Now before everyone starts jumping into panic mode let me give you the background on what I am going to explain.
Muhammad was ordered by God to build a mosque in Sanaa, Yemen which was to face the new Qibla in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. Muhammad did not know which
direction to face for construction and he was given divine revelation to point in the direction of the peak of Mount Deyn and the face of the mosque
should be constructed as such. Now why you say the peak? Well turns out the peak is on the same line on the surface of the earth as is the Qibla in
Mecca, Saudi Arabia.
Qibla (the square building in center of Mecca mosque): en.wikipedia.org...
Great Mosque of Sanaa, Yemen: en.wikipedia.org...
Additional history of Sanaa: en.wikipedia.org...
The Great mosque of Sanaa was one of the first mosques built outside of Mecca and Medina
Source: UNESCO (whc.unesco.org...
Criterion (vi): Sana'a is directly and tangibly associated with the history of the spread of Islam in the early years of the Hegira. The Great mosque
of Sana'a, built in year 6 of Hegira, is known as the first mosque built outside Mecca and Medina.The Old City of Sana'a has contributed to and
played a major role in Yemeni, Arab and Islamic World history through the contributions of historical Yemeni figures including Al Hassan B. Ahmed Al
Hamdany, Ahamed Al Razy and Al Shawkany.
Well now lets see how accurate Muhammad was in constructing the new mosque in Sanaa, yemen. Before we begin we need to know the locations of our
targets in Google Earth/Maps.
On Google Maps the location of the Qibla in Mecca: 21.422497,39.826203
On Google Maps the location of Great Mosque of Sanaa: 15.353106, 44.214925
Mount Deyn: 15°35'49.63"N,44° 2'46.47"E
Now we need to calculate a line from the beginning to end points. We can use google earth/maps or another calculator which will enable precise
comparisons which I am about to show.
Beginning Point (Great Mosque of Sanaa: 15.353106, 44.214925):
Aiming at peak of Mount Deyn: (15°35'49.63"N,44° 2'46.47"E)
Flat Google maps view:
3d Google Earth View of Mount Deyn:
Now there are various methods to calculate a line from two points on a spherical surface (earth is more precisely and oblate ellipsoid of revolution,
will get to that in a minute). The two basic methods are to follow the rhumb lines or the Great circle routes
A rhumb line is a a line crossing all meridians of longitude at the same angle, i.e. a path derived from a defined initial bearing
). Basically a rhumb line is the same as those straight lines you see on a Mercator projection map.
The great circle route is the intersection of a plane through the center of a sphere. This is what aircraft use to circumnavigate
). It is the shortest path that can be taken between two points on a sphere and is more accurate for
I will now demonstrate the line between the mosque in Sanaa and the Mosque in Mecca using both methods:
Website for geodesic calculator: www.movable-type.co.uk...
Rhumb line Route (beginning and endpoints are both mosques):
Rhumb line Route zoomed to the top of mount Deyn (beginning and endpoints are both mosques):
Great Circle Route (beginning and endpoints are both mosques):
Great Circle Route zoomed to the top of mount Deyn (beginning and endpoints are both mosques):
It is generally accepted in modern calculations that the great circle route is what is generally the method to face the Qibla. As we can see using
either methodology that when we face through the mountain we will be relatively close to the Qibla. In fact if you aim precisely at the peak of Mount
Deyn you will land smack dab in the middle of the Qibla, which follows the great circle route exactly. Try it for yourself on Google maps or earth.
No human without extremely precise maps could determine such directions without divine revelation. Now there were many other people earlier who had
determined the size of the earth (Eratosthenes), made relatively accurate maps:
Lets look at some reference maps up until the time period of Muhammad (Born: April 26, 570 AD, Mekka
Died: June 8, 632 AD, Medina)
Pomponius Mela (c.43 AD):
Arab cartographers really did not get better until after the time of Muhammad:
An important influence in the development of cartography was the patronage of the Abbasid caliph, al-Ma'mun, who reigned from 813 to 833
As you can see arabic cartography did not really take a hold until after 800AD:
Therefore, Muhammad did not have access to any sophisticated maps and his construction directions were given via divine intervention.
Muhammad was a cartographer: There is no evidence that he made any maps or devoted his life to map making
As claimed, if you draw a straight line starting at the mosque in Sana'a/Yemen to the Ka'aba in Mecca, it does indeed hit the South-Eastern wall of
the Ka'aba almost exactly perpendicular. However, the mosque in Sana'a does not seem to be precisely aligned with the Ka'aba. As indicated by the
yellow lines, the whole building has no wall that corresponds in any way, with the direction of the Ka'aba or its walls. Without knowing how the rock
located in the mosque are aligned, with regard to Mecca and the Ka'aba, but it is unlikely that they as the builders have done a very poor job indeed
as the mosque is poorly 'aligned'.
He is saying that the walls are not lining up perfectly and exactly perpendicular to the Kaaba in Mecca. Well blame it on the construction. Muhammad
was given instruction to build it aiming precisely at the peak of Mount Deyn. His workers did not do a good job of lining it up to 100% spec, but it
still does not negate the fact that Muhammad knew that the direction of the Kaaba in Mecca was a line exactly through the Peak of mount Deyn.