The Eclipse Prayer: Salaat-ul-kusoof (Solar Eclipse prayer) and Salaat-ul-Khusoof (Lunar Eclipse prayer)

Posted: January 4, 2011 in Prayer in Islam, Qur'an and Sunnah, Unity
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Bismillah-hir Rahman-nir Raheem (in the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful)

A solar eclipse

The prayers for a lunar eclipse and a solar eclipse is the same. It’s important to pray this in congregation, although praying alone is permissible too. The importance is because the Prophet (peace be upon him) instructed us to remember Allah and invoke Allah during this time, and this was also a time when the Prophet (peace be upon him) was afraid of what was to come.

Narrated `Abdullah bin `Amr : “When the sun eclipsed in the lifetime of Allah’s Apostle an announcement was made that a prayer was to be offered in congregation.” [Bukhari, 2.155]

The eclipses do not happen because someone has died and this is clear from the following hadith:

Narrated Abu Bakr: We were with Allah’s Apostle when the sun eclipsed. Allah’s Apostle stood up dragging his cloak til he entered the Mosque. He led us in a two-rak`at prayer till the sun (eclipse) had cleared. Then the Prophet (p.b.u.h) said, “The sun and the moon do not eclipse because of someone’s death. So whenever you see these eclipses pray and invoke (Allah) till the eclipse is over.” [Bukhari, 2.150]

Narrated Al-Mughira bin Shu`ba: “The sun eclipsed in the lifetime of Allah’s Apostle on the day when (his son) Ibrahim died. So the people said that the sun had eclipsed because of the death of Ibrahim. Allah’s Apostle said, “The sun and the moon do not eclipse because of the death or life (i.e. birth) of someone. When you see the eclipse pray and invoke Allah.” [Bukhari, 2.153]

Diagram showing how a solar eclipse occurs

SO HOW DO YOU PRAYER THE ECLIPSE PRAYER?

An Eclipse prayer is made up of two rakaats of prayer (two units of prayer). Basically there are two rukus (bowings) and two recitations from Qur’an in each unit of prayer (rakaat) – in normal prayer, there is only one bowing per unit of prayer (see my post on How to Pray).

  1. So you stand up for prayer as normal
  2. Recite Qur’an as you normally would
  3. Go into Rukoo (bow) and prolong the rukoo with duas
  4. Stand up and recite Qur’an again
  5. Go into Rukoo (bow) again and prolong the rukoo with duas but not as long as the first rukoo
  6. Stand up and then go into sujood (prostration) and prolong the sujood with duas
  7. Sit up straight
  8. Go into sujood again and prolong it (but not as long as the first sujood)
  9. You repeat the above steps for the second rakaat (second unit of prayer)

The prayer is described in the following hadiths:

Narrated `Aisha: In the lifetime of Allah’s Apostle (p.b.u.h) the sun eclipsed, so he led the people in prayer, and stood up and performed a long Qiyam, then bowed for a long while. He stood up again and performed a long Qiyam but this time the period of standing was shorter than the first. He bowed again for a long time but shorter than the first one, then he prostrated and prolonged the prostration. He did the same in the second rak`a as he did in the first and then finished the prayer; by then the sun (eclipse) had cleared. He delivered the Khutba (sermon) and after praising and glorifying Allah he said, “The sun and the moon are two signs against the signs of Allah; they do not eclipse on the death or life of anyone. So when you see the eclipse, remember Allah and say Takbir, pray and give Sadaqa.” The Prophet then said, “O followers of Muhammad! By Allah! There is none who has more ghaira (self- respect) than Allah as He has forbidden that His slaves, male or female commit adultery (illegal sexual intercourse). O followers of Muhammad! By Allah! If you knew that which I know you would laugh little and weep much. [Bukhari, 2.154]

Narrated `Aisha: (the wife of the Prophet (p.b.u.h) In the lifetime of the Prophet the sun eclipsed and he went to the Mosque and the people aligned behind him. He said the Takbir (starting the prayer) and prolonged the recitation (from the Qur’an) and then said Takbir and performed a prolonged bowing; then he (lifted his head and) said, “Sami allahu liman hamidah” (Allah heard him who sent his praises to Him). He then did not prostrate but stood up and recited a prolonged recitation which was shorter than the first recitation. He again said Takbir and then bowed a prolonged bowing but shorter than the first one and then said, “Sami`a l-lahu Lyman hamidah Rabbana walak-lhamd, (Allah heard him who sent his praises to Him. O our Sustainer! All the praises are for You)” and then prostrated and did the same in the second rak`a; thus he completed four bowing and four prostrations. The sun (eclipse) had cleared before he finished the prayer. (After the prayer) he stood up, glorified and praised Allah as He deserved and then said, “The sun and the moon are two of the signs of Allah. They do not eclipse because of the death or the life (i.e. birth) of someone. When you see them make haste for the prayer.” Narrated Az-Zuhri: I said to ‘Urwa, “When the sun eclipsed at Medina your brother (`Abdullah bin Az-Zubair) offered only a two-rak`at prayer like that of the morning (Fajr) prayer.” ‘Ursa replied, “Yes, for he missed the Prophet’s tradition (concerning this matter).” [Bukhari, 2.156]

Narrated `Abdullah bin `Amr When the sun eclipsed in the lifetime of Allah’s Apostle and an announcement was made that the prayer was to be held in congregation. The Prophet performed two bowing in one rak`a. Then he stood up and performed two bowing in one rak`a. Then he sat down and finished the prayer; and by then the (eclipse) had cleared `Aisha said, “I had never performed such a long prostration.” [Bukhari, 2.160]

I also found the following short instruction on the Eclipse Prayer useful (by Salafi Publications)

I hope I haven’t confused anyone but please ask if I have. Insha’Allah if I can answer in time before the prayer begins, I will.

