Chapter 11

5 April 2022 Chad Doell & Dan Gibson


The Qibla calculations of the early mosque builders are often shockingly accurate: this despite the absence of the sophisticated astronomical and mathematical calculations which would come later to the Muslim world. So, the accuracy of these early mosques begs the question: how did early mosque builders calculate their Qiblas so accurately? In order to address this question, the ancient navigational tool known later as the Indian Circle is described and examined to see if it could calculate early Qiblas. Gibson’s website has an interactive Qibla Tool that allows viewers to view all 258 mosques from the early centuries of Islam. This tool also displays the direction of prayer as calculated with the Indian Circle, and also the direction of the solstices. All these are adjusted for measurement in the 7th century CE.

The menu box on the Qibla Tool can display calculations made with the Indian Circle.

The menu box on the Qibla Tool can display calculations made with the Indian Circle.

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