Allah, Glorified and Praised Be He, changes the direction of prayer

I take refuge with Allaah, the Exalted, from the accursed devil.

بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَـنِ الرَّحِيمِ

Bismillah-ir-Rahman-ir-Raheem: In the name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful.

Welcome to my blog and praise the Magnificent Lord as you enter: Allahu Akbar: Allah is the Greatest .

May the Peace and Blessings of Allah Azza wa Jal, our Lord Glorified and Praised be He, be upon our beloved  Prophet, his Family, and Companions.

Allah, Glorified and Praised Be He, changes the direction of prayer.

وَمِنْ حَيْثُ خَرَجْتَ فَوَلِّ وَجْهَكَ شَطْرَ الْمَسْجِدِ الْحَرَامِ وَإِنَّهُ لَلْحَقُّ مِن رَّبِّكَ وَمَا اللَّهُ بِغَـفِلٍ عَمَّا تَعْمَلُونَ

(149. And from wheresoever you start forth (for prayers), turn your face in the direction of Al-Masjid Al-Haram (at Makkah), that is indeed the truth from your Lord. And Allah is not unaware of what you do.)

وَمِنْ حَيْثُ خَرَجْتَ فَوَلِّ وَجْهَكَ شَطْرَ الْمَسْجِدِ الْحَرَامِ وَحَيْثُ مَا كُنتُمْ فَوَلُّواْ وُجُوهَكُمْ شَطْرَهُ لِئَلاَّ يَكُونَ لِلنَّاسِ عَلَيْكُمْ حُجَّةٌ إِلاَّ الَّذِينَ ظَلَمُواْ مِنْهُمْ فَلاَ تَخْشَوْهُمْ وَاخْشَوْنِى وَلاٌّتِمَّ نِعْمَتِى عَلَيْكُمْ وَلَعَلَّكُمْ تَهْتَدُونَ

(150. And from wheresoever you start forth (for prayers), turn your face in the direction of Al-Masjid Al-Haram (at Makkah), and wheresoever you are, turn your faces towards it (when you pray) so that men may have no argument against you except those of them that are wrongdoers, so fear them not, but fear Me! ـ And so that I may complete My blessings on you and that you may be guided.)

Surah 2 Al Baqarah Verse 149-150

Tafsir Ibn Kathir

Why was changing the Qiblah mentioned thrice.

This is a third command from Allah to face Al-Masjid Al-Haram (the Sacred Mosque) from every part of the world (during prayer). It was said that Allah mentioned this ruling again here because it is connected to whatever is before and whatever is after it. Hence, Allah first said:

(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) (2:144), until:

(Certainly, the people who were given the Scripture (i.e., Jews and the Christians) know well that, that (your turning towards the direction of the Ka`bah at Makkah in prayers) is the truth from their Lord. And Allah is not unaware of what they do.) (2:144)

Allah mentioned in these Ayat His fulfillment of the Prophet’s wish and ordered him to face the Qiblah that he liked and is pleased with. In the second command, Allah said:

(And from wheresoever you start forth (for prayers), turn your face in the direction of Al-Masid Al-Haram that is indeed the truth from your Lord. And Allah is not unaware of what you do.)

Therefore, Allah states here that changing the Qiblah is also the truth from Him, thus upgrading the subject more than in the first Ayah, in which Allah agreed to what His Prophet had wished for. Thus Allah states that this is also the truth from Him that He likes and is pleased with. In the third command, Allah refutes the Jewish assertion that the Prophet faced their Qiblah, as they knew in their Books that the Prophet will later on be commanded to face the Qiblah of Ibrahim, the Ka`bah. The Arab disbelievers had no more argument concerning the Prophet’s Qiblah after Allah commanded the Prophet to face the Qiblah of Ibrahim, which is more respected and honored, rather than the Qiblah of the Jews. The Arabs used to honor the Ka`bah and liked the fact that the Messenger was commanded to face it.

The Wisdom behind abrogating the Previous Qiblah.

Allah said:

(…so that men may have no argument against you)

Therefore, the People of the Book knew from the description of the Muslim Ummah that they would be ordered to face the Ka`bah. If the Muslims did not fit this description, the Jews would have used this fact against the Muslims. If the Muslims had remained on the Qiblah of Bayt Al-Maqdis, which was also the Qiblah of the Jews, this fact could have been used as the basis of argument by the Jews against other people.

