In Saudi Arabia, of all countries, technology reveals wrong qibla direction in mosques

In Saudi Arabia, of all countries, technology reveals wrong qibla direction in mosques
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Published February 12th, 2015 - 20:56 GMT via SyndiGate.info

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The only time when people had to work out the direction of the Qiblah was when they had to pray outside of the mosques
The only time when people had to work out the direction of the Qiblah was when they had to pray outside of the mosques
 
 Many residents of Taif who depend on Google Earth to work out the direction of the Qiblah (the direction of the Kaaba toward which Muslims face when praying) were surprised to find most local mosques were facing the wrong way when holding prayers, Makkah reported.
 
Awad Al-Thubaiti said before such technology became popular, people never questioned the direction of the Qiblah in mosques.
 
The only time when people had to work out the direction of the Qiblah was when they had to pray outside of the mosques.
 
Al-Thubaiti said: "New hi-tech methods have provided us with a more accurate calculation of the Qiblah direction through satellite technology.
 
"The most widely used of these methods is Google Earth."
 
He added that Google Earth is used to define the direction of the Qiblah by locating the Kaaba and the mosque the user is in.
 
The user would then draw a line from the mosque he is in to the Kaaba to determine the Qiblah’s direction.
 
Al-Thubaiti said: "Often the estimations don’t match the Qiblah direction determined in the mosques.
 
"The difference differs from mosque to mosque, but the most accurate of them all is Abdullah Bin Abbas Mosque."
 
Taif Ministry of Islamic Affairs Director Abdulaziz Al-Mudara said the Board of Senior Ulema (scholars) has issued a fatwa (religious edict) in 1988 stating that facing the Qiblah in prayers is not an accurate measure but a close approximation.
 
The fatwa clarified that the most important thing for a correct prayer is for the Muslim to be facing the right direction.
 
However, people believed the ministry’s response was dismissive and was too heavily reliant on a 27-year-old fatwa over modern and accurate technology.
 
In response, Al-Mudara said the ministry does use new accurate and specialized technology in determining the direction of the Qiblah.
 
He said: "The devices we have are more accurate than Google Earth.
 
"If we found any discrepancies in the current and new calculations of the Qiblah’s direction, we will simply readjust the direction of the mosque’s prayer mats.
 
"The same fatwa also said that if a mosque had the wrong Qiblah direction, there is no need to demolish it and only change the direction its prayer mats points toward."
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