Eclipses, whether lunar or solar, have many myths, superstitions, beliefs and anecdotes or even bad omen attached with their occurrences. While a majority only takes these eclipses as the signs of Nature’s majesty and powers, people with weak beliefs or those suffering from some pain or trouble or even disease look for such occurrences as a means of cure and divine help. It is one’s belief into supernatural happenings like eclipses that make these days special and widely witnessed and reported.
The first solar eclipse of the year 2011 came just four days after the New Year. This year it came earlier as it was 15th January last year when the solar eclipse occurred. It wasn’t a complete eclipse and was seen in parts of Europe, North Africa, and Central Asia including Pakistan. In Pakistan the eclipse started to appear around 11:40 AM local time and ended at a minute past four in the afternoon. The maximum area covered with a dark curtain was around 13:51 hours. As per predictions, three more partial eclipses will be witnessed later this year on 2 June and 1 July and 25th November, but will not be visible in Pakistan.
Now coming back to myths, beliefs and superstitions. When the son of the Prophet Muhammad (may peace be upon him)died , it was the day of solar eclipse and people of Arab readily attributed the death of the Prophet’s son due to the eclipse as it brought a bad omen. But the Prophet (PBUH) addressed the people and categorically announced that eclipses have nothing to do with anybody’s life or death or good and bad that comes t a person. He added that these occurrences are only natural occurrences and be taken s such.
As for the bad omen, many term the murder of the governor of the Punjab province of Pakistan by his personal guard in Islamabad as a forewarning in the shape of the eclipse that occurred just hours before his murder.
But people who are suffering continue to take these natural occurrences as a time when their prayers could be heard and their troubles addressed. While many people do many rituals, parents in parts of Sind, the southern province of Pakistan, half bury their diseased or crippled children into the sand on the river banks or sea shores and pray for their health (as seen above). How far their prayers are addressed is not known as calling Nature cannot be restricted a particular day or time as Nature is all attentive all the time and throughout one’s life. But people of shaky faith continue to do rituals in a hope for the wellbeing and health of their family and loved ones.
Photo Parents burying children courtesy Express News
Related reading: Solar Eclipse - myths and stories (Jaho Jalal)