It was narrated that Jaabir ibn ‘Abdullah, may Allaah be pleased with him, said: "The sun eclipsed on one extremely hot day during the lifetime of the Messenger of Allaah, peace and blessing be upon him, The Messenger of Allaah, peace and blessing be upon him, prayed along with his Companions. He prolonged his Qiyaam (standing posture in prayer) till they (his Companions) began to fall down. He, peace and blessing be upon him, then observed a long Rukoo‘ (i.e. bowing). He, peace and blessing be upon him, raised his head (and stood up for long) and then observed a long Rukoo‘. He, peace and blessing be upon him, then raised (his head and stood up) for a long time and then made two prostrations. He then stood up and did like this and thus he observed four Rukoo's and four prostrations (in two Rak‘ahs(1)) and then said: "All these things were brought to me in which you will be made to enter. Paradise was brought to me till (I was so close to it) that if I (had intended) to pluck a bunch (of grapes) out of it. I would have got it, or he (i.e. the Prophet, peace and blessing be upon him) said: I intended to get a bunch (out of that) but my hand could not reach it. Hellfire was also brought to me and I saw in it a woman belonging to the Children of Israel who was tormented for a cat whom she had tied, but did not give it food nor set it free to eat the creatures of the earth; and I saw Abu Thumaamah ‘Amr ibn Maalik who was dragging his intestines in Hellfire. They (the Arabs) used to say that the sun and the moon do not eclipse but on the death of some great person; but (in reality) both these (the sun and the moon) are among the Signs of Allaah The Almighty which are shown to you; so when there is an eclipse, observe prayer till it (the sun or the moon) brightens." (2).
Explanation of the Hadeeth:
- Regarding "Paradise and Hellfire was brought to me", Al-Qaadhi ‘Iyaadh, may Allaah have mercy upon him, said: Scholars said, it is possible that he, peace and blessing be upon him, saw them in real sense by his own eye i.e. Allaah The Almighty brought them to him and lift the veil between them and him as he saw the Masjed Al-Aqsa (i.e. Al-Qsa mosque) when he, peace and blessing be upon him, described it. Another opinion said: It is possible that he was given the knowledge of them and their descriptions what he have not known before.
Amongst the lessons drawn from the above-mentioned Hadeeth:
1- Making haste to worshiping and seeking refuge in Allaah The Almighty whenever there is something that scares or frightens one, and seeking help from Allaah The Almighty to award off such affliction through Remembering and Glorifying Him and doing the like forms of worship.
2- It is prescribed to offer Salaatul Kasoof ( i.e. prayer of the solar and lunar eclipse) according to the way mentioned in the above Hadeeth.
3- It implies a clear and evident miracle of the Prophet, peace and blessing be upon him, and that he, peace and blessing be upon him, was very keen to advise and teach his Ummah (i.e. Islamic nation) what is beneficial for them and warn them again what is harmful for them.
4- It implies the punishment of the people of monotheism because of the sins that they commit as it was happened to the woman from the Children of Bani Israel.
5- It is implies that one can do simple actions in the prayer. (3).
6- Refuting the beliefs of the Jaahiliyyah (i.e. corrupt practice of the pre-Islamic era) of believing that stars have effect on the earth. The Prophet, peace and blessing be upon him, illustrated that sun and moon do not become eclipsed for the death of any great person. That is because they claimed that they eclipsed for the death of Ibraaheem; the son of the Prophet, peace and blessing be upon him. The Prophet, peace and blessing be upon him, pointed out that they are just Two Signs of Allaah The Almighty with which He The Exalted frightens His slaves. Al-Khataabi, may Allaah have mercy upon him, said: "In the pre-Islamic era, they used to believe that eclipse make a change in the earth such death or a harm. Thus, the Prophet, peace and blessing be upon him, explained that it is a false belief and that the sun and moon are just two creatures totally submissive to Allaah The Almighty and that they have no effect on others and they cannot even defend themselves.(4).
(1) Rak‘ah: It is unit of prayer; a set of actions that begins with recitation and ends with prostration. It consists of one bowing and two prostrations with a setting in between. (Translator)
(2) Reported in Saheeh Al-Bukhaari No. (1046) and Saheeh Muslim No. (904) and the wording reported by the latter.
(3) Refer to ‘Umatul Al-Qaari vol. (7/85).
(4) Fat-h Al-Baari by Ibn Hajar (vol. 2, p. 528).