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Rabiul Awal 24 Wednesday Hijrah 1439
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Title – The Message   Preface   Arabian Peninsula the Cradle of Islamic Culture   Arabia before Islam   Conditions of Roman and Iranian Empires   Ancestors of the Prophet   Birth of the Prophet   Childhood of the Prophet   Rejoining the Family   Period of Youth   From Shepherd to Merchant   From Marriage up to Prophethood   The First Manifestation of Reality   The First Revelation   Who were the First Persons to Embrace Islam?   Cessation of revelation   General Invitation   Judgement of Quraysh about the Holy Qur’an   The First Migration   Rusty Weapons   The Fiction of Gharaniq   Economic Blockade   Death of Abu Talib   Me’raj – The Heavenly Ascension   Journey to Ta’if   The Agreement of Aqabah   The Event of Migration   The Events of the First Year of Migration   Some Events of the First and Second years of Migration   The Events of the Second Year of Migration   Change of Qiblah   The Battle of Badr   Dangerous Designs of the Jews   The Events of the Third Year of Migration   The Events of the Third and Fourth years of Migration   The Jews Quit the Zone of Islam   The Events of the Fourth Year of Migration   The Events of the Fifth Year Of Migration   The Battle of Ahzab   The Last Stage of Mischief   The Events of the Fifth and Sixth years of Migration   The events of the Sixth Year of Migration   A Religious and Political Journey   The Events of the Seventh Year of Migration   Fort of Khayber the Centre of Danger   The Story of Fadak   The Lapsed ‘Umrah   The Events of the Eighth Year of Migration   The Battle of Zatus Salasil   The Conquest of Makkah   The Battle of Hunayn   The Battle of Ta’if   The Famous Panegyric of Ka’b Bin Zuhayr   The Events of the Ninth Year of Migration   The Battle of Tabuk   The Deputation of Thaqif goes to Madina   The Prophet Mourning for his Son   Eradication of Idol-Worship in Arabia   Representatives of Najran in Madina   The Events of the Tenth Year of Migration   The Farewell Hajj   Islam is completed by the Appointment of Successor   The Events of the Eleventh Year of Migration   A Will which was not written   The Last Hours of the Prophet  

The Message

By Ayatullah Ja'far Subhani

Contents

Chapter# /Title

1: Title – The Message
2: Preface
3: Arabian Peninsula the Cradle of Islamic Culture
4: Arabia before Islam
5: Conditions of Roman and Iranian Empires
6: Ancestors of the Prophet
7: Birth of the Prophet
8: Childhood of the Prophet
9: Rejoining the Family
10: Period of Youth
11: From Shepherd to Merchant
12: From Marriage up to Prophethood
13: The First Manifestation of Reality
14: The First Revelation
15: Who were the First Persons to Embrace Islam?
16: Cessation of revelation
17: General Invitation
18: Judgement of Quraysh about the Holy Qur’an
19: The First Migration
20: Rusty Weapons
21: The Fiction of Gharaniq
22: Economic Blockade
23: Death of Abu Talib
24: Me’raj – The Heavenly Ascension
25: Journey to Ta’if
26: The Agreement of Aqabah
27: The Event of Migration
28: The Events of the First Year of Migration
29: Some Events of the First and Second years of Migration
30: The Events of the Second Year of Migration
31: Change of Qiblah
32: The Battle of Badr
33: Dangerous Designs of the Jews
34: The Events of the Third Year of Migration
35: The Events of the Third and Fourth years of Migration
36: The Jews Quit the Zone of Islam
37: The Events of the Fourth Year of Migration
38: The Events of the Fifth Year Of Migration
39: The Battle of Ahzab
40: The Last Stage of Mischief
41: The Events of the Fifth and Sixth years of Migration
42: The events of the Sixth Year of Migration
43: A Religious and Political Journey
44: The Events of the Seventh Year of Migration
45: Fort of Khayber the Centre of Danger
46: The Story of Fadak
47: The Lapsed ‘Umrah
48: The Events of the Eighth Year of Migration
49: The Battle of Zatus Salasil
50: The Conquest of Makkah
51: The Battle of Hunayn
52: The Battle of Ta’if
53: The Famous Panegyric of Ka’b Bin Zuhayr
54: The Events of the Ninth Year of Migration
55: The Battle of Tabuk
56: The Deputation of Thaqif goes to Madina
57: The Prophet Mourning for his Son
58: Eradication of Idol-Worship in Arabia
59: Representatives of Najran in Madina
60: The Events of the Tenth Year of Migration
61: The Farewell Hajj
62: Islam is completed by the Appointment of Successor
63: The Events of the Eleventh Year of Migration
64: A Will which was not written
65: The Last Hours of the Prophet


29. Change of Qiblah

Not a few months had yet passed since the migration of the Prophet to Madina when the Jews rose to oppose him. Exactly in the seventeenth month of migration a mandatory Divine command came that from then onwards the ‘qiblah’ of the Muslims would be the Ka’bah and while offering their prayers they should turn their faces to Masjidul Haram.

