Qiblah | Islamic Laws by The Leader Ayatullah Ali Khamenei
Q 363: Please answer the following questions:
i. It is stated based on some books on Islamic law that the sun is exactly above the Kabah on two days: the 28th of May and the 16th of July. In such a condition, is it possible to determine the direction of the qiblah by fixing a pole in the ground at the time of adhan in Mecca? In case the direction of qiblah in the prayer niches of masjids differs from the direction of the poles shadow, which one is more correct?
ii. Is it correct to rely on a compass to find the qiblah?
A: It is correct to rely on the pole or compass provided that it makes the mukallaf confident with respect to the direction of qiblah and it should be acted upon. Otherwise, there is no problem in relying on the niches of masjids or the graves of Muslims in determining the direction of the qiblah.
Q 364: Is it correct to perform prayer in any direction in the course of a fierce battle when it is not possible to determine the direction of qiblah?
A: If all directions are equally probable and there is enough time, one should perform prayer in four directions, as per obligatory caution. But in the shortage of time one should repeat the prayer to every direction that he thinks it may be the correct one as much as time allows.
Q 365: How should one face the qiblah at the point which is the opposite to the Holy Kabah on the other side of the earth so that the line drawn from the Holy Kabah passing through the center of the earth comes out of the other side of the earth at this point?
A: The basis in facing the qiblah is to turn towards the Free House [Kabah] in such a manner that someone who stands on the surface of the earth faces the Holy Kabah that is built upon the earths surface in Mecca. Therefore, if one stands at a point on the earth where the straight lines emanating from it in four directions and passing over the earths surface towards the Holy Kabah are equal in distance, he can pray to any direction he wishes. But, if the distance in some directions is shorter to the extent that the realization of facing qiblah varies according to common view, it will be obligatory to choose the direction of the shorter distance.
Q 366: What should a person do in a place where he does not knows the direction of the qiblah for sure or with probability, i.e., all four directions enjoy equal chances to be that of the qiblah?
A: In the given question it will be obligatory, as per obligatory caution, to perform the prayer in all four directions and if there is not enough time for offering four prayers, one should perform the prayers in as many directions as time allows.
Q 367: How is the direction of the qiblah determined and how should prayer be performed at the north and South Pole?
A: The criterion in determining the direction of qiblah at the two Poles is to find the shortest line from the location of the praying person to the Kabah passing on the surface of the earth and then, to face qiblah along that line.