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The Qiblah

What does Qiblah mean?

 Qiblah means "direction of prayer."

What is the Qiblah of a Muslim? And how do we know?

 The Kabah is the qiblah of a Muslim. Allah informs us of the prayer direction in the Quraan:

“Verily, We have seen the turning of your face (O Muhammad) towards the heaven. Surely, We shall turn you to a Qiblah (proper direction) that will please you. So turn your face to the direction of Al-Masjid-ul-Haraam.” [Surah Al-Baqarah: 144]

Audio: (Ayaah 144 --> time 2:11 to 3:40)

How do we say "facing the qiblah/kabah" in Arabic?

Istiqbaal-ul-Qiblah. Facing the Qiblah is the eighth condition of prayer. (Source)

What do we do if we find out we didn’t pray facing the Qiblah?

1. "If a Muslim is on a journey or in a land in which it is not easy to find someone to show him the Qiblah, then his prayer is correct even after it becomes clear to him that he did not pray towards the Qibla. But if he was in a Muslim land, his prayer is not correct, because he is able to ask someone to show him the direction of the Qibla, just as he is able to know the direction of the Qibla via the mosques." (Source)

2. Source: "It is obligatory on a Muslim to face the Qiblah, wherever he is for this is one of the most important conditions of Salah (Prayer). Allah (Exalted and Glorified be He) says:  And from wheresoever you start forth (for prayers), turn your face in the direction of Al-Masjid-Al-Harâm (at Makkah), and wheresoever you are, turn your faces towards it (when you pray) A person who is unable to observe the Qiblah is excluded from this stipulation; such as a person who is crucified and made to face another direction or a sick person who is cannot face the Qiblah. Allah (Exalted be He) says:  So keep your duty to Allâh and fear Him as much as you can.

The same is true for a traveler who should take the direction of his way, even if he faces a direction other than the Qiblah. It is authentically reported that  The Prophet (peace be upon him) used to perform the supererogatory prayer on his riding camel facing any direction. But, it is better to face the Qiblah upon starting Salah and say Takbirat-ul-Ihram (saying: "Allahu Akbar [Allah is the Greatest]" upon starting Prayer) according to a Hadith Hasan (a Hadith whose chain of narration contains a narrator with weak exactitude, but is free from eccentricity or blemish) related in this regard.

If a person is performing an obligatory Prayer and able to face the Qiblah, he is not permitted to direct to another side whether they are a resident or on a journey. As for those who are traveling by ship, plane or the like, it is obligatory on them to observe the Qiblah as much as possible and turn along with the ship or the plane. If a person does not notice that he is away from the Qiblah sometimes, there is no blame on him. Allah (Exalted be He) says:  Allâh intends for you ease, and He does not want to make things difficult for you.  ...and He has not laid upon you in religion any hardship  So keep your duty to Allâh and fear Him as much as you can The Prophet (peace be upon him) said:  When I command you to do anything, do of it as much as you possibly can."

The Story of the Changing of the Qiblah

Imam Al-Bukhari reported that Al-Bara’ bin `Azib narrated: “Allah’s Messenger offered his prayers facing Bayt Al-Maqdis (Jerusalem) for sixteen or seventeen months, but he wished that he could pray facing the Ka`bah (at Makkah). The first prayer which he offered (facing the Ka`bah) was the `Asr (Afternoon) prayer in the company of some people. Then one of those who had offered that prayer with him, went out and passed by some people in a mosque who were in the bowing position (in Ruku`) during their prayers (facing Jerusalem). He addressed them saying, `By Allah, I bear witness that I have offered prayer with the Prophet facing Makkah (Ka`bah).’ Hearing that, those people immediately changed their direction towards the House (Ka`bah) while still as they were (i.e., in the same bowing position). Some Muslims who offered prayer towards the previous Qiblah (Jerusalem) before it was changed towards the House (the Ka`bah in Makkah) had died or had been martyred, and we did not know what to say about them (regarding their prayers towards Jerusalem). Allah then revealed:
(And Allah would never make your faith (prayers) to be lost (i.e., the prayers of those Muslims were valid)) (2:143).”
Al-Bukhari collected this narration, while Muslim collected it using another chain of narrators. Muhammad bin Ishaq reported that Al-Bara’ narrated: Allah’s Messenger used to offer prayers towards Bayt Al-Maqdis (in Jerusalem), but would keep looking at the sky awaiting Allah’s command (to change the Qiblah). Then Allah revealed:
(Verily, We have seen the turning of your (Muhammad’s) face towards the heaven. Surely, We shall turn you to a Qiblah (prayer direction) that shall please you, so turn your face in the direction of Al-Masjid Al-Haram (at Makkah).) (2:144)

Learning Resources

The Qiblah (PowerPoint) TJ Homeschooling

 Download The Qiblah from TJ Homeschooling at SlideShare

Notebooking Pages

Lesson on the Qiblah - a brief  5 page lesson on the qiblah for younger students.

Prophet's Prayer Described Lesson on Facing the Qiblah  (from 2006)
You can find other lessons that I made to go along with the book here.

Lessons to Accompany "The Prophet's Prayer Described"