I have heard that whenever an eclipse would occur, Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) would go to the Masjid out of fear and invite the people to perform the Eclipse Salah.
Please explain why this would cause Nabi (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) to get frightened?
What you have heard is correct, and various Hadiths have been recorded on this topic.
Sayyiduna Abu Musa Al-Ash’ary (radiyallahu’anhu) reports that during an eclipse Nabi (sallallahu’alayhi wasallam) became extremely scared. After offering the salah for an eclipse, he (sallallahu’alayhi wasallam) said: ‘These signs which Allah sends [in the form of eclipses, earthquakes, and other such natural occurrences] are not due to the death or life (i.e birth) of anyone, but Allah frightens His slaves through them. When you see any bit of that then rush towards [making] the remembrance of Allah, supplicating to Him, and seeking His forgiveness. [dhikr, du’a, and istighfar].
(Sahih Bukhari, Hadith: 1059)
The reasons for such a reaction
Along the reasons given by the Hadith commentators are the following:
1. Nabi (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam), having had the greatest recognition (ma’rifah), knowledge, and fear of Allah Ta’ala, and having known that Allah Ta’ala sends these signs to frighten His slaves, would have naturally expressed his humility and helplessness by submitting before Allah Ta’ala in this manner
2. Nabi (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) could have been frightened for his Ummah (followers) and other inhabitants of the earth, lest a punishment should afflict them and they be destroyed as some of the previous nations (like the people of ‘Aad etc.) were destroyed. Thus, his fear was due to his extreme compassion and concern.
3. It is also possible Nabi (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) seemed frightened and rushed towards the worship of Allah Ta’ala so as to teach his Ummah (followers) how to react in such a situation and what to do.
The above are among other explanations provided in the books of Hadith commentary.
(Fathul Bari, Hadith: 1059, and Mirqat, Hadith: 1484)
And Allah Ta’ala knows best.
Answered by: Moulana Farhan Shariff