March 10, 2022 Chad Doell & Dan Gibson
Gibson has compiled the Qibla directions of over 200 mosques from the first three centuries of Islam. To date, Gibson has discovered 54 mosques that appear to face Petra in Jordan. The earliest of these mosques is dated to 5 AH. A further 33 mosques have a Qibla which Gibson classified as ‘Parallel’—directed on a parallel between Petra and Mecca—the earliest of which appear in 58 AH. Gibson also classified 49 mosques as ‘Between’—facing between both Petra and Mecca–starting in 87 AH. Finally, he has found 29 mosques face Mecca, starting in 109 AH. Gibson also lists 88 mosques as ‘unknown,’ as he could not determine the original Qibla direction. Usually this was because the mosque had been torn down and rebuilt, often multiple times during the ensuing centuries, leaving no trace of the original building. This chapter examines some of the earliest qiblas, that faced Petra.