Saturday, February 16, 2008

Total Lunar Eclipse in Islam, February 20

"And among His Signs are the night and the day, the sun and the moon. Prostrate neither to the sun nor to the moon,
but prostrate to Allah who created them,
if it is truly Him you worship."
(Surat Fussilat, the Signs Explained)

"When the sight is dazed, and the moon is buried in darkness,
and the sun and moon are joined together:
Man will say on that day, ‘Where is the refuge?’"
(Surat al-Qiyamah, the Resurrection)

Insha Allah, on Wednesday night, Feb. 20, 2008, for the Americas, and on the morning of the 21st for Europe and West Africa, the moon will become completely immersed in the Earth's shadow, resulting in a total lunar eclipse.

Astronomers have said that a total lunar eclipse would be visible in many parts of the world.
The total phase will last 51-minutes and would begin at 10:01 p.m. EST.

The next total lunar eclipse will be December 20–21, 2010, Insha Allah.


What should Muslim do during an Eclipse?

We, as Muslim, should

- remembering Allah during an eclipse,
- ask forgiveness and patient,
- making dua
- charity
- and perforrming a salaatul-Kusuuf in congregation.

What does an eclipse mean to Muslim?

There are several meanings to Muslim. An eclipse is:
A sign of the majesty and power of Allah.

Narrated Abu Masud: The Prophet said, "The sun and the moon do not eclipse because of the death of someone from the people but they are two signs amongst the signs of Allah. When you see them, stand up and pray."

2. A sign of darkness and fear. Muslim should do dzikir and make alot of doa/supplication to Allah for patience and seeking forgiveness.

Narrated Abu Bakra:Allah's Apostle said: "The sun and the moon are two signs amongst the signs of Allah and they do not eclipse because of the death of someone but Allah frightens His devotees with them."

"The Sun and the Moon are two of the Signs (Ayat) of Allah: they do not darken for the death or birth of any person, but Allah strikes fear into His servants by means of them. So when you see them darken, remember and mention Allah, declare His Greatness, offer prayer, give in charity, and supplicate to Him and seek His forgiveness."

3. A reminder of the Day of Judgment.

Narrated Abu Musa: The sun eclipsed and the Prophet got up, being afraid that it might be the Hour (i.e. Day of Judgment). He went to the Mosque and offered a prayer with the longest Qiyam, bowing and prostration that I had ever seen him doing. Then he said, "These signs which Allah sends do not occur because of the life or death of somebody, but Allah makes His worshipers afraid by them. So when you see anything thereof, proceed to remember Allah, invoke Him and ask for His forgiveness."

What is the sunnah regarding an eclipse?

At a time of a solar or lunar eclipse, the sunnah is to pray Nafl a salatul-kusuf that is performed by the Muslim community in congregation.

Narrated 'Aisha :
In the life-time 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 Raka 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.

Narrated 'Aisha:
In the lifetime of the Prophet the sun eclipsed and the Prophet (p.b.u.h) stood up to offer the prayer with the people and recited a long recitation, then he performed a prolonged bowing, and then lifted his head and recited a prolonged recitation which was shorter than the first. Then he performed a prolonged bowing which was shorter than the first and then lifted his head and performed two prostrations. He then stood up for the second Raka and offered it like the first. Then he stood up and said, "The sun and the moon do not eclipse because of someone's life or death but they are two signs amongst the signs of Allah which He shows to His worshipers. So whenever you see them, make haste for the prayer."

How to perform A Salaatul-Kusoof

The Solar Eclipse Prayer is an emphatic Sunnah for both male and female believers. It is better to offer it congregationally in the masjid. Its time is from the beginning of the eclipse till it clears away. There is no Adhaan for the prayer, but it should be announced, as stated earlier, with Assalaatu Jaami'ah.

According to the Hadeeth, narrated by 'Aaishah (r.'a.), the Solar Eclipse Prayer is two raka'aats; however, there are two rukuu'uus (bowing down) in each raka'ah instead of one.

In the first raka'ah, one recites after Al-Faatihah, a long or short suurah. One then says Allahu Akbar and bows down in a long rukuu'u. As one raises up, one says:

Sami'allahu liman hamidah
Rabbana lakal hamd

One then says Allahu Akbar and bows down for a second, not so long, Rukuu'u. As one raises up one says:

Sami'allaahu liman hamidah
Rabbanaa lakal hamd.

As one resumes Qiyaam, one says Allahu Akbar and falls down in prostration. One begins the second raka'ah by saying Allaahu Akbar. The second raka'ah should be observed like the first one.

It is Sunnah to recite lengthy surahs in such prayers and stay longer in Ruku and Sajdah. It is optional to recite aloud or quietly.

After the prayer, the Imaam may give a guiding Khutbah.

The Lunar Eclipse Prayer is the same as the Solar Eclipse Prayer.

Note: If for some reason, the Imaam is not available, then people should perform Salaah individually.

Activity for Kids: Try making your own solar system

Use a large camping flashlight to act as the Sun in an otherwise unlit room.
A table lamp will do if you're not the outdoorsy type. Place an apple on the table to represent Earth.

I recommend a golf ball as the model Moon -- it's highly reflective and has crater-like pits for added realism.

Move the golf ball counterclockwise around the apple and watch how sunlight shines on it. One circle represents a full lunar cycle -- not quite a month on the calendar. Inspect what part of the golf ball is lit from the perspective of a worm on the apple, and note whether it is daytime or nighttime wherever you'd like to imagine the worm to be.

Your model solar system should help illuminate celestial rhythms, revealing where the Moon really goes.

Please don't forget sholat and making alot of doa, Nasheed: My Ummah by Sami Yusuf .

May Allah always help and guide us in the right path. Ameen.

1. Animated: Total Lunar Eclipse Feb 20-21, 2008
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