To God belong the East and the West; whithersoever you turn, there is the face of God. Lo! God is Embracing, Knowing.
Here the allusion is to the eastern and western places of hearts [of the believers]. Hearts have rising lights (shawāriq) and night visitors (Ṭawāriq). The night visitors are the murmurings (hawājis) of the lower selves that arrive in the darknesses of desire and carnal passions. The rising lights are the stars of different types of knowledge, the moons of presence and the suns of gnosis.
As long as the lights are rising the qibla of the hearts is clear and visible. Then when the realities take over, the authority of the lights becomes hid- den like stars at the rising of the sun. Similarly, at the appearance of the Real there is destruction and subjugation, so there is no witnessing of any trace, no remaining sensation or comprehension, no power of intellect or knowledge, no illumination of deeper knowledge. For the experiencing of all these qualities lasts only as long as human nature lasts. When those who have attributes become effaced, how can any attribute of theirs remain?
He said, “whithersoever you turn, there is the face of God.” As long as there is a remnant or even a sliver of sensory perception and the ability to differentiate, then the qibla should be aimed for, and if it is not known, it should be sought. According to scholars, when the guideposts in every direction are obscure and there is no knowledge of the qibla, all directions are equally permissible for prayer since none of them can be preferred for the intention (niyya).