PHILADELPHIA – Muslims rushed to mosques on Monday, August 21, to perform special prayers as thousands grabbed special visors to see the rare solar eclipse.
“It’s a pretty day, at least in the United States. The word has been going out at least over Facebook,” Raqiwwa Ali, who was one of several dozen women who packed into the second floor of the mosque, told CBC Philadelphia on Monday.
Ali is one of hundreds of Philadelphia Muslims who filled a half dozen mosques for a special prayer service during the peak of the eclipse.
“When the eclipse comes we stand and we pray for it, because it is a sign from God,” says Emir Qasim Rashad.
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He says the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) instructs Muslims to perform the special mercy prayer during solar and lunar eclipses, as well as during prolonged earthquakes.
“There is nothing spooky about it,” Rashad says.
“It is not performed at the birth or death of a loved one. Instead, we simply follow the Prophet to perform these prayers at the special occasions.”
Though the prayer was performed at the peak of the eclipse, many Muslims were still able to witness it.
“I like how it is a contradiction, a little bit of irony in this,” says Juaria, a Muslim woman who pulled out her special visor and took a peek at the eclipse on her way into the prayer service.
“I had to come out and see it,” she says. “I definitely wanted everyone to see it if they could.”