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Please instruct me on how the prayer for the solar or lunar eclipse is to be performed. Can it be offered individually or must it be offered in congregation?

Answered by

Sheikh Salman al-Oadah
The prayer for the solar or lunar eclipse is similar to our normal daily prayers in the way that it is performed. There are only a few differences.

In the first unit of prayer, we recite Sûrah al-Fatihâh, then follow it with the recitation of another very long chapter of the Qur’ân. Then we bow for a protracted period of time and stand up a second time in the same unit of prayer to again recite Sûrah al-Fatihâh and another long chapter before bowing a second time. Then, we complete the first unit of prayer as usual by offering two long prostrations. The same procedure is then repeated for the second unit of the eclipse prayer.

When the Prophet (peace be upon him) offered the eclipse prayer with other people, they stood with him for a very long time, roughly the time that it takes to recite the chapter of the Qur’ân entitled Sûrah al-Baqarah. [Sahîh al-Bukhârî and Sahîh Muslim]

If you are leading the prayer for others, you may elect to recite for a shorter period of time, taking into consideration the abilities and the condition of the people who are following you in prayer.

It is permissible to hold the eclipse prayer in congregation or to pray it individually.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Pray (during the eclipse) until it passes.” [Sahîh al-Bukhârî and Sahîh Muslim] According to the general purport of this hadîth, the eclipse prayer can be held in congregation or offered individually.