Meeqatul Qibla and Islamic Calendar - By Ali Manikfan

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Meeqatul Qibla and Islamic Calendar - By Ali Manikfan

Meeqatul Qibla and Islamic Calendar - By Ali Manikfan -* islamic voice  MONTHLY  Vol 13-02 No:146 * FEBRUARY 1999/ RAMADAN 1419H

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MONTHLY    *    Vol 13-02 No:146    *   FEBRUARY 1999/ RAMADAN 1419H

Meeqatul Qibla and Islamic Calendar

By Ali Manikfan

All of you may be familiar with the word "Meeqat" in connection with the Hajj pilgrimage. As you know the Meeqat is a fixed place or a station at which the pilgrims don the 'Ihram', - that is the pilgrim's garment.

Now I am going to tell you about another Meeqat which is very important for the Muslims that is "Meeqatul Qibla". The former Meeqat which you already know is connected with place and this 'Meeqat' is connected with place as well as time, where and when a traveller on the earth has to change his Qibla, day and date.

We must have a universal date line, for the Islamic world to calculate the dates of the Islamic calendar, which is based on the movement of the Moon. (Qur'an 2:189). The date line of the Islamic calendar should be marked in the light of the holy Qur'an and the Sunnah with reference to Ka'abah, which is situated in the Ummal Qura, the mother of towns - that is Makkah al Mukarramah. Ka'abah is the Qibla of the Muslim prayer - the direction to which a Muslim must turn during his prayer.
I like to name this date line, which would be established as 'Meeqatul Qibla'.
What is the use of such a date line?

We calculate time in relation to the rotation of the earth with reference to the sun which is the largest and brightest object that we see in the sky. The Qur'an says that all the celestial bodies are floating in their orbits in space (36:40) under calculation. So the sun too is moving. We know time only in relation to the sun.

Perhaps the most important thing in our life is time. The time that is lost can never be regained. So time has to be spent with utmost care. For this we must pre- plan our affairs and carry out the programmes chalked out using a reliable calendar with defined and assigned dates. Islam gives certain rules to guide us in this venture.

Islam teaches us how to manage time by 5 prayers which must be performed in a day, punctually at the fixed timings. The prayer timings are measured using the shadow of an object cast by the Sun.
The Zuhr prayer is performed when the shadow disappears and the Sun is overhead, after the first declination of the Sun - that is when the sun has passed 90", the Asar prayer, after the shadow equals the object - that is when the Sun has passed 135 Deg., the Magrib prayer, after sun-set, - that is when the Sun has passed 180 deg., the Isha prayer when the flare of the setting Sun has disappeared - that is when the Sun has passed 202 1/2 deg., and the Subah prayer, when the first rays of the rising Sun appear - that is when the sun has passed 337 1/2 deg. if the Sun rise is taken as 0 deg. The Qur'an explains this in the verse 17:78 (see the diagram No: 1)

Time is dependent upon the angles of the Sun. We have converted all these angles to our watches. We can tell the Sun's angle in hours minutes and seconds without looking at the sun or its shadow. There is no difficulty even when the Sun is not visible for days together. The Qur'an says: "The Sun and the moon are with calculation" (55:5)

We cannot record the count of time in minutes or hours because the figures will be too long. Pages will be required to write them down. So we use Date, - that is days, months and years to make the recording easy. A date stands in place of a particular day to the week. A day has 24 hrs and a week 7 days. They are Ist, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, Jumua and 7th in the Islamic calendar and in English, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday and this should be respected by all. The most important day of Muslims is the Jumua or Friday on which all Muslims in a town must perform the Jumua prayer at noon.

 Where on the Earth will the first Jumua be performed? How can this be found out according to Qur'an and Sunnah?

The verses of the Holy Qur'an "He merges night into day and He merges day into night" (35:13) make it clear that the Earth is a globe rotating on its axis causing the alternation of day and night. The hemisphere on which the sun light falls experiences day while the opposite hemisphere experiences night. As the globe rotates, night passes into day and day passes into night. First hemisphere in which Ka'abah is situated containing Australia, Asia, Europe and Africa has day while second hemisphere containing Americas has night. As time proceeds from east to west, 5 prayers must be observed at the stipulated time according to the angles of the Sun without violating the order.