Allah’s Statement:

(…except those of them that are wrongdoers,) indicates the Mushrikin (polytheists) of Quraysh. The reasoning of these unjust persons was the unsound statement: “This man (Muhammad) claims that he follows the religion of Ibrahim! Hence, if his facing Bayt Al-Maqdis was a part of the religion of Ibrahim, why did he change it” The answer to this question is that Allah has chosen His Prophet to face Bayt Al-Maqdis first for certain wisdom, and he obeyed Allah regarding this command. Then, Allah changed the Qiblah to the Qiblah of Ibrahim, which is the Ka`bah, and he also obeyed Allah in this command. He, obeys Allah in all cases and never engages in the defiance of Allah even for an instant, and his Ummah imitates him in this.

Allah said:

(. ..so fear them not, but fear Me!) meaning: `Do not fear the doubts that the unjust, stubborn persons raise and fear Me Alone.’ Indeed, Allah Alone deserves to be feared.

Allah said:

(…so that I may complete My blessings on you.)

This Ayah relates to Allah’s statement:

(…so that men may have no argument against you), meaning: I will perfect My bounty on you by legislating for you to face the Ka`bah, so that the (Islamic) Shari`ah (law) is complete in every respect. Allah said:

(…that you may be guided.), meaning: `To be directed and guided to what the nations have been led astray from, We have guided you to it and preferred you with it.’ This is why this Ummah is the best and most honored nation ever.

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Every Nation has a Qiblah

I take refuge with Allaah, the Exalted, from the accursed devil.

بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَـنِ الرَّحِيمِ

Bismillah-ir-Rahman-ir-Raheem: In the name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful.

Welcome to my blog and praise the Magnificent Lord as you enter: Allahu Akbar: Allah is the Greatest .

May the Peace and Blessings of Allah Azza wa Jal, our Lord Glorified and Praised be He, be upon our beloved  Prophet, his Family, and Companions.

Every Nation has a Qiblah.

وَلِكُلٍّ وِجْهَةٌ هُوَ مُوَلِّيهَا فَاسْتَبِقُواْ الْخَيْرَتِ أَيْنَ مَا تَكُونُواْ يَأْتِ بِكُمُ اللَّهُ جَمِيعًا إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَلَى كُلِّ شَىْءٍ قَدِيرٌ

(148. For every nation there is a direction to which they face (in their prayers). So hasten towards all that is good. Wheresoever you may be, Allah will bring you together (on the Day of Resurrection). Truly, Allah is able to do all things.)

Surah 2 Al Baqarah Verse 148

Tafsir Ibn Kathir

Al-`Awfi reported that Ibn `Abbas said:

(For every nation there is a direction to which they face (in their prayers))

“This talks about followers of the various religions. Hence, every nation and tribe has its own Qiblah that they choose, while Allah’s appointed Qiblah is what the believers face.”

Abul-`Aliyah said, “The Jew has a direction to which he faces (in the prayer). The Christian has a direction to which he faces. Allah has guided you, O (Muslim) Ummah, to a Qiblah which is the true Qiblah.” This statement was also related to Mujahid, `Ata’ Ad-Dahhak, Ar-Rabi` bin Anas, As-Suddi, and others.

This last Ayah is similar to what Allah said:

(To each among you, We have prescribed a law and a clear way. If Allah had willed, He would have made you one nation, but that (He) may test you in what He has given you; so compete in good deeds. The return of you (all) is to Allah.) (5:48)

In the Ayah (2:148), Allah said:

(Wheresoever you may be, Allah will bring you together (on the Day of Resurrection). Truly, Allah is able to do all things.) meaning: He is able to gather you from the earth even if your bodies and flesh disintegrated and scattered.

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The first abrogation in the Qur’an was about the Qiblah

I take refuge with Allaah, the Exalted, from the accursed devil.

بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَـنِ الرَّحِيمِ

Bismillah-ir-Rahman-ir-Raheem: In the name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful.

Welcome to my blog and praise the Magnificent Lord as you enter: Allahu Akbar: Allah is the Greatest .

May the Peace and Blessings of Allah Azza wa Jal, our Lord Glorified and Praised be He, be upon our beloved  Prophet, his Family, and Companions.

The first abrogation in the Qur’an was about the Qiblah.

قَدْ نَرَى تَقَلُّبَ وَجْهِكَ فِي السَّمَآءِ فَلَنُوَلِّيَنَّكَ قِبْلَةً تَرْضَاهَا فَوَلِّ وَجْهَكَ شَطْرَ الْمَسْجِدِ الْحَرَامِ وَحَيْثُ مَا كُنتُمْ فَوَلُّواْ وُجُوهَكُمْ شَطْرَهُ وَإِنَّ الَّذِينَ أُوتُواْ الْكِتَـبَ لَيَعْلَمُونَ أَنَّهُ الْحَقُّ مِن رَّبِّهِمْ وَمَا اللَّهُ بِغَـفِلٍ عَمَّا يَعْمَلُونَ

(144. 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). And wheresoever you people are, turn your faces (in prayer) in that direction. Certainly, the people who were given the Scripture (i.e., Jews and Christians) know well that, that (your turning towards the direction of the Ka`bah at Makkah in prayers) is the truth from their Lord. And Allah is not unaware of what they do).

