Change of the Qibla (Arabic: تحويل القبلة) is the event in which the qibla of Muslims (direction of performing some rituals) was redirected from al-Masjid al-Aqsa, in Bayt al-Maqids (Jerusalem), to the Ka'ba (in Mecca). The event occurred in Rajab, 2/January, 624, after the revelation of al-Qibla Verse (Q 2:144).
According to some hadiths, on the day of the change of the qibla, the Prophet (s) was saying zuhr prayer (Noon Prayer) in Masjid al-Qiblatayn in Medina toward the direction of Bayt al-Maqdis. As usual, men were saying prayers behind him, and women were saying their prayers behind men. After performing two rak'as of the prayer, Jabra'il was sent to the Prophet (s). He revealed the verse 144 of Sura al-Baqara to him and redirected him to the Ka'ba.
Bayt al-Maqdis is located in the northern direction of Medina, and al-Masjid al-Haram is located in its southern direction. Thus, the Prophet (s) turned from where he was standing to almost the reverse side. This has led to the thought that in this way, men had to stay in front of the Prophet (s) who was the leader of the congregational prayer and women had to stay in front of men. However, according to some sources, after the change of the qibla to the Ka'ba, the Prophet (s) moved from his place to the other end of the mosque and people did the same and they all redirected themselves to the Ka'ba. On this account, the leader of the congregational prayer did not only turn 180 or 160 degrees, but also moved in order for there to be enough space for men and women saying their prayers behind him.
A number of Muslims were worried about the loss of divine rewards for their past prayers or the prayers of their deceased predecessors. The Prophet (s) recited verse 143 of Sura al-Baqara (chapter 2) in response to them: "and Allah was not going to make your faith to be fruitless; most surely Allah is Affectionate, Merciful to the people". Read more...