Can I Pray the Eclipse Prayer While Owing Make-up Prayers?

Shafi'i Fiqh

Answered by Shaykh Irshaad Sedick

Question

Should I perform missed (neglected) prayers during a solar/lunar eclipse, or can I perform the Eclipse Prayer despite owing make-up prayers?

Answer

In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate. May Allah alleviate our difficulties and guide us to that which is pleasing to Him. May He reward you for this beautiful desire to turn back to Him. Amin.

According to the dominant and relied-upon view of the Shafi‘i School, one may not pray supererogatory prayers while owing missed (neglected) prayers. [Ba’ishn, Bushra Al-Karim] A weaker, though practicable, view in the School allows it, and Allah knows best. [ibid.]

Making Up Missed Prayers

Whenever one misses a prescribed prayer for a valid reason, it is recommended to make it up immediately. If one misses a prayer without a valid reason, it is obligatory to make it up immediately. One must, then, pray during all one’s time that unoccupied by necessities. In the Shafi’i School, it is not permissible for such a person to perform Sunna prayers before making up the missed ones. [Keller, ʿUmda Al-Salik]

Practical Steps

To do this, one must first determine how many prayers you omitted. You could estimate a number that makes you reasonably sure covers the number of prayers missed. Then you can add a bit more to be cautious.

After determining the number of prayers, you should make the intention to make up all the estimated prayers. It is best to schedule your prayers to fulfill them reasonably comfortably. Consecutively making up years of missed prayers may be too challenging for most people. In that case, one should pray the missed obligatory prayers in place of all Sunna prayers.

Instead of TahajjudDuha, Eclipse, Tarawih, and the Sunna prayers connected to the obligatory prayers, one should pray the missed obligatory prayers until the above mentioned calculated prayers have been completed, and Allah knows best.

Alternative View

According to a weaker, though practicable, view in the Shafiʿi School, one is not obliged to pray the missed prayers immediately. Therefore, based on the weaker opinion, one could pray supererogatory prayers while still owing missed obligatory prayers. Still, making up the obligatory prayers should be one’s priority, and Allah knows best.

I pray this is of benefit and that Allah guides us all.

[Shaykh] Irshaad Sedick
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani 

Shaykh Irshaad Sedick was raised in South Africa in a traditional Muslim family. He graduated from Dar al-Ulum al-Arabiyyah al-Islamiyyah in Strand, Western Cape, under the guidance of the late world-renowned scholar, Shaykh Taha Karaan. 

Shaykh Irshaad received Ijaza from many luminaries of the Islamic world, including Shaykh Taha Karaan, Mawlana Yusuf Karaan, and Mawlana Abdul Hafeez Makki, among others.

He is the author of the text “The Musnad of Ahmad ibn Hanbal: A Hujjah or not?” He has served as the Director of the Discover Islam Centre and Al Jeem Foundation. For the last five years till present, he has served as the Khatib of Masjid Ar-Rashideen, Mowbray, Cape Town.

Shaykh Irshaad has thirteen years of teaching experience at some of the leading Islamic institutes in Cape Town). He is currently building an Islamic online learning and media platform called ‘Isnad Academy’ and pursuing his Master’s degree in the study of Islam at the University of Johannesburg. He has a keen interest in healthy living and fitness.