Dr Qari Muhammad Asim, MBE
Chief Imam, Makkah Mosque Leeds
On the morning of Friday 20 March, millions of people could witness the best solar eclipse in years in the UK and northern Europe later.
It is said that A path across the Earth’s surface will be plunged into darkness as the Moon covers up the Sun. The exact moment of greatest darkness for UK skywatchers will be dependent on the location.
Penzance, in Cornwall, for example, has this moment at 09:23 GMT, whereas for Lerwick in the Shetland Islands, it happens at 09:43 GMT.
In Islam, it is recommended to pray Salat-ul-kusoof (كسوف) during a solar eclipse.
Sayyiduna Mugheerah Ibn Shubah (ra) relates,”the sun eclipsed the day Ibrahim [the Holy prophet’s (peace be upon him) son] passed away. People began remarking that the eclipsed occurred in the account of the death of Ibrahim. .
The Messenger of Allah (saw) said, “Verily the sun and moon are the signs amongst the signs of Allah, they do not eclipse due… to the death or living of anyone. When you see them (eclipsing) then supplicate to Allah and perform salah until it becomes clear.” [Bukhari].
This incident also shows that the Prophet (peace be upon him) was not concerned about attributing Divine actions to his personal circumstances. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said to pray when eclipses occur because like all of creation they are signs of God. He rejected the view that eclipses are omens.