In the second year of the Hijra, the order to turn towards the Ka'abah in the prayer was revealed in the Holy Qur'an (2:144). Supposing the Earth is a vast area with the Ka'abah at a particular place, imagine what will happen to the people in prayer on both the sides of Ka'abah. A diagram will explain the matter. (Diagram No. 2)
One day (day and night) is equal to 24 hrs. Time proceeds from east to west. The prayers will be
performed according to the time.It can be seen that the backs of A and B facing the
Qibla will meet when the ends are brought together. Those in the west cannot
advance the East.There will be a difference of one hour of every 150
Diagram No.2.

When all turn towards the Ka'abah what will happen to those at the ends, if the ends are joined as it is upon the globe? The people at the ends will face towards the opposite direction and their backs will meet. This condition is not contradictory to the Qur'an which says: "Righteousness is not that you face East or West" (2:177). So there is a place on the Earth where Muslims face opposite directions in the prayer. Where on the Earth could this happen?

The Qibla of a town cannot be different. All in a town must face to one direction in the prayer. But as the Earth is a globe, a place where Muslims turn towards the opposite directions in the prayer, where two days of Jumua are experienced and where a man crossing from one place to the other loses 5 prayers of the day, is inevitable. This cannot be on any land.

The Imams of the past have written down rules for such a place. It should be separated by sea or a mountain which makes the two sides approachable only by travel. Here the traveller changes his Qibla, day and date. This is the 'Meeqatul Qibla' of which we have mentioned in the beginning. Meeqatul Qibla is among the Signs of Allah which must be recognised and respected (22:32).

Since the traveller is allowed to lessen his prayers (4:101) this peculiarity is not a problem.
The diagram explains how the lines of Qibla radiating from Ka'abah join and make a line passing from north to south, through the Bering Strait which is the only gap separating Asia and America. It has to be zigzag to allow one Qibla, one day and date for those living in the islands on the line.

 People on the eastern side observe the East Qibla and Thursday, while the people on the West observe the West Qibla and Friday. There is one day's difference here alone on the Earth. Change of day, date and Qibla will be forbidden at any other place on the Earth.

Meeqatul Qibla is exactly 9 hrs ahead of Makkah and day and date of the Islamic calendar begin here at the Zero hour, at noon. Corresponding time at the Ummual Qura, the centre of Islam is "Sahar" (the last part of the night) and at London it is midnight. The order of the Qibla was given to the Prophet 1400 years ago and the Muslims began to change their day at 'Sahar', since the Ramadan of the second year of Hijra when the orders of 'sahar' (Supper) for the fasting was revealed in the Qur'an (2:187). The Islamic date line was thus defined at that time. This date line was found out by the science in 1885 A.D. Those who established it did not know the Islamic rules.

Science does not contradict Islam
Our knowledge of time is in relation to the rotation of the Earth with reference to the Sun. To count the number of rotations of a wheel two marks are necessary - one in the wheel and one stationary, outside. When the two marks meet one rotation is counted. In the same way to count the rotation of the Earth, a mark on the Earth and a mark outside are needed. The mark on the Earth is the Meeqatul Qibla and the external mark is the Sun. When both meet one rotation or one day is counted. To get the correct count we need a stationary mark outside. But one mark, the Sun itself is moving. So we will not be able to count our days exactly with the help of the celestial objects which are in motion. We record days in dates. So, if we calculate with the average length of the day measured in relation to the Sun which is moving, we will make mistakes in recording time. So the creator has asked us to use the Moon for the purpose so that we may not make mistakes and be confused in our calculation of time.
The day dawns for those who live near the 'Meeqatul Qibla' 9 hrs before Makkah. They must observe all religious rites 9 hrs before Makkah. In fasting and feasting also they will be 9 hrs ahead. They cannot postpone any rite saying that the Centre has not yet done it. The time order must be strictly followed. Violation of time sequence is forbidden. A date cannot be postponed. (2:189, 17:78, 9:37)
Meeqatul Qibla is the date line of the Islamic calendar. Day begins depending upon the Sun (25:45). So the date which stands in place of the day, should also begin with the day. A date line cannot be shifted from place to place. The Lunar date lines suggested by some astronomers are not scientific and not Islamic.

