Saturday, March 21, 2015

The eclipse and Muhammad

We had a great view of the eclipse.
It got me to thinking about how ancient peoples viewed such things.
How do Sunni Muslims explain, for example, Muhammad being terrified and thinking it might be Judgement Day and telling his followers that Allah sent eclipses to frighten them and that they should therefore pray and ask His forgiveness? 
Do they believe this? If so, does it not seem a strange thing for an omniscient deity to carry on doing in a world where we would laugh at such ideas because we know the physics behind such events and can now predict them to the nearest second. Or do they disbelieve the Prophet? Or do they think that this Hadith is unreliable? But this being a Bukhari Hadith, it is surely utterly reliable and one that, as Sunnis, they must believe is genuine. I can't see how this particular circle can be squared.
Narrated Abu Musa: The sun eclipsed and the Prophet got up, being afraid that it might be the Hour (i.e. Day of Judgment). He went to the Mosque and offered the prayer with the longest Qiyam, bowing and prostration that I had ever seen him doing. Then he said, "These signs which Allah sends do not occur because of the life or death of somebody, but Allah makes His worshipers afraid by them. So when you see anything thereof, proceed to remember Allah, invoke Him and ask for His forgiveness."[Sahih Bukhari Volume 2, Book 18, Number 167]