Recently, I attended a wedding in Birmingham at Nawab’s and there was much confusion over the direction of Qibla. I saw various people praying in three different directions!. The problem arises by using your smartphone compass indoors. You will not get an accurate reading. In fact, you will get multiple different directions depending on where you stand in the building, the construction materials used and whether you get a GPS signal as well. Inside of a building you will get interference from electrical wiring, the steel frame of a building and thick walls will prevent you from getting an accurate GPS signal.
Now, as the venue was owned by Muslims, they should really know 100% which way the direction of Qibla is. I am shocked that a venue that caters for Muslim weddings hasn’t determined this for its guests.
There are four methods you can use to ensure that you get a near accurate direction for Qibla:
Method 1. Go outside and away from any metal frames, cars or buildings and then use your compass or your qibla app. I always use https://qiblafinder.withgoogle.com/intl/en/desktop instead of apps as I have found it to be a bit more reliable. The key is to do this outside.
Method 2. (can be done inside). Use google maps and adjust the view so it precisely matches your orientation. So if you know there is a road that runs in front of the building adjust the map so the road is in exactly the same orientation to where it would be at your location. So if the road is in front of the building, face the front of the building (whilst you are in the building) and adjust the Google Map so it matches your orientation. Google maps shows you North/South with a little compass image on the map. You need to face roughly South-East for the Qibla
Method 3. Using the Sun. Us modern Muslims have lost touch with our surroundings and the signs Allah has given us. I would urge everyone reading this to make a note of the position of the sun when you actually know the direction of the Qibla. Do this at various prayer times and get a feel for which direction the Qibla should be at a given prayer time.
The position of the Sun at Dhuhr time (UK) should be at roughly 30% to your right and high in the sky when facing the Qibla. For Asr, this will vary depending on whether your follow the Hanafi madhhab or the Shafi’i madhhab, but for Hanafis, I think the position of the Sun would be about 120 degrees to your right when you are facing Qibla. So just behind you over your shoulder.
Maghrib time can be worked out because you know the sun sets in the West and if you have the setting sun to your back you’ll be facing east and you should be able to work out south-east easily (it’s to your left if facing east).
EVERYONE should be familiar with this method using the Sun.
Method 4. “Good” old Rupert Murdoch – Sky Satellite dishes point roughly in the direction of Qiblah,
Those more expert in these matters than me are more than welcome to add corrections and amendments in the comment section. I hope that these tips come handy, as they have helped me out and have used them all to verify compass readings.