Question: Is it haram to point your feet towards qibla/holy kaaba?
The scholars have differed whether it is sinful to sleep or point your feet towards the Qibla. There is no hadith or verse in the Quran about this issue. Based on this majority of the scholars state it is disliked but not sinful to point your feet towards the Qibla.
Which way is the Qibla?
The Qibla is the direction of the Holy Kaaba in Mecca relative to your location on the globe. It is the focal point of all Muslims around the world to offer their five daily prayers facing the Qibla.
So Muslims living in the South-East (e.g. Australia/New Zealand) face towards the North-West. Their Qibla is North-West in the direction of Mecca relative to Australia/New Zealand. Likewise, Muslims living in the North-West (e.g. USA/UK) face towards the South-East.
The exact degree of the direction of the Qibla is located via compasses and smartphone apps.
Regardless of where Muslims are, what language they speak and the color of their skin. Muslims face towards one Qibla (focal point) to worship one God (Allah) together as one Ummah (nation).
Can you Keep your Legs Towards the Qibla?
Lying with your legs facing towards the Qibla is disliked and should be avoided but it is not sinful.
Due to cultural norms some people see stretching out their legs in the direction of the Qibla as sinful. Something that would dishonor the sacredness of the Kaaba. But there is no verse in the Qur’an or authentic hadith of the Prophet that concludes this act as sinful.
A scene from the movie ‘The Message’ where the companion Bilal is depicted climbing the Kaaba.
In the Sirah of Ibn Ishaq which is a magnum opus biography of our Prophet (peace be upon him). The companion Bilal (may Allah be pleased with him) climbed up to the roof of the Kaaba to give the Adhan (call to prayer).
If stepping, climbing or pointing feet towards the Kaaba was sinful the Prophet would have spoken out against this action of Bilal. Yet, we find no narration where the Prophet (peace be upon him) prohibited this.
This shows us that it is not sinful to direct your feet towards the Qibla.
A scene from the movie ‘The Message’ where the companion Bilal is depicted giving the call to prayer standing on the Kaaba.
Important Disclaimer about Pointing Feet Towards the Qibla
At this point I must mention a very important disclaimer. Due to cultural taboos many of our elders in the Muslim community see the act of pointing feet towards the Qibla as sinful. Now that you know there is no Islamic basis for this it does not mean you use this website as proof to argue with elders.
It may not be sinful to point your feet towards the Qibla but it is sinful in Islam to disrespect your elders. So do not argue with people and insist on stretching your legs to the Qibla because it’s not sinful.
Always remind yourself that our Prophet (peace be upon him) was sent as a mercy. Allah does not show mercy to the one who does not show mercy to the people. So deal with the people with mercy and avoid argumentation. Our Prophet guaranteed a house in paradise to the one who avoids arguing even if he is right.
The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said. “I guarantee a house in Jannah for one who gives up arguing, even if he is in the right.” – [Sunan Abi Dawud]
[Collected in Riyad as-Salihin • Book 1, Hadith 630 • Graded authentic by Imam Al-Nawawi]
Which way should your Bed Face in Islam?
It is disliked to sleep all night with your legs stretched towards the Qibla. Ideally you should have your bed facing parallel to the Qibla and sleep on your right side facing the Qibla.
The Sunnah of the Prophet is to sleep on his right side placing his right hand under his right cheek.
The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) described sleep as a form of death. He said that your soul returns back to Allah every night when you go to sleep. In Islam when a Muslim dies it is recommended to make the face of the deceased directed towards the Qibla. Based on this the scholars recommend we should also sleep while facing the Qibla because sleep is a minor form of death.
On which side should we sleep according to Islam?
You should sleep on your right side and recite the following du’as (invocations). This is the manners of sleeping in Islam shown to us by our Prophet (peace be upon him). He would sleep on his right side and place his right hand under his right cheek.
Narrated by Al-Bara’ bin `Azib:
When Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) went to bed, he used to sleep on his right side. Then he would say:
“Allahumma aslamtu nafsi ilaika, wa wajjahtu wajhi ilaika. Wa fauwadtu `Amri ilaika, wa alja’tu zahri ilaika, raghbatan wa rahbatan ilaika. La Malja’a wa la manja minka illa ilaika. Amantu bikitabika al-ladhi anzalta wa nabiyyika al-ladhi arsalta!”
(Translation: O Allah, I submit my soul unto You, and I entrust my affair unto You. And I turn my face towards You, and I totally rely on You, in hope and fear of You. Verily there is no refuge nor safe haven from You except with You. I believe in Your Book which You have revealed and in Your Prophet whom You have sent.)
Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) said. “Whoever recites these words (before going to bed) and dies the same night. He will die on the Islamic religion (as a Muslim)”.
[Sahih al-Bukhari • Book 80, Hadith 12 • Graded Authentic (Sahih)]
When the Prophet (peace be upon him) wanted to go to sleep. He would put his hand under his right cheek and say, ‘O Allah, protect me from Your punishment on the Day you raise up Your slaves.’
[Imam Bukhari’s Al-Adab Al-Mufrad • Book 1, Hadith 11 • Graded Authentic (Sahih)]
When is it sinful to point your feet towards the Qibla?
The Kaaba is one of the symbols of Allah. The Qibla is the direction of the Kaaba, it is the House of Allah. To show honor and respect to the symbols of Allah is a sign of piety. The evidence for this is the verse of the Holy Quran:
“And whoever honors the symbols of Allah – indeed, it is from the piety of hearts.” – [Qur’an 22:32]
It is therefore sinful to point your feet towards the Qibla if your intention is to show disrespect to the symbol of Allah (the Kaaba). This is because the Prophet of Allah (peace be upon him) informed us that ‘actions are judged by intentions’.
Narrated by ‘Umar bin Al-Khattab (may Allah be pleased with him):
I heard Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) saying. “The reward of deeds depends upon the intentions“.
[Sahih al-Bukhari • Book 1, Hadith 1 • Graded Authentic (Sahih)]
Under normal circumstances pointing your feet towards the Qibla is disliked but not sinful. But if you are intentionally pointing your feet towards the Qibla as a sign of disrespect to the Kaaba. Then this act would be sinful.
Things that are Prohibited to do While Facing the Qibla
Stretching your feet towards the Qibla may not be sinful but there are some acts that are sinful. It is important to understand and avoid these actions so you do not disrespect the Qibla.
1. Spitting Towards Qibla
In Islam is it prohibited to spit in the direction of the Qibla. This is because the Prophet gave a severe warning of a humiliation on the Day of Judgment for the one who does this.
Narrated Hudhayfah ibn al-Yaman:
The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said.. “He who spits in the direction of the Qibla will come on the Day of Resurrection in the state that his saliva will be between his eyes“.
[Sunan Abi Dawud • Book 28, Hadith 89 • Graded Authentic (Sahih)]
2. Toilet Facing Qibla
It is not haram to have a toilet that is facing the Qibla. This is because there is a screen/wall between you and the Qibla. But it is haram to urinate or defecate facing the Qibla in an open area. Or with your back turned to the Qibla.
While answering the call of nature in an open area the Qibla should always be to your right or left. When going to the toilet in your house or in any building you can face in any direction.
The evidence for this is the hadith of the Prophet (peace be upon him). In one narration the Prophet prohibits answering the call of nature facing the Qibla. And in another narration he himself answers the call of nature while facing the Qibla.
On the face of it this may sound like a contradiction but the scholars of hadith point out a subtle difference.
During the time of the Prophet (peace be upon him) people would go out in the open to answer the call of nature. The Prophet (peace be upon him) instructed us not to face the Qibla when in an open space. This is the context of the first hadith noted by the wording “If any of you goes to an open space”.
Narrated Abu Aiyub Al-Ansari:
Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) said “If anyone of you goes to an open space for answering the call of nature. He should neither face nor turn his back towards the Qibla. He should either face the east or the west.”
[Sahih al-Bukhari • Book 4, Hadith 10 • Graded Authentic (Sahih)]
In the second hadith there is a house between the Prophet (peace be upon him) and the Qibla. This is known from the companion who said he was standing on the roof of a house when he saw the Prophet. The house formed a screen/wall between the Prophet (peace be upon him) and the Kaaba.
Narrated ‘Abdullah bin ‘Umar:
I went up to the roof of Hafsa’s house for some job. There I saw Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) answering the call of nature facing Sham with his back towards the Qibla.
[Sahih al-Bukhari • Book 4, Hadith 14 • Graded Authentic (Sahih)]
The majority of the scholars say it is disliked to direct your feet towards the Qibla but not sinful. There is no hadith or verse in the Quran that prohibits pointing feet towards the Qibla.
To show respect and honor the symbols of Allah is a rewardable act. To intentionally disrespect the symbols of Allah is sinful. If someone shows respect to the Qibla and avoids stretching their feet to the Qibla then this is good. The one who doesn’t is not sinful.
And Allah the Most Wise Knows Best.