Eclipse…..yet another sign of Allaah’s Power
by Asma bint Shameem
Two days back, we had a lunar eclipse. Everyone was so excited. They were talking about it for days. They couldn’t wait to witness this spectacular phenomenon. After all, it would be the last total lunar eclipse until next year! Some sent emails, some made special plans, some gathered with family and friends so that they can watch and ‘enjoy’ these few moments together, to be ‘entertained’ by the night sky, laughing, joking, having a good time.
The lunar eclipse was expected to ‘delight’ skywatchers across the United States and much of the world.
Now let’s rewind and go back 1400 years ago. It was a similar time. The desert sun was shining brightly when all of a sudden, darkness gathered in the middle of the day. The sun could no longer be seen. It was a solar eclipse.
What did the Prophet (Sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa Sallam) do? What did the Sahabah do?
Did they all gather together to ‘ witness this spectacular phenomenon’?…… so that they can ‘enjoy’ these few moments together?….. to be ‘entertained’ by the afternoon sky, laughing, joking, having a good time???
What did they do at the time of the eclipse??
The Prophet (Sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa Sallam) rushed to the Masjid, gathered all the Sahaabah and prayed. They humbled themselves to the Lord of the worlds and prayed a special prayer called Salaat al-Kusoof. They were bowing and prostrating, beseeching Allaah to forgive them, asking for His Mercy, hoping for His forgiveness. They gave in charity and hastened to do other good deeds.
WHY? Weren’t they impressed by this awesome phenomenon?
Sure they were….but in a different way.
The eclipse was a sign, among the signs of Allaah, that reminded them of the Majesty, the Supremacy, the Ultimate Power of Allaah over all things.
“And from among His Signs are the night and the day, and the sun and the moon. Prostrate not to the sun nor to the moon, but prostrate yourselves to Allaah Who created them, if you (really) worship Him” (Surah Fussilat: 37)
And the Prophet (Sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa Sallam) 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.” (Bukhaari)
The eclipse was a reminder for them of a Day not so far away…..a Day that mankind would have to face when the sun would lose its light and the moon would be eclipsed, the stars would fall and there will be no place to flee.
Narrated Abu Musa: “The sun eclipsed and the Prophet (Sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa Sallam) got up, being afraid that it might be the Hour (Day of Judgment). He went to the Masjid 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.” (Bukhaari, Muslim)
They were afraid that the eclipse might be a warning from Allaah Subhaanahu wa Ta’ala, a precursor to an affliction, such as famine, disease, etc., by means of which Allaah makes His slaves afraid. So they turned to Allaah at this time of fear, making du’aa’ and seeking His forgiveness, hoping it will remove the cause of His Wrath. They remembered what Allaah said in His Book:
“And We sent not the signs except to warn, and to make them afraid (of destruction)” [al-Israa’ 17:39]
Eclipses may be a natural phenomenon but the Prophet (Sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa Sallam) and the Sahaabah understood the seriousness of the issue of eclipses. They knew its no time for fun and games.
After the Prophet (Sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa Sallam) finished praying, and the eclipse was over he addressed the people, then he said: ‘O Ummah of Muhammad, by Allaah there is no one more jealous than Allaah when His slave, male or female, commits zina. O Ummah of Muhammad, if you knew what I know you would laugh little and weep much.’” (Bukhaari)
The Prophet (Sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa Sallam) also clarified for them that eclipses are not due to the death or birth of people, or other superstitions like that. Rather they are signs of Allaah. So clarify in your mind all superstitions associated with eclipses such as shutting yourself inside the home, or that eclipses may cause birth defects in babies, or that it will cause harm to pregnant women, etc.
So you see, a lunar or solar eclipse is not a time to be ‘entertained’ by the moon or the sun, nor is it a time to gather and have a ‘good time’. Nor is it a time to be superstitious. Rather it is a time be solemn and grave, to pray to Allaah and turn to Him for forgiveness and Mercy.
Sure, we can look at the eclipse, but look at it to remind yourself.
Remind yourself of the Power of Allaah, of His Might and Majesty….of how insignificant we are in front of His Magnificence and how dependant we are, on His Mercy.
Reflect on the eclipse. Surely, it is a superb phenomenon indeed. But it only serves to increase the Imaan of the believer…….How Powerful is the One who can subjugate His creation, such as the moon and the sun to serve Him and obey Him!!!
How Mighty is the one who controls these humongous creations of His and how Great is His Command!!
“To Allah belongs the Kingdom of the heavens and the earth. Allah has Power over all things.” (Surah Aali-Imraan: 189)
So turn to Allaah at times like these and others, remembering Him, and hasten to seek His forgiveness. Remember the Day when the sun will be extinguished and the moon will be eclipsed…..just like it happened two days ago. Only, this time it ended…..and that time…..it won’t.
Rather, it will be the beginning of a long hard day when we will all have to stand in front of our Lord and give account of every single thing we did or said.
“When will the Day of Resurrection be?’ he asks.
But, when the sight shall be dazed,
And the moon will be eclipsed,
And the sun and moon are gathered together (folded up, deprived of their light)
On that Day the human will ask: ‘To (which place) shall I flee?
No, there shall be no (place of) refuge.
For on that Day the refuge shall be to your Lord (alone).
On that Day the human shall be informed of his former and latter deeds.
He shall be a clear proof against himself,
even though he offers his excuses.” (Surah Qiyaamah 75: 6-15)