After having defined the beginning of the day under the light of the Holy Qur'an and Sunnah, let us try to define the beginning of the months of the Islamic calendar. The Qur'an has already explained that dates and months depend on the Moon. The Moon cannot be caught by the Sun. (36:40) It is a satellite of the Earth. One rotation of the Moon around the Earth is calculated as one month with reference to the Sun. Every day the Moon changes the phase showing us the date. A solar eclipse (New Moon) can occur at the end of the month and next day is the first day of ensuing month. Sometimes a solar eclipse could occur at the time of Eid prayer (Imam Shafi). The dates must tally with the phases or the Manzils of the Moon. (2:189, 10:5, 36:38-40) The full moon (lunar eclipse) occurs only in the mid of the month. So it is clear that the dates depend on the angles of the Moon in relation to the Sun and could be calculated exactly. Why should there be confusion regarding the dates depending on the Moon angles while there is no confusion regarding the time which depends upon the Sun's angles?

The Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh)ý who taught the Qur'an to the illiterate Arabs of his time, taught them the easy methods of counting time by observing the Sun. He also taught them how to find out the dates of the months by simple methods of observing the Moon. They were not able to write, calculate or record. The Prophet asked them to learn wisdom, the art of reading and writing. He did not forbid them to learn but on the other hand he urged the Muslims to acquire knowledge in every faculty.
He said that the months have 29 or 30 days. The calendar in vogue in Arabia at this time was the Jewish lunar calendar which had a fixed number of days for every month, 30, 29 alternating with a leap year system. He gave instructions to correct the dates according to the moon's Manzils (36:36). He abolished the leap year and made it fully natural. The deviation of dates from the Manzil was not allowed because if a day of Shaaban entered into Ramadan, Allah's Halal and Haraam will be violated. Shabaan according to the Jewish calendar always had 29 days whereas it could have 30 days also. It had 30 days in all Ramadans, but Ramadan too could have 29 days according to the Moon. That is why the Prophet ordered to observe the Moon and correct the dates accordingly. There are 12 months in a year (9:36). We know what will happen if a day is skipped over. Qur'an forbids postponing of dates (9:37).

The observation of the Moon for long periods gives us the average of 354. 3671 days for a year and 29.53059 days for a month. (354.3671 x 12 = 29.53059). The science has proved this statement of the Prophet that the lunar months have 29 or 30 days only.

The months of the Islamic calendar also begin with the day at the Zero hour in the world. Now the Muslims do not practise this calendar, but rely on the Christian calendar. Pope Gregory 13. in 1582 reformed the Julian calendar which was instituted by Julius Caesar in 46 B.C, by removing the error of 10 days which had accumulated in the calendar by that time. The exact measure of the solar year was not known then. It was regarded as 365.25 days. Earth takes 365 days 5 hrs 48 minutes 49 sec to make a rotation around the Sun. This gives 365.2422 days. The difference of 0.0078 day in a year becomes 15.6 days in 2000 years,
This means that 15.6 days have passed without Sun rise! In the solar date system days will have to be eliminated from the calendar at intervals and this is meddling with the calendar. This will create confusion. Such a system cannot be good for recording time.

Had the people used the lunar date system to record the events in the past we would not have any problem in finding out the actual day on which the incidents had occurred. But now we are in utter confusion. We do not get the recorded day and date by calculation. The Qur'an says "The Sun and the Moon are with calculation" (55:5). Many renowned mathematicians and astronomers have caculated the date of birth of the Prophet Muhammad (SAW). But all have gone wrong. They give different dates of birth for the Prophet! A person cannot be born on two days. There is some thing wrong in their calculations. Their dates do not tally with the historical records too. This is because the calendar had been meddled with and the omissions are not taken into account. We have a record of two events of the past. If we calculated the number of days that elapsed between the two incidents according to two calendar systems we can see what happens when a wrong calendar is used to record time. The equivalent dates and days of two solar eclipses of the past are given below as recorded in two calendars.

