The Prophet peace be and blessings upon him as well as the Muslims had been facing Jerusalem while worshipping, that is, they regarded it as housing the Qiblah. This practice was followed for one year and four months after migrating to Madinah. It was the Prophet’s desire that the Kaʹbah be made the Qiblah for prayers as did the other Arab converts to Islam, for they had been holding the sanctuary at Makkah in a reverential regard since time immemorial. To them the house of worship built by Ibrahim and Ismail (peace be upon them) was the holiest of the holy ones, incomparable in sanctity to any other sanctum or shrine. They were put to a severe test bybeing asked to face Jerusalem instead of the Ka'bah and they withstood this trial by dutifully obeying the divine
Such was their devotion to the Prophet peace be and blessings upon him that they always replied, whether they found anything to their linking or not:
“We hear, and we obey,” [Qur'an 24:51]
“We believe therein: The whole is from our Lord,”
Thus, after the faith of the earliest Muslims had been brought to a test and they had defied it successfully,
the Qiblah for the prayer was changed to the Ka'bah.
“Thus We have appointed you a middle nation, that ye may be witness against mankind and that the messenger may be witness against you. And We appointed the Qiblah which you formerly observed only that We might know him who followeth the messenger, from him who turneth on his heels. In truth it was a hard (test) save for those whom Allah guided.” [Qur'an 2:143]
The Muslims changed their direction promptly in prayer, in compliance with divine command, towards the Kaʹbah which was henceforth selected as the Qiblah for all the believers, living in any part of the World, for all times to come.
THE JEWS LASH OUT AGAINST THE MUSLIMS
It preyed upon the minds of the Jews that Islam had established itself in Madinah and was making rapid strides day after day. They were sane enough to realize that if the popularity of Islam continued unabated for an extended period of time, it would be difficult for them to stand up against their potential enemies. So they decided to put up a front against the Muslims and launched a campaign to slight, vilify and ridicule them. The Muslims, were however, not permitted to return the
tirades hurled against them. They were commanded to be patient and forbearing as evidenced by the Qur'anic verse that says:
“Withhold your hands, establish worship” (Qur’an 4:77).
Such was the code of behavior enjoined upon them so that they might learn to disdain the world and its pleasures, become self‐denying, get prepared to make nobler sacrifices, experiencing in the end obedience to Allah’s commands.
Permission to Fight
The Muslims gradually amassed power and became strong enough to fight against their enemies. They were first told to resist aggression and then later on permitted to fight against the mischievous ones. But it was only a permission rather than an obligation to take‐up arms against the enemies.
“Sanction is given unto those who fight because they have been wronged; and Allah is indeed able to give them victory.” [Qur'an 22:39]