A view of Dubai's skyline during sunset from Ras Al Khor wildlife sanctuary. Image Credit: GN Archives

Dubai: The compass direction of the Qibla will be especially easy for Muslims to identify over the next few days, as sunset in the UAE will be the clearest indication.

Ibrahim Al Jarwan, a member of the Arab Union for Astronomy and Space Science, told Gulf News on Wednesday that this month, the location of the sunset will precisely pinpoint the direction of the Qibla towards Mecca.

“The time and location of the sunset in the UAE will coincide with the direction of the Qiblah, which points to the Holy Kaaba in Mecca, and will take place from February 18 to 25,” said Al Jarwan.

“This incident will also take place in the second half of October from the 16th to the 23rd,” he said, pointing out it is not a new phenomenon but one that actually takes place twice a year.

“The direction of the Qibla can be accurately determined by monitoring the direction of sunset on those days, except in the extreme southern and western regions,” he noted.

Speaking from a more technical point of view, Al Jarwan added that in the UAE, the sun generally sets southwest in winter at around 244 degrees on December 21-22, and northwest at 297 degrees on June 20-21 in summer.

Qibla direction

Muslims who are located in the hemisphere centred on Mecca, which is less than 10,000 km, can determine the direction of the Qibla by observing the sun on these days at the right moment. The compass direction to the sun then gives the Qibla.

The Qibla is the direction towards the Kaaba in the Holy Mosque in Mecca, which is used in the direction for prayers.