Salaat-al-Ayaat is obligatory on every Muslim. “Ayah” means Sign. Abnormal and unusual celestial phenomena which may generate fear among the people requires the faithful to pray special Salaat called “Salaat-al-Ayaat”. It directs the Muslims towards the Almighty Allah, who created these heavenly bodies, rain and thunder.
Salaat-al-Ayat is required to be performed at the time of Solar or Lunar Eclipses, earthquakes, severe wind storms. It is imperative to perform this salaat as soon as the abnormal phenomena starts with the intention of “Ada”. If for some reasons it could not be performed on time, then as soon as possible thereafter it should be performed with the intention of “Qaza”
The Noble Messenger (s.a.w.a.s.) guided the people when his son, Ibrahim died, it was a Solar Eclipse. The people speculated that because of the death of Prophet’s son, it caused Solar Eclipse. On hearing these comments, the Noble Messenger (s.a.w.a.s.) mounted the pulpit and said, “O People! The sun and the moon are the Signs of Allah. They run on the specified courses on His Command, and they are subservient to Him. Eclipses takes place irrespective of life or death of anyone. So, if there is a Solar or Lunar Eclipse, you offer the prayer.”
The Infallible Imam Jaffar as-Sadiq (a.s.) narrated that his father, the Infallible Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (a.s.) said, “Earthquakes, Solar and Lunar Eclipse, strong and dreadful winds, are among the Signs of the Day of Resurrection. Whenever you happen to witness them, think of the Day of Resurrection, seek refuge in the mosques, and stand in prayer.”
Salaat-al-Ayaat is obligatory and should be recited during the life-time.
Methods of reciting Salaat-al-Ayaat:
1.It is two rak’a prayer like morning (Fajr) prayer. In each ra’at, there are five Roku’. After making intention (Niyyah) of offering salaat, one should say Takbir and then recite Surah al-Hamd and any other Surah and then bent into Roku’ and recite the Zikr. Thereafter, one should stand straight and recite Surah al-Hamd and any other Surah, then bent into Roku’ and recite the Zikr. Thereafter, one should stand straight and continue as stated above to complete five Roku’. One should proceed to prostrate two Sajda. After standing up, one should repeat the above procedure to perform five Roku’ and complete two sajda and finish the salaat.
2.Another way to perform the Salaat-al-Ayaat is to make intention of the salaat, say takbir then recite Surah al-Hamd. Then recite any other Surah but split in five parts. After completing one part, bent into Roku’, say the Zikr then stand up and recite other part of the Surah, bent into Roku’, say the Zikr then stand up and recite the third part and bent into Roku’. Complete the five parts of the other Surah as stated above then prostrate two sajda to complete first Rak’a. Stand up and repeat the procedure as performed in first Rak’a. Complete the second Rak’a and finish the salaat.
The prerequisites of performing regular obligatory salaat like purification, direction of Qibla and Zikr in Roku’, Qunoot, Sajda, Salaam and Tasha ‘Hud, are applicable in Salaat-al-Ayaat as well.
Salaat-al-Ayaat is obligatory whether it is partial or complete Eclipse.
Sources: Islamic Laws by Ayatollah Ali al-Husayni al-Sistani
Salaat al-Ayaat by Hujjatul Islam Muhsin al-Qara’ati
Prayer for the Signs-imamreza.net