Solar eclipse only occurs at New Moon, when the Moon passes between the Sun and Earth and the Moon's shadow sweeps across a portion of Earth's surface and an eclipse of the Sun is seen from that region. Solar eclipses are two to five per year, but the ground covered by totality is only a band of about 30 miles wide, length being that portion of the globe which is under the moon's shadow.
Lunar eclipse only occurs at full Moon, when the earth passes between the Sun and Moon and the Earth's shadow sweeps across a portion of Moon's surface and an eclipse of the Moon is seen. Lunar eclipses are less frequent that solar, and at any given location could be zero to three per year. Total lunar eclipses are visible everywhere that it is night time as the event takes place - essentially over half the globe.
Thus, the closest time between solar and lunar eclipse is 2 weeks. Solar eclipse always occurs at the end of an Islamic month. Lunar eclipse always occurs in the middle of an Islamic month.
Qur'an & Hadith on Eclipses|
Qur'an does not mention eclipses. However, numerous Ahadith mentioned eclipses, e.g.,
Narrated Al Mughira bin Shuba (Sahih Al-Bokhari)
The sun eclipsed in the lifetime of Allah's Apostle on the day when (his son) Ibrahim died.
So the people said that the sun had eclipsed because of the death of Ibrahim. Allah's
Apostle said, "The sun and the moon do not eclipse because of the death or life (i.e. birth)
of someone. When you see the eclipse pray and invoke Allah."
Narrated Abu Masud, also Ibn Umar (Sahih Al-Bokhari)
The Prophet 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."
Some people, basically Qadianis (Ahmadiyya), mention another Hadith: "Amr bin Shimr narrates from Jabir who told him that Muhammad bin Ali said that for our Mehdi,
two signs are given which never occurred in the past from the creation of the heavens and the
earth. One is that a lunar eclipse will occur on the first night of Ramadan and the second
sign is that a solar eclipse will occur in the middle of Ramadan and these signs had never
happened from the creation of the heavens and the earth (Dar Qutni)."
1. The 3rd narration mentioned above is definitely not the saying of the Messenger (SAW), as
the narrator clearly assigns it as the saying of Imam Muhammad Baqir bin Ali which was written
in the book of Dar Qutni. Attributing this to Imam Muhammad Baqir is also wrong as the first narrator mentioned was
Muhammad bin Ali not Imam Baqir. There were several narrators by the name Muhammad bin Ali
and there is no proof or reason to believe that this person is Imam Baqir. Moreover, Imam Baqir was born 47 years after the death of the Messenger (SAW), and for a narration to be a Hadith, it must have chains of narration going back to the Messenger (SAW). This narration clearly does not go back to Messenger (SAW).
2. "According to its authenticity, this saying attributed to Imam Baqir is extremely weak, outcast, and rejected. Looking at the chain of narration, the second narrator is Amr bin Shimr who has been labeled (in Meezanul-E'tidaal P262) as the big liar, a narrator of weak and fabricated Ahadith, a non-believer of Hadith, a person who uses abusive words for the companions of the Messenger (SAW), the Sahabah (Razi-Allahu unhum ajmaeen), and according to Ilm-ul-Hadith, his narration is not written as Hadith." These are the words of Allamah Shamsuddin Dhahbi (Rahmatullah Alayhe)
who was an expert of the Funn-e-Rijaal, art of Men Narrators. Thus, it is clear that this narrator is absolutely not reliable nor trustworthy. So, to present this narration as a Hadith of Rasool (SAW) is not only a great false accusation and a lie but according to Hadith-e-Sahih (agreed upon Hadith, which says, "Whoever lies upon me deliberately and knowingly should know that he has made his abode in Jahannam"), it is making an abode in the Hell fire.
The third narrator is Jabir. There were several narrators by this name, and which Jabir is
mentioned here is unknown; someone by this name was known to be a person of unknown parentage
or lineage. One among the persons with the name Jabir was Jabir Ja'fi, who was described by
Imam Abu-Hanifah (Rahmatullah Alayhe) as "among the liars that I met, no one was bigger liar
than Jabir Ja'fi." Remember, that Imam Abu-Hanifah, Imam Baqir, Jabir Ja'fai, and Amr bin Shimr were all born after 47 to 80 years after the death of the Messenger (SAW).
