Allah says: Whichever way you turn, there is the countenance of Allah (2:115).
In spite of the fact that the heavens and the earth belong to Allah, He made it such that facing certain directions has a specific effect. He thus made it obligatory to face the Noble Ka’bah in prayer. The best place on the earth after the place in which the Prophet is buried ﷺ is the Noble Ka’bah.
Allah says: Turn your face towards the Sacred Mosque, and wherever you may be, turn your faces towards it (2:144).
It is also recommended to face the qiblah in other situations, such as performing wudu. Many people make light of this Sunnah. People who build mosques should make wudu areas in such a way that the person making wudu faces the qiblah. Facing the qiblah has an effect on the heart and the soul.
When someone is studying, remembering Allah or calling to Allah they should try to face the qiblah and then what they are doing will have more effect and more benefit.
There were once two students who had a similar level of understanding and intelligence. However, Allah gave an opening to one and not the other. The reason for this was that the one who was given the opening always studied facing the qiblah.
It is recommended to sleep facing the qiblah, but once again people neglect this Sunnah because they do not realise its importance.
Extracts from Sayyidi Habib Umar bin Hafiz’s classes on the rulings and etiquettes of purification from Habib Abdullah bin Husayn Balfaqih’s “Kifayat al-Raghib” in Shafi fiqh.