Salat al-Ayaat (Prayer for the Signs; Arabic: صلاة الآيات), is a prayer offered during the occurrence of an eclipse, earthquake, or other similar celestial phenomenon. It is an obligatory prayer, offered duly for the manifestation of Allah's Oneness and power. It is considered obligatory, in accordance to the despair that overcomes the believers at such a time.
This salah becomes obligatory on those who are living in a geographical area where a natural phenomena is occurring, and not for those outside that specified region. If two or more events occur at the same time, then separate prayers need to be performed for each event. This salah can be prayed individually or in congregation. If prayed in congregation, instead of Adhan and Iqamah, saying as-Salat three times will suffice. There are four cases in which Salat al-Ayaat becomes obligatory
- Solar Eclipse
- Lunar Eclipse
- Thunder or lightning, red and black cyclones or any other celestial phenomena
The prayer is essentially meant to be offered when a phenomena or disaster raises fear and concern amongst the people. It is necessary for everyone in the area to offer this salah, regardless of whether an individual engenders any fear or not. For example, the prayer becomes Wajib even if the moon or the sun are partially eclipsed and regardless of whether or not a person engenders any fear.
- Niyyat (Intention; should be specifying for what disaster and/or occurrence, you are performing this prayer)
- Recite Surah al-Fatiha
- As offering any other prayer, recite another Surah after Surah al-Fatiha
- Go into Ruku
- Rise from Ruku (repeating step 3-5)
- After having completed 5 Rukus, and two prostrations, one must rise for the second Rak’ah, and perform it in an identical manner, followed by raising hands for Qunoot
- Completing another 5 set of Rukus, and two prostrations, one should end prayer in the usual manner
An alternative method for the prayer is also allowed. After making the intention and takbir for the salah, a person is allowed to recite Surah al-Fatiha and then divide the verses of the second Surah into five parts, and recite one verse or more or less, and thereafter perform the Ruku. One should then stand up and recite another part of the second Surah and then perform another Ruku. He should repeat this action, and finish that Surah before performing the fifth Ruku. After the fifth Ruku, stand up and then perform two Sajdah and then rise for the second Rak'at, the same way as the first Rak'at.
It is Mustahab that qunut be recited before the second, fourth, sixth, eighth and tenth Ruku, but it will be sufficient if it is recited only before the tenth Ruku.
Mention of this salah has been made in various narrations by the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and the Imams (as). Giving great importance to this prayer, one must impartially offer this prayer, as to seek protection from Allah (swt), and to acknowledge His inclination to do what He wills. In such occurrences, it is important to understand the empowerment of Allah (swt) over all and everything. Some narrations are as follows:
It is narrated from the truthful ones that when Allah wants the frightening of His servants and the renewal of the rebuke for His creation the sun is eclipsed and the moon is eclipsed. So when you see that, then take shelter with Allah by salat.
I heard Abul Hasan Musa (as) saying: Verily when Ibrahim the son of the Messenger of Allah passed away, three traditions were brought about in regards to it. As to one, so verily when he died the sun was eclipsed. So the people said: The sun has eclipsed due to the loss of the son of the Messenger of Allah. So the Messenger of Allah ascended the pulpit, and praised Allah and commended upon Him, then he said: O people, verily the sun and the moon are two signs from the signs of Allah, taking place by His command, obedient to Him. They do not eclipse due to the death of anyone nor due to his living. So when they have eclipsed or one of them then (go) pray. Then he descended from the pulpit and he prayed the salat of the eclipse with the people.
- ↑ Method of offering Namaz-e-Ayaat, Islamic Laws by Ayatullah Sistani
- ↑ Chapter on its obligatoriness due to a solar eclipse and a lunar eclipse, تفصيل وسائل الشيعة إلى تحصيل مسائل الشّريعة, by Shaykh Hurr al-Amili; #9918
- ↑ Ibid; #9923