reminder to people, making them afraid so that they will turn back to Allaah and pay attention to Him.

During the Jaahiliyyah, people used to believe that eclipses happened to mark the birth or death of a great person, but the Messenger of Allaah SAWS (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) declared this belief to be false and explained the divine wisdom behind the occurrence of eclipses:

Imaam al-Bukhaari and Muslim narrated that Ibn Mas’ood al-Ansaari said: “the sun was eclipsed the day Ibraaheem the son of the Messenger of Allaah SAWS (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) died, and the people said, ‘The sun is eclipsed because of the death of Ibraaheem.’ The Messenger of Allaah SAWS (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: ‘The sun and the moon are two signs from Allaah, and they do not become eclipsed for the death or the birth of anyone. If you see that, hasten to remember Allaah and to pray.'”

According to another hadeeth in al-Saheehayn: “Call on Allaah and pray until [the eclipse] is over.”

It is reported in Saheeh al-Bukhaari that Abu Moosa said: “These signs that Allaah sends are not for the death or life of anyone, but Allaah makes His slaves afraid through them, so if you see anything of that [eclipses], then hasten to remember Allaah and call on Him and seek His forgiveness.”

Allaah causes eclipses to happen to these two mighty signs, the sun and the moon, to teach His slaves and show them that these things are created and are subject to imperfections and changes just like any other created entities. Thus He shows them His perfect ability and that He alone is deserving of worship, as Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): “And from among His Signs are the night and the day, and the sun and the moon. Prostrate yourselves not to the sun” nor to the moon, but prostrate yourselves to Allaah Who created them, if you (really) worship Him” (Fussilat 41:37)

The time for Salaat al-Kusoof lasts from the beginning of the eclipse until it is over, because the Prophet SAWS (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “When you see that, then pray.” (Agreed upon). According to another hadeeth, “If you see anything of that, then pray until it is over.” (Reported by Muslim).

Salaat al-Kusoof should not be done once the eclipse is over, because the time has gone. If an eclipse ends before one knows about it, one does not have to pray, because the reason for this prayer is no longer there.

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