The foolish among the people will ask, “Why did they turn away from the direction of prayer they used to face?”1 Say, ˹O Prophet,˺ “The east and west belong ˹only˺ to Allah. He guides whoever He wills to the Straight Path.”
And so We have made you ˹believers˺ an upright1 community so that you may be witnesses over humanity and that the Messenger may be a witness over you. We assigned your former direction of prayer only to distinguish those who would remain faithful to the Messenger from those who would lose faith. It was certainly a difficult test except for those ˹rightly˺ guided by Allah. And Allah would never discount your ˹previous acts of˺ faith. Surely Allah is Ever Gracious and Most Merciful to humanity.
Indeed, We see you ˹O Prophet˺ turning your face towards heaven. Now We will make you turn towards a direction ˹of prayer˺ that will please you. So turn your face towards the Sacred Mosque ˹in Mecca˺—wherever you are, turn your faces towards it. Those who were given the Scripture certainly know this to be the truth from their Lord. And Allah is never unaware of what they do.
Even if you were to bring every proof to the People of the Book, they would not accept your direction ˹of prayer˺, nor would you accept theirs; nor would any of them accept the direction ˹of prayer˺ of another. And if you were to follow their desires after ˹all˺ the knowledge that has come to you, then you would certainly be one of the wrongdoers.