qibla

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English[edit]

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Etymology[edit]

From Arabic قِبْلَة (qibla, which is opposite).

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Noun[edit]

qibla (countable and uncountable, plural qiblas)

  1. (Islam) The direction in which Muslims face while praying, currently determined as the direction of the Kaaba in Mecca.
    • 1990, Michael E. Bonine, Sacred Direction and City Structure, Oleg Grabar (editor), Muqarnas: An Annual on Islamic Art and Architecture, Volume 7, page 68,
      The other mosques' qiblas are also in the 150°'s range, except for the Andalusian Mosque which has a qibla of 148° (table 7, fig. 17).
    • 1999, David A. King, World Maps for Finding the Direction and Distance of Mecca, page 56,
      Muslim astronomers from the 8th century onwards concerned themselves with the determination of the qibla as a problem of mathematical geography.
    • 2002, Andrew Petersen, Dictionary of Islamic Architecture, page 218,
      The original portico was on the west side (i.e. at right angles to the qibla) and consisted of three bays resting on two marble columns.

Usage notes[edit]

Inside a mosque, the qibla is indicated by the location of the mihrab and the orientation of the prayer wall. The qibla (as determined at the time of construction) is therefore reflected in the construction of the the building. For this reason, and especially in the case of historical buildings, the mosque itself is sometimes said to have a qibla (or qibla direction), possibly different from the independently calculated direction or from that of other nearby mosques.

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