Early Islamic Qiblas
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Published in 2017, this book introduced archeological evidence that demonstrated that early Islamic mosques were not erroneously oriented as previously thought. Using modern technology and satellite imaging, Canadian historian Dan Gibson has discovered that early Islamic mosques were oriented to four different places. And they are not where Islam expects them to be.
This book contains all of the data behind the documentary film The Sacred City. Viewers of this film can now check the background data for themselves and investigate further arguments that were not included in the film. Complete with hundreds of images, charts, maps and footnotes, this volume clearly challenges traditionally held Islamic history.
Daniel Gibson is a self-published Canadian author studying the early history of Arabia and Islam. He is the author of Early Islamic Qiblas: A survey of mosques built between 1AH/622 C.E. and 263 AH/876 C.E, which advances the claim that early mosques were oriented towards Petra, rather than towards Mecca or Jerusalem as accepted by mainstream archaeologists and historians of Islam.
King argued that early Muslim Arabs were unable to precisely establish Qiblas when building new mosques until later mathematical developments made precision possible. Further, King wrote, many variations in orientation are better accounted for by regional and local practices, imperfect geography, and folk astronomy. King noted Gibson's inadequate grasp of mathematics, citing Gibson's \"spherical polygons\" (p. 170) as inexplicable. King summarized his analysis of Gibson's work as an \"amateurish, non-scholarly document that is both offensive to Muslims and also an insult to Muslim and Western scholarship.\" Gibson placed a response to King on academia.edu, \"Dr. King on the other hand is convinced that the sloppy qiblas actually intended to point: east, west, solstices, sunrises and so forth. I have not come across anything in Islamic religious manuscripts that support these Qiblas. But perhaps in time someone, somewhere will stumble across something that will change our understanding of Qiblas. All I have found so far, is that every Muslim expects the Qibla to point to Masjid Al Harām.\"
Before the development of astronomy in the Islamic world, Muslims used traditional methods to determine the qibla. These methods included facing the direction that the companions of Muhammad had used when in the same place; using the setting and rising points of celestial objects; using the direction of the wind; or using due south, which was Muhammad's qibla in Medina. Early Islamic astronomy was built on its Indian and Greek counterparts, especially the works of Ptolemy, and soon Muslim astronomers developed methods to calculate the approximate directions of the qibla, starting from the mid-9th century. In the late 9th and 10th centuries, Muslim astronomers developed methods to find the exact direction of the qibla which are equivalent to the modern formula. Initially, this \"qibla of the astronomers\" was used alongside various traditionally determined qiblas, resulting in much diversity in medieval Muslim cities. In addition, the accurate geographic data necessary for the astronomical methods to yield an accurate result was not available before the 18th and 19th centuries, resulting in further diversity of the qibla. Historical mosques with differing qiblas still stand today throughout the Islamic world. The spaceflight of a devout Muslim, Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor, to the International Space Station (ISS) in 2007 generated a discussion with regard to the qibla direction from low Earth orbit, prompting the Islamic authority of his home country, Malaysia, to recommend determining the qibla \"based on what is possible\" for the astronaut.
The determination of qibla has been an important problem for Muslim communities throughout history. Muslims are required to know the qibla to perform their daily prayers, and it is also needed to determine the orientation of mosques. When Muhammad lived among the Muslims in Medina (which, like Mecca, is also in the Hejaz region), he prayed due south, according to the known direction of Mecca. Within the few generations after Muhammad's death in 632, Muslims had reached places far away from Mecca, presenting the problem of determining the qibla in new locations. Mathematical methods based on astronomy would develop only at the end of the 8th century or the beginning of the 9th, and even then they were not initially popular. Therefore, early Muslims relied on non-astronomical methods.
The first mathematical methods developed in the early 9th century were approximate solutions to the mathematical problem, usually using a flat map or two-dimensional geometry. Since in reality the earth is spherical, the directions found were inexact, but they were sufficient for locations relatively close to Mecca (including as far away as Egypt and Iran) because the errors were less than 2.
