Subject : Mihrabs' Direction is among the Methods for Identifying the Qiblah Direction
Fatwa Number : 599
Date : 11-04-2010
Classified : Prayer's Conditions
Fatwa Type : Search Fatawaa

Question :

How could we identify the Qiblah direction in Islamic cities?

The Answer :

All perfect praise be to Allah, The Lord of the Worlds, and may His peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad and upon all of his family and companions.

Turning to Kabaa' (The holy mosque in Mecca) while praying is a basic condition for the validity of prayer since Allah, The Most Exalted, Said (What means):" Turn then Thy face in the direction of the sacred Mosque: Wherever ye are, turn your faces in that direction." [Al-Baqarah/144]. In addition, the Prophet (PBUH) used to turn to Kabaa' while performing prayer.

Therefore, one who could actually see Kabaa' should turn exactly towards it during prayer, but one who couldn`t is obliged to do his best to anticipate it according to his Ijtihad (An effort in trying to give the appropriate ruling on something based on analogy for which there is no text in the Qur'an, the Sunnah and the consensus of scholar). Besides, the majority of Muslim jurists stated that heading to the Kabaa's direction for the prayer to be valid will suffice since, the Prophet (PBUH) said (What means): "Any direction that is between east and west can be taken as a qibla." [Al-Trmithi].

Furthermore, if a Muslim was in a city, regardless of its location, he is obliged to abide by the direction of the Mihrab (A niche in a mosque directed to the kiblah), which is within the same city, while performing prayer. Besides, he is not permitted to rely on his own Ijtihad nor to make any objection especially if the aforementioned directions were set by people of knowledge.

Ibn Qudama (May Allah have mercy on his soul) said (what means): "If a Muslim prayed in a Mosque in a city or village then he is obliged to abide by the direction of the Mihram which is within city/village since they (Directions) are set by people of knowledge." [Al-Mughni vol.2/pp.272-273].

Moreover, Al-Imam An-Nawai (May Allah have mercy on his soul) said (What means): "A Muslim should abide by the Mihrabs' directions within the country he is in, and without showing any sort of Ijtihad on his part since their (People of knowledge) effort must be taken for granted." [Al-Majmooa' vol.3/pp.200].

Therefore, We (Iftaa' Department) state that the Mosques' Mihrabs within our country were placed and their directions set by the people of knowledge in Jordan represented by the Royal Jordanian Geographic Center who are experienced enough to identify Qiblah's directions scientifically using the most accurate modern methods. In addition, the Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs depends on them (Specialists) in identifying the Mosques' Qiblah directions.

Furthermore, it is neither permissible to make Ijtihad nor to question those directions since they are set by the people of knowledge in the Muslim countries according consensus of Muslim scholars in order to avoid any possible conflict or dispute in the Mosques. And Allah Knows Best.



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