InnoQibla’s, the New Technologies for Searching the Qibla Directions

By Asmahanim Amir and Nur Inaara Aznan
Pictures by Ikhwan Hashim

BANGI, 13 February 2019 – Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) through the Faculty of Engineering and Built Environment (FKAB) is the first university that has filed the intellectual property which is the determination of the mobile direction of the mobile with the latest innovation named InnoQibla.

InnoQibla was created by a group of researchers led by Prof. Madya Ir. Dr. Norhana Arsad of the Centre of Advanced Electronic and Communication Engineering (PAKET), FKAB.

Prof. Madya Ir. Dr. Norhana said they create the technology in 2012 after looking at the existing method of work done by the Malaysia Islamic Affairs Department (JAKIM) in determining the direction of the Qibla in the mosque (surau) of the FKAB administration building.

“From that, we start the research and has developed a prototype that moves the Qibla direction from the outside into the building using the laser. This research project has received several funds, including the UKM Innovation Fund managed by the Centre for Innovative Collaborative (PIK),” she said.

She said the InnoQibla innovation who used Microelectromechanical technology (MEMS) to locate the true north according to the rotation of the earth. The direction along the surface of the earth towards the geographical North Pole was created to facilitate the JAKIM and the State Mufti Department in marking the direction of the inner Qibla.

“Previously, the measurement and marking of the direction of the Qibla was carried out in the field through the use of a theodolite with the solar observation method.

“This system is designed not to override the science of falaq and theodolite, which has a high level of accuracy, but it is seen as an alternative in the process of searching the Qibla direction that is faster and easier,” she explained.

Prof. Madya Ir. Dr. Norhana explained that InnoQibla only takes about 10 minutes to determine the direction of the Qibla while existing methods will take time depending on the current weather.

She added, the mobile phone application and compass are easily disrupted by the electromagnetic field and causes it to move not in real direction.

“The accurate reading of the direction of the Qibla is very important because the deflection of one degree from the direction of determination in Malaysia can cause a deflection of 122 kilometres from the true position of the Kaaba,” she explained.

She said InnoQibla’s products are in collaboration with JAKIM and the Department of Survey and Mapping Malaysia (JUPEM) for the validation of the direction of the Qibla in line with the use of theodolites and have been tested in three selected locations namely Penang, Kelantan and Port Dickson, Negeri Sembilan.

“The results are very satisfying both parties (JAKIM and JUPEM). Three more field trials will be conducted in Sabah, Sarawak and Johor soon as required by the authorities,” she added.

The design has been successfully commercialized through technology licensing to Istidamah Resources Sdn Bhd company through UKM Technology Sdn Bhd with the help of PIK.