Fatwa: # 17290
Category: Daily
Country: South Africa
Date: 9th November 2008


I just need to ask about the deviations from Qibla. Is it 45 degrees to the left & right or less as mentioned in the book "Jawahirul Fiqh" - authored by Mufti shafi sahab? Some say it is 15 degrees.


I just need to ask about the deviations from Qibla. Is it 45 degrees to the left & right or less as mentioned in the book "Jawahirul Fiqh" - authored by Mufti shafi sahab? Some say it is 15 degrees.


In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

 Assalaamu `alaykum waRahmatullahi Wabarakatoh


Direction of the Qibla

1.      What is the boundary (hadd) in facing the Qibla?

2.      How should the Qibla be calculated in far off lands?


What is the basic requirement of facing the Qibla?

A person in front of the Ka’ba Shareef has to face the Ka’ba Shareef itself. However, a person away from the Ka’ba Shareef should face towards the direction of the Ka’ba Shareef, not the Ka’ba Shareef itself.

بدائع الصنائع - (ج 1 / ص 118)

وتعتبر الجهة دون العين كذا ذكر الكرخي والرازي وهو قول عامة مشايخنا بما وراء النهر


By saying one should face the direction of the Ka’ba Shareef it means that if one has to draw a line across the Ka’ba Shareef from south to north and another line from the face of the musali towards the Ka’ba Shareef then the two lines will form a right angle. This would be Qibla Mustaqeem. (See diagram below) If the two lines meet as a acute angle or a obtuse angle but from the forehead of a person a (besides the middle of the forehead) a right angle could be made to meet with the line from the Ka’ba Shareef then this will be inhiraf qaleel, and if this (getting a right angle from besides the middle) is not possible then this will be inhiraf katheer. (See diagrams below)  In the terminologies of the astronomers this is known as that a person could turn 45 degrees to the left or right.

The illustrious Fuqaha have a second opinion regarding this mas’ala which is a bit more restricted. This view is that the Qibla will be between the two points of sunset. (That is the sunset point of the longest day of summer (22 June) and the sunset point of the shortest days of winter (22 December).) (This is for places in which the Qibla is west.)

There are other opinions of the astronomers on the matter as well. Some got more restriction and some has less. At this point taking into consideration precaution we chose this view (between the two sunset points). (The amount of concession according to this view is 48 degrees, 24 degrees on each side).




حاشية ابن عابدين - (ج 1 / ص 288)

بل المفهوم مما قدمناه عن المعراج والدرر من التقييد بحصول زاويتين قائمتين عند انتقال المستقبل لعين الكعبة يمينا أو يسارا أنه لا يصح أو كانت إحداهما حادة والأخرى منفرجة ... الى ان قال ... فعلم أن الانحراف اليسير لا يضر وهو الذي يبقى معه الوجه أو شيء من جوانبه مسامتا لعين الكعبة أو لهوائها بأن يخرج الخط من الوجه أو من بعض جوانبه





How Should the Qibla be Calculated in Far Off Lands?


Hadrat Mufti Shafi Saheb رحمه الله تعالى explains that the rules of Shariah are based on ease and not on any philosophical technicalities. After giving some examples of this Hadrat Mufti Saheb goes on to explain that the basis of calculating the Qibla is the narration wherein Nabi صلى الله عليه و سلم mentions that whatever is between the east and west is the Qibla. Though this ruling is for the people of Madina Munawwara, but from this we deduce that in looking for the Qibla we need not to go in to any technical issues.

The honourable Sahaba رضوان الله تعالى عليهم اجمعين based the Qibla on some major signs which denoted upon the Qibla, without going into any technicalities, using their discretion stipulated the Qibla. Those who followed the Sahaba رضوان الله تعالى عليهم اجمعينalso accepted their discretion. Allama Maqrizi رحمه الله تعالى mentions that when Ahmed Tulun intended to build a Masjid in Egypt he sent some people to Madina Munawwara to find out the Qibla of Masjid Nabawi صلى الله عليه و سلم and thereafter build his Masjid according to that calculation. This differed with the Qibla of the Masjid of Sayyidina Amr ibn As رضي الله تعالى عنه. However, the Ulama still preferred the Qibla of Sayyiduna Amr ibn As رضي الله تعالى عنه and built new Masjids in Egypt according to it.


There was a group of Sahaba رضوان الله تعالى عليهم اجمعين who used their discretion in stipulating the Qibla of Masjid of Sayyidina Amr ibn As رضي الله تعالى عنه despite the fact that there were astronomers in Egypt.


Thereafter Hadrat Mufti Saheb explain that in places where there are Masjids already built the Qibla will be based on these Masajid.

Areas where there are no old Masajid  then we will follow the method of the Sahaba رضوان الله تعالى عليهم اجمعين in calculating their Qibla (i.e. using ones discretion and looking at signs stipulate the Qibla.)

It is not permissible to use asronomical calculations in areas were Masajid already exist. Unless there is a strong possibility that the Qibla of those Masajid are wrong.

In areas which do not have old Masajid then the Ulama differ regarding the permissibility of using astonical calculations. Allama Shami رحمه الله تعالى narrates the Hanafi Madhab gives permission to use these calculations.

And Allah knows best


Ml. Ishaq E. Moosa,
Student Darul Iftaa

Checked and Approved by:

Mufti Ebrahim Desai
Darul Iftaa

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