Surah 2 Al Baqarah Verse 144

Tafsir Ibn Kathir

`Ali bin Abu Talhah related that Ibn `Abbas narrated: The first abrogated part in the Qur’an was about the Qiblah. When Allah’s Messenger migrated to Al-Madinah, the majority of its people were Jews, and Allah commanded him to face Bayt Al-Maqdis. The Jews were delighted then. Allah’s Messenger faced it for ten and some months, but he liked to face the Qiblah of Ibrahim (Ka`bah in Makkah). He used to supplicate to Allah and look up to the sky (awaiting Allah’s command). Allah then revealed:

(Verily, We have seen the turning of your (Muhammad’s) face towards the heaven), until,

(turn your faces (in prayer) in that direction.)

The Jews did not like this ruling and said:

(“What has turned them (Muslims) from their Qiblah (prayer direction) to which they used to face in prayer.” Say (O Muhammad), “To Allah belong both, east and the west.”) (2:142)

Allah said:

(. ..so wherever you turn (yourselves or your faces) there is the Face of Allah) (2:115),

and:

(And We made the Qiblah (prayer direction towards Jerusalem) which you used to face, only to test those who followed the Messenger (Muhammad ) from those who would turn on their heels (i.e., disobey the Messenger).) (2:143)

Is the Qiblah the Ka`bah itself or its General Direction.

Al-Hakim related that `Ali bin Abu Talib said:

(…so turn your face in the direction of Al-Masjid Al-Haram (at Makkah).) means its direction.”

Al-Hakim then commented that the chain of this narration is authentic and that they (i.e., Al-Bukhari and Muslim) did not include it in their collections.

This ruling concerning the Qiblah is also the opinion of Abu Al-`Aliyah, Mujahid, `Ikrimah, Sa`id bin Jubayr, Qatadah, Ar-Rabi` bin Anas and others. Allah’s Statement:

(And wheresoever you people are, turn your faces (in prayer) in that direction) is a command from Allah to face the Ka`bah from wherever one is on the earth: the east, west, north or south. The exception is of the voluntary prayer (Nafl) while one is traveling, for one is allowed to offer it in any direction his body is facing, while his heart is intending the Ka`bah. Also, when the battle is raging, one is allowed to offer prayer, however he is able. Also, included are those who are not sure of the direction and offer prayer in the wrong direction, thinking that it is the direction of the Qiblah, because Allah does not burden a soul beyond what it can bear.

The Jews had Knowledge that the (Muslim) Qiblah would later be changed.

Allah stated that:

(Certainly, the people who were given the Scripture (i.e., Jews and the Christians) know well that, that (your turning towards the direction of the Ka`bah at Makkah in prayers) is the truth from their Lord.)

This Ayah means: The Jews, who did not like that you change your Qiblah from Bayt Al-Maqdis, already knew that Allah will command you (O Muhammad) to face the Ka`bah. The Jews read in their Books their Prophets’ description of Allah’s Messenger and his Ummah, and that Allah has endowed and honored him with the complete and honorable legislation. Yet, the People of the Book deny these facts because of their envy, disbelief and rebellion. This is why Allah threatened them when He said:

(And Allah is not unaware of what they do.)

وَلَئِنْ أَتَيْتَ الَّذِينَ أُوتُواْ الْكِتَـبَ بِكُلِّ ءَايَةٍ مَّا تَبِعُواْ قِبْلَتَكَ وَمَآ أَنتَ بِتَابِعٍ قِبْلَتَهُمْ وَمَا بَعْضُهُم بِتَابِعٍ قِبْلَةَ بَعْضٍ وَلَئِنِ اتَّبَعْتَ أَهْوَآءَهُم مِّن بَعْدِ مَا جَآءَكَ مِنَ الْعِلْمِ إِنَّكَ إِذَا لَّمِنَ الظَّـلِمِينَ

(145. And even if you were to bring to the People of the Scripture (Jews and Christians) all the Ayat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.), they would not follow your Qiblah (prayer direction), nor are you going to follow their Qiblah. And they will not follow each other’s Qiblah. Verily, if you follow their desires after that which you have received of knowledge (from Allah), then indeed you will be one of the wrongdoers.)