None of the narrators mentioned that they heard this from Sahabah or Rasool (SAW), and the authenticity of these narrators is extremely questionable. Now you can tell, how can such narration be labelled as Hadith, and how can it be
worth any discussion and argument.
Read more on this.
At solar eclipse the sun is partially or totally blocked by the moon. Some people are confused with this phenomenon that the moon surface is seen, and the Islamic month has begun. There is a big difference in seeing this dark circle blocking the sun and the visible Crescent that marks the beginning of an Islamic month.
Let me emphasize that a solar eclipse is the proof of disappearance of the moon and does not mark the beginning of a month. Few years ago Sheikh Ali Al-Tantawi, the Mufti of Egypt at that time, also said the same thing when the eclipse occurred in Saudi Arabia, and he said in a fatwa that this was a proof of the disappearance of moon and it is not Hilal nor should it be taken as a Hilal.
Here is an interesting story you may have learned in grade school. The story is about Columbus, the sailor when one of his ships was damamged and he stranded all his ships and crew in Jamaica (Caribbeans). His knowledge of astronomy and moon phases would end up saving the lives of himself and his crew. In the beginning the crew traded things for food with the natives, but later, the natives became annoyed with some of the less respectful sailors, and refused to deal with Columbus. Columbus and his crew faced starvation. That's when Columbus used his astronomy knowledge of precalculated lunar eclipse on February 29, 1504. He told them that he would remove the moon from the sky if they
would not cooperate with him. The natives at first did not believe him. Then the full moon rose a blood red, then it began
to dim. The natives worried. The moon got very dim; the natives got very worried. Then the moon disappeared. The natives were in a panic and pleaded with Columbus. Columbus knew precisely when the moon would reappear. He agreed to bring back the moon in due time, if they agreed to give him food. The natives agreed, and were awash with relief when the moon reappeared. Columbus saved himself and his crew from starvation.
Date of death of Ibrahim (son of our beloved prophet, peace be upon him)
Sun Eclipse also occurred at Prophet's time when (his son) Ibrahim died.
It was recorded in history that it was Jan 27, 632 CE (Monday),
details of this eclipse. It was the 29th of
Shawwal, while Dhul-Qi'dah 1, 10AH was on Jan 29, 632 CE (Wednesday). Dhul-Qi'dah was of 29
days also and Dhul-Hijjah 1, 10AH was on Feb 27, 632 CE (Thursday), such that Hajj-e-Nabavi fell on Friday, March 6, 632 CE. This also proves that sun eclipse cannot be taken as the beginning of a month.
All the solar eclipses that could be noticeable in Arabia during the prophethood of Muhammad (peace be upon him) are listed below (For details of any eclipse, click on it):
Sun-Eclipse visible while Prophet was in Makkah:
(Islamic date unknown because of undocumented practice of Nasi')
- July 23, 613 CE (Monday) - Around 10 am Local Time
- May 21, 616 CE (Friday) - Around 10 am Local Time
- November 4, 617 CE (Friday) - Around 11 am Local Time
- September 2, 620 CE (Tuesday) - Around 10 am Local Time
Sun-Eclipse visible while Prophet was in Medinah:
- April 21, 627 CE (Tuesday) - Dhul-Qi'dah 29, 5 AH - Around 11 am Local Time
- January 27, 632 CE (Monday) - Shawwal 29, 10 AH - Around 10 am Local Time
Extreme care must be taken when watching the solar eclipse. You should visit a web site which discusses a number of ways to safely view the solar eclipse.
At solar eclipse, congregational prayers (2 Rak'aat) should be performed as done by the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). According to Hadith, the Prophet performed 2 long Rak'aat in congregation (Qir'at loudly) when solar eclipse occured, and individual prayers are encouraged (at least 2 Rak'aat) when lunar eclipse occurred. If congregational prayers are done at lunar eclipse, then Qir'at should be done silently.
Updated January 11, 2015
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