Eclipses are a great natural phenomenon, but they are not a normal phenomenon. There is a difference.
Waves of the ocean are a great natural phenomenon; so is the wind, the mountain, and our own bodies. They are a reminder of the magnificence of their Creator. But when the ocean’s waves turn into a tsunami, the wind tears down as a tornado, the mountain spouts lava, they are no longer just great natural phenomenon; they turn into something greater. Something fearsome and frightening. They become a sign—from the Creator, to His Creation.
You see, as Muslims our lives are governed by the teachings of Allah SWT and His Prophet SAW. We should interpret everything according to these teachings. There are scientific miracles. Science is in perfect harmony with Islam and nature, if the lens of observation is not scientific first, but God first.
One of these awesome recurrent natural phenomena are the solar and lunar eclipses. Sky gazers go wild over these events and large public gatherings are held to watch this ‘thriller’. But are these really thrilling events? What does Islam say about this?
At the time of the Prophet SAW, people used to believe that solar and lunar eclipses occurred due to the death of someone special. Our Prophet SAW denied that by saying:
“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.” (Bukhari)
In another tradition, He SAW 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. So when you see them make haste for the prayer.”
Yet in another tradition, He SAW said: “The sun and the moon are two signs amongst the signs of Allah; they do not eclipse on the death or life of anyone. Therefore, when you see the eclipse, remember Allah and say Takbir, pray and give Sadaqa.”
As we get closer to the Day of Judgment, abnormal phenomena will occur with rapid frequency. We are already witnessing this in the form of terrifying volcanic eruptions, tsunamis, hurricanes, mudslides and eclipses. All of these are signs from the Creator declaring one message. DON’T BE HEEDLESS! There is a God and He is watching. No matter how long we live, we will eventually return to Him. If we follow Him and serve His creation, we will be protected; otherwise, His wrath is clear to see through all the abnormal natural phenomena.
In conclusion, we can say that eclipses, like other signs from God are frightening if we view them as mere thrillers without taking heed from them. When we see an eclipse, we should follow the Sunnah and do the following:
* Offer prayers and other acts of worship. In the hadith, it almost comes across as if the Prophet is commanding us to pray in the event of an eclipse, and not simply a recommendation.
* Perform the prayer in a state of awe of God, and His Might. The prayer of the Prophet was not short, instead it lasted the entire duration of the eclipse.
You can check the timings of the eclipse at your location and should encourage your entire family to be busy with acts of devotion, and pray in congregation if possible. Ask Allah SWT to keep our hearts alive at a time when heedlessness is spreading rapidly.
These events are another chance from Allah SWT for qiyam-al-lail and extra devotion. Let’s make the most of it. And what’s more, when most of the people are in a state of heedlessness from God and just don’t care, any small act of worship you perform is multiplied and its reward is much greater. Why? Because now you are the abnormal phenomena of God. A great, loved, and honored abnormal phenomenon; so distinct and high above the masses who have forgotten their Creator.
We believe the nucleus of a nation is the family. The success of a nation depends on the strength of its families. You develop a family, you develop a nation and we hope to do just that!