"Let there arise out of you a band of people inviting to all that is good enjoining what is right and forbidding what is wrong; they are the ones to attain felicity".
(surah Al-Imran,ayat-104)
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User Name: Riaz
Full Name: Riaz Jafri
User since: 25/Jan/2008
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Qibla Direction



The need for Islam to keep pace with time, as ordained in the holy Qura’n, was never felt more than in the 21st century by when immense conceptual changes have taken place in the realm of geo-spatial metaphor and technology.


One such small ritual needing our attention is the need for correct Qiyam during sallat.


While it is essential to know the \'general\' direction of Qibla to pray yet, it is not always possible for one to keep one’s direction towards it EXACTLY and CORRECTLY from any place on the globe beyond six miles from it. At this distance it will not be visible to a standing man even with a telescope as the curvature of the earth will come in-between. The earth being round has a curvature which rises approximately 1 foot every four miles. A six feet tall man standing on the sea shore would, therefore, not be able to see an incoming ship when it is beyond 25 miles and shall start seeing it only when it is at a distance of 4 x 6 = 24 miles or closer. At first he will see its masts only and as the ship gradually draws nearer he will start seeing more and more of it. The earth is round and hides the objects beyond horizon as it happens daily with the sun at suns et time.


Any body trying to \'see\' Qibla beyond 6 miles would not be able to see it as his line of sight would pass over it in a tangent.  More the distance higher would be the trajectory.  Hence no one can maintain the exact one to one direction with it from a distance more than six miles from it.


A few decades ago we confronted the issue of maintaining Qiyam while travelling in a bus or train. It has been solved to some extent by arriving at a general consensus of fixing the Qiyam at the start of the sallat and thereafter if the bus or the train swerves Allah (swt) will forgive it. Trains and bus are earth bound and move in two planes only. Now we have aircraft and space vehicles which fly above the ground and move in three planes. How would one even commence his Qiyam from up above in the skies and beyond while the Qibla is on earth? We believe Islam to be universal and can be practised from ANY where in the universe. So there has to be a way out for it. To me, it is one’s pronouncement (Nayyah) that he/she is facing Qibla and at the same time tries to face it to the best of his/her ability under the given circumstances.


I , therefore, feel that the \'Nayyah\' should matter more than the actual direction. Would my more learned friends enlighten me on this count, please?



Col. Riaz Jafri (Retd)

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