Ummah / Qibla – Community and direction

Muslim societies and culture around the world are very group-orientated. The individualism of Western nations is in stark contrast to the Muslim group mentality. One can sense this easily in conversation, in family relationships and in religious activities.

Ummah

The ultimate corporate expression of Muslim community is called “Ummah”, an Arabic word meaning “people, generation, or community”. The Qur’an uses this word primarily to describe groups of people and especially those who were faithful to Mohammed and his teaching. Muslims around the world use this word to designate the worldwide Muslim community (nation). This community transcends nationality, race and status. Many Muslims have idealised the Ummah as an expression of God’s will for all humanity. However, Muslims are often aware of their worldwide lack of unity and infighting, leading some to be disappointed and disillusioned with the Ummah. According to some Muslims, “Much of the suffering, fighting, confusion, and dissension that exists in the Muslim Ummah (nation, community) is the result of our ignorance about Islam and about each other.”

For Muslims, the reality of the Ummah is especially experienced during the Muslim pilgrimage or Hajj to Mecca. Each year, this event, which lasts for 70 days and culminates with the Feast of Sacrifice (Eid al-Adha), brings together people from around the world.

Qibla

While those who actually experience the pilgrimage are relatively few on a daily basis, the entire Muslim community worldwide turns toward Mecca to accomplish its prayer ritual. Many Muslims also sense their unity with the greater Muslim community through this daily ritual and Friday prayers at their local mosque. Around the world at designated times, the entire Ummah focuses its prayers in the direction of Mecca. Mosques even have a special indicator (the Qibla), which shows the direction of Mecca. Some individual prayer rugs include a compass to help establish the direction of Mecca.

During today’s time of intercession for Muslims, we encourage all Christians using this material to pray in the direction of Mecca. You can determine the general direction of Mecca by placing a string on a globe with one end at your location and the other at Mecca in Saudi Arabia, working out the direction, and then using a compass to ascertain which direction this is. Alternatively, you can establish the direction of Mecca using the following website: http://prayer.al-islam.com. You can also look at an atlas and try to determine the general direction of Mecca. If possible Muslims try to determine the right direction to Mecca with great precision: however, this is not necessary for our intercession.

Prayer Guide

* Worship the Lord with song.

* Be open for God to inspire you in prayer.

* Proclaim the Lordship of Jesus over all the heavens and the earth (including Mecca and the whole Muslim community Ummah) (see Matt 28:18, Rev 5:12-14).

* Remember that there are literally millions of Muslims around the world praying towards Mecca (Qibla). Identify yourself with them. You might pray something like: “Lord, you who know the heart and the mind of each Muslim person around the world, may you touch those who are kneeling in prayer at this time that they might turn to you and receive salvation through your Son.”


Comments

  1. shahida begum says:

    Some individual prayer rugs include a compass to help establish the direction of Mecca.

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