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Episode 1225             Episode 1227
Episode 1226

Sat, 2020-Sep-12 01:06 UTC
Length - 4:38

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Welcome to featured Wiki of the Day where we read the summary of the featured Wikipedia article every day.

The featured article for Saturday, 12 September 2020 is Qibla.

The qibla (Arabic: قِبْلَة‎, romanized: qiblah, lit. 'direction') is the direction towards the Kaaba in the Sacred Mosque, Mecca, Saudi Arabia, which is used by Muslims in various religious contexts, particularly the direction of the salah (ritual prayer). Muslims believe the Kaaba to be a sacred site built by the prophets Abraham and Ishmael, and that its use as the qibla was ordained by God in several verses of the Quran revealed to Muhammad in the second Hijri year. Prior to this revelation, Muhammad and his followers in Medina faced Jerusalem for prayers. Most mosques contain a mihrab (a wall niche) that indicates the direction of the qibla.

The qibla is also the direction for entering the ihram (sacred state for the hajj pilgrimage); the direction to which animals are turned during dhabihah (Islamic slaughter); the recommended direction to make dua (supplications); the direction to avoid when relieving oneself or spitting; and the direction to which the deceased are aligned when buried. In practice, there are two manners of observing the qibla: ayn al-ka'bah (facing the Kaaba exactly) and jihat al-ka'bah (facing it only in the general direction). Most Islamic scholars believe that the more precise ayn al-ka'bah is required only when possible (for example, inside the Sacred Mosque or its surroundings), and otherwise jihat al-ka'bah can be used.

The most common technical definition used by Muslim astronomers is the direction shown by the great circle—in the Earth's sphere—passing through the Kaaba and one's location. This direction shows the shortest possible path from one's place to the Kaaba, and allows for the exact calculation (hisab) of the qibla using a spherical trigonometric formula that takes the coordinates of one's location and the Kaaba as inputs. The method is applied to develop mobile applications and websites for Muslims, and to compile qibla tables used in instruments such as the qibla compass. In addition, the qibla can be determined by observing the shadow of a vertical rod twice a year when the sun is directly overhead in Mecca—on 28 May at 12:18 Saudi Arabia Standard Time or 09:18 UTC, and on 16 July at 12:27 SAST/09:27 UTC.

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 were 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.

This recording reflects the Wikipedia text as of 01:06 UTC on Saturday, 12 September 2020.

For the full current version of the article, see Qibla on Wikipedia.

This podcast is produced by Abulsme Productions based on Wikipedia content and is released under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.

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