Prayers: Towards Ka'aba - started by Jews or by Muslims?

Q492 :Before the conquest of Makkah, Muslims used to pray toward Jerusalem and the Jews toward the Kaaba. Why did not Muslims start this earlier?

A492 : Your statement about the change in the direction Muslims face in prayer is inaccurate. When the Prophet received orders from Allah that he and all Muslims should pray in a particular fashion, he was told to face Jerusalem when he prayed. The Prophet obeyed this order as did all Muslims. The Jews always faced Jerusalem in their prayer. They did not turn toward the Kaaba in their prayer at all. Seventeen months after the Prophet had settled in Madinah, he was commanded by Allah to change the direction he faced in the prayer so as to turn toward the Kaaba whenever he prays. Again, he complied with Allah's order. Wherever Muslims are, they are required to turn towards the Kaaba when they pray. It should be remembered that the Kaaba is the first house ever to be dedicated to the worship of Allah alone. It was built by the prophets Ibraheem and Ismaeel on the express orders of Allah who defined for them the spot where the Kaaba should be built. Ever since its building, the Kaaba has remained a place of worship.

Our Dialogue ( Source : Arab News - Jeddah )