Surah 2 Al Baqarah Verse 145

Tafsir Ibn Kathir

The Stubbornness and Disbelief of the Jews.

Allah describes the Jews’ disbelief, stubbornness and defiance of what they know of the truth of Allah’s Messenger , that if the Prophet brought forward every proof to the truth of what he was sent with, they will never obey him or abandon following their desires. In another instance, Allah said:

(Truly, those, against whom the Word (wrath) of your Lord has been justified, will not believe. Even if every sign should come to them, until they see the painful torment.) (10:96, 97)

This is why Allah said here:

(And even if you were to bring to the People of the Scripture (Jews and Christians) all the Ayat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.), they would not follow your Qiblah (prayer direction)).

Allah’s statement:

(…nor are you going to follow their Qiblah ), indicates the vigor with which Allah’s Messenger implements what Allah commanded him. Allah’s statement also indicates that as much as the Jews adhere to their opinions and desires, the Prophet adheres by Allah’s commands, obeying Him and following what pleases Him, and that he would never adhere to their desires in any case. Hence, praying towards Bayt Al-Maqdis was not because it was the Qiblah of the Jews, but because Allah had commanded it. Allah then warns those who knowingly defy the truth, because the proof against those who know is stronger than against other people. This is why Allah said to His Messenger and his Ummah:

(Verily, if you follow their desires after that which you have received of knowledge (from Allah), then indeed you will be one of the wrongdoers.)

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Facing the Qiblah, direction of the prayer, of Makkah

I take refuge with Allaah, the Exalted, from the accursed devil.

بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَـنِ الرَّحِيمِ

Bismillah-ir-Rahman-ir-Raheem: In the name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful.

Welcome to my blog and praise the Magnificent Lord as you enter: Allahu Akbar: Allah is the Greatest .

May the Peace and Blessings of Allah Azza wa Jal, our Lord Glorified and Praised be He, be upon our beloved  Prophet, his Family, and Companions.

Facing the Qiblah, direction of the prayer, of Makkah.

 وَلِلَّهِ الْمَشْرِقُ وَالْمَغْرِبُ فَأَيْنَمَا تُوَلُّواْ فَثَمَّ وَجْهُ اللَّهِ إِنَّ اللَّهَ وَسِعٌ عَلِيمٌ

(115. And to Allah belong the east and the west, so wherever you turn (yourselves or your faces) there is the Face of Allah (and He is High above, over His Throne). Surely, Allah is Sufficient (for His creatures’ needs), Knowing.)

Surah 2 Al Baqarah Verse 115

Tafsir Ibn Kathir

This ruling brought comfort to the Messenger of Allah and his Companions, who were driven out of Makkah and had to depart from the area of Al-Masjid Al-Haram. In Makkah, the Messenger of Allah used to pray in the direction of Bayt Al-Maqdis, while the Ka`bah was between him and the Qiblah. When the Messenger migrated to Al-Madinah, he faced Bayt Al-Maqdis for sixteen or seventeen months, and then Allah directed him to face Al-Ka`bah in prayer. This is why Allah said,

(And to Allah belong the east and the west, so wherever you turn (yourselves or your faces) there is the Face of Allah (and He is High above, over His Throne)).

`Ali bin Abi Talhah said that Ibn `Abbas said, “The first part of the Qur’an that was abrogated was about the Qiblah. When the Messenger of Allah migrated to Al-Madinah, which was inhabited by the Jews, he was at first commanded to face Bayt Al-Maqdis. The Jews were happy, and the Messenger of Allah faced Bayt Al-Maqdis for some ten months. However, the Messenger of Allah liked to face the Qiblah of Ibrahim (Al-Ka`bah at Makkah), and he used to look to the sky and supplicate. So Allah revealed,

(Verily, We have seen the turning of your (Muhammad’s) face towards the heaven) until,

(turn your faces (in prayer) in that direction) (2:144).

The Jews were disturbed by this development and said, `What made them change the direction of the Qiblah that they used to face’ Allah revealed,

(Say (O Muhammad ): “To Allah belong both, east and the west”) and,

(So wherever you turn (yourselves or your faces) there is the Face of Allah (and He is High above, over His Throne)).”

`Ikrimah said that Ibn `Abbas said,

(So wherever you turn (yourselves or your faces) there is the Face of Allah (and He is High above, over His Throne)) means, “Allah’s direction is wherever you face, east or west.” Mujahid said that,

(So wherever you turn (yourselves or your faces) there is the Face of Allah (and He is High above, over His Throne))

means, “Wherever you may be, you have a Qiblah to face, that is, Al-Ka`bah.”

