Ibidah on the ISS

It was an issue that had to rise eventually.  How does a Muslim pray facing Makkah if he’s circling the earth sixteen times a day?

Malaysia has been given a slot on a Russian mission to the International Space Station in October, in exchange for an arms deal. Not only are there the daily prayers issues, but the mission falls during Ramadan. How do you fast during daylight hours if the sun rises and sets 16 times day? Then there is the matter of bringing a separate supply of halal food for the evening, whenever that is.

Two other Muslims have been in space before and they worked out their faith issues on their own. The Malaysian government isn’t quite so committed to religious freedom. They have commissioned Islamic scholars to study the matter and pronounce upon how Islamic requirements will be fulfilled.  As noted in The Times:

Malaysia insists. . . that maintaining Islamic beliefs “is mandatory for Muslims in every situation, time and place”. Mustafa Abdul Rahman, the head of its Department of Islamic Development said: “Circumstances on the ISS that are different from circumstance on Earth are not an obstacle for an astronaut to fulfil a Muslim’s obligations.”

I wonder what will happen if a Muslim ends up on a Mars mission.


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