What Is The Need To Face The Qiblah In The Prayers?
Verse no. 115 of the chapter al-Baqarah states:
وَ لِلَّهِ الْمَشْرِقُ وَ الْمَغْرِبُ فَأَیْنَما تُوَلُّوا فَثَمَّ وَجْهُ اللَّهِ
(To Allah belong the east and the West: Whithersoever ye turn, there is the presence of Allah).
In consideration of the above verse the question that comes to mind is: If God is present wherever we face, what then is the need to face the Qiblah (during the prayers)?
(The order for) facing the Qiblah is not at all intended to confine the presence of the Holy God in a particular direction. However, since man is a material entity and thus, must necessarily face a direction while offering his prayers, it has been ruled that all should face one particular direction during their prayers.
This is with the objective of realizing unity and harmony amongst the Muslims, and preventing confusion, disorder and scattering amongst them.
Just reflect how scathing and disorderly it would be if each person were to offer his prayers in a different direction and the people were to establish scattered rows (for the prayers)?
Incidentally, the direction that has been stipulated as the Qiblah (the direction towards the Ka’bah) is a region that is not only holy but also one of the most ancient bases of monotheism and so, directing oneself towards it serves to awaken the monotheistic reminiscences (within oneself). (1)
1. Tafseer-e-Namunah, vol. 1, pg. 415.