This is Masjid al-Qiblatain (Arabic: مسجد القبلتين), translated as the “Mosque of the Two Qiblas”. In Rajjab 2 AH, the revelation of the Quranic verse came to change the direction of the Qibla from Masjid al-Aqsa in Jerusalem to the Ka’bah in Makkah. Masjid al-Qiblatain is historically important to Muslims as it is the location where the first congregational salah was prayed following the change.
- During his time in Makkah, the Prophet Muhammed (ﷺ) used to pray towards Bait-al-Maqdis, with the Ka’bah in front of him. When he migrated to Madinah, he prayed towards Jerusalem for 16 months, but he hoped it would be changed to the Ka’bah.
- During Dhuhr prayer (or it was said that it was Asar), the Prophet (ﷺ) had led his Companions when he was commanded to face towards the Ka’bah by the following revelation in the Quran in Surah al-Baqarah: “Verily, We have seen the turning of your (Muhammed’s) face towards the heaven. Surely, We shall turn you to a Qiblah (prayer direction) that shall please you, so turn your face in the direction of Al-Masjid Al-Haram (at Makkah). And wheresoever you people are, turn your faces (in prayer) in that direction.” [2:144 ]
- The Prophet (ﷺ) turned around towards the Ka’bah and the Sahabah copied out of obedience. Thus the Ka’bah became the new Qibla of the Muslims for all time to come.
- Masjid al-Qiblatain used to uniquely contain two mehrabs, one in the direction of Masjid al-Aqsa and the other towards Makkah. However, the old mehrab has now been covered.
- While it was a day of joy for the Muslims, it was a day of mourning for the Jews. The Muslims had now become completely independent of them and a prophecy in their old books had been fulfilled that the last of the great prophets would change the orientation of the religion of Allah from Jerusalem to the Ancient House of Ebrahim (عليه السلام). Their elders went as a body to the Prophet (ﷺ) and said that if he would change his orientation back to Jerusalem, then they would follow him. Allah (ﷻ) revealed in the Quran in Surah al-Baqarah: “And even if thou broughtest unto those who have received the Scriptures all kinds of portents, they would not follow thy Qibla, nor canst thou be a follower of their Qibla; nor are some of them followers of the Qibla of others. And if thou shouldst follow their desires after the knowledge which has come unto thee, then surely wert thou of the evil doers.” [2:145]
- The Muslims began to have a distinctive character while the Jews began to grow closer to the hypocrites and the polytheists. Many of the Hypocrites reverted to either Judaism or paganism, thereby purifying the ranks of the Muslims.
- Imam Ahmed has reported from Aisha (رضي الله عنها) that the Prophet (ﷺ) said: “The People of the Book do not envy us for anything as much as they do for the Friday given to us by Allah with which they are deprived. They also envy us for the Qibla which Allah gave us but not them, and also for the aameen (recital after Surah Fatihah in salah) behind the imam.”
References: TheTrueCall.com; geocities.com/mutmainaa, The life of Muhammad – Tahia Al-Ismail, When the Moon Split – Safiur Rahman Mubarakpuri, The Prophet Muhammad – Ibn Kathir