Exact solutions, based on three-dimensional geometry and spherical trigonometry, began to appear in the mid-9th century. Habash al-Hasib wrote an early example, using an orthographic projection.[e] Another group of solutions uses trigonometric formulas, for example Al-Nayrizi's four-step application of Menelaus's theorem.[f] Subsequent scholars, including Ibn Yunus, Abu al-Wafa, Ibn al-Haitham and Al-Biruni, proposed other methods which are confirmed to be accurate from the viewpoint of modern astronomy.
Because varying methods have been used to determine the qibla, mosques were built throughout history in different directions, including some that still stand today. Methods based on astronomy and mathematics were not always used, and the same determination method could yield different qiblas due to differences in the accuracy of data and calculations. Egyptian historian Al-Maqrizi (d. 1442) recorded various qibla angles used in Cairo at the time: 90 (due east), 117 (winter sunrise, the \"qibla of the sahaba\"), 127 (calculated by astronomers, such as Ibn Yunus), 141 (Mosque of Ibn Tulun), 156 (the rising point of Suhayl/Canopus), 180 (due south, emulating the qibla of Muhammad in Medina), and 204 (the setting point of Canopus). The modern qibla for Cairo is 135, which was not known at the time. This diversity also results in the non-uniform layout in Cairo's districts, because the streets are often oriented according to the varying orientation of the mosques. Historical records also indicate the diversity of qiblas in other major cities, including Córdoba (113, 120, 135, 150, and 180 were recorded in the 12th century) and Samarkand (180, 225, 230, 240, and 270 were recorded in the 11th century). According to the doctrine of jihat al-ka'bah, the diverse directions of qiblas are still valid as long as they are still in the same broad direction. In Mecca itself, many early mosques were constructed that were not directly facing the Kaaba.
In the history of the region, disputes about the qibla had also occurred in the then-Dutch East Indies in the 1890s. When the Indonesian scholar and future founder of Muhammadiyah, Ahmad Dahlan, returned from his Islamic and astronomy studies in Mecca, he found that mosques in the royal capital of Yogyakarta had inaccurate qiblas, including the Kauman Great Mosque, which faced due west. His efforts in adjusting the qibla were opposed by the traditional ulama of the Yogyakarta Sultanate, and a new mosque built by Dahlan using his calculations was demolished by a mob. Dahlan rebuilt his mosque in the 1900s, and later the Kauman Great Mosque would also be reoriented using the astronomically calculated qibla.
The Origin of the MosqueThe Prophet Muhammad's original house in Medina (in present-day Saudi Arabia) is thought to be the first mosque and probably served as a model for early mosque architecture. It was a mud-brick structure with living quarters on one side of an enclosed rectangular courtyard. Since Muhammad's followers would gather at his home for prayer, the side of the courtyard facing the qibla, or the direction of prayer, included a porch covered by palm branches, which offered shelter from the hot desert sun. Most early mosques, as well as the majority of later mosques in Arab lands, follow this general layout (see fig. 4).
New archeological evidence clearly demonstrates that early Islamic mosques were not erroneously oriented as previously thought. Using modern technology and satellite imaging, Canadian historian Dan Gibson has discovered that early Islamic mosques were oriented to four different places. And they are not where Islam expects them to be.
This book contains all of the data behind the documentary film The Sacred City. Viewers of this film can now check the background data for themselves and investigate further arguments that were not included in the film. Complete with hundreds of images, charts, maps and footnotes, this volume clearly challenges traditionally held Islamic history. PDF DOWNLOAD $15.00 Print Copy from Amazon.com $ 60.00 plus shipping Print Copy from Amazon.ca $ 125.05 plus shipping Print Copy from Amazon.UK 60.00 plus shipping Click the appropriate link above to order Above: The pages of this book are filled with charts, maps, and photos. Although this book is written for an academic audience, everything is clearly explained so that the layman can easily understand these discoveries and their significance. Full feature documentary film See The Film
The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) spent his life in one of two cities, Mecca and Medina. In Mecca, of course, there was no need to calculate the Qibla. In Medina, it was known the direction was due south. However, when the Islamic empire grew, the need to calculate the Qibla direction became widespread. Initially, the early Muslims would use the direction of the road leaving their city towards Mecca to determine the Qibla. 59ce067264