Facing the fire whilst praying

Reference: http://www.alfawzan.af.org.sa/node/15891

Question: At home, I have a [room setup like the inside of a] tent in which there is a fireplace, and sometimes during the Winter I am forced to pray [both] the obligatory and voluntary prayers in this room – and [in doing so] I face the fire[place]; so is this permissible?

Response: This is detested. Do not face the fire, [instead pray in such a manner that you] have the fire to your right or your left – or any place other than the [direction of the] qiblah which is in front of you during the prayer; that is because [praying facing the fire] resembles the Magians who worship fire.

He is a graduate of the Islaamic University of Madeenah, having graduated from the Institute of Arabic Language, and later the Faculty of Sharee'ah in 2004. He currently resides in Birmingham, UK.