How To Use Mathematics To Find the Qibla Accurately

Qibla compasses, whether physical or apps, can provide different Qibla directions even from the same room!

I’ve experienced this many times before. My Qibla compass app would give me different Qibla directions on different days for the same room, and, worse, when I tried to verify the direction with a friend’s phone, my friend’s app would show a completely random direction to mine.

Why does this happen?

I had a mind-blowing conversation with a fellow Muslim revert, who is a land surveyor by profession. As a land surveyor, he is required to be well versed in the field of mathematics in order to provide accurate maps for construction purposes. After his reversion to Islam, he took it upon himself to learn about how the direction to Qibla is calculated using mathematical formulas. This is an act that is Fard Kifayah, meaning that it is obligatory for the Muslim community to have this knowledge as a whole, and if enough members in the Muslim community fulfil the obligation, the remaining Muslims are freed from the responsibility before Allah (SWT).

In my conversation with the brother, I found that the main reason for the inconsistencies that I faced when trying to figure out the Qibla was because the room was made from reinforced concrete. The steel bars between the walls cause magnetic interference with the compass, resulting in variational inaccuracy. If we all lived in wooden houses, there’d be no problem, he said. But don’t most of us live in concrete buildings? So, how can we get an accurate Qibla direction in our homes?

The brother has the answer to this. He said once a year at 12pm Mecca time, every shadow on the earth points toward the Qibla!

How amazing is that?!  And we can take advantage of this phenomenon to verify the Qibla direction even if it’s an overcast and cloudy day. Just take a thin object (like a straw), place it on a flat white surface, and ta-da! The faint shadow of the thin object is your Qibla direction. 

The time and date of this event is different in different parts of the world, but it’s the same day every year for that region. In Asia, Europe, and Africa, it is usually on 27-28 May and 15-16 July, and for North/South America, Australia and Antarctica, it is usually on 12-13 January and 28 November.

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But we can’t wait until these days to find out the correct Qibla direction. So, what is the solution?

Use Mathematics To Locate Your Qibla Direction

Since the Earth is a globe, one cannot draw a straight line from their location to Mecca. We have to use spherical trigonometry, where a ‘curved’ triangle determines the angles. This method of calculation was discovered by the great Muslim minds in the 8th century and is still used in todays computational methods.

But it sounds complicated and time-consuming to employ spherical trigonometry every time we need to figure out the Qibla. Not to mention, it requires in-depth knowledge of mathematics. Luckily, there is an app that does the calculation for you.

The MasjidHub app is built to do the heavy work of calculating an accurate Qibla direction for you, no matter where you are or which type of building you are in, by showing the direction of Qibla in map form where the line is curved, not straight.

We are currently crowdfunding for production on Kickstarter, with a special discount for early backers. If you would like to see, this product come to life, support the project now at Kickstarter.

Watch this video for more information about this groundbreaking innovation.