Talk abstract details

Finding the Scred Direction: Medieval books on the Qibla
Monica Rius


Medieval Islamic scholars wrote many books on the Sacred Direction, the qibla. These books had a huge readership and provided instructions for how to find the direction of Mecca (qibla) by exact or approximate means. In principle, the qibla was “only” a religious subject, but its determination required astronomy as an applied science. As usual, religion and politics had many points of contact and, in this case, politics was placed first.

Finally, nautical charts offer a new perspective. As yet, modern scholars have not established the link between them and the classical literature on this subject.