The solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes between the sun and the earth, thus concealing the earth’s view of the sun. There are 4 types of solar eclipses: total eclipse, partial eclipse, annular eclipse, and hybrid eclipse. Sometimes, the moon covers part of the sun, which is known as a partial solar eclipse. Over time, however, it blocks all of it.

The sun’s distance from the earth is approximately 400 times the moon’s distance from the earth and the sun’s diameter is also nearly 400 times the moon’s diameter. This is why the sun and the moon appear to be similar in size when viewed from the earth.

The solar eclipse is usually observed in different countries around the world. However, it is ill-advised to look directly at the eclipse as it is taking place. This is because the sun outputs more energy and radiation than the human eye can handle, thus leading to potential damage to the retina, which is a part inside the eye that senses light. Other potential hazards include the sun swiftly coming up from behind the moon and surprising the viewer, not giving them sufficient time to look away.

Moreover, the solar eclipse can cause minor to major health issues while simultaneously causing an adverse effect on animals. Lastly, the solar eclipse is also feared to be catastrophic because of a potential collision between the moon and the earth.

Solar Eclipse during the time of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him)

Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her), the daughter of Abu Bakr (may Allah be pleased with him), was married to the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). She narrated: “The Prophet (peace be upon him) led us to perform prayer during the solar eclipse.” (Bukhari, Hadith 171, Chapter 18)

The Prophet (peace be upon him) led a prayer during an eclipse as he realized better than anyone else the dangers of this event. Similarly, there are various other accounts of the Prophet of Allah (peace be upon him) asking people to pray during an eclipse.

It is further reported in a hadith: “The sun eclipsed and the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) offered the eclipse prayer and said: ‘I have been shown the Hellfire (now) and I never saw a worse and horrible sight than the sight I have seen today.’” (Chapter 18, Hadith 165, Bukhari)

The people believed the passing of Ibrahim (may Allah be pleased with him), the son of the Prophet (peace be upon him), to be the reason for the solar eclipse. Allah’s Apostle (peace be upon him) said: “The sun and the moon are two signs amongst the signs of Allah, and they do not eclipse because of the death of someone but Allah frightens His devotees with them. So, invoke Allah and pray until the eclipse is clear.” (Chapter 18, Hadith 158, Bukhari)

The above hadith verifies that the eclipse is perhaps more meaningful than just an event taking place in the solar system. Indeed, Allah prompts humankind in several ways to choose the right path. This can also be viewed as a reminder to those who lack faith, as it shows that Allah alone has power over all things.

It is stated in the Holy Quran: “Allah encompasses all things in His knowledge.” (65:12, At-Talaq, Quran) Without the will of Allah, no finger could be lifted. It is impossible for a leaf to move from its place if Allah did not permit it to, whereas on the day of judgment, mountains would fly as if they were made of cotton by the command of Allah.

By no means is this an event to be celebrated in its entirety. The solar eclipse should rather be looked at as a miracle of Allah and the dangers of the solar eclipse discussed above should be enough to advise against the festivities people relate to it.

The teachings of the Prophet (peace be upon him) demonstrate that the leading action to take following a solar eclipse is to pray. This is an occurrence to instil the fear of Allah in the hearts and minds of the believers. It is also a moment to remember Allah and seek forgiveness.

Furthermore, the solar eclipse is a reminder of the day of judgment, and every Muslim is required to believe in life after death. Abu Musa (may Allah be pleased with him) reported: “The sun eclipsed and the Prophet (peace be upon him) got up fearing that the hour had come.” (Bukhari, Book 16, Hadith 18, 1059)

The arrival of the day of judgment is inevitable and indeed, there are no greater certainties. While it is obligatory for Muslims to believe in the day of judgment, many forget. Thus, there are signs sent to us by Allah to help us remain on the path of Islam. The solar eclipse should be viewed in uniformity with the many signs of the day of judgment manifested by Allah.

Allah states in the Quran: “And to God is the unseen of the heavens and the earth, and the matter of the hour is like the blink of the eye or nearer. God is capable of all things.” (16:77, An-Nahl, Quran)

It is also advised to call to mind the unavoidability of the hour so that every choice or decision is made bearing in mind that each person will stand trial in the court of the Almighty. Indisputably, Allah knows what lies within the hearts and minds.

“Surely, therein lie signs for people who understand.” (15:75, Al-Hijr, Quran)

May Allah forgive our errors and guide us toward the correct path. Verily, He is the all-knowing, all-noticing. Allah knows best.