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2006-04-20 Science & Technology
Malaysia ponders: How will Muslims pray in space
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Posted by Fred 2006-04-20 00:00|| E-Mail|| Front Page|| [498 views since 2007-05-07]  Top

#1 Let's terraform Mars and Venus. They'll never follow us there cuz their prayer mats would have to be mounted on gimbals and they'd slide or fall off most of the time. Can you imagine some poor imam trying to figure out the phases of Phobos and Deimos so he could kick off Ramadan? The poor bastid would go nuts!
Posted by 11A5S 2006-04-20 00:09||   2006-04-20 00:09|| Front Page Top

#2 The poor bastid would go nuts!
And how, pray tell, would anyone tell the difference?

On a more serious note, IIRC when we sent a saudi Daemon prince up on the shuttle a few years ago, this problem appearantly came up then. I forget how it was resolved then.

I suppose I would like to know what the answer will be, if only out of academic curiosity. I s'pose that on the surface of the moon, mars or other planetary bodies, the kow-towing will begin at local earthrise. I have no idea as for deep space habitats.

In some sci-fi I read a while back, the muslim colonists on another planet in another star system oriented on the direction that the Earth's Sun (a dim yellow star) rose in the local night sky.

In my humble opinion, the best solution is to relegate the current form of Islam to the dustbin of history. The next best (survivable for us) solution is a system of earthbound reservations. To leave the wire would reqquire public conversion to a saner religion, and public renunciation of islam.

Islam in its current form is not something I would like to inflict on the rest of the universe.
Posted by N guard 2006-04-20 00:50||   2006-04-20 00:50|| Front Page Top

#3 Islam in ints current form is about 1400 years old. The brief period when science and art flourished (times of Ibn Sina and Ibn Rushd) was occuring despite Islam, not because of it.

The conclusion is obvious. How to do it is another matter, but done it must be.
Posted by twobyfour 2006-04-20 01:06||   2006-04-20 01:06|| Front Page Top

#4 You mean the COLUMBIA shuttle - when Reagan was challenging the USSR CHALLENGER blew up after leaving the launch pad; after the USSR imploded and Hyperpower America became global numero uno, COLUMBIA [surname for America] blew up on the approach home. Either leaving or coming home, looks like someone wanted Americans to know we lose.
Posted by JosephMendiola 2006-04-20 04:37||   2006-04-20 04:37|| Front Page Top

#5 Islam is backward. The religion of mentally ill paedophile followers has no future, especially in space.
Posted by Bright Pebbles 2006-04-20 05:23||   2006-04-20 05:23|| Front Page Top

#6 Either ALL faiths promising rewards in an afterlife for obeying divine commands in the here-and-now are "backwards", or none of them is. The severity of the commands and prohibitions in question is not a true qualitative difference.

Once you've elevated religious faith to a virtue, you can easily point-and-laugh at the "backwardness" of every other faith at will. But those of us who reject all religious faiths, see the whole lot of you as laughing at your own selves.

"Heehee, look at the stupid people painting themselves with purple dots, when we prefer green stripes instead."
Posted by Aris Katsaris">Aris Katsaris  2006-04-20 06:31||   2006-04-20 06:31|| Front Page Top

#7 Hey, Aris is back!
Posted by gromgoru 2006-04-20 06:35||   2006-04-20 06:35|| Front Page Top

#8 Aris slipped through is more like it. He really needs attention from us.
Posted by Nimble Spemble 2006-04-20 07:15||   2006-04-20 07:15|| Front Page Top

#9 The severity of the commands and prohibitions in question is not a true qualitative difference.


Faith #1 requires acts of charity and good will.

Faith #2 requires acts of violence.

Which is better?

If you still say "neither", then all you've done is demonstrated that you're a moral cretin.
Posted by Rob Crawford">Rob Crawford  2006-04-20 07:24||]">[]  2006-04-20 07:24|| Front Page Top

#10 Either ALL faiths ... are backwards or none of them is.

Not exactly the issue here. It is a question of how adaptive the customs of that faith are in the modern world. A faith that requires all non-believers to be converted or killed will experience friction in a pluralistic world.

We are laughing here because customs, like basing a calendar on local moonrise, that may have worked well for a single tribe living in the desert tend to fail in a different and more complex environment. Often in amusing ways.
Posted by SteveS 2006-04-20 07:32||   2006-04-20 07:32|| Front Page Top

#11 Is east the problem? Well, I guess direction does count. um... heh!

