I have been taught that the Ka`bah in Mecca – al-Masjid al-Harâm – is the true qiblah. Kindly help me to understand why the Prophets like Jesus, Jacob, and Solomon (peace be upon them) did not pray towards the Ka`bah?
The qiblah before the time of our Prophet (peace be upon him), and for some time after his being sent, was Bayt al-Maqdis, Jerusalem.
Thereafter, Allah ordered his Prophet (peace be upon him) to change the qiblah to al-Masjid al-Harâm in Mecca.
Allah says: “We see the turning of your face (for guidance) to the heavens. Now shall We turn you to a qiblah that shall please you. Turn then your face in the direction of the sacred mosque (al-Masjid al-Harâm). Wherever you are, turn your faces in that direction.” [Sûrah al-Baqarah: 144]
Before that, the Ka`bah had been a place for people to walk around during their pilgrimage.
I do not know of any qiblah in history other than these two. Whoever follows the Prophets, including Muhammad (peace be upon them) and had prayed to Bayt al-Maqdis, then he was a believer and was fulfilling the command of Allah. However, after Allah changed the qiblah, all prayers should be directed to al-Masjid al-Harâm. This is what must be done if a person believes in Islam and follows the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). This is because Islam has abrogated the Law of all the previous manifestations of the religion.
Allah says: “The foolish among the people will say: What has turned them from the qiblah which they formerly observed? Say: ‘Unto Allah belong the East and the West. He guides whom He will unto a straight path.’ Thus We have appointed you a middle nation, that you may be witnesses over mankind, and that the Messenger may be a witness over you. And We appointed the qiblah which you formerly observed only that We might know him who follows the Messenger from him who turns on his heels. In truth, it was a hard (test) save for those whom Allah guided. And never would Allah Make your faith of no effect, for Allah is Full of Pity, Merciful toward mankind.” [Sûrah al-Baqarah: 142-143]
Source: Islam Today
-- Al Arabiya Digital