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['Aalim Network QR] Direction of Qiblah


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|       In the Name of Allah, the Compassionate, the All-Merciful       |\
|  Greeting of Allah be upon Muhammad and the pure members of his House |\
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Salaamun 'Alaykum

The answer to the following question has been taken from Shaykh Hamid's 
work, "Contemporary Legal Rulings in Shi'i Law: in accordance with the 
rulings (fatawa) of  Ayatullah al-'Uzma al-Sayyid 'Ali al-Husayni al-Seestani":


Fee Amaanillah,

Akil Karim
Moderator - 'Aalim Network

---------- Forwarded Message ----------

QUESTION:

The direction of Qibla in North America has been established as North East. 
However recent discussions among our community in Wichita Kansas and by 
studying the map shows that it should be South East. This has became a 
controversial issue as half of the community prays in North east while some 
do in South East. I would like some clarification from an Aalim in this 
matter as there is a lot of confusion among ourselves.


ANSWER:

Q26: The views of the ulama differ regarding the (direction of the) qiblah 
from New York and similar places in North America. Can you explain in some 
detail how we are to face the qiblah from there?


A: Facing the qiblah from distant places which have the curvature of the 
earth between them and the revered Ka'bah is determined by the parallel 
lines that commence from the front of the body of the person praying and the 
lines of curvature that arch around the surface of the earth in the 
direction of the revered Ka'bah, in such a manner that the lines end there 
(the Ka'bah), even if it is only by probability. The direction of the lines 
may be established on a globe by connecting the position of the person 
praying to the revered Ka'bah by a thread -- ensuring that it remains on a 
direct course, rather than veering left or right. According to our tests, 
the direction of this thread from areas such as New York in North America is 
to the East, yielding to the North by the degree indicated by the 
aforementioned thread. 

As for those who say that Mecca lies beneath the 22nd parallel, New York 
falls above the 40th parallel, and this requires that the person in New York 
must face the direction of the honored Ka'bah by bearing to the South rather 
than to the North, the answer to this is as follows: 

This holds true if one uses a flat map as opposed to a global one. The 
change in the direction of the abovementioned thread on a global model is a 
result of the portions lying between the two points, if it is viewed in 
relation to the North and South poles. The support for this is that, if we 
neglect and do not take into consideration the four cardinal points on the 
globe, and we turned around a global map putting Mecca in the summit, as if 
it were the North Pole, we would observe that the direction of the 
abovementioned thread (in a situation for a person in New York) would be 
exactly the same as that obtained by the earlier mentioned thread. The 
person in New York who wants to face the direction of the revered Ka'bah 
must take this direction and not veer towards the right. 

In short, in our opinion, what is more likely in the method of facing the 
direction is as explained in the foregoing. It is clearly the better 
position also with regard to the necessity of observing the imaginary line 
that passes through the earth directly between the position of the person 
praying and the Ka'bah. Since it is not possible to face the direction of 
this (imaginary) line during prayer, it is necessary to follow the direction 
of the line of curvature parallel to it, and which goes over the surface of 
the earth. The parallel line just mentioned is the same as that which we 
already pointed out, whose direction from New York is towards northeast. 
Even so, however, the prayer of a person facing southeast would be valid if 
he is acting on a firm shar'i proof in his possession to that effect. God 
knows best. (MMS, pp. 9-11, Q1)


Note: "MMS" refers to "al-Mustahdathat min al-Masa'il al-Shar'iyyah" by 
Ayatullah Seestani



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