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Fatawa Islamiyah : Islamic Verdicts Vol. 2 Purification and Prayer Pg. 307 – Answered by: Shaikh Ibn Baz

Q 1. Revered Shaikh, we read in the newspapers an article, the essence of which was “….that the moon would be totally eclipsed a little after sunset.”
That was three days before the eclipse occurred. The writer explained the reasons for its occurrence, its start and its end, which caused one to ask oneself a number of questions, bearing in mind the following facts:

1. That the lunar eclipse and the solar eclipse are natural occurrences, because the scholars of astronomy know of their occurrence a number of days beforehand and are able to predict their extent, their beginnings and their end precisely.

2. That the Messenger (sallallahu alaihi wa salam) ordered us in a Hadith narrated by Muslim, on the authority of A’ishah, may Allah be please with her, to pray at the time when an eclipse occurs, saying:
Pray, so that Allah may relieve you.

3. And Al-Bukhari narrated, on the authority of Asma’ bint Abu Bakr, may Allah be pleased with them both, that she said: “We were ordered to release slaves at the time of the eclipse.

4. It has been reported that in Fathul-Bari that:
The sun and the moon are two of the Signs of Allah by which Allah causes fear to His Servants.

But why are the servants afraid, when the eclipse is something natural and well known before it happens?

A 1. It has been authentically reported from the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa salam) that he said that solar and lunar eclipses occur as something fearful from Allah to His servants, in order to encourage them to respect the Signs of Allah and to fear Him, the Almighty, the All-Powerful and to resort to remembrance of Him and obedience towards Him. He (sallallahu alaihi wa salam) said that they are not eclipsed for the death of any person, nor for his birth and that they are only two Signs from among the Signs of Allah by which Allah causes fear to His servants. He said: “If you observe an eclipse, then seek protection in remembrance of Him and supplicate Him.”

He (sallallahu alaihi wa salam) also said: “If you see it, then pray and supplicate until He relieves you of what afflicts you.

And he ordered us in these circumstances to make Takbir, to free slaves and to give charity. All of this is prescribed at the time of an eclipse: prayer, remembrance, seeking forgiveness, giving charity, freeing slaves, fear of Allah – the Al-Mighty, the All-Powerful – and to make them beware of His punishment.

That it is a Sign whose occurrence is known through calculation does not negate that it is a cause for invoking fear of Allah the Almighty and a means of making people beware of Him, the Most Glorified, Most High. For it is He Who makes the Signs and organizes their causes, like the rising and setting of the sun at specific times and likewise the moon and the stars which are Signs from among the Signs of Allah, the Most Glorified, the Most High. The fact that Allah has made causes for them, as mentioned by the astronomers, by which they know when eclipses occur, does not negate them being means of invoking fear and warning of (the punishment of) Allah, the Almighty, the All-Powerful.

Likewise, all of His clear Signs, such as the sun, the moon, the stars, the heat, the cold – all of them are Signs in which there is fear and warning against disobeying Allah after He has given these Blessings. And people are encouraged to beware of Him ( i.e. His Punishment) and to fear Him, the Most Glorified, so that they remain steadfast in obedience to His Commands and avoid what He has forbidden.

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