Earth and moon while rotating around their own axes rotate in their own orbits around sun and earth, respectively. In doing so there comes a time when moon orbits in between sun and the earth that blocks a part to complete visibility of sun from earth. This blockage of sun is simply called as solar eclipse. This year on August 21, 2017 partial to total solar eclipse will last about three hours in USA. In Greater Washington Area partial solar eclipse could be observed between 1:17 to 4:01 PM. For details please refer to NASA (https://eclipse2017.nasa.gov) or other online resources.
It so happened that on a day of a solar eclipse our beloved Prophet Mohammad, SAW, lost his young son Ibrahim. And the people thought that the solar eclipse took place due to the death of Ibrahim. This thinking was carried from the days of Jahilia in Arabia. The Prophet, SAW immediately denied such notion by saying:
“The sun and the moon are two signs of the signs of Allah, SWT; they do not eclipse on the death or life of anyone. So, when you see the eclipse, remember Allah, SWT, raise His Praise, His Greatness (say Takbir), pray, and give charity.” (Narrated by the Prophet’s wife Ayesha, RAA). He then, himself observed prayers and supplication that was joined by some companions.
It is generally accepted among the scholars of Islam that the two rakah Sunna that Prophet, SAW observed is Sunnah (stressed) and must be observed by every Muslim and Muslimah. There are two ways to observe this prayer as described below:
Pray two rakat sunnah as usual following the standard procedure but recite long Surahs (longest in first rakah) in both rakah after Surah Fatiha. Observe each action lot longer than usual prayers by increased Tasbeeh.
Pray two rakat sunnah with two added ruku (one in each rakah). In the first rakah after reciting Surah Fatiha and a long Surah (recommended is equal to Surah Baqara) then go into long ruku and stay there lot longer than the standard ruku. Then go back to standing position, recite again Surah Fatiha and a long Surah (shorter than the one recited in first), follow with a long ruku and then complete the standing and two long prostrations. This completes the first rakah with two ruku. Folllow the second rakah with two ruku and two sujood as first.
After completion of the prayers supplicate whole heatedly asking Allah, SWT’s help in affairs of ourselves, our beloved ones, our community, our nation as a whole. Ask His direct protection from all the evils and ills of this world and our own selves.
This prayer should be observed covering the whole solar eclipse time, if possible. But, neither before nor after the eclipse time.
If an obligatory prayer time is close then Kusoof should be delayed and observed after the obligatory prayer.
It could be prayed in congregation in a mosque (preferred) or individually in a mosque or home.