Solar eclipse according to C.E and M.E
1. C.E. 22.7.1990 Sunday = M.E. 30.12.1410 Sunday
2. C.E. 14.7. 622 Wednesday = M.E. 30.12.0000 Wednesday
Time elasped 8.0.1368 = 00.00.1410 Wednesday
Total No. of days according to C.E and 1368 x 365.25+8= 499670.00 days
Total No. of days according to M.E and 1410 x 354.3671= 499657.61 days
Difference = 12.39 days

The error accumulated in C.E for 1368 years is 12.39 days. There is no error in M.E. If the Moon is left out, we cannot find out this error. Our calculation of time will go wrong and we will be in confusion. It is high time that we adopted the scientific date system and used it in our daily affairs so that our records will not cause confusion for the next generation.

If we have consensus to prepare the scientific lunar calendar for the entire world, we can have the first of Ramadan on the same day for each and every Muslim on the Earth. Likewise we can celebrate Eid also on the same day in every country. Let me remind that the Holy Prophet has forbidden to observe fasting on the Day of Eid. How is it justifiable to have fasting and feasting on the same day? If we agree to this, we are admitting that there can be mistakes in the calculation of Allah the Almighty.
Observing Ramadan and Eid on the correct day which will be same for all the Muslims on the Earth as commanded by Allah, will lead to the unity, harmony and peace of the Muslim communities in various parts of the world.

Kindly think over the problem and the relevance of the Meequatul Qibla which is very important to define the beginning of the dates of the Islamic calendar,
May Allah bless us with open mind and intelligence to find out His orders and Systems which are hidden in Nature and to live accordingly.

(The author is the Chairman of Hijra Committee of India, 19/1706 East Kallai, Calicut- 673003, Kerala,

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Re: Meeqatul Qibla and Islamic Calendar - By Ali Manikfan



"ഇസ്ലാം വാള്യം  2"  

"ഇസ്ലാം ഒരു സമഗ്ര പഠനം"
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Re: Meeqatul Qibla and Islamic Calendar - By Ali Manikfan


Muslims praying at the Grand Mosque in the Saudi city of Makkah will be able to see the moon straight above them, a phenomenon that occurs once a year, newspapers in the Gulf Kingdom said on Tuesday.

The moon will appear in the sky of Makkah at around 4.39 pm on Tuesday and will continue to move until it becomes vertically above the Grand Mosque and Kaaba in the holy city at about 11.32 pm, they said.

“From that perpendicular angle, the moon will be around 370,115 km away from earth and its face will be lightened by 98.6 per cent,” the papers quoted Majid Abu Zahira, head of the Jeddah Astronomy Association, as saying.

“This phenomenon occurs once a year…Muslims at the Grand Mosque will be able to see the moon right above them tonight.”

According to Alyoum newspaper, such a phenomenon helps Muslims worldwide in locating the direction of Makkah.

“If a Muslims in any part of the world just looks straight at the moon during that phenomenon, then Makkah is in that direction.”


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This post was updated on .


Sun stood directly above Makkah on Saturday

Best time to define exact Makkah direction was around sunset by looking at the sun

Moslems praying at the Grand Mosque in the western Saudi city of Makkah would have seen the sun straight above them on Saturday, a rare phenomenon that helps worshippers worldwide to set the exact direction of the holy city.

The phenomenon is the first this year and was to take place exactly at 12:18 noon Saudi time (13:18 UAE time or 09:18 GMT), said Majid Abu Zahira, head of the Jeddah Astronomy Association.

“This vertical solar phenomenon will happen for the first time this year and Makkah will be straight under the sun….this means all structures and bodies in the Grand Mosque will have no shadow at that time…it will be a zero shadow,” he told the Saudi Sharq newspaper.

Abu Zahira said the phenomenon would help Moslems around the world in knowing the exact direction of Makkah, including those in Europe, Africa, Russia, China and East Asia, where the best time to define Makkah direction was around sunset by looking at the sun.

In North and South Americas, the direction can be best known at sunset on that day, he said.

“Moslems and other people can set that direction by placing a stick or any other object vertically on the ground at that time…its shadow will point accurately towards Makkah…this applies to distant areas not in areas close to Makkah like Jeddah,” he said.

