Question # 324: How to pray namze Khusuf?
Bismi-llahi r-raḥmani r-raḥīm,
Assalamu ‘laikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh,
All praise and thanks are due to Allah (سبحانه و تعالى), and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger (صلى الله عليه و سلم).
First of all, we implore Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) to help us serve His cause and render our work for His sake.
Shorter Answer: Salatul Kasoof (Kasuf) or the prayer of the eclipses is a sunnah mu’akkadah (confirmed Sunnah), which is to be performed by both men and women. It is permissible to pray it individually but praying in congregation is better. It consists of two rak’ah with four ruku’ and four sujood; that is, in every rak’ah, one is to perform two bowings (ruku’) instead of the customary one. The reciting of al-Fatihah is obligatory in each rak’ah, and one may recite whatever one wishes to, after Al-Fatihah, preferably a long Soorah such as al-Baqarah or the equivalent. It is allowed to make the recital audible or silent, but audible recital is more proper according to al-Bukhari.
The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) told that the eclipse was one of the signs of Allah to make His slaves afraid (and it has nothing to do with someone’s birth or death), so he commanded them to pray when an eclipse happens, and to make du’aa’, seek His forgiveness, give charity, do other righteous deeds. The time for Salat al-Kusuf lasts from the beginning of the eclipse until it is over and should not be offered once the eclipse is over.
Long Answer: The scholars agree that the prayer of the eclipses is a sunnah mu’akkadah (confirmed Sunnah), 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.
When the sun was eclipsed at the time of the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه و سلم), he went out rushing nervously to the mosque, dragging his cloak behind him, and led the people in prayer. ‘Aishah (رضي الله عنها) narrates: “There was a solar eclipse during the time of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) 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.’ (Sami’a Allaahu liman hamidah, Rabbanaa wa laka’l-hamd) 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 sujood. 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 al-Bukhari and Muslim)
Bukhari and Muslim also record that Ibn ‘Abbas (رضي الله عنه) said: “There was a solar eclipse during the life time of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) and he prayed with a long standing, similar to what it takes to recite al-Baqarah. 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 sujood [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 sujood [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 ‘Arur ibn al-‘Aas, and Abu Musa al-Ash’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 (صلى الله عليه و سلم) than those who do not mention it.” This is the opinion of Malik, ash-Shafi’i, and Ahmad. Abu Hanifah is of the opinion that salatul Kasuf consists of two rak’at, similar to salatul ‘id and jummu’ah, based on the hadith of An-Nu’man ibn Bashir who says: “The Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه و سلم) prayed the salatul kasuf with us like one of your prayers. He went into ruku’ and performed sujood, 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.”
As for the time for al-kasuf, it is from the beginning of the eclipse until the eclipse finishes. The prayer of the lunar eclipse is similar to that of the solar eclipse. [The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: “When you see that, then pray.” (Agreed upon). According to another hadith, “If you see anything of that, then pray until it is over.” (Reported by Muslim) Hence, Salat al-Kusuf should not be offered once the eclipse is over, because the time has gone. If an eclipse ends before one knows about it, one does not have to pray, because the reason for this prayer is no longer there. If the prayer ends before the eclipse does, then remember Allah (dhikr) and call on Him (du’aa’) until the eclipse ends. The prayer should not be repeated. If the eclipse ends before the prayer, then the prayer should be completed quickly, but it should not be stopped or cut off abruptly. (Shaykh Muhammad Saalih al-Munajjid)]
It is preferred to make the takbir, supplications, to give charity, and ask Allah for forgiveness during the eclipse. [Further, it happened that a son of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) called Ibrahim died on that day and the people were talking about that (saying that the eclipse was caused by his death)] Al-Bukhari and Muslim record from ‘Aishah (رضي الله عنها) that the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: “The sun and the moon are two signs from among Allah’s signs and there is no eclipse due to the life or death of anyone. If you see that [an eclipse] supplicate to Allah, extol His greatness, give charity and pray.” They also record from Abu Musa that there was a solar eclipse and the Prophet said: “If you see something of this nature, rush to the remembrance of Allah, supplicating Him and asking His forgiveness.”
[Lastly, eclipses are signs from Allah by means of which Allah makes His slaves afraid. In another version, Abu Mas’ud al-Ansari (رضي الله عنه) reported Allah’s Messenger (صلى الله عليه و سلم) as saying: “Verily the sun and the moon are the two signs among the signs of Allah by which He frightens his servants and they do not eclipse on account of the death of any one of the people. So, when you see anything about them, observe prayer, supplicate Allah till it is cleared from you.” (Sahih Muslim)]
(Most part of the above answer is from the book ‘Fiqh Us-Sunnah’ by As-Sayyid Sabiq, unless stated otherwise)
Allahu A’lam (Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) knows best) and all Perfections belong to Allah, and all mistakes belong to me alone. May Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) forgive me, Ameen.