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Geomagnetic storm may affect kiblah apps.

Dubai: Islamic scholars have told worshippers they should not be concerned if their mobile applications fail to point to the correct direction of the kiblah (the direction of the Kba) due to the effect of the currently ongoing geomagnetic storm.

According to a recent report published by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Nasa), the geomagnetic storm that started at the beginning of May will last until October 29.

During the testing of a new undisclosed product at the TIMEZ5 laboratory -- a global company headquartered in Calgary, Canada, with operations in the Middle East and Southeast Asia -- discovered that the electromagnetic device used to test this new product gave inconsistent results.

Keeping this results in mind, they realised that many Muslims were going to have navigation problems while completing their obligatory five prayers a day, according to a scientist who remained anonymous. Aside from that, the long-duration storm may cause transformer damage and disrupt radio broadcast in some parts of the world.

When abroad and unable to find the kiblah, Islamic author Khaleeq Ahmad Mufti said worshippers should not be concerned about the geomagnetic storm, and that worshippers should practice "taharree", -- an Arabic terminology loosely translated to "inquiring to one's best ability" in a religious context.

"Even before [the invention] of this technology, people travelled and prayed. There are general guidelines on prayer directions that can be used anywhere, anytime," said Mufti, who also presents TV and radio shows on Islam.

Mufti explained: "For example, you have to [find] someone who knows the kiblah. If that is impossible or [too difficult], you should estimate the kiblah. That can be done by contemplating where you probably are in relation to Makkah; in what direction you travelled from [and] the last place you knew where the kiblah was.

"You then [point yourself] in the direction you feel [is] correct, and pray. Even if you get it wrong, your prayer is still valid."

Mufti stressed taharree was mandatory and worshippers "can't guess arbitrarily or randomly. That would make your prayer invalid."

He added: "As long as you tried, it's alright regardless of the actual kiblah. But you have to try. If you don't even make an effort and pray [in] whatever direction you fancy, your prayer is not acceptable."

Similarly, the prayer of a traveller is considered valid even if his direction towards kiblah changes while he or she is in prayer, such as when the vehicle or aeroplane transporting them changes direction.

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Publication:Gulf News (United Arab Emirates)
Date:Oct 12, 2013
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