However, it was said that Allah sent down this Ayah before the order to face the Ka`bah. Ibn Jarir said, “Others said that this Ayah was revealed to the Messenger of Allah permitting the one praying voluntary prayers to face wherever they wish in the east or west, while traveling, when in fear and when facing the enemy.” For instance, Ibn `Umar used to face whatever direction his animal was headed and proclaim that the Messenger of Allah did the same, explaining the Ayah,

(So wherever you turn (yourselves or your faces) there is the Face of Allah).”

That Hadith was also collected by Muslim, At-Tirmidhi, An-Nasa’i, Ibn Abi Hatim, Ibn Marduwyah, and its origin is in the Two Sahihs from Ibn `Umar and `Amr bin Rabi`ah without mentioning the Ayah. In his Sahih, Al-Bukhari recorded that Nafi` said that whenever Ibn `Umar was asked about the prayer during times of fear, he used to describe it and would then say, “When the sense of fear is worse than that, pray while standing, or while riding, whether facing the Qiblah or not.” Nafi` then said, “I think Ibn `Umar mentioned that from the Prophet .” It was also said that the Ayah was revealed about those who are unable to find the correct direction of the Qiblah in the dark or due to cloudy skies and, thus, prayed in a direction other than the Qiblah by mistake.

The Qiblah for the People of Al-Madinah is what is between the East and the West .

In his Tafsir of this Ayah (2:115), Al-Hafiz Ibn Marduwyah recorded that Abu Hurayrah said that the Messenger of Allah said,

(What is between the east and the west is the Qiblah for the people of Al-Madinah, Ash-Sham and `Iraq.)

At-Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah recorded this Hadith with the wording,

(What is between the east and the west is a Qiblah.)

Ibn Jarir said, “The meaning of Allah’s statement;

(Surely, Allah is Sufficient (for His creatures’ needs), Knowing) is that Allah encompasses all His Creation by providing them with sufficient needs and by His generosity and favor. His statement,

(Knowing) means He is knowledgeable of their deeds and nothing escapes His watch, nor is He unaware of anything. Rather, His knowledge encompasses everything.”

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Changing the Qiblah, direction of the prayer, from Jerusalem to Makkah

I take refuge with Allaah, the Exalted, from the accursed devil.

بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَـنِ الرَّحِيمِ

Bismillah-ir-Rahman-ir-Raheem: In the name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful.

Welcome to my blog and praise the Magnificent Lord as you enter: Allahu Akbar: Allah is the Greatest .

May the Peace and Blessings of Allah Azza wa Jal, our Lord Glorified and Praised be He, be upon our beloved  Prophet, his Family, and Companions.

Changing the Qiblah, direction of the prayer, from Jerusalem to Makkah.

سَيَقُولُ السُّفَهَآءُ مِنَ النَّاسِ مَا وَلَّـهُمْ عَن قِبْلَتِهِمُ الَّتِى كَانُواْ عَلَيْهَا قُل لّلَّهِ الْمَشْرِقُ وَالْمَغْرِبُ يَهْدِى مَن يَشَآءُ إِلَى صِرَطٍ مُّسْتَقِيمٍ

(142. The fools (idolators, hypocrites, and Jews) among the people will say: “What has turned them (Muslims) from their Qiblah ﴿prayer direction (towards Jerusalem)﴾ to which they used to face in prayer.” Say (O Muhammad ): “To Allah belong both, east and the west. He guides whom He wills to the straight way.”)

– وَكَذَلِكَ جَعَلْنَـكُمْ أُمَّةً وَسَطًا لِّتَكُونُواْ شُهَدَآءَ عَلَى النَّاسِ وَيَكُونَ الرَّسُولُ عَلَيْكُمْ شَهِيدًا وَمَا جَعَلْنَا الْقِبْلَةَ الَّتِى كُنتَ عَلَيْهَآ إِلاَّ لِنَعْلَمَ مَن يَتَّبِعُ الرَّسُولَ مِمَّن يَنقَلِبُ عَلَى عَقِبَيْهِ وَإِن كَانَتْ لَكَبِيرَةً إِلاَّ عَلَى الَّذِينَ هَدَى اللَّهُ وَمَا كَانَ اللَّهُ لِيُضِيعَ إِيمَـنَكُمْ إِنَّ اللَّهَ بِالنَّاسِ لَرَءُوفٌ رَّحِيمٌ

(143. Thus We have made you (true Muslims ـ real believers of Islamic Monotheism, true followers of Prophet Muhammad and his Sunnah (legal ways)), a Wasat (just and the best) nation, that you be witnesses over mankind and the Messenger (Muhammad ) be a witness over you. And We made the Qiblah which you used to face, only to test those who followed the Messenger (Muhammad ) from those who would turn on their heels (i.e., disobey the Messenger). Indeed it was great (heavy, difficult) except for those whom Allah guided. And Allah would never make your faith (prayers) to be lost (i.e., your prayers offered towards Jerusalem). Truly, Allah is full of kindness, the Most Merciful towards mankind.)

