A solar eclipse can be seen on the Earth when the Moon passes between the Sun and Earth, and the Moon fully or partially blocks the Sun.
It is expected that tomorrow (i.e. 3rd November),
“A total solar eclipse will be visible from parts of Africa…. The eclipse will be partial for people in some parts of Asia, Europe, North America and South America.
The partial eclipse will begin over the Indian Ocean and end over eastern United States.
This is a hybrid eclipse because it is both a total and an annular eclipse.”
According to astrology experts, the eclipse is expected to begin at 3:05 pm in Pakistan; its total phase will be at 4:06 pm here; and the eclipse would start ending at 5:49 pm Insha Allah.
At this point, it feels appropriate to know what exactly Islam says about the solar eclipse. Does it really occur due to the death of anyone? Does the myth of wearing red undies with a safety pin or carrying something metallic to ward off the eclipse-harm hold any truth? Or is it simply one of the signs of Allah?
There are numerous ayaat in the Quran regarding the sun and moon. Allah says:
“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 Allah Who created them, if you (really) worship Him” (Fussilat 41:37)
A solar eclipse occurred in Madinah during the Prophet’s (sallalahu alaihi wasallam) lifetime as well. When people attributed it to the recent death of his son Ibrahim, he clarified:
“These signs that Allah sends are not for the death or life of anyone, but Allah makes His slaves afraid through them, so if you see anything of that [eclipses], then hasten to remember Allah and call on Him and seek His forgiveness.” [Bukhari]
The prayer offered at the time of the eclipse is called Salat al-Kusoof and it is Sunnah Muakkadah (a confirmed Sunnah). It is better to perform it in congregation, but it is permissible to perform it individually as well. The scholars have stated that this is one of the exceptions which can be prayed after the ‘Asr prayer as well. Salat ul-Kusoof is unique in that it is offered as two rakahs, but with four rukoo’s!
Ummul Momineen Aishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) narrates the method of Salat ul-Kusoof:
“The sun was eclipsed at the time of the Messenger of Allah (Sallalahu alaihi wasallam), and the Messenger of Allah (sallalahu alaihi wasallam) went out, stood up and said Takbeer, and the people formed rows behind him. The Messenger of Allah (sallalahu alaihi wasallam) recited a lengthy recitation and did a lengthy rukoo’, then he raised his head and said, ‘Sami’a Allahu liman hamidah, Rabbanaa wa laka’l-hamd.’ Then he stood upright and recited another lengthy recitation, shorter than the first. Then he said ‘Allahu akbar’ and did another lengthy rukoo’, shorter than the first. Then he said, ‘Sami’a Allahu liman hamidah, Rabbanaa wa laka’l-hamd.’ Then he did sujood. Then in the second rakah he did likewise, until he had completed four rukoo’s and four sujoods, and the eclipse was over before he had finished.” (Bukhari and Muslim).”
We, as Muslims, should ditch all superstitions and should trust Allah. We should follow the Prophetic guidance which requires us to offer the eclipse prayer, give in charity, seek Allah’s forgiveness and increase in good deeds during an eclipse.