Blackburn mosque worshippers were praying in wrong direction
By David Watkinson
A MOSQUE in Blackburn has undergone a refurbishment after discovering that worshippers were praying in the wrong direction.
Experts using modern satellite technology discovered that prayers at the mosque, which should have been in the direction of Mecca, were over 30 degrees out.
The location of the Qiblah, which is what worshippers pray towards as a guide to the direction of Mecca, has now been changed at the Masjid-e-Sajideen mosque in Plane Tree Road, Little Harwood.
advertisementIt has been moved during a routine renovation following research from local academics which found that prayers were in the direction of Africa rather than Mecca.
Work at the mosque has seen the layout of the main prayer room altered and the Qiblah, as the focus of the room, which is similar to an alter in a Christian church, has been moved.
Research has shown that it is not unusual for mosques in the UK to change the direction of the Qiblah if errors are discovered.
A spokesman for the Lancashire Council of Mosques said: "There is a common problem in finding the Qiblah and it is not unusual for this sort of thing to happen.
"Often there is some error at many mosques but not always as much as 30 degrees."
Muslims consider the direction of Qiblah very important because the fact that all Muslims pray towards Mecca is traditionally considered to be a symbol of the unity of Islam.
Some Muslim scholars believe that as long as the direction is within 24 degrees of the actual Qiblah the prayer is valid, although others argue that a deviation of up to 45 degrees is acceptable.
Mecca, a city in Saudi Arabia, is revered by Muslims for containing the holiest site of Islam, the Grand Mosque of Mecca. A pilgrimage to Mecca during the season of the Hajj is one of the Five Pillars of Islam Before the advent of satellite technology Muslim astronomers used the sun to calculate the Qiblah.
Most mosques in East Lancashire are within five to 10 degrees of the exact direction, which is acceptable by scholars.
Mosque leaders at the Masjid-e-Sajideen declined to comment.