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Salat ul-Khusuf: The Eclipse Prayer

Eclipses are natural phenomena that happen when the stars and planets align. A lunar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes directly behind the Earth and into its shadow. This can occur only when the Sun, Earth and the Moon are exactly or very closely aligned, with the Earth between the other two. A solar eclipse occurs when a portion of the Earth is engulfed in a shadow cast by the Moon which fully or partially blocks sunlight.

Eclipses do not signify the death or birth of anyone, rather they are among the enormous signs and perfect creations of Allah ﷻ. They transpire to remind humans that they are another mere creation in this vast universe and do so to instill fear and gratitude in them.

Al-Bukhaari (1059) and Muslim (912) narrated that Abu Musa (R.A) said: ‘The sun was eclipsed, and the Prophet ﷺ got up in a state of anxiety thinking that it was the Hour. He came to the mosque and began to pray, standing, bowing and prostrating for the longest time I ever saw him do, and he said:

These signs that are sent do not occur for the death or birth of anyone, rather Allah sends them to create fear in His slaves. If you see any of them, then hasten to remember Him, call upon Him and ask Him for forgiveness.”’

Prophet Muhammad ﷺ would pray Salat ul-Khusuf whenever an eclipse would occur. The way in which he ﷺ performed the eclipse prayer is as follows:

  1. The worshiper recites the opening Takbeer (Takbeerat al-ihram) and the opening supplication (Dua’ al-Istiftaah), then he seeks refuge with Allah ﷻ.
  2. Then, he recites al-Faatihah, followed by a long surah.
  3. Then, he bows, making it lengthy.
  4. Then, he rises from bowing and says: ‘Sami Allahu liman hamidah, Rabbana wa laka al-hamd’ (Allah ﷻ hears those who call upon him; our Lord, to You, be the praise).
  5. Then, he recites al-Faatihah again, followed by another long surah, but it is not as long as the first recitation.
  6. Then, he bows again, making it long, but not as long as the first time.
  7. Then, he rises from bowing and says: ‘Sami Allahu liman hamidah, Rabbana wa laka al-hamd’ (Allah ﷻ hears those who call upon him; our Lord, to You, be the praise), and he stands for a long time.
  8. Then, he prostrates twice, making each prostration lengthy, and sits for a long time between the two prostrations.
  9. Then, he gets up for the second rak’ah and does the same as he did in the first rak’ah i.e. recites al-Faatiha, followed by a lengthy recitation and bows, but each action is not as long as it was in the first rak’ah.
  10. Then, he stands and does not prostrate. He recites for a long time, but it is shorter than the first time.
  11. Then, he says the Takbeer and bows for a long time, but it is shorter than the first time.
  12. Then, he says, ‘Sami Allahu liman hamidah, Rabbana wa laka al-hamd’ (Allah ﷻ hears those who call upon him; our Lord, to You, be the praise).
  13. Then, he prostrates. Thus, he does four bowings and four prostrations.
  14. Then, he recites the Tashahhud and makes Tasleem.

This is indicated by the hadith of ‘Aa’ishah (R.A). Al-Bukhaari (1046) narrated that ‘Aa’ishah (R.A), the wife of the Prophet ﷺ said: ‘The Sun was eclipsed during the lifetime of the Messenger of Allah ﷺ. Messenger of Allah ﷺ went out to the mosque and stood and said Takbeer, and the people formed rows behind him. The Messenger of Allah ﷺ recited for a long time, then he said Takbeer and bowed for a long time. Then, he said, “Sami Allahu liman hamidah (Allah ﷻ hears those who praise Him) …”’

It is Sunnah to pray Salat ul-Khusuf in jama’ah (congregation) because this is what the Prophet ﷺ did, but it is permissible to pray it individually as with all other Nafil prayers. However, praying it in a congregation is better.

And Allah ﷻ knows best.

Written by: Mateeba Quazi
Edited by: The Editorial Team 
© The Islamic Reflections Blog

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