Masjid-e-Qiblatain, also accredited as the “Mosque of two Qiblahs” is located in the north west of Medina. This mosque embraces significance in the glorified history of Islam seeing that the order to change the Qiblah of Muslims from Masjid-e-Aqsa in Jerusalem to the blissful Ka’aba in Makkah was conferred in this Mosque.
In expression of architecture, the mosque had two mihrabs, one towards Masjid-e-Aqsa and the other towards the sacred Ka’aba. Later, the mosque was amended and the mihrab facing Masjid-e-Aqsa was removed. Every year scores of Muslims that go for the purpose of Hajj and Umrah also visit Masjid-e-Qiblatain. The mosque has a strikingly beautiful interior with a big prayer hall. The lower section is for gents while the upper section is reserved for women.
Nevertheless it is the associated history that attracts the Muslims towards this Mosque. The alteration of Qiblah took place on the 15th Sha’ban of the second year of Hijra when the command was given to our beloved Prophet (PBUH) while he was leading the prayer.
It is believed that this change was requested by our Prophet (PBUH) himself because the Jews who held Jerusalem sacred were hurting and teasing the Muslims by saying that their Qiblah is the same as that of the Jews and their religion is no different from any other. This upset the Prophet (PBUH) quite much but his grief was turned to grace by the mercy of the Highest Power when the following verses of Quran descended upon him:
“We see the turning of thy face (for guidance) to the heavens; now shall We turn thee to a Qiblah that shall please thee. Turn then thy face in the direction of the Sacred Mosque; wherever ye are, turn your faces in that direction.” (Surah al-Baqarah, 2:144)
Our Prophet (PBUH) got the revelation while he was leading the prayer. He was commanded to change the Qiblah from Jerusalem to the sacred Ka’aba. The Prophet (PBUH) on receiving this revelation immediately changed his direction of prayer to the Ka’aba and the Muslims who were praying behind him also followed.
Since this event, the mosque was named as “Masjid-e-Qiblatain”.
It was not the east or west that mattered at that time because Allah dwells in all places known or unknown; the concern was the sense of unanimity and concord among the Muslims as to who has the will to follow what got chosen by Muhammad (SAWW).
Allah almighty says in Quran:
“Thus have We made of you an Ummah justly balanced, that ye might be witnesses over the nations, and the Messenger a witness over yourselves; and We appointed the Qiblah to which thou wast used, only to test those who followed the Messenger from those who would turn on their heels (from the faith). Indeed it was (a change) momentous, except to those guided by Allah. And never would Allah make your faith of no effect. For Allah is to all people most surely full of kindness, Most Merciful.” (Surah al-Baqarah, 2:143)
Allah SWT made Islam the only religion that perfected the universality of the Qiblah as result of deep earnest desire of our Prophet which consequently systematized the devotees of one true religion Islam with distinctive laws in quest of the higher purpose in life.