Abu Zahira called on residents of neighboring Gulf countries to carry out the experiment for the Makkah direction setting and email photographs to the Society on

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Re: Meeqatul Qibla and Islamic Calendar - By Ali Manikfan



Qibla Days

As Mecca is located within the tropics there are two days in each year when the sun passes nearly exactly over the Ka‘ba. This occurs on 27 or 28 May at 9:18 UTC [12:18 Saudi local time] and on 15 or 16 July at 9:27 UTC [12:27 Saudi local time].

Every Muslim who is located in the hemisphere centred on Mecca (i.e. is less as circa 10.000 km from Mecca) can determine the direction of theqibla by observing the sun on these days at the right moment. The compass direction to the sun then gives the qibla.

Muslims who are located in the other hemisphere (i.e. are more than circa 10.000 km from Mecca) cannot use this method as the sun will then be below the horizon. However, Muslims who live in most of North America, South America, Australia and Antarctica can use the days when the sun passes exactly under the Ka‘ba (i.e. exactly above the antipodes of the Ka‘ba). This too occurs twice in each year on 12 or 13 January at 21:29 UTC [0:29 Saudi local time] and on 28 November at 21:09 UTC [0:09 Saudi local time]. In the latter case the qibla can be determined by simply observing the compass direction of one’s shadow at the right hour.

Hemisphere centred on the antipodes of Mecca   Hemisphere centred on Mecca
click for a larger image suitable for printing   click for a larger image suitable for printing
Qibla Days:   12/13 January (21:29 UTC) 
28 November (21:09 UTC)
  Qibla Days:   27/28 May (9:18 UTC) 
15/16 July (9:27 UTC)

An early description of this method can already be found in the works of the Persian astronomer Nasīr al-Dīn Abū Ja‘far Muhammad ibn Muhammad al-Tūsī (1201–1274 CE), who wrote in his al-Tadhkira al-Nasīriyya fī ‘ilm al-Hay’a (“Memoir on the Science of Astronomy”), book III, 12.3-4:

[3] As for the qibla bearing, let it be noted that the longitude of Mecca – may God Most High protect it – is 77;10° from the Eternal Islands and 67;10° from the coast of the Western Sea. Its latitude is 21;40°. [...]

[4] There are many ways to determine the qibla bearing, but it would not be appropriate to present them here. Let us instead limit ourselves to one simple method, which is [as follows]. The sun transits the zenith of Mecca when it is in degree 8 of Gemini and in [degree] 23 of Cancer at noontime there. The difference between its noon and the noon of other localities is measured by the difference between the two longitudes. Let this [latter] difference be taken and let an hour be assumed for each 15 degrees and 4 minutes for each degree. The resulting total is the interval in hours from noon [for that locality]. Let an observation be made on that day at that time − before noon if Mecca is to the east or after if it [Mecca] is to the west; the direction of the shadow [of the sun] at that time is [opposite to that of] the qibla bearing.

al-Tūsī’s method was also mentioned in the slightly earlier al-Mulakhkhas fī’l-Hay’a (“Compendium of Astronomy”) of Mahmūd ibn Muhammad ibn ‛Umar al-Jaghmīnī (died in 1221), who gives the solar longitudes more precisely as 7;21° Gemini and 22;39° Cancer. Note that both al-Tūsī as al-Jaghmīnī do not specify the dates in relation to the Islamic calendar, which slips about 10 days every year with respect to the astronomical seasons, but by the solar longitude.

As the obliquity of the ecliptic is slowly decreasing, the solar longitudes for the zenith transit at Mecca are now slightly different. The 2000 values are respectively 66.665º [6;40º Gemini] and 113.335º [23;20º Cancer]. Similarly, the solar longitudes for the nadir transit at Mecca are respectively 246.665º [6;40º Sagittarius] and 293.335º [23;20º Capricorn].

Qibla Days for the Hemisphere Centred on Mecca

The following table specifies the Gregorian calendar dates of the first and second “Qibla Day” for the hemisphere centred on Mecca, the equivalent dates in the Umm al-Qura calendar (with the local time in Saudi Arabia) and the zenith distance (z) of the sun as it passes over the Ka‛ba (note that the sun’s apparent diameter is about 30').

