Yesterday morning a solar eclipse took place in the last degree of Pisces. This was followed by the entry of the Moon into Aries and, in the evening, the Sun into Aries as well. The entry of the Sun into Aries marked the arrival of the vernal equinox and thus the beginning of spring.
As we were driving to return the rental car yesterday morning, the sun rose directly in front of us. The eclipse had already passed by that time, however.
In his The Prescribed Prayer Made Simple, Tajuddin B. Shu'aib states that there is a Salaatul Kussuf, an emphatic Sunnah prayer for the solar eclipse (kussuf) that is preferably done in congregation. It consists of two raka'aats. The Adhaan is not called, but rather the announcement "As Salaatu Jaami'ah" is made prior to the start of the prayer. In each raka'ah, there are two rukuu'us (bowing down) prior to each prostration, instead of the customary one. The first rukuu'u is long and the second is shorter. Each rukuu'u is followed by the customary statement, "Sami' Allahu liman hamidah, Rabbana lakal hamd." The prayer is offered while the eclipse is active. The imam may offer a khutbah after the prayer. The same procedure is followed for the lunar eclipse.
"It so happened that the sun eclipsed on the day the Prophet's son, Ibraaheem, died in Medinah, so some people attributed that to his death. Hence, the Prophet took the opportunity to correct the people's mistaken notion about the solar eclipse. ... 'The solar eclipse is only a sign of Allahu ta'aala. They do not take place for the death or life of anybody. Whenever you see them, hasten to the prayer.' (Muslim)" (Shu'aib, p. 116)
It so happens that this lunar month includes both solar and lunar eclipses. The lunar eclipse will take place on April 4 (Jumaada ath-Thaaniyah 15).
Yesterday morning the Moon entered its first mansion, The First Intellect, The Pen, whose letter is أ and whose Divine Name is Divine Essence (#95 of the Asma ul-Husna), الْبَدِيعُ.
The travel went smoothly. The flight arrived ahead of schedule. We arrived home before the snow began. Snow began to fall yesterday afternoon and is still falling this morning.