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WHERE WAS THE OLD QIBLAH BEFORE MASJID AL-HARAAM IN MAKKAH?

 

 

ANALYSIS CONDUCTED BY MEMBER:

 

[Name withheld]

 


Received 21st November 2011

 

 

We all know the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w) after migration to Medina did not offer his prayers in the direction of Makkah. The order came in Surah Baqarah as follows:

 

قَدْ نَرَىٰ تَقَلُّبَ وَجْهِكَ فِي السَّمَاءِ ۖ فَلَنُوَلِّيَنَّكَ قِبْلَةً تَرْضَاهَا ۚ فَوَلِّ وَجْهَكَ شَطْرَ الْمَسْجِدِ الْحَرَامِ ۚ وَحَيْثُ مَا كُنتُمْ فَوَلُّوا وُجُوهَكُمْ شَطْرَهُ ۗ وَإِنَّ الَّذِينَ أُوتُوا الْكِتَابَ لَيَعْلَمُونَ أَنَّهُ الْحَقُّ مِن رَّبِّهِمْ ۗ وَمَا اللَّهُ بِغَافِلٍ عَمَّا يَعْمَلُونَ [٢:١٤٤]

[Pickthall] We have seen the turning of thy face to heaven (for guidance, O Muhammad). And now verily We shall make thee turn (in prayer) toward a qiblah which is dear to thee. So turn thy face toward the Inviolable Place of Worship, and ye (O Muslims), wheresoever ye may be, turn your faces (when ye pray) toward it. Lo! Those who have received the Scripture know that (this revelation) is the Truth from their Lord. And Allah is not unaware of what they do. (2:144)

 

And we note that Allah (s.w.t) says that the Qiblah is changed to the one which Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w) likes most.

We also know from Quran that the building of Kaa’ba was raised by Prophet Ibrahim (a.s) and Prophet Ismail (a.s) from the following :

 

وَإِذْ يَرْفَعُ إِبْرَاهِيمُ الْقَوَاعِدَ مِنَ الْبَيْتِ وَإِسْمَاعِيلُ رَبَّنَا تَقَبَّلْ مِنَّا ۖ إِنَّكَ أَنتَ السَّمِيعُ الْعَلِيمُ [٢:١٢٧]

[Pickthall] And when Abraham and Ishmael were raising the foundations of the House, (Abraham prayed): Our Lord! Accept from us (this duty). Lo! Thou, only Thou, art the Hearer, the Knower. (2:127)

 

When translating this Ayah, scholars have given the opinion that the foundations of the building were already in the ground, as it was the first house of worship made by man, but the building itself had been destroyed over time.

 

 

KAA'BA

 

The building of Kaa’ba is a near square building with a semi-circular area right next to it called ‘Hateem’. The square building is rendered as an omni-directional building.

 

 

Kaaba.jpg

 

 

The scholars give us the opinion that ‘Hateem’ was initially part of the main building, and praying inside ‘Hateem’ is regarded as praying inside Kaa’ba itself.

If we consider this assumption as truth, then the building is no longer an omni-directional one. It can be very much compared to a mosque with a ‘Mehrab’ on the pointing wall, hence, a directional building.

 

 

 

Kaaba.png

 

 

Also supporting this argument is a typical mosque layout of today, with entrance being near the rear wall of the building. The question arises, what was the original building pointing to?

 

 

DIRECTION

 

Using aids like Google Earth, now we can draw paths and lines on the globe itself quite easily.

The general direction at first glance can be judged as towards Jerusalem. The following line (green) is between Kaa’ba and Masjid Al Aqsa in Jerusalem.

 

 

Kaaba to Jerusalem.jpg

 

 

Jerusalem to Kaaba.jpg

 

Please note that Masjid Al Aqsa’s building is not perfectly aligned with Kaa’ba. We know that the building of Masjid Al Aqsa has been rebuilt many times, but we are assuming that the platform for the complex is the same as original.

Recently, reading an article which suggests ‘Tur’ being Jabl Al Awz in northern Saudi Arabia, I was intrigued to locate the mountain on Google Earth. Once located, I marked a line from Jabl Al Awz to Kaa’ba and was astonished to find that the direction of Kaa’ba (when including Hateem) was very much close to Jabl Al Awz. The following line (yellow) is between Kaa’ba and Jabl Al Awz.