The qibla, or sacred direction towards the Ka'ba in Mecca, was particularly researched in Safavid Persia during the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. More treatises on the determination of the qibla were compiled and more instruments for finding the qibla were constructed under the Safavids than in any period of Muslim history. Whilst some highly sophisticated instruments, such as world-maps centred on Mecca and fitted with grids preserving direction and distance to the centre, were made in Safavid Persia (the inspiration was a good five centuries older), simpler instruments, such as this compass, showing the qibla for specific localities were also popular and much more widespread (See King 1999, esp. pp.134-8 and 545). This particular qibla indicator includes cities such as Mecca, Medina, Najaf and Kerbala.
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