Antipodal prayer

Everyone knows Moslems face Mecca when they pray. Every mosque has a niche to indicate the direction of the Kaaba, so they will know what direction to face. But what happens in the antipodes? According to this WikiMapia note, when you are at the spot that is exactly the opposite of the Kaaba اٍكتشاف/ اٍبراهيم أحمد علي المصري on the globe (a spot in the Pacific Ocean somewhere between Hawaii and Australia) you can face any direction at all:

Black Stone of Kaaba, Makkah (Mecca) Anitpodes Point
the coordinator of this point is
Lat: 21°25’21.02″S
Long: 140°10’25.42″W

which is Antipodes (oppisit) coordination of blackstone of Kaaba, Makka

Lat: 21°25’21.02″N
Long: 39°49’34.58″E

antipodes-kaaba1

Hmm. I don’t think I would want to face in the direction of Mururoa, southeast of that spot, where the French conducted nuclear testing.

Much better I think is the Bizarre Atoll to the southwest, with its oddly symmetrical rows of palm trees.
french-nuclear-testing-area antipodes-bizarre-atoll1

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5 Responses to “Antipodal prayer”

  1. A. J. P. Crown Says:

    This is a really good question, Nij. But shouldn’t you face downwards? That would be the quickest way to get there, not that you would see very much on the way.

    • Nijma Says:

      That’s a tough question, Kron, and I realized exactly how tough it was when I googled it and this post came up on the first page. Give me a little more time, and I will be able to explain the three methods, and the two good methods of determining the direction of Mecca, why it is important, and possibly something about praying on ships as well.

      When you think about antipodes, the one thing you don’t think about is that the antipode also has an antipode. So if you are actually inside the Kaaba, you can also pray in any direction. I might think about choosing the southeast corner, the direction of the odd silver thing that encases the Black Stone they try to touch on the outside of the Kaaba when they are circling it.

      • A. J. P. Crown Says:

        It’s kind of too bad that when you get there they go all fuzzy and vague about what it is you’re supposed to be looking at.

        And another thing: what if you’re on a train? Mrs Crown says she saw people on trains in Egypt take out prayer mats and put them on the floor, but what if the train is twisting and turning?
        I have a suggestion: set your prayer mat on a pivoting base that is sitting on top of a compass. You could adjust the angle of the pivoting base relative to the compass North-arrow according to your earthly position. They could pack them up flat and sell them at IKEA.

        • Nijma Says:

          When you get where? Who is fuzzy and vague?

          I took the night train from Cairo to Aswan and never saw anyone pray on the train, but I did see men praying in the train station in a small area around the corner from the tickets.

          The compass won’t do, you need latitude and longitude, and sometimes sun sightings on particular days of the year as well.

          There is an Islamic saying “bismallah al-Rahman al-Rahmeen” that almost all of the books of the Koran start with. It means “In the name of Allah the merciful and compassionate”, which I guess says something about the importance of intentions in this religion. It used to be on the door of the classroom in the internet cafe where I taught English.

  2. A. J. P. Crown Says:

    The compass won’t do, you need latitude and longitude,

    That’s what I said: You could adjust the angle of the pivoting base relative to the compass North-arrow according to your earthly position.


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