Surah 2 Al Baqarah Verse 142-143

Tafsir Ibn Kathir

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)

A man from among the Muslims then said, “We wish we could know about those among us who died before the Qiblah was changed (i.e., towards Makkah) and also about our own prayers, that we had performed towards Bayt Al-Maqdis.” Allah then revealed:

(And Allah would never make your faith (prayers) to be lost.) (2:143)

The fools among the people, meaning the People of the Scripture (Jews and Christians), said, “What made them change the former Qiblah that they used to face” Allah then revealed:

(The fools (idolators, hypocrites, and Jews) among the people will say…)

until the end of the Ayah.

`Ali bin Abu Talhah related that Ibn `Abbas said: When Allah’s Messenger migrated to Al-Madinah, Allah commanded him to face Bayt Al-Maqdis (Jerusalem). The Jews were delighted then. Allah’s Messenger faced Jerusalem for over ten months. However, he liked (to offer prayer in the direction of) Prophet Ibrahim’s Qiblah (the Ka`bah in Makkah) and used to supplicate to Allah and kept looking up to the sky (awaiting Allah’s command in this regard). Allah then revealed:

(turn your faces (in prayer) in that direction.) meaning, its direction. The Jews did not like this change and said, “What made them change the Qiblah that they used to face (meaning Jerusalem)” Allah revealed:

(Say (O Muhammad ): “To Allah belong both, east and the west. He guides whom He wills to the straight way.”)

There are several other Ahadith on this subject. In summary, Allah’s Messenger was commanded to face Bayt Al-Maqdis (during the prayer) and he used to offer prayer towards it in Makkah between the two corners (of Ka`bah), so that the Ka`bah would be between him and Bayt Al-Maqdis. When the Prophet migrated to Al-Madinah, this practice was no longer possible; then Allah commanded him to offer prayer towards Bayt Al-Maqdis, as Ibn Abbas and the majority of the scholars have stated.

Al-Bukhari reported in his Sahih that the news (of the change of Qiblah) was conveyed to some of the Ansar while they were performing the `Asr (Afternoon) prayer towards Bayt Al-Maqdis, upon hearing that, they immediately changed their direction and faced the Ka`bah.

It is reported in the Sahihayn (Al-Bukhari Muslim) that Ibn `Umar narrated: While the people were in Quba’ (Mosque) performing the Fajr (Dawn) prayer, a man came and said, “A (part of the) Qur’an was revealed tonight to Allah’s Messenger and he was commanded to face the Ka`bah. Therefore, face the Ka`bah. They were facing Ash-Sham, so they turned towards the Ka`bah.

These Hadiths prove that the Nasikh (a Text that abrogates a previous Text) only applies after one acquires knowledge of it, even if the Nasikh had already been revealed and announced. This is why the Companions mentioned above were not commanded to repeat the previous `Asr, Maghrib and `Isha’ prayers (although they had prayed them towards Jerusalem after Allah had changed the Qiblah). Allah knows best.

When the change of Qiblah (to Ka`bah in Makkah) occurred, those inflicted with hypocrisy and mistrust, and the disbelieving Jews, both were led astray from the right guidance and fell into confusion. They said:

(What has turned them (Muslims) from their Qiblah to which they used to face in prayer.)

They asked, “What is the matter with these people (Muslims) who one time face this direction (Jerusalem), and then face that direction (Makkah)” Allah answered their questions when He stated:

(Say (O Muhammad ): “To Allah belong both, east and the west.) meaning, the command, the decision and the authority are for Allah Alone. Hence:

(…so wherever you turn (yourselves or your faces) there is the Face of Allah (and He is High above, over His Throne).) (2:115),

and:

 (It is not Al-Birr (piety, righteousness) that you turn your faces towards east and (or) west (in prayers); but Al-Birr is the one who believes in Allah.) (2:177) This statement means, the best act is to adhere to Allah’s commands. Hence, wherever He commands us to face, we should face. Also, since obedience requires implementing Allah’s commands, if He commands us every day to face different places, we are His servants and under His disposal, and we face whatever He orders us to face. Certainly, Allah’s care and kindness towards His servant and Messenger, Muhammad , and certainly, his Ummah (Muslim nation) is profoundly great. Allah has guided them to the Qiblah of (Prophet) Ibrahim — Allah’s Khalil (intimate friend). He has commanded them to face the Ka`bah, the most honorable house (of worship) on the face of the earth, which was built by Ibrahim Al-Khalil in the Name of Allah, the One without a partner. This is why Allah said afterwards:

(Say (O Muhammad ): “To Allah belong both, east and the west. He guides whom He wills to the straight way.”)

