In the first place, a Muslim should always respond positively to the commands of Allah and pay heed to them. He should never hesitate to respond with an emphatic YES to each and every command of Allah. Almighty Allah says: (The saying of (all true) believers when they appeal unto Allah and His messenger to judge between them is only that they say: We hear and we obey. And such are the successful.)  (An-Nour 24: 51)

The legislation concerning the qiblah has many significant aspects, among which is that this command carries the significance of being amrta`abbudi (a Divine command that requires showing submission and surrender). Its significance lies in our obedience to it i.e. showing obedience to Allah and His Messenger. Almighty Allah says: ( Weappointed the qiblah which ye formerly observed only that We might know him who follows the messenger.) (Al-Baqarah 2: 143)

Another aspect is that the qiblah is a symbol of Muslim unity. In his poem, The Outpourings of the Soul, Muhammad Iqbal wrote:

Under the religion of monotheism, do people unite.

While disunited, glory you cannot gain.

Your Prophet just came to save you from that plight.

To make you one nation, so you do remain.

Your qiblah is one and the Book you recite,

Without that unity, your efforts are in vain.

The qiblah is important because it gives us a sense of unity, uniformity and discipline. If there were no qiblah, we would pray as isolated groups without being connected to one another. The qiblah gives us a focus; a common sense of purpose; a direction. Almighty Allah says: (The fools among the people will say: “What has turned them from the qiblah to which they were used?” Say: To Allah belong both East and West; He guides whom He pleases to a Way that is straight.) (Al-Baqarah 2: 142)

When we begin our prayer, we not only face the House of Allah in Makkah, but we also connect ourselves along an invisible line, forming an axis that proceeds from every point on earth, to the spiritual centre of Islam. Whether we pray alone, or as recommended, we pray in a group, we do so as a part of the great Ummah. Standing and facing the qiblah in our prayers connects us along an invisible line, to every other Muslim on the planet. We become an important link in the huge chain of worshippers who face Makkah at least 5 times each day. If we could go up into space, and look down upon the earth and see all the Muslims praying, we would see a huge flower the size of the earth, opening and closing its millions of petals. Each of those petals represents a Muslim engaged in worship. As well as this, those of us who have been blessed with the invitation from Allah to perform pilgrimage will remember that remarkable sight inside the holy Mosque. There, at prayer times, it is as if a giant flower opens and closes its petals, as Muslims prostrate as one body, in neat and orderly rows, around the Ka`bah.

So, the qiblah is not only about degrees of latitude or longitude on the compass. It is about bringing together every nation, language, race and tribe on this planet, in regular acts of worship linked to a common centre. The qiblah lies at the very heart of the great Ummah of Islam it is the navigational axis that connects every Muslim through the Ka`bah and again to every other Muslim. This is the physical expression of monotheism and unity, the belief in Allah’s oneness; Allah’s Unity. Allah is One, so His Ummah is also one, and our qiblah; our direction for worship, is one.

A question may arise, why is the Ka`bah appointed as the qiblah? The answer should be that the Ka`bah is the place of the first Muslim community; it is the abode that witnessed the early days of Islam and the footsteps of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). In addition, it is the centre of the earth and it is the place wherein the first verses of the Qur’an were received.

Jurists have commented that the Ka`bah, although seen to a certain height, reaches up to the heavens and right down to the bottom of the earth.

Furthermore, the secret in facing toward the direction of the Ka`bah is the spirit of `ibadah (worship), and contentment and serenity of the heart. Without this contentment there would exist no spirit (ruh), which is the reason we are instructed to focus our sight on the place of prostration in prayer so that we may be able to concentrate with both heart and soul.