200 Mecca mosques 'face wrong direction'
Muslim worshippers at about 200 old mosques in Mecca have been praying in the wrong direction for decades because the mosques were not built correctly, a Saudi newspaper said on Sunday.
The mosques were not built precisely based on the qibla, the official alignment with the holy Kaaba shrine at the centre of Mecca's Al-Haram mosque, according to the report in Arab News. The discrepancy was only realised after looking at the old mosques, some built more than 50 years ago, from atop the new skyscrapers being constructed in Islam's holiest city in western Saudi Arabia, the report said.
According to the pan-Arab Al-Hayat newspaper, Islamic affairs ministry deputy secretary, Tawfik al-Sudairy, downplayed the problem. 'There are no major errors, but corrections have been made for some old mosques, thanks to modern techniques. In any case, it does not affect the prayers,' the newspaper quoted MR Sudairy as saying in its Saturday edition.
Mecca residents and experts have suggested that the errant mosques install inside a correct indicator of the qibla, or orient their prayer rugs more exactly in the direction of the Kaaba, Arab News said. Another suggestion is that laser beams be installed in the tall minarets of the Al-Haram mosque built around the Kaaba to help mosques and worshippers establish the correct qibla direction.
Posted by: ryuge 2009-04-05