Imam Ahmad reported that `A’ishah (the Prophet’s wife) said that Allah’s Messenger said about the People of the Scripture (Jews and Christians):

(They do not envy us for a matter more than they envy us for Jumu`ah (Friday) to which Allah has guided us and from which they were led astray; for the (true) Qiblah to which Allah has directed us and from which they were led astray; and for our saying `Amin’ behind the Imam (leader of the prayer).)

Allah said:

(Thus We have made you (true Muslims), a Wasat (just) (and the best) nation, that you be witnesses over mankind and the Messenger (Muhammad ) be a witness over you.)

Allah stated that He has changed our Qiblah to the Qiblah of Ibrahim and chose it for us so that He makes us the best nation ever. Hence, we will be the witnesses over the nations on the Day of Resurrection, for all of them will then agree concerning our virtue. The word Wasat in the Ayah means the best and the most honored. Therefore, saying that (the Prophet’s tribe) Quraysh is in the Wasat regarding Arab tribes and their areas, means the best. Similarly, saying that Allah’s Messenger was in the Wasat of his people, means he was from the best subtribe. Also, `Asr, the prayer that is described as `Wusta’ (a variation of the word Wasat), means the best prayer, as the authentic collections of Ahadith reported. Since Allah made this Ummah (Muslim nation) the Wasat, He has endowed her with the most complete legislation, the best Manhaj (way, method, etc.,) and the clearest Madhhab (methodology, mannerism, etc). Allah said:

(He has chosen you (to convey His Message of Islamic Monotheism to mankind), and has not laid upon you in religion any hardship: it is the religion of your father Ibrahim. It is He (Allah) Who has named you Muslims both before and in this (the Qur’an), that the Messenger (Muhammad ) may be a witness over you and you be witnesses over mankind!) (22:78)

Moreover, Imam Ahmad reported that Abu Sa`id narrated: Allah’s Messenger said:

(Nuh will be called on the Day of Resurrection and will be asked, `Have you conveyed (the Message)’ He will say, `Yes.’ His people will be summoned and asked, `Has Nuh conveyed (the Message) to you’ They will say, `No warner came to us and no one (Prophet) was sent to us.’ Nuh will be asked, `Who testifies for you’ He will say, `Muhammad and his Ummah.’)

This is why Allah said:

(Thus We have made you a Wasat nation.)

The Prophet said; (The Wasat means the `Adl (just). You will be summoned to testify that Nuh has conveyed (his Message), and I will attest to your testimony.)

It was also recorded by Al-Bukhari, At-Tirmidhi, An-Nasa’i and Ibn Majah.

Imam Ahmad also reported that Abu Sa`id Khudri narrated: Allah’s Messenger said:

(The Prophet would come on the Day of Resurrection with two or more people (his only following!), and his people would also be summoned and asked, `Has he (their Prophet) conveyed (the Message) to you’ They would say, `No.’ He would be asked, `Have you conveyed (the Message) to your people’ He would say, `Yes.’ He would be asked, `Who testifies for you’ He would say, `Muhammad and his Ummah.’ Muhammad and his Ummah would then be summoned and asked, `Has he conveyed (the Message) to his people’ They would say, `Yes.’ They would be asked, `Who told you that’ They would say, `Our Prophet (Muhammad) came to us and told us that the Messengers have conveyed (their Messages). ‘)

Hence Allah’s statement:

(Thus We have made you a Wasat nation.)

He said, “(meaning) the `Adl,’ (he then continued reciting the Ayah):

(Thus We have made you, a just (and the best) nation, that you be witnesses over mankind and the Messenger (Muhammad ) be a witness over you.)”

Furthermore, Imam Ahmad reported that Abul-Aswad narrated: I came to Al-Madinah and found that an epidemic had broken out that caused many fatalities. I sat next to `Umar bin Al-Khattab once when a funeral procession started and the people praised the dead person. `Umar said, “Wajabat (it will be recorded as such), Wajabat!” Then another funeral was brought forth and the people criticized the dead person. Again, `Umar said, “Wajabat.” Abul-Aswad asked, “What is Wajabat, O Leader of the faithful” He said, “I said just like Allah’s Messenger had said:

(Any Muslim for whom four testify that he was righteous, then Allah will enter him into Paradise.’ We said, `What about three’ He said, `And three.’ We said, `And two’ He said, `And two.’ We did not ask him about (the testimony) of one (believing) person.)”

