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Radd al-Shams

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Imam 'Ali (a)
First Imam of Shi'a

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Nahj al-BalaghaGhurar al-hikamAl-Shiqshiqiyya Sermon

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Holy Shrine

Radd al-Shams (Arabic: ردّ الشمس; returning of the Sun) is a miracle of the Prophet (s) and one of the indicators of Imam 'Ali's (a) significant status. In this event, while the sun was setting, the Prophet (s) supplicated Allah so that the sun returned back and Imam 'Ali (a) had enough time to pray his 'Asr prayer. Some other sources mention another case of Sun's returning during the caliphate of Imam 'Ali (a).

According to the Old Testament and a number of Islamic sources, Radd al-Shams occurred in the time of three Banu Isra'il's prophets as well.

Before the Emergence of Islam

Radd al-Shams is an incident in which while the sun is setting, it returns back. In the Old Testament it is mentioned that Radd al-Shams occurred in the time of Banu Isra'il prophets as well. Also some of Islamic narrative works mentioned that Radd al-Shams took place in the time of Yusha' (a)(Joshua), Dawud (a) (David) and Sulayman (a) (Solomon).

In some sources a story is stated on exegeses on Sura Sad verses 30 to 33 about prophet Sulayman (a) in which he was watching horses in the evening for a while that the time of prayer passed and the sun set. Then Sulayman (a) told angels to return the sun, so that he could perform prayer. Angels returned the sun and after performing ablution he prayed along with his men who forgot praying. When he finished prayer, the sun set and the stars were in the sky. However a number of exegetes did not accept such stories as they are contradictory with Infallibility ('Ismat) of prophets; exegetes proposed different exegeses on the mentioned verses.

In addition, according to the Old Testament in a battle of Banu Isra'il, Prophet Yusha' (a) ordered the sun to stay in the sky so that they could take revenge on their enemies.

During the time of The Prophet (s)

In one account, al-Shaykh al-Mufid narrates from Asma' bt. 'Umays, Umm Salama the wife of the Prophet (s), Jabir b. 'Abd Allah al-Ansari, Abu Sa'id al-Khudri and some other companions of the Prophet (s) that: one day, the holy Prophet (s) sent Imam 'Ali (a) for a job and when he returned, it was the time for 'Asr prayer. The Prophet (s) was not aware that Imam 'Ali (a) had not prayed his 'Asr prayer, so he rested while his head was on Imam 'Ali’s leg. At the same time revelation was sent down to the Prophet (s) and it continued until near the sunset. When the Prophet (s) finished receiving the revelation, He asked Imam 'Ali (a) whether or not he had prayed his 'Asr prayer. "Since your blessed head was on my leg and you were resting, I couldn't wake you up." Imam 'Ali (a) responded. The Prophet (s) asked God to return the sun so that Imam 'Ali (a) can pray his 'Asr prayer. In that moment, the sun came back to the extent that it was the proper time for 'Asr prayer and Imam 'Ali (a) performed his 'Asr prayer.[1]

The place where al-Shams Mosque was built in Medina. Today only ruins of the mosque have remained.

Al-Mas'udi has narrated this account as well.[2] This event is also mentioned in Shi'a traditional sources.[3] In the place of this event, a mosque was built that is known as al-Shams Mosque or Radd al-Shams Mosque.

In Sunni Sources

In his book al-Ghadir, Allama Amini has mentioned the names of a number of Sunni scholars who have narrated a hadith about Radd al-Shams or those who have written books about the event including:

  • Abu Bakr Warraq has a book about the narrators who reported hadith of Radd al-Shams.
  • Abu l-Fath Muhammad b. Husayn al-Musili has a book especially about Radd al-Shams.
  • Abu l-Qasim Hakim b. Hadhdha al-Haskani al-Nayshaburi has a book called Mas'ala fi tashih Radd al-Shams wa targhim al-nawasib al-Shams.
  • Abu 'Abd Allah Husayn b. 'Ali al-Busayri has a book called Jawaz Radd al-Shams.
  • Abu l-Mu'ayyid Muwaffaq b. Ahmad has a book called Radd al-Shams li Amir al-Mu'minin (a).
  • Jalal al-Din al-Suyuti has a book called Kashf al-lubs 'an hadith Radd al-Shams. He also analyzed and corrected some chains of transmission of this hadith in his book al-la'ali al-masnu'a.

During the caliphate of Imam Ali (a)

According to some of Shi'a sources, a similar event has happened during the rule of Imam 'Ali (a). In this account, on their way to Babylon, Imam (a) and his army reached Euphrates, Imam (a) and some of the army crossed the river and prayed their 'Asr prayer on the other side, while a group of army who were trying to get their horses across the river, couldn't pray 'Asr prayer in its time. The Imam (a) asked God to return the sun, the sun returned and they could pray their 'Asr prayer.[4]

Mashhad al-Shams; the alleged mosque in Hillah where reverting sun happened

Some of Sunni scholars like al-Tahawi, Qadi 'Ayyad and Ibn Hajar al-'Asqalani[5] have accepted the authenticity of this event during the caliphate of Imam 'Ali (a), while some other Sunni scholars like Ibn Taymiyya in his book: Minhaj al-sunna [6] and Ibn al-Jawzi in his book: al-Mawdu'at, rejected the content of this narration and deemed it as fabricated.

In the northern part of Hillah in Iraq, there is a holy site known as “Mashhad al-Shams” or “Mashhad Radd al-Shams”. According to Shi'as, the site is constructed in a place where Radd al-Shams occurred in the period of Imam 'Ali (a). It is sometimes called the Mosque of Imam 'Ali (a) or the Mosque of Radd al-Shams as well.

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  1. Mufid, al-Irshad, vol.1 p.346
  2. Mas'udi, Ithbat al-wasiyya, p.153
  3. Kulayni, al-Kafi, vol.4 p.562; Saduq, Man la yahzuruh al-faqih, vol.1 p.203
  4. Mufid, al-Irshad, vol.1 p.347
  5. 'Asqalani, Fath al-bari, vol.6 p.221-222
  6. Ibn Taymiyya, Minjaj al-sunna, vol.4 p.186


  • The material for this article is mainly taken from رد الشمس in Farsi Wikishia.
  • 'Asqalani, Ibn Hajar al-. Fath al-bari fi sharh sahih al-Bukhari. Dar al-Ma'rifa
  • Ibn Taymiyya, Ahmad b. 'Abd al-Hamid. Minhaj al-sunna. Jami'a l-Imam Muhammad b. Sa'ud al-Islamiyya, 1406/1986
  • Kulayni, Muhammad b. Ya'qub al-. Al-Kafi. Tehran: Dar al-Kutub al-Islamiyya, 1407
  • Mas'udi, Abu l-Hasan al-. Ithbat al-wasiyya li l-imam 'Ali b. Abi Talib. Qom: Ansariyan, 1423
  • Saduq. Man la yahzuruh al-faqih. Qom: Nashr Islami, 1413
  • Shaykh al-Mufid al-. Al-Irshad fi ma'rifa hujaj Allah 'ala l-'ibad. Qom: Kungiriyi Shaykh Mufid, 1413