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['Aalim Network QR] 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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Assalamu 'Alaykum

The following questions were kindly answered by Shaykh Rasheed.

Salaams & Duas
Ummulbanin Merali - Moderator - 'Aalim Network

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QUESTION:

1- What is the reason that the first Qiblah was the Aqsa Mosque?

2- What is the reason that our prophet Mohammed (Salla Allah Aleyh wa ala
Aleh wa Sallam) change the direction of praying (Qeblah) from Al-Aqsa mosque to 
Mecca?

Some Western writers claim that it  was to attract Jews to Islam, and then
when this did not work, Our prophet changed it ( which I never heard about
before). If you can answer me I really appreciate it.


ANSWER:

Refer to verses 142-151 in Surah al-Baqarah as they are related to the
changing of the Qiblah from Baytul-Muqaddas to the Holy Ka'bah. Verse 143
states: 

"And thus We have made you a medium (just) nation that you may be the
bearers of witness to the people and (that) the Apostle may be a bearer of
witness to you; and We did not make that which you would have to be the
Qiblah but that We might distinguish he who follows the Apostle from he who
turns back upon his heels, and this was surely hard except for those whom
Allah has guided aright; and Allah was not going to make your faith to be
fruitless; most surely Allah is Affectionate, Merciful to the people."

In the commentary of Qur`an scholars quote many statements with regard to
why the Qiblah was changed to Baytul-Muqaddas. Apparently, as the verse
suggests, the change of Qiblah back to the Holy Ka'bah would cause those
who were not sincerely following the Holy Prophet (S) to be exposed due to
their lack of contentment with the "changing" of the Qiblah. Many Ulamaa
suggest that this act  of distinguishing  those who follow the Apostle from
those who do not was directed at both Muslims and the Ahlul-Kitaab (i.e.
Jews and Christians).

Naturally, the fact that the Muslims were facing toward Baytul-Muqaddas did
not go unnoticed by the Ahlul-Kitaab and perhaps it had the natural and
positive effect of showing some linkage and common ground between Islam and
these faiths.  Keeping in mind that the Ahlul-Kitaab were also awaiting a
Prophet, the turning away from Baytul-Muqaddas toward Makkah was symbolic
of the turning away from these previous faiths toward a new promised faith.
The Prophet of this 'new' faith (Islam) summoned the followers of previous
Prophets, like Ibrahim (AS), Isma'il (AS) and 'Isa (AS) to his new faith
and they were obliged to follow. Those who did not turn toward Makkah,
however, clearly exposed their non-acceptance of the Holy Prophet Muhammad
(S) and their rejection of him as a Prophet, thereby providing a clear
argument against themselves in Allah's court on the Day of Judgment.

Verse 146 states: "Those whom We have given the book recognize him
(meaning, the Prophet Muhammad -S) as they recognize their sons and a party
of them most surely conceal the truth while they know it."

Meaning, that the Ahlul-Kitaab can offer no excuse for not accepting and
following the Holy Prophet Muhammad (S) since they had been given the good
news of his coming and the signs by which they could recognize him as
easily as a person can recognize his own son. They are condemned by Allah
for turning away from the Holy Prophet (s) while knowing he was indeed the
Prophet that they were promised.

Unfortunately, the orientalist often portray the Holy Prophet (S) in such a
manner that his actions appear spontaneous and or worst, resultant from
confusion or uncertainty. As the Ahlul-Kitaab of past times disbelieved in
him being the Prophet of God, orientalist also reflect the same disbelief
and try to portray the Holy Prophet (S) as being unconnected to the source
of guidance, Allah Ta'ala. As you mentioned, they portray the Holy Prophet
(S) as trying something which did not produce the intended results,
therefore, he abandoned it. 

However, it appears that Allah's aim was to complete His proof against
those who disbelieved among the Ahlul-Kitaab and those whose belief was
insincere among the Muslims. When we look at this event in this light, it
gives Allah the position which He rightfully deserves, meaning that He
plans and guides the Holy Prophet (S) accordingly. There is wisdom in His
plan and guidance for those who follow it. Those who turn away, turn away
from the right path. 

Allah knows best. 

Was-Salaam.

Ali Rasheed



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