Chapter: The holy kaba
Why qibla not assigned
Question:During the period of the prophet sallallaahu alaihi wasallam, though Ka’bah was there, the beloved prophet sallallaahu alaihi wasallam faced Baithul Muqaddas from the holy Madinah for prayers. What was the reason for this?
Answer: During the period of the prophet sallallaahu alaihi wasallam at Makkah, he sallallaahu alaihi wasallam stood in such a way that both, the Baithullah (holy house of Allah – the Ka’bah) and Baithul Muqaddas were in front of him. But after the migration, it was not possible to follow this method due to the fact that the holy Makkah and Jerusalem were on the opposite directions from the holy Madinah. If the holy Makkah was faced, then the Jerusalem comes at the back and at the time of facing Jerusalem the holy Makkah comes at the back. After the migration, it was commanded to the prophet sallallaahu alaihi wasallam by Allah to face Baithul Muqaddas while praying. Around sixteen or seventeen months, the Baithul Muqaddas was the qibla for Muslims, but it was the desire and longing of the prophet sallallaahu alaihi wasallam to have assigned the holy Ka’bah as qibla for Muslims. The prophet sallallaahu alaihi wasallam were waiting for wahi (message of Allah) in this regard. This incidence has been narrated in Al-Qur’an like this:
قَدْ نَرَى تَقَلُّبَ وَجْهِكَ فِي السَّمَاءِ فَلَنُوَلِّيَنَّكَ قِبْلَةً تَرْضَاهَا فَوَلِّ وَجْهَكَ شَطْرَ الْمَسْجِدِ الْحَرَامِ وَحَيْثُ مَا كُنتُمْ فَوَلُّواْ وُجُوهَكُمْ شَطْرَهُ وَإِنَّ الَّذِينَ أُوْتُواْ الْكِتَابَ لَيَعْلَمُونَ أَنَّهُ الْحَقُّ مِن رَّبِّهِمْ وَمَا اللّهُ بِغَافِلٍ عَمَّا يَعْمَلُونَ.
Verily! We have seen the turning of your (Muhammad's SAW) 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 Scriptures (i.e. Jews and the Christians) know well that, that (your turning towards the direction of the Ka'bahat Makkah in prayers) is the truth from their Lord. And Allah is not unaware of what they do. (Al-Qur’an 2:144).
In the presence of the holy Ka’bah, Baithul Muqaddas was to remain a Qibla till then was with a wisdom to test during the prayers the faithful who obey the prophet sallallaahu alaihi wasallam to turn from Baithul Muqaddas to the holy Ka’bah, from those who go against the command and stand in his place without obeying. This wisdom has been narrated in Al-Qur’an like this :وَمَا جَعَلْنَا الْقِبْلَةَ الَّتِي كُنتَ عَلَيْهَا إِلاَّ لِنَعْلَمَ مَن يَتَّبِعُ الرَّسُولَ مِمَّن يَنقَلِبُ عَلَى عَقِبَيْهِ وَإِن كَانَتْ لَكَبِيرَةً إِلاَّ عَلَى الَّذِينَ هَدَى اللّهُ وَمَا كَانَ اللّهُ لِيُضِيعَ إِيمَانَكُمْ
And We made the Qiblah (prayer direction towards Jerusalem) which you used to face, only to test those who followed the Messenger (Muhammad SAW) from those who would turn on their heels (i.e. disobey the Messenger). Indeed it was great (heavy) except for those whom Allah guided. And Allah would never make your faith (prayers) to be lost (i.e. your prayers offered towards Jerusalem)…. (Al-Qur’an 2:143)