CAIRO – Pilgrims in Makkah will witness a unique cosmic phenomenon next Friday noon when the sun aligns exactly with Al-Masjid Al-Haram, appearing 90 degrees above Muslims’ holiest mosque.
The news was announced by Molhem Hindi, a researcher in the Department of Astronomy and Space Sciences at King Abdulaziz University, Alriyadh newspaper reported on Tuesday, May 24.
Hindi said that the sun will be directly overheads at 12:18 GMT appearing above the Ka`bah directly during Jumu`ah adhan, or call to prayer.
At this moment, shadows will disappear, helping people to determine the Qiblah direction easily.
He added that the same astronomical phenomenon is repeated twice a year during the movement of the sun between summer and winter.
This year, it will pass over Ka`bah on May 27, during Friday prayer, and July 15.
“This cosmic phenomenon will enable people, who can watch the sun at this moment, to determine the direction of Qiblah with precision and ease,” Hindi said.
He added that if a man looked at the sun and put it between the eyes, he would be looking 100 percent precisely at the Qiblah.
Qiblah means the direction that Muslims face when they perform their prayers (salah).
Thousands circle the sacred Ka`bah at the center of the Haram sanctuary 24 hours a day. All Muslims around the world face the Ka`aba during their daily prayers.
Facing the qiblah is one of the basic requirements of performing salah which is one of the five pillars of Islam. Besides, the very act of facing the qiblah and the qiblah itself (the Ka`bah) has spiritual indications and bearings on Muslims.
The first qiblah that Muslims faced in their prayers was Al-Aqsa Mosque. The command to shift the direction of salah to the Ka`bah was revealed to the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) about 16-17 months after his immigration to Madinah.
Scholars and historians say that the Ka`bah has been reconstructed between 5 to 12 times. According to some of them, the very first construction of the Ka`bah was done by Prophet Adam (peace and blessings be upon him). After this, Prophet Ibrahim and Isma`il (peace and blessings be upon them) rebuilt the Ka’bah.