The `Point of Adoration', that is, the point to which the
worshipper should turn when offering obligatory prayer, is called the
Qiblih. The concept of Qiblih has existed in previous religions. Jerusalem
in the past had been fixed for this purpose. Muhammad changed the Qiblih to
Mecca. The Báb's instructions in the Arabic Bayán were:
The Qiblih is indeed He Whom God will make manifest; whenever He moveth, it moveth, until He shall come to rest.
This passage is quoted by Bahá'u'lláh in the Kitáb-i-Aqdas (¶137) and confirmed by Him in the above-noted verse. He has also indicated that facing in the direction of the Qiblih is a `fixed requirement for the recitation of obligatory prayer' (Q&A 14 and 67). However, for other prayers and devotions the individual may face in any direction.
[Kitáb-i-Aqdas, note 7]
and when the Sun of Truth and Utterance shall set, turn your faces
towards the Spot that We have ordained for you
Bahá'u'lláh ordains His resting place as the Qiblih after His
passing. The Most Holy Tomb is at Bahjí, `Akká. `Abdu'l-Bahá
describes that spot as the `luminous Shrine', `the place around
which circumambulate the Concourse on High'.
In a letter written on his behalf, Shoghi Effendi uses the analogy of the plant turning in the direction of the sun to explain the spiritual significance of turning towards the Qiblih:
... just as the plant stretches out to the sunlight -- from which it receives life and growth -- so we turn our hearts to the Manifestation of God, Bahá'u'lláh, when we pray; ... we turn our faces ... to where His dust lies on this earth as a symbol of the inner act.
[Kitáb-i-Aqdas, note 8]
O people of the Bayán! Fear ye the Most Merciful and consider what
He hath revealed in another passage. He said: `The Qiblih is indeed He Whom
God will make manifest; whenever He moveth, it moveth, until He shall come
to rest.' Thus was it set down by the Supreme Ordainer when He desired to
make mention of this Most Great Beauty. Meditate on this, O people, and be
not of them that wander distraught in the wilderness of error. If ye reject
Him at the bidding of your idle fancies, where then is the Qiblih to which
ye will turn, O assemblage of the heedless? Ponder ye this verse, and judge
equitably before God, that haply ye may glean the pearls of mysteries from
the ocean that surgeth in My Name, the All-Glorious, the Most High.
Return to Qiblih Query page