Zeila Qiblatain Mosque

 Year AH

Year AD




Original Qibla

Rebuilt facing Mecca


 7th century



Qiblatain Mosque



GPS Coordinates: 34° 21' 39.6000" 43° 48' 9.0000"

"The Masjid al-Qiblatayn in the Somali port of Zeila probably dates to the 7th cent., indicating that the seeds of Islam were planted on the African side of the Gulf of Aden within decades of the prophet's lifetime." (Bradt)

The two qiblas remain until today, but they are in such ruinous state that it would take an archeological team to establish their direction. Visitors have reported that the left Qibla appears to face towards Petra.

"The most important port along the Somaliland coast [in the medieval period] was Zeila, mentioned by name in several Arab documents dating from the 9th cent. onwards. It appears that Zeila took over from Adulis as the main port serving the highlands of Ethiopia. Indeed certain Arab reports suggest that for a period this 'emporium of Habesh' (Ethiopia) was an isolated Christian enclave on a coastline otherwise dominated by Islam. Half-a-century later, the inveterate traveler Ibn Battuta, whose first landfall on the African coast was Zeila, noted that its inhabitants were 'black in colour and the majority of them are Rafida' (literally 'deserters', a pejorative term used by Sunni Muslims to refer to Shi'ites, who rejected early Caliphs such as Abu Bakr.)... Oral tradition indicates that Islam took a strong foothold in the Somali interior between the 10th and 13th cent.s. The existence of trade routes inland from ports such as Zeila and Berbera doubtless influenced this spread, but the main factor, it would seem, was the [proselytizing] efforts of several legendary sheikhs (a term referring to a religious teacher or revered leader) who originated in Arabia and settled in Somalia to found clans and subclans that are still integral to Somali society today... In the late 13th cent., Zeila became the focal point of the Ifat sultanate, an Islamic empire ruled by the Walashma dynasty that extended across most of present-day western Somaliland into Djibouti and parts of eastern Ethiopia. Founded by the Umar Walashma, Ifat supported an important trade network, with Zeila serving as the coastal terminus of an inland caravan route that followed a string of substantial Islamic settlements to and from the inland emporium of Harar, in eastern Ethiopia." (Bradt)

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