*The Returning of the Sun*
By Ayatollah Sayed Ja'far Murtadha [*]
Some have attempted to cast doubt upon the narration of 'the returning of the sun' based on the following [arguments]:
1. Returning the sun constitutes a void in the cosmic order.
2. This narration has only been narrated by the Shi'a, who are already subject to accusation because of what they narrate regarding Imam 'Ali (a).
3. If this had really occurred, many of the non-Muslim nations would have reported it.
4. 'Ali (a) could never leave his prayer.
How do we respond to these proofs?
In the name of Allah, and glory be to Him, and may peace and salutations be upon our Prophet Mu'hammad and his pure progeny.
What has been said is incorrect due to the following:
1. The world is in the hands of its Creator, and He knows best what is in its interest, so if Allah (swt) is the One who returned the sun for 'Ali (a) in demonstration of his dignity, then He would not return it and void the world, but rather, return it and better the world. Moreover, Allah (swt) has told of the splitting of the moon, the bringing of the throne of Bilqees, and the ascension, yet the cosmic order was not annulled. The Messenger of Allah (s) also told of the sun rising from its West as well as other matters, yet the cosmic order was not annulled.
2. Narrations that are authentic and numerous have mentioned this [occurrence] and have not only been reported by the Shi'a. Rather, Sunni and Shi'a Muslims have narrated this - and Ta'hawi and others have admitted the correctness of this occurrence. The Mosque of Rad al-Shams is still present in the Medina of the holy Prophet (s) to this day. It is also called Masjid al-Fadeekh, and there is another mosque known as Masjid al-Shams in Medina, as well.
There is also another mosque near Kufa that is known for being a location of the sun being returned for him (a). Furthermore, it is mentioned in the narrations that the sun was returned for him (a) during his return from Siffeen.
3. This matter took place in the Arabian Peninsula, so it does not need to be seen by all people of the world for them to report it and record it in their historical records. This is in addition to the fact that many nations and groups did not write detailed accounts of history, nor did they have civilizations capable of dealing with occurrences such as this one in a fulfilling manner. Moreover, there is serious doubt that those areas were inhabited, for they could have been surrounding areas and others which were uninhabitable at the time.
4. As for 'Ali (a) leaving prayer, we say: There are narrations which have stated that he (a) prayed seated, which is the prayer of one who has no choice and cannot stand, precisely like the case of the prayer of chase (mutāradah) and the prayer of the drowning (ghareeq), and the prayer upon the land that has split open, as it has been narrated that it is impermissible for a Prophet or Trustee (a) to pray upon it when they pass by it. So, this does not mean that if they pass by it, then they do not pray at all - rather, they pray as they walk, and when they are past it, they pray the prayer of one who is free [of the exigent circumstance].
Ameer al-Mu'mineen (a) knew that prayer is never to be abandoned, and knew that the one who has no choice can pray seated.
Peace be upon you, as well as God's mercy and blessings.
[*] Mukhtasar Mufeed, v.2, p.95-98
 See: Wafa' al-Wafa' by Al-Samhoudi, as well as Tareekh al-Medina by Ibn Shabbah.