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Question:

What is the ruling of facing the wrong qibla when performing qadha prayer? Should it be repeated?

 

Answer:

Alhamdulillah, praise and thanks to Allah for the many countless blessings He has blessed us all with. Blessings and salutations to the Prophet Muhammad PBUH, his wives, his family, companions and all those that follow his teachings to the day of judgement.

Mukadimah

Facing the qibla is one of the conditions for the validity of prayer, whether it is for obligatory prayer in the prayer time, qadha of the obligatory prayer and sunnah prayer not during the time of sunnah prayer, such as when travelling and khauf prayer (in an extremely fearful state). Whoever that begins his prayer without facing the qibla, then his prayer is invalid. And whoever faces away from the qibla during his prayer intentionally, then his prayer is invalid. Refer al-Fiqh al-Manhaji (1/127 & 170). This is in accordance with the statement of Allah SWT:

وَمِنْ حَيْثُ خَرَجْتَ فَوَلِّ وَجْهَكَ شَطْرَ الْمَسْجِدِ الْحَرَامِ ۚ وَحَيْثُ مَا كُنتُمْ فَوَلُّوا وُجُوهَكُمْ شَطْرَهُ لِئَلَّا يَكُونَ لِلنَّاسِ عَلَيْكُمْ حُجَّةٌ إِلَّا الَّذِينَ ظَلَمُوا مِنْهُمْ فَلَا تَخْشَوْهُمْ وَاخْشَوْنِي وَلِأُتِمَّ نِعْمَتِي عَلَيْكُمْ وَلَعَلَّكُمْ تَهْتَدُونَ

“And from wherever you go out [for prayer], turn your face toward al-Masjid al-Haram. And wherever you [believers] may be, turn your faces toward it in order that the people will not have any argument against you, except for those of them who commit wrong; so, fear them not but fear Me. And [it is] so I may complete My favor upon you and that you may be guided.”

Surah al-Baqarah (150)

From Abu Hurairah RA, the Prophet PBUH said when teaching people about prayer:

إِذَا قُمْتَ إِلَى الصَّلاَةِ فَأَسْبِغِ الْوُضُوءَ، ثُمَّ اسْتَقْبِلِ الْقِبْلَةَ فَكَبِّرْ

“When you get up to pray, perform the ablution completely, and then turn towards the Qibla and recite takbir (Allah o Akbar =Allah is the Most Great)."

Sahih al-Bukhari (5897) and Sahih Muslim (397)

The Method of Determining the Qibla

In madhhab al-Syafi’e, the proper method to determine the qibla is in the following order:

  1. Your own certain knowledge, such as a man that could see the ain (physical) of the Kaaba, or a blind man that could hold the Kaaba.
  2. Information from a trusted person that possess knowledge in it.
  3. Ijtihad, such as using a compass and others.
  4. The people that taqlid using someone else’s ijtihad.

Refer I`anah al-Talibin (1/145)

The Issue of Facing the Wrong Qibla; Should the Prayer Be Performed Again?

Based on the method above, another issue arises; if someone realized that he was facing the wrong qibla after performing his prayer, after being told by a trusted person, then what is the ruling?

Imam al-Nawawi said: “Whoever performs the prayer with ijtihad (or taqlid using someone else’s ijtihad), then he is certain that there is a mistake, then he has to qadha his prayer according to a strong opinion.” Refer Minhaj al-Talibin (pg.43)

However, a second opinion states that it is not necessary to qadha the prayer, as stated by Imam al-Ramli: “The second opinion states that it is not necessary to qadha for the leaving of the qibla is with an excuse, such as the situation in war (which means khauf prayer)”. Refer Nihayah al-Muhtaj (446/1)

Syeikh Taqiuddin Abu Bakar al-Hisni holds the same opinion:

“The qil opinion (second) states that it is not obligatory to perform the prayer again, for taking into account the dzan (strong assumption) when performing the prayer, that he is facing the right qibla. The first opinion is the madhhab of the fiqh people while the second opinion is the madhhab of the kalam people (from the usul people in madhhab Syafi’e). If he is certain of his mistake but is uncertain as to which way is the right qibla but just as assumption, then there is no need to perform the prayer again, for the first prayer is performed through ijtihad and the second is also through ijtihad, hence, an ijtihad does not invalidate another ijtihad.” Refer Kifayah al-Akhyar (pg.96)

For the first opinion, the replacement of prayer or qadha is obligatory when it is certain that there is a mistake. If he uses ijtihad again and changed direction, then it is not necessary to perform the first prayer using the first ijtihad again.

This fact is stated by Syeikh al-Nawawi al-Bantani: “If someone’s ijtihad to determine the qibla and then performed his prayer, then he is certain that his ijtihad is wrong, thus, he has to perform his prayer again. However, if he is unsure that his first ijtihad is wrong, but his second ijtihad showed a different direction, then his second opinion is rajih and it is obligatory for him to use it, whether it may be for prayer or not, and it is not obligatory for him to perform his first prayer again, for an ijtihad does not invalidate another ijtihad, that is if he pray 4 rakaat and for each rakaat he face 4 different directions according to 4 ijtihad, then his prayer is valid.” Refer Nihayah al-Zain (pg.52-53)

Conclusion

Thus, to answer this question, we divide it into several situations:

  1. If someone prays without having any knowledge on qibla, does not try to find any information from trusted people, and did not ijtihad or taqlid, then his prayer is invalid for his careless attitude. Hence, he has to qadha his prayer, if he performed it in this circumstance.
  2. He prayed after ijtihad of the direction of the qibla, then the direction changed when he ijtihad again for his next prayer. His prayers for both praying times are valid, and he does not have to qadha any prayer.
  3. He is informed by a trusted person that his qibla is wrong, and even if he agreed, his first prayer is valid, and it is not necessary to qadha it, but it is obligatory for him to perform his next prayer using the new ijtihad.
  4. He is informed by someone that is certain of the direction of the qibla as if he can see the Kaaba. This includes the information from falak people that has taken measurements or just their ijtihad. Then, it is obligatory for him to qadha his prayer, it is the same as when a certain knowledge that made it certain that his ijtihad is wrong. For example, evidence from Syarak invalidates the ijtihad of a judge on certain issues. The second opinion does not make it obligatory for the qadha of the prayer. This opinion is suitable when there are too many prayers that need to be qadha and it would be a burden.

Wallahua’lam.