s is the third part of our tafsir of Surah Baqarah, Insha Allah please go to Quran-Tafsir.org forthe first and second parts.
143. The foolish among the people say “What has turned them from the qibla that theyhad?” Say “To Allah alone belongs the east and the west. He guides whom He wills to theStraight Path.”
This ayah was revealed when Allah (swt) changed the direction that the Muslims facein prayer from the direction of
in Jerusalem to the direction of the Kabbah inMakkah. We know that when the Prophet (saw) first arrived in Madinah, Allah (swt) had orderedhim (saw) and the Muslims to pray towards
in Jerusalem. Although the Prophet(saw) had obeyed this command, he (saw) still longed to pray towards the Kabbah. So in order toease the heart of the Prophet (saw), Allah (swt) ordered that the qibla or prayer direction bechanged from the direction of
in Jerusalem to the direction of the Kabbah inMakkah. Another reason that some scholars have cited for the changing of the qibla fromJerusalem to Makkah is to signify the changing of the responsibility for the carrying the Messageof Allah (swt) to mankind from the Jewish nation to the nation of the Prophet (saw). After the qiblawas changed, the mission of carrying the Message of Allah (swt) to mankind had officially beenchanged from the children of Israil to the Ummah of the Prophet (saw). Now when Allah (swt)changed the qibla, many among the Jews and the hypocrites used to question why it had beendone. They asked why Allah (swt) would change the direction of prayer in such a way. That waswhen Allah (swt) revealed this ayah in order to comfort the Prophet (saw) and the Muslims, andalso to respond to the questions and accusations of these Jews and hypocrites.