Muslims take advantage of 'Istiwa' A'dzam' phenomenon to determine direction of Qibla

  • Nation
  • Sunday, 28 May 2023

KUALA LUMPUR: Muslims across the country took the opportunity to determine the direction of the Qibla in their respective locations following the Istiwa’ A’dzam phenomenon at 5.18pm Sunday (May 28).

Federal Territories Mufti Department Islamic affairs assistant officer (astronomy unit) Muhammad Saidul Marjuni said Istiwa' A'dzam is a phenomenon which occurs twice a year on May 28 (at 5.18pm) and July 16 (at 5.26pm) when the sun aligns directly above the Kaabah in Makkah, which is the Qibla or direction to face for Muslims to perform prayers.

"The shadow produced by the sun at that time (the time set on both dates) exactly points in the direction of the Qibla.

"We recommend Muslims to ensure the accuracy of the direction of the Qibla in their homes so that we can worship more accurately,” he told reporters after demonstrating the method of checking the direction of the Qibla to visitors to the International Book Fair, at the World Trade Centre Kuala Lumpur, here Sunday.

Muhammad Saidul explained to visitors how the direction of the Qibla can be determined, based on the direction of the shadow, using some objects which are usually easily found at home such as thread, paper and a stick.

In PENANG, the state Mufti Department issued a circular to all mosques to determine the direction of the Qibla, in conjunction with the Istiwa' A'dzam phenomenon, following the decision of the state Fatwa Committee.

Senior Mufti assistant (Astronomy), Muhammad Haniff Baderun, said that a total of 33 mosques have conducted a review, and there are still more than 174 mosques which need to do so, especially mosques built before the 1990s.

In SABAH, the weather was clear in most places Sunday, allowing people in the state to determine the Qibla direction at their respective homes.

Among those who shared their experiences was the Imam of the Ar-Akmar Mosque in Kota Kinabalu, Mohd Muslihin Tamin, 64, who said that he and members of the mosque's committee informed the mosque's congregants about the Istiwa' A'dzam phenomenon since last week.

Deiryll Jonisan, 27, a teacher from Gayang, Tuaran, said that he was excited about Sunday's phenomenon because it allowed him to determine the direction of the Qibla which he previously did by just using a smartphone application.

In SARAWAK, the scorching weather around Bintulu, which is located in the central region of the state, gave the public the opportunity to witness the phenomenon of Istiwa' A'dzam at the Bintulu Astronomy Centre.

According to the principal assistant Mufti (astronomy division) at the state Mufti Department, Razalie Hussaini, about 50 people witnessed the phenomenon, including the centre's officials, Mufti department officials and representatives of mosques and surau around Bintulu.

Meanwhile, unfavourable weather conditions in some states made it difficult to determine the Qibla direction.

In KELANTAN, the efforts of several congregants from the Haji Mohamad Nor Mosque, Blok Pasir Puteh, Mengkebang in Kuala Krai, were unsuccessful when the cloudy weather caused no shadows to be seen in the open area at the mosque.

The imam of the mosque, Mohd Solleh Mohamad, said that all preparations had been made by the congregation early this morning, because they did not want to miss the opportunity to witness the Istiwa' A'dzam phenomenon.

In JOHOR, the cloudy weather meant that the shadow used to determine the direction of Qibla could not be seen clearly.

Johor Astronomy Club member, Azfanizam Abdul Aziz, 41, said that although the shadow was only slightly visible at exactly 5.18pm, it could still be used as a guide to determine the direction of the Qibla by using simple equipment, a vertical object such as a pencil. - Bernama

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