This was also recorded by Al-Bukhari, At-Tirmidhi, and An-Nasa’i.

The Wisdom behind changing the Qiblah .

Allah then said:

(And We made the Qiblah (prayer direction towards Jerusalem) which you used to face, only to test those who followed the Messenger (Muhammad ) from those who would turn on their heels (i.e., disobey the Messenger). Indeed it was great (heavy, difficult) except for those whom Allah guided.)

Allah states thus: We have legislated for you, O Muhammad, facing Bayt Al-Maqdis at first and then changed it to the Ka`bah so as to find who will follow and obey you and thus face whatever you face.

(…from those who would turn on their heels.) meaning, reverts from his religion. (Allah then said:)

(Indeed it was great (heavy, difficult))

The Ayah indicates that changing the Qiblah from Bayt Al-Maqdis to the Ka`bah is heavy on the heart, except for whomever Allah has rightly guided their hearts, who believe in the truth of the Messenger with certainty and that whatever he was sent with is the truth without doubt. It is they who believe that Allah does what He wills, decides what He wills, commands His servants with what He wills, abrogates any of His commands that He wills, and that He has the perfect wisdom and the unequivocal proof in all this. (The attitude of the believers in this respect is) unlike those who have a disease in their hearts, to whom whenever a matter occurs, it causes doubts, just as this same matter adds faith and certainty to the believers. Similarly, Allah said:

(And whenever there comes down a Surah (chapter from the Qur’an), some of them (hypocrites) say: “Which of you has had his faith increased by it” As for those who believe, it has increased their faith, and they rejoice. But as for those in whose hearts is a disease (of doubt, disbelief and hypocrisy), it will add doubt and disbelief to their doubt and disbelief; and they die while they are disbelievers.) (9:124, 125)

and:

(And We send down of the Qur’an that which is a healing and a mercy to those who believe, and it increases the wrongdoers in nothing but loss.) (17:82)

Certainly, those who remained faithful to the Messenger , obeyed him and faced whatever Allah commanded them, without doubt or hesitation, were the leaders of the Companions. Some scholars stated that the Early Migrants (who migrated with the Prophet from Makkah to Al-Madinah) and Ansar (the residents of Al-Madinah who gave aid and refuge to both the Prophet and the Migrants) were those who offered prayers towards the two Qiblah (Bayt Al-Maqdis and then the Ka`bah). Al-Bukhari reported in the explanation of the Ayah (2:143) that Ibn `Umar narrated: While the people were performing the Fajr (Dawn) prayer in the Quba’ Mosque, a man came and said, “Qur’an was revealed to the Prophet and he was ordered to face the Ka`bah. Therefore, face the Ka`bah.” They then faced the Ka`bah. Muslim also recorded it.

At-Tirmidhi added that they were performing Ruku` (bowing down in prayer), and then changed the direction (of the Qiblah) to the Ka`bah while still bowing down. Muslim reported this last narration from Anas. These Hadiths all indicate the perfect obedience the Companions had for Allah and His Messenger and their compliance with Allah’s commandments, may Allah be pleased with them all.

(And Allah would never make your faith (prayers) to be lost.) meaning, the reward of your prayers towards Bayt Al-Maqdis before would not be lost with Allah. It is reported in Sahih that Abu Ishaq As-Sabi`y related that Bara’ narrated: “The people asked about the matter of those who offered prayers towards Bayt Al-Maqdis and died (before the Qiblah was changed to Ka`bah). Allah revealed:

(And Allah would never make your faith (prayers) to be lost.)”

It was also recorded by At-Tirmidhi from Ibn `Abbas, and At-Tirmidhi graded it Sahih.

Ibn Ishaq reported that Ibn `Abbas narrated:

(And Allah would never make your faith to be lost.) entails: Your (prayer towards) the first Qiblah and your believing your Prophet and obeying him by facing the second Qiblah; He will grant you the rewards for all these acts. Indeed,

Allah said:

(Truly, Allah is full of kindness, the Most Merciful towards mankind.)”

Furthermore, it is reported in the Sahih that Allah’s Messenger saw a woman among the captives who was separated from her child. Whenever she found a boy (infant) among the captives, she would hold him close to her chest, as she was looking for her boy. When she found her child, she embraced him and gave him her breast to nurse. Allah’s Messenger said:

(Do you think that this woman would willingly throw her son in the fire) They said, “No, O Messenger of Allah!” He said, (By Allah! Allah is more merciful with His servants than this woman with her son.)

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