Year Qibla Day 
(9:18 UTC)
Umm al-Qura date 
(12:18 SAT)
z   Qibla Day 
(9:27 UTC)
Umm al-Qura date 
(12:27 SAT)
2010 28 May 14 Jumādā ‛l-Ākhira 1431 2.9' N   16 July 4 Sha‛bān 1431 4.4' S
2011 28 May 25 Jumādā ‛l-Ākhira 1432 0.5' N   16 July 15 Sha‛bān 1432 2.1' S
2012 27 May 6 Rajab 1433 1.9' S   15 July 25 Sha‛bān 1433 0.3' N
2013 27 May 17 Rajab 1434 4.4' S   15 July 7 Ramadān 1434 2.5' N
2014 28 May 29 Rajab 1435 3.0' N   15 July 18 Ramadān 1435 4.8' N
2015 28 May 10 Sha‛bān 1436 0.6' N   16 July 29 Ramadān 1436 2.5' S
2016 27 May 20 Sha‛bān 1437 1.8' S   15 July 10 Shawwāl 1437 0.1' S
2017 27 May 1 Ramadān 1438 4.2' S   15 July 21 Shawwāl 1438 2.3' N
2018 28 May 13 Ramadān 1439 3.2' N   15 July 2 Dhū ’l-Qa‘da 1439 4.6' N
2019 28 May 23 Ramadān 1440 1.0' N   16 July 13 Dhū ’l-Qa‘da 1440 2.7' S
2020 27 May 4 Shawwāl 1441 1.3' S   15 July 24 Dhū ’l-Qa‘da 1441 0.3' S

As with the dates of the equinoxes and the solstices the dates of Qibla Day in the Gregorian calendar are slightly variable. However, due to the small change in the solar declination around these days (about 9 arcmin/day) observations made one or two days before or after a Qibla Day will also give satisfactory results.

To convert the Gregorian calendar dates into tabular Islamic calendar dates, click here.

Qibla Days for the Hemisphere Centred on the Antipodes of Mecca

The next table specifies the Gregorian calendar dates of the first and second “Qibla Day” for the hemisphere centred on the antipodes of Mecca, the equivalent dates in the Umm al-Qura calendar (with the local time in Saudi Arabia) and the zenith distance (z) of the sun as it passes over the antipodes of the Ka‛ba (note that the sun’s apparent diameter is about 30').

Year Qibla Day 
(21:29 UTC)
Umm al-Qura date 
(0:29 SAT)
z   Qibla Day 
(21:09 UTC)
Umm al-Qura date 
(0:09 SAT)
2010 13 January 27 Muharram 1431 2.7' N   28 November 22 Dhū ’l-Hijja 1431 1.5' N
2011 13 January 9 Safar 1432 0.2' N   28 November 3 Muharram 1433 4.0' N
2012 13 January 19 Safar 1433 2.3' S   28 November 14 Muharram 1434 3.7' S
2013 12 January 30 Safar 1434 4.7' S   28 November 25 Muharram 1435 1.2' S
2014 13 January 12 Rabī‘ al-Awwal 1435 3.2' N   28 November 6 Safar 1436 1.4' N
2015 13 January 22 Rabī‘ al-Awwal 1436 0.6' N   28 November 16 Safar 1437 3.9' N
2016 13 January 3 Rabī‘ al-Ākhir 1437 1.8' S   28 November 28 Safar 1438 3.9' S
2017 12 January 14 Rabī‘ al-Ākhir 1438 4.4' S   28 November 10 Rabī‘ al-Awwal 1439 1.5' S
2018 13 January 26 Rabī‘ al-Ākhir 1439 3.4' N   28 November 20 Rabī‘ al-Awwal 1440 1.1' N
2019 13 January 7 Jumādā ’l-Ūlā 1440 0.9' N   28 November 1 Rabī‘ al-Ākhir 1441 3.6' N
2020 13 January 18 Jumādā ’l-Ūlā 1441 1.7' S   28 November 13 Rabī‘ al-Ākhir 1442 4.3' S