The things that one should do at the time of an eclipse…
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
So, it seems that most of us are in for a (full?) lunar eclipse tonight.
So, what do we do? Take out the binoculars and watch the eclipse whilst munching on Pringles?
No, this is what the people who disbelieve in Allah and the Last Day do, so we shouldn’t follow them in their misguidance.
The people who believe in Allah and the Last Day should follow the best guidance i.e that of the Prophet (salallahu alaihi wasallam).
What did he do? Well, he prayed two really long rakaahs, each rakaah containing TWO really long rukoos. Here’s why.
How do we do it? Here’s how. Note: It says “as long as Surah Al-Baqarah” but it really depends on the length of the eclipse as Ibn Taimiyyah (rahimahullah) said.
[What if you don’t know many surahs? Well, firstly, try to pray even if you can’t make it a long prayer. A short eclipse prayer is better than no prayer. Also, perhaps you could carry a mushaf and recite from it? This fatwa (in Arabic) says it’s allowed.]
It’s not for everyone, just for those who actually have an eclipse in their land.
[Note to my fellow UAE residents: It seems that it starts tonight at 10:22pm to 2:02am, insha-Allah. I would advise peeping out of the windows to confirm that the eclipse has started before praying.]
What else can you do? Well, the Prophet (salallahu alaihi wasallam) ordered us to do dua (supplication), dhikr (remembrance of Allah), do takbeer (say Allahu Akbar), istighfar (seek forgiveness), give charity and seek refuge in the punishment of the grave. Proof? I’m too tired to post each hadeeth but all of them can be found in the Chapter of Eclipses in Sahih Al-Bukhari which you can read here.
What if you read this after the eclipse has already occured?
Well, you should remember:
1) That solar and lunar eclipses do happen quite a bit so make sure that you don’t miss it the next time (if you’re alive, of course).
2) Apart from the eclipse prayer, all the other things should be done on a regular basis not just when there is an eclipse.
3) Remember the point of the eclipse: Allah wants to frighten His slaves. Why? For us to be aware of His great power and so that we can turn back to Him in repentance.
So, remember the purpose and act accordingly.
4) Remember that we need to prepare for some of these occasions beforehand so we need to seek knowledge about our religion and inform others about these events beforehand, not just at the last minute.
For example, if we study about Islam, we’ll realise that the ten best days are the first ten days of Dhul Hijjah. Many people are unaware of this so we need to tell them and we need to tell them at least a week in advance so that they will be prepared for it.
To all those who read this before or during the eclipse, try to pray and do the above mentioned things. We don’t know if we’ll get another chance to apply this sunnah.