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Love for Makkah and the Ka`bah – Part 5

Sep 29, 2022

Our theme for this Rabiul Awwal is Muhammed ﷺ – the Prophet of Love, and we are looking at the things that were beloved to Nabi ﷺ and how he displayed that love.

The Messenger of Allah ﷺ was born in the Blessed city of Makkah and spent approximately 53 years of his Noble life in this honoured city. It is thus very well known that Makkah was very beloved to him and at the time of Hijrah it was very difficult for him to leave his birthplace – Makkatul Mukarramah.

وَعَنْ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ بْنِ عَدِيِّ بْنِ حَمْرَاءَ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُ قَالَ: رَأَيْتُ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ وَاقِفًا عَلَى الْحَزْوَرَةِ فَقَالَ: «وَاللَّهِ إِنَّكِ لَخَيْرُ أَرْضِ اللَّهِ وَأَحَبُّ اللَّهِ إِلَى اللَّهِ وَلَوْلَا أَنِّي أُخْرِجْتُ مِنْكِ مَا خرجْتُ» .

Abdallah bin Adi bin Hamra RA said he saw Allah’s Messenger ﷺ standing at al-Hazwara (Taj al-‘Arus gives two statements about this place, one saying it was a place at the gate of the wheat sellers, the other saying it was the market of Makkah which was later incorporated in the Masjid when it was enlarged) and saying, “I swear by Allah that you are the best part of Allah’s earth and the part dearest to Him. Had I not been expelled from you I would not have gone out.” [Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah]

The Qibla has always been a significant aspect in the life of a Muslim. It is the direction that we, as Muslims, face when performing our prayers. In fact, it is one of the conditions that must be fulfilled in order for the obligatory prayer to be valid. If we face the wrong direction, then our act of worship will be invalid and we have to do it all over again.

Baitul Maqdis was the previous divinely decreed Qibla. It was also there at Baitul Maqdis that the Prophet ﷺ ascended to the heavens (Miraj) after he travelled from Makkah on that very same night. After that blessed event, the five daily prayers were prescribed to Muslims and were made compulsory. Since then, the Prophet ﷺ and Muslims prayed towards Baitul Maqdis for their prayers for about seventeen months. Al-Bara Ibn Azib RA narrates,

صَلَّيْنَا مَعَ النَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم نَحْوَ بَيْتِ الْمَقْدِسِ سِتَّةَ عَشَرَ ـ أَوْ سَبْعَةَ عَشَرَ ـ شَهْرًا، ثُمَّ صَرَفَهُ نَحْوَ الْقِبْلَةِ

“We prayed along with the Prophet (saw) facing Al-Quds (Jerusalem) for 16 or 17 months. Then Allah ordered him to turn his face towards the Ka’bah (in Makkah)” [Sahih Bukhari]

Hence, the question now is what led to the change of the Qibla to where it is now?

The reason why the Qibla was changed was because of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ.

The Prophet ﷺ has always longed for the Qibla to be changed towards the Ka’bah. This was highlighted in a hadith narrated by the companion Bara’ Ibn Azib RA:

وَأَنَّهُ صَلَّى قِبَلَ بَيْتِ الْمَقْدِسِ سِتَّةَ عَشَرَ شَهْرًا، أَوْ سَبْعَةَ عَشَرَ شَهْرًا، وَكَانَ يُعْجِبُهُ أَنْ تَكُونَ قِبْلَتُهُ قِبَلَ الْبَيْتِ

He (Prophet Muhammad ﷺ) prayed facing Baitul-Maqdis for sixteen or seventeen months but he wished that he could pray facing the Ka’bah (at Makkah) [Sahih Al-Bukhari]

When the Prophet was still in Makkah, he always stood south of the Ka’bah while in his prayers so that he could face both the Ka’bah and the Al-Aqsa Mosque. This further emphasises how the Prophet ﷺ expressed his love for the Ka’bah as the Qibla.

After the hijrah (migration) to Madinah Al-Munawwarah, the Prophet ﷺ and the companions continued to pray facing Baitul Maqdis and thus they had to turn away from the Ka’bah since Madinah is located on the north of Makkah and south of Jerusalem. In a hadith narrated by Hadhrat Bara’ Ibn Azib RA:

صَلَّيْنَا مَعَ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ ـ صلى الله عليه وسلم ـ نَحْوَ بَيْتِ الْمَقْدِسِ ثَمَانِيَةَ عَشَرَ شَهْرًا وَصُرِفَتِ الْقِبْلَةُ إِلَى الْكَعْبَةِ بَعْدَ دُخُولِهِ إِلَى الْمَدِينَةِ بِشَهْرَيْنِ وَكَانَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ ـ صلى الله عليه وسلم ـ إِذَا صَلَّى إِلَى بَيْتِ الْمَقْدِسِ أَكْثَرَ تَقَلُّبَ وَجْهِهِ فِي السَّمَاءِ وَعَلِمَ اللَّهُ مِنْ قَلْبِ نَبِيِّهِ ـ صلى الله عليه وسلم ـ أَنَّهُ يَهْوَى الْكَعْبَةَ

We prayed with the Messenger of Allah ﷺ facing towards Baitul-Maqdis (Jerusalem) for eighteen months, then the Qiblah changed to the Ka’bah two months after he entered Madinah. When The Messenger of Allah ﷺ would pray facing the Baitul-Maqdis, he would often lift his face towards the heavens, and Allah knew what was in the heart of His Prophet and how he longed to face the Ka’bah (during prayer). [Sunan Ibn Majah]

Though the Prophet would love to have the Qibla changed to the Ka’bah, he did not say a word of request and continued obeying Allah’s command.

Two months after the hijrah, Allah revealed the change of the Qibla, pleasing His beloved ﷺ.

In the holy Quran, Surah Al-Baqarah, Allah says:

قَدْ نَرَىٰ تَقَلُّبَ وَجْهِكَ فِى ٱلسَّمَآءِ ۖ فَلَنُوَلِّيَنَّكَ قِبْلَةًۭ تَرْضَىٰهَا ۚ فَوَلِّ وَجْهَكَ شَطْرَ ٱلْمَسْجِدِ ٱلْحَرَامِ ۚ وَحَيْثُ مَا كُنتُمْ فَوَلُّوا۟ وُجُوهَكُمْ شَطْرَهُۥ ۗ وَإِنَّ ٱلَّذِينَ أُوتُوا۟ ٱلْكِتَـٰبَ لَيَعْلَمُونَ أَنَّهُ ٱلْحَقُّ مِن رَّبِّهِمْ ۗ وَمَا ٱللَّهُ بِغَـٰفِلٍ عَمَّا يَعْمَلُونَ

Indeed, We see you (O Prophet) turning your face towards the sky. Now We will make you face towards a direction (Qibla) that will please you. So turn your face towards the sacred mosque (in Makkah) – wherever you are, turn your faces towards it. [Al-Baqarah, 2: 144]

When the Qibla was changed to the direction of the Ka’bah, it became a test for the people. It was a test to see who truly obeyed Allah and his beloved Prophet and who disapproved.

 

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