From centuries Qibla is an observational fact. It is the direction in which the Muslims worldwide face while offering prayers who are far away from Makkah. The direction corresponds to Kaaba in Makkah, Saudi Arabia. It shows uniformity and discipline and has its importance not only in Salah but also various ceremonies and on different occasions. There are various methods to determine the correct direction of Qibla. Following are some of them. It is also important to mention here that the correct Qibla Direction is one of the 7 Fard pre-requisites of Salah
First, know your country’s direction: It is obvious and common sense that if the country lies south of Makkah, the Qibla will be in the Northern direction. It is a misconception that Muslims are found to face towards the east every time everywhere but that would be correct only if the country is west to Makkah. For example, you need to face north-northeast if you are in South Africa.
Method 1: Using Sun: From centuries and stone age, when there was no maps or compass, people used to follow the sun direction and the shadows, similarly keeping a track of from where the sun rises and sets will give you an idea about the location or direction of Makkah.
Method 2: Making Sundial: On a leveled surface (ground) place a vertical stick or object before noon which should be about 1 meter high. Locate the shadow’s tip and mark that point. Consider the shadow length as radius; make a complete circle around that stick. As the day passes the shadow will reduce in size. As more time passes it again increases in size touching the circle once again. Mark that points on the circle and joins the two marks with a line. The first mark is the West and the second one is east. The perpendicular line to it is the north-south direction.
Method 3: Using watch: When in North, take a clock horizontally, keeping the hour hand facing the sun. The midway point between this hour hand and 12 o’clock is the south. When in South, point 12 o’clock towards the sun, and mark midway between this and hour hand which is north.
Method 4: Compass: This method doesn’t locate the Qibla exactly but gives a far better idea about the direction if you know your position in relation to Makkah. Find and use a Qibla compass then locate your direction by placing it on a flat surface and using its dial hand to settle in a direction.
Method 5: Modern Technology: There are numerous iPhone, android and iPad apps that help you determine the Qibla direction very easily by using the GPS tool. It is helpful for anyone and everyone across the whole wide world. 21°25′21.15″N 39°49′34.1″E are the coordinates of Kaaba to be exact. Compass attached to prayers mats are also easily available.
Method 6: Visiting a Mosque: Visiting a nearby mosque and seeing the rows there will also help you locate Qibla in the proper direction. When moving to an unknown location, do make sure about your position and use these methods to find Qibla.