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Paper: Finding the Sacred Direction: Medieval Books on the Qibla
Volume: 409, Cosmology Across Cultures
Page: 177
Authors: Rius, M.
Abstract: Medieval Islamic scholars wrote a great number of books on the qibla, the Sacred Direction. These books had a huge readership and provided instructions for finding the direction of Mecca by either exact or approximate means. In principle, the qibla was a purely religious subject, but in practice its determination required the use of astronomy as an applied science. As so often, religion and politics had many points of contact and, in this case, it was generally political considerations that prevailed. Finally, the analysis of nautical charts can offer new perspectives. As yet, modern scholarship has not established the link between this area of study and the classical literature on this subject.
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