Qiblah in Anadaman

Question:

Assalammualikum
Anadaman is a group of islands in India located far from mainland, and masjid’s are mostly located on GIHATE KIBLA not Eain-e-kibla whereas Musalli are both Hanafi and Shafi. Can a person following shafi fiqh read namaz in such masjid?
Jazakum allahu khayran.

Answer:

Wa alaykum salam wa rahmatuLlahi wa barakatuHu,

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.

All praise is to Allah. And, prayers and salutations are on the Prophet Muhammad.

It is obligatory to face the Kabah exactly [‘ayn al-Kabah]. One’s facing the exact Kabah must be with certainty [yaqin] when near to it, and with overwhelming probability [zann] when distant. (Tuhfat al-Muhtaj with Sharwani’s marginalia 1/483-84; Nihayat al-Muhtaj 1/424)

In Tanbih and Muhadhdhab, Abu Ishaq al-Shirazi relates two views from Imam Shafi [qawlayn] regarding one who is far from it. The two views are as follows:

1) One must face it exactly [‘ayn al-Kabah]. This is the opinion given in the Shafi School’s relied-upon legal references, Tuhfat al-Muhtaj and Nihayat al-Muhtaj, as mentioned above. Imam Nawawi relates that ‘ayn al-Kabah or jihat al-Kabah is an issue of two views [qawlayn]. Furthermore, he assessed that ‘ayn al-Kabah is the relied-upon view [qawl azhar]. (Rawdat al-Talibin 1/220) In both Rawdah and Sharh al-Muhadhdhab, he mentions that the Iraqi Shafis, Mutawalli, Baghawi, and Qaffal all confirmed this view. (Rawdat al-Talibin 1/220; Sharh al-Muhadhdhab 3/141)

Whether a near or distant place, the requirements are the same. Allah says, “Wherever you are, turn your faces towards it.” (Surah al-Baqarah 144) In that, the obligation of facing the Kabah exactly has been established. Thus, the ruling for one who is near is the same for one who is distant. It is necessary that one near knows with certainty that he is facing it, while one distant should know with an overwhelming probability. This is documented in Imam Shafi’s Kitab al-Umm. (Kifayat al-Nabih 3/28-29)

2) In another opinion ascribed to Imam Shafi, one who is distant must merely face towards the Kabah [jihat al-Kabah]. This is supported by what Tirmidhi 2/171 and Ibn Majah 1/323 relate, that the Prophet Muhammad said, “What is between the east and the west is qiblah.”

This view was related from Imam Muzani. On account of Muzani’s relating the view, some have mentioned that it is from the qawl jadid. Abu al-Hasan al-Juri, the author of Murshid, preferred it [ikhtiyar]. (Kifayat al-Nabih 3/28-29) This is also the view of Umar b. al-Khattab, Ali b. Abi Talib, Ibn al-Abbas, Ibn al-Mubarak, and Imam Abu Hanifa. (Sharh al-Muhadhdhab 3/142)

Additionally, Sh. Muhammad b. Abd al-Rahman al-Ahdal mentioned in a fatwa on the qiblah-direction:

لا ينبغي الاعتراض على مساجد الجبال المنحرفة التي يكون فيها الجاه بين عيني المصلي، على أن مالكا يقول بجواز استقبال الجهة، وقواه الغزالي وغيره، فيجوز تقليده ولو بعد العمل اهـ عمدة المفتي والمستفتي ج 1، ص 47.

“It is not necessary to dispute the askew mosques which have prestige amongst the people who pray there. This is considering that Imam Malik opined that it is permissible to face towards [jihah] it. Ghazzali and others strengthened the view. It is permissible to adopt [taqlid] the view, even if after an action was done [b’ad al-‘amal].’” (‘Umdat al-Mufti wa al-Mustafti 1/47)

In the Hanafi School, for a person outside of Mecca, facing the direction [jihah] of the Kabah is sufficient. (al-Fatawa al-Hindiyyah 1/70; Hashiyat Ibn Abidin 2/108-09) Their works should be consulted for further details regarding specifics of the Hanafis’ opinion(s).

In conclusion, the Madhhab’s relied-upon view is that one face the Kabah exactly. An alternate view ascribed to Imam Shafi provides latitude, considering the mere direction to be sufficient. Imam Shafi’s alternate view is also the opinion of Imam Muzani, Imam Abu Hanifah, Sh. Ahdal ascribed it to Imam Malik and stated that Ghazzali strengthened it, and it is a view of a group of the Sahabah. If the direction of prayer in the mosques is imprecise; and thereby problematic according to the relied-upon opinion, then a departure to the other mentioned view is warranted.


And, Allah knows best.

Shafiifiqh.com Fatwa Dept.

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