Details of the above event: During the thirteen years of his prophetic mission in Makkah the Prophet used to offer his prayers with his face towards ‘Baytul Maqdis'(Jerusalem) and even after his migration to Madina the Divine order was that ‘Baytul Maqdis’ would continue to be the ‘qiblah’ and while offering their prayers the Muslims should also turn their faces to the same ‘qiblah’ to which the Jews turned theirs. This was in itself a sort of collaboration and a means of bringing the two religions -one old and the other new-nearer to each other. But the Jews became panicky on account of the advancement of the Muslims, because their ever-increasing successes went to show that very soon the religion of Islam would spread to the entire Peninsula and the strength and influence of the Jews would come to an end. They, therefore, began indulging in obstructionist activities and hurt the Muslims and their dignified leader in many ways. Amongst other things they put forward the question of offering prayers facing ‘Baytul Maqdis’ and said:

“Muhammad claims that his is an independent religion and his law supersedes all previous laws, but he does not yet have an independent ‘qiblah’ and offers his prayers facing the ‘qiblah’ of the Jews”.

This news hurt the Prophet. He came out of his house at midnight and looked at the sky. He was awaiting revelation.

In the meantime an order was revealed to him as contained in the following verse:

Many a time We have seen you turn your face towards heaven. We will make you turn towards a ‘qiblah’ that will please you.” (Surah al-Baqarah, 2:144)

It appears from the verses of the Qur’an that change of qiblah was not due only to the objection of the Jews, but there was also another reason for it. It was that the matter possessed an aspect of test. The intention was that the true believers and those who were not sincere in their faith should be identified and the Prophet should fully recognize such persons, because the second order, in obedience to which he turned his face towards Masjidul Haram, while performing prayers, was the sign of faith in the new religion and disobedience and delay is a sign of double-mindedness and hypocrisy. The Qur’an itself mentions this fact clearly in the following verse:

We decreed your former qiblah only in order that We might know the Prophet’s true adherents and those who were to disown him. It was indeed a hard test, but not for those whom Allah guided.” (Surah al-Baqarah, 2:143 )

No doubt, there are other reasons also for this change which we find from the history of Islam and from a study of the conditions then prevailing in the Peninsula, for example:

  1. The Ka’bah, which had been constructed by Prophet Ibrahim, was respected by the entire Arab society. To declare such a place the ‘qiblah’ ensured satisfaction of the Arabs in general and attracted them towards Islam. And there could be no target sublimer than that the obstinate polytheists who were far behind the caravan of civilization should embrace the true faith, and Islam should spread through them in all parts of the world.

  2. There was no hope that the Jews of those days would embrace Islam and it, therefore, appeared necessary that the Muslims should remain at a distance from them, because they indulged in obstructionist activities and wasted the time of the Prophet by putting forward knotty questions, whereby, according to their own thinking, they displayed their knowledge and wisdom. Change of qiblah was one of the manifestations of seeking distance from the Jews, just as fasting on the day of ‘Ashurah’ (10th of Muharram) was abolished for that very purpose. Before the advent of Islam the Jews used to fast on the day of ‘Ashurah’ and the Prophet and the Muslims had also been ordered to fast on that day. Later, however, orders regarding fasting on ‘Ashurah’ day were withdrawn and instead fasting during the month of Ramadan was made obligatory.

After all, Islam, which is superior to other religions in all respects, should manifest itself in such a way that the points of its perfection and superiority should become absolutely clear.

On account of these reasons the Archangel Jibreel came when the Prophet had already performed two rak’ats of noon prayers and communicated to him the Divine command that he should thence forward turn to Masjidul Haram. In some of the narratives it has been said that the Archangel held the hand of the Prophet and turned him to Masjidul Haram. Men and women who were present in the mosque followed suit and from that day onwards the Ka’bah became the permanent qiblah of the Muslims.

Miraculous Knowledge of the Prophet

According to the computation of the former astronomers Madina lies at a latitude of 25 degrees and at a longitude of 75 degrees and 20 points. According to this computation the direction of qiblah as determined for Madina was not in confirmity with the Prophet’s ‘mehrab’ (place of offering prayers) which is still in its original position. This difference was surprising for some experts and at times they offered explanation to remove the difference.

However, recently Sardar Kabuli, the famous scientist has proved, according to modern computations that Madina is at latitude of 24 degrees and 75 points and at a longitude of 39 degrees and 59 points.283

The result of this computation turned out to be this: The qiblah of Madina inclines 45 degrees from the southern point and this extraction tallies exactly with the position of the Prophet’s pulpit. This in itself is a scientific miracle because in those times, no scientific instruments were available, and there was nothing like computation. The Prophet while offering prayers, turned from Baytul Maqdis to the Ka’bah in such a way that there was not the least deviation from the direction of Ka’bah284 and as has been stated above the Archangel Jibreel held his hand and turned him to the Ka’bah.285

Notes:

283. Tuhfatul Ajillah fi Ma’refatil qiblah, page 71.

284. Man la Yahdaruhul Faqih, vol. I, page 88.

285. The incident of the Prophet turning from Baytul Maqdis to the Ka’bah, while ofering prayers, has been quoted by Hur Amili in Wasa’il. (Chapters on Qiblah, vol. III, page 218)

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