10 Nov The Ka’ba, Our Qiblah, Our Direction to Prayer
After the Emigration, for a period of sixteen months, our Prophet and the Muslims prayed facing the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, which was also the qiblah, or direction to Prayer, for the Jews. When in Mecca, the Messenger of Allah had prayed facing Jerusalem and the Ka’ba would also be standing in front of him. After emigrating to Medina, uniting the two was no longer possible. The Messenger of Allah missed facing the Ka’ba while praying.
One day, he had said to the Archangel Gabriel,
“O Gabriel! I truly wish for Allah the Almighty to turn my face from the qiblah of the Jews to the Ka’ba.”
Gabriel had answered,
“Pray to your Lord, ask for this from Him.”
Thereafter, our Prophet started raising his head to the skies every time he stood for Prayer. The verse,
“(Now the time has come, so) turn your face towards the Sacred Mosque. (And you, O believers,) turn your faces towards it wherever you are” (al-Baqarah 2:144) was revealed.
Allah the Almighty had appointed the Ka’ba as the new qiblah and from then on, the Muslims started to pray facing the Ka’ba. These new developments had happened to fall on a Monday in the beginning of the seventeenth month after the Emigration. Our Prophet had happened to be in the Banu Salama neighborhood that day. It was the time for Noon Prayer and so, he stood in Prayer together with his Companions in the masjid there. They had prayed only two rakahs, or units, and the command to turn towards the Ka’ba came to him while still in Prayer. The Messenger of Allah turned and the congregation behind him turned as well. It was after this incident that the masjid in the Banu Salama was named, “The Masjid with Two Qiblahs.”
Two months later, in the second of the holy months, the month of Shaban, the fasting in Ramadan was deemed obligatory, or fard.