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Comments
  1. Arfa says:

    Thx for this, bro. Was very helpful. Short and easy to understand. JazakAllah Kher

  2. Robby says:

    I do not understand why a special prayer is necessary at an eclipse – any more than a prayer when it rains [ indeed we have more cause to be afraid when it rains, to be afraid of flooding].
    Yet you do seem to suggest that “the Prophet (peace be upon him) was afraid of what was to come.”

    Best Wishes to all.

    • maverick says:

      Hi Robby

      In Islam, there are a number of prayers for different occasions – such as Friday prayer, prayers whilst travelling, prayers on Eid – each provides a specific benefit. In terms of the Eclipse prayer, this is special because this is a very specific sign from God/Allah that is not a regular occurrence and a reminder of the Day of Judgement and of Allah’s Power and Might and His Right over every single living being and creation and so Muslims treat such events in that kind of context.

      Also, prayers in Islam follow a specific order of recitations and actions – this is different from supplicating to God, which can be done at any time, for any purpose, and there are supplications for rain and other situations. In addition, the Prophet (peace be upon him) was concerned whenever dark clouds were seen approaching, as this could mean anything – it could be respite from the heat with light rain or something much harsher (which we know has happened from Prophet Nuh/Noah’s time and other events in history). The Prophet (peace be upon him) has left guidance with us as to how to supplicate to God/Allah in various circumstances – good and bad – and this does leave lots of room for personal supplications.

      In terms of being afraid of what is to come, certainly the Day of Judgement is something to be afraid of because everyone’s deeds (both tiny and large) will be judged on that day and there will be no injustice. I’m not suggesting that the Prophet (peace be upon him) was afraid – this is actual fact, he was afraid and he said so and with good reason. God’s Punishment is not something to be complacent about (and unfortunately many people are these days) and neither is God’s Mercy something to cast aside – the fact is that no one knows what their state is going to be on the Day of Judgement and certainly the Day of Judgement is a very, very heavy day – even for the Prophets (upon them all be peace). So it is quite normal for a Prophet to show concern for his people and for the people to be concerned about their state on the Day of Judgement and their state in this life.

      I hope that may have answered some of your questions but please contact me if you have more questions. Apologies if some of my explanations have not been clear – if this is the case, this is clearly a weakness on my part.

      • Ayodele Akande says:

        Analogy: Most people find the thought of standing trial in court terrifying; even as a witness. There are lots of training (expert witness) for these to make people more comfortable. Imagine on the day of judgement how terrifying this will be for mankind as there will be no pretensions. Allah mentions Jesus’s trial in Surah Maidah. May Allah protect us from heedlessness of His warnings.

  3. FS says:

    MashaAllah Maverick. It is a beautiful answer. Very well framed.

    Some people have knowledge but won’t know how to put it across. Some will have no knowledge and yet would come up with an answer that looks incomplete, unauthentic, ugly and very defensive or argumentative. I think we should be so proud of our customs and traditions (derived strictly from the Quran and Sunnah) that we must try and explain to the misguided, in the best possible manner and then leave it to Allah to guide their hearts or seal them, all the while never gettting too defensive (we don’t need to as it is clear that Islam is the true and only way of life) or even argumentative.

    I think you balanced it out so well in this particular answer that I couldn’t help but put in a few words of praise for the good work. May Allah guide you and make you a source of spreading out the message of Islam. Ameen.

  4. joel A. Wahid says:

    assalamu alaykum,

    my concern is, what was d recitation of prophet mohammad s.a.w. During rukuh n sujud on salat of lunar eclipse?

    hope u could as a definite answer.
    Sukran

  5. afroz says:

    thanks it helped me a lot.

  6. Hamza Zuberi says:

    It’s ‘Urwa (brother of Abdullah bin Zubair), not ‘Ursa

  7. Tukur Abdullahi Zakariyya says:

    Assalam. my family found it enriching as we (Nigeria) prepare to witness solar eclips today. may Allah continue to guide us amongst the guided and protect us from the torment of fire. Amin.

  8. Saminu says:

    Thanks for this very important piece. I hav a question to ask? Must the adhan be made like the normal call to prayer? ie: For eclipse prayer. Anticipating your quick response. Thank yo

  9. Ahmad Abdulrasheed says:

    In fact! This is really helpful. JazaakAllahu khair

    • Muhammad says:

      JazakAllah khair….very very informative…i have never heard about this prayer before..But Allhamdullila now i have learned this from your article first time..thanks for educating…inshaAllah i will follow it and spread it as much as Allah give me strength..JzakAllah Khair

  10. Jassan says:

    jazakallah brother. May Allah forgive and guide you almays.Ameen!

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