Does a mistake of forty-five degrees while turning to the qiblah invalidate a prayer? Are prayers that are performed in mosques whose directions are deviated from the qiblah valid?

The Details of the Question
When we turn to the qiblah, it is sometimes possible to deviate from the qiblah for about five to ten degrees to the right or left. That is, it is possible that we sometimes pray turning to the qiblah exactly but at other times we pray by turning to the right or left about five to ten degrees. Are our prayers invalidated due to some small mistakes like that? Is it necessary to arrange the angle correctly? What should we do to arrange the angle correctly?
The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

We determine the qiblah in our houses based on the mosques near our houses. We have nothing else to do. When we perform prayers like that, we have no doubt that we turn to the qiblah. For, it is not a condition to turn toward the wall of the Kaaba exactly for a person who performs a prayer.

It is enough to turn toward Masjid al-Haram, which includes the Kaaba. The following expression is used in the verse in the chapter of al-Baqara:

“(O Muhammad!) So from whencesoever thou startest forth turn thy face in the direction of the Sacred Mosque!” (al-Baqara, 2/150)

From the expression “turn your face in the direction of the Sacred Mosque”, a large understanding of qiblah is deduced; it is used as evidence that it is enough to turn towardMasjid al-Haram, which includes the Kaaba. A determination about the angle clarifies the issue:

“Deviations of up to 45 degrees to the right and left from the qiblah are not regarded as deviation. If the deviation is more, the condition of turning toward the qiblah is harmed.” (İSAM - 232)

In another determination, a wide area of the qiblah is indicated with the following statement, “The geographical place/direction of the city of Makkah is the qiblah of Muslims.” (Hayatımızdaki İslam)

That is, the prayer of a person who prays at home with a deviation of up to forty-five degrees to the right or left from the qiblah direction is valid. For, even at this state, the condition of turning toward Masjid al-Haram, Makkah, is fulfilled.

Therefore, we should not have a suspicion due to the determination of the qiblah we make by looking at the mosques around; we should not have the apprehension that our prayers are in danger; we should feel relaxed considering that our qiblah understanding covers a wide area. 

However, it is a religious duty for a person who performs prayers to try to turn toward the qiblah as much correctly as he can. The deviations in the qiblah direction within the boundaries stated above of the mosques that were built in the past do not harm the prayers performed in those mosques. 

However, it is necessary to build the mihrabs of new mosques facing the Kaaba. It is not appropriate to build a new mosque by deviating from the qiblah direction deliberately in order to eliminate loss of land, to make it parallel to the road, to act in accordance with zoning status, etc.  

Besides, if we want to perform a prayer in a place that we do not know and we ask the people who know about the qiblah, our prayer is valid even if the qiblah is wrong. For, what we need to do is to ask those who know. We are not held responsible for the knowledge if we ask. However, if a person performs a prayer without searching and asking about the qiblah and it turns out to be wrong afterwards, he needs to perform that prayer again. For, he ignored the duty of searching and performed the prayer randomly.   

That is, the determination of the qiblah we make by looking at the mosques around us should make us peaceful and we should not doubt about our prayers at home.

In fact, there is another important point that needs to be paid attention here:

Our bodies turn toward the qiblah in the prayer but where do our hearts turn? This is the issue that we need to think about. We should turn toward the qiblah with both the body and the heart. The real validity of the prayer should be sought in the unity of the body and the heart.

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