Fiqh-us-Sunnah Volume 002, Supererogatory Prayer, Fiqh 2.034A.

Section : Salatul Kasuf, prayer of the solar and lunar eclipse.

The scholars agree that the prayer of the eclipses is a sunnah mu'akkadah, a stressed one, which is to be performed by both men and women. It is best to pray it in congregation although the congregation is not a condition for it. The people are called to it by announcing as-salatu jami'ah "prayer in congregation." The majority of the scholars hold that it is to consist of two rak'at and that in every rak'ah one is to perform two bowings (ruku') instead of the customary one.

'Aishah narrates: "There was a solar eclipse during the time of the Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam and the Prophet went to the mosque, and he stood and made the takbir, and he put the people in rows behind him, and he made a lengthy recital during the salah. Next, he made the takbir and made a long ruku', but it was not as long as the recital. Following that, he raised his head, saying: 'Allah hears him who praises Him. And to You, our Lord, belongs the praise.' Afterward, he stood and made another long recital but it was shorter than the first one. Again, he made the takbir and made a ruku' that was shorter than the first one. Then, again he said: 'Allah hears him who praises Him. And to You, our Lord, belongs the praise.' After this, he prostrated. He did the same in the next rak'ah and finished four ruku' and four sujjud. The sun appeared again before he finished. Finally, he stood and addressed the people and praised Allah as He deserves it and said: 'The sun and the moon are two signs from among Allah's signs and there is no eclipse due to someone's death or life. If you see them occurring, hurry to pray.'" This is related by alBukhari and Muslim.

Bukhari and Muslim also record that Ibn 'Abbas said: "There was a solar eclipse during the life time of the Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam and he prayed with a long standing, similar to what it takes to recite alBaqarah. Then, he made a long ruku'. After which, he stood and made another long recital but shorter than the first one. Again he went into ruku', but for a shorter time than in the first one. Following this, he made sajdah [twice]. Next he made another long standing (qiyam) which was also not as long as the first. After that, he made another lengthy ruku' but it was not as long as the first one. Again, he made another long qiyam [and recital] but it was not as long as the first one. After which, he made another lengthy ruku' but it was not as long as the previous one. Following this, he went into sajdah [and so on]. When he had finished, the sun had appeared. He concluded his prayer and said: 'The sun and the moon are two signs from the signs of Allah, and there is no eclipse due to the death or life of anyone. If you see it, make remembrance of Allah.'" Grading these reports, Ibn Abdul Barr says: "These two hadith are the most authentic reports on this topic."

Ibn al-Qayyim observes: "The authentic, clear, and prepondering sunnah concerning salatul kasuf is that the ruku' is to be repeated [twice] in every rak'ah. This is based on the hadith from 'Aishah, Ibn 'Abbas, Jabir, Ubayy ibn Ka'b, 'Abdullah ibn 'Amr ibn al-'Aas, and Abu Musa alAsh'ari. They all report that the Prophet repeated the ruku' in one rak'ah. Those who mention the repeating of the ruku' are more in number, weightier, and closer to the Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam than those who do not mention it." This is the opinion of Malik, ash-Shaf'i, and Ahmad.

Abu Hanifah is of the opinion that salatul Kasuf consists of two rak'at, similar to salatul 'id and jumu'ah, based on the hadith of An-Nu'man ibn Bashir who says: "The Messenger of Allah sallallahu alehi wasallam prayed the salatul kasuf with us like one of your prayers. He went into ruku' and performed sajdah, praying two rak'at by two rak'at, and supplicated to Allah until the sun reappeared clearly again."

In the hadith from Qabsah al-Hillali, the Prophet said: "If you see that [i.e., an eclipse], pray as you pray the obligatory prayer." This is related by Ahmad and an-Nasa'i.

The reciting of al-Fatihah is obligatory in each rak'ah, and one may recite whatever one wishes to, after Al-Fatihah. It is allowed to make the recital audible or silent, but al-Bukhari says: "Audible recital is more proper. "

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