Looks like you will have to hire an astrologer, a Scientist, and (Gasp) maybe someone who prayed in space and lived to tell about it.

So much easier to be a Christian or Jew in the future.

Is that your ankle showing, or are you just glad to see me?
Posted by newc">newc  2006-04-20 08:02||   2006-04-20 08:02|| Front Page Top


There will be no Muslims in the future. I saw it Star Trek.

Posted by Manolo 2006-04-20 08:15||   2006-04-20 08:15|| Front Page Top

#13 First of all, a non-moslem would have to take them there. They sure ain't gonna make it there themselves. Then you gotta ask if they pray to God or to a rock.
Posted by BrerRabbit 2006-04-20 08:17||   2006-04-20 08:17|| Front Page Top

#14 Manolo, what about KHANNNN?
Posted by Snuns Thromp1484 2006-04-20 08:17||   2006-04-20 08:17|| Front Page Top

#15 #14

Gengiz Khan
Posted by gromgoru 2006-04-20 08:23||   2006-04-20 08:23|| Front Page Top

#16 Goodness gracious - these are just the beginnings of the thorny briar patch they're about to enter. Just think of the ponderous mess they face if they wade into Einstein, and let's not even mention Freud - umkay?!?
Posted by Jaiter Glarong1019 2006-04-20 09:16||   2006-04-20 09:16|| Front Page Top

#17 Did someone say KHAAAAN?
Posted by Raj 2006-04-20 10:09||   2006-04-20 10:09|| Front Page Top

#18 "Either ALL faiths promising rewards in an afterlife for obeying divine commands in the here-and-now are "backwards", or none of them is. "

WRONG Aris. Thats a false dichotomy fallacy. And a pretty poor straw man setup as well - since its easily demonstrably false, making you a liar - that is, you knew it not to be true and you present it as true anyway.

"The severity of the commands and prohibitions in question is not a true qualitative difference."

Apparently you have ZERO grasp of ethics - and no knowledge at all of deontological imperatives that are at the core of most religious ethical systems.

Let's see the first and most obvious case that even a cretinous philistine like you would know.

The Golden Rule:

"Do unto others as you would have them do unto you",

or alternately rephrased...

"Do not do something to others that you would not want done to yourself".

The Golden Rule appears in most religions including: African Traditional1, Baha'i, Buddhism, Christianity, Confucianism, Hinduism, Islam, Jainism, Judaism, Native American Paganism, Shintoism, Sikhism, Taoism, Wicca and Zoroastrianism.

It is notably absent in ancient Nordic culture, Satanism and the Muslim faith. They simply have no place for the ethic of reciprocity in that thier religious are based mainly on submission to powers.

So whether or not the Golden Rule is applciable is moot: the question here is are there important differences in faith systems - and thus your premise is false and you are a liar?

Lets get specific:

* Udana-Varga 5:18: "Hurt not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful"

* Matthew 7:12: "Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them"

* Analects 15:23: "Do not do to others what you do not want them to do to you"

* Mahabharata 5:1517: "Do naught to others which if done to thee would cause thee pain"

* 2:191 Kill disbelievers wherever you find them.
* 5:45 Non-Muslims are wrong doers.
* 5:51 Take not the Jews and the Christians for friends
(I could go on ad nausem - the Quran is a wonderful source of curelty and hate from one book to the nect, consistently)
* 58:22 Thou wilt not find folk who believe in Allah and the Last Day loving those who oppose Allah and His messenger, even though they be their fathers or their sons or their brethren or their clan. (In other words On the last day good Muslims will not love any other non-muslims - they will hate them if they are good Muslims).

* Talmud, Shabbat 31a.: "That which is hateful unto thee do not to your neighbour. This is the whole of the Torah. The rest is commentary

* Granth Sahih: "Treat others as thou wouldst be treated thyself"

* Shayast-na-Shayast 13:29: "Whatever is disagreeable to yourself do not do unto others"

OK Aris, sesame street time: One of these things is not like the others...

(even someone as deliberatley ignorant as you are can see the difference, and thus that your premise was a lie)
Posted by OldSpook 2006-04-20 10:51||   2006-04-20 10:51|| Front Page Top

#19 sending a religious guy into space with issues like these has already been dealt with. IIUC at least one Orthodox Jew has already been on the shuttle, and rabbis have already dealt with issue ranging from food to the timing and direction of prayer. I would suggest the imams look to the rabbis to see how such issues can be resolved.
Posted by liberalhawk 2006-04-20 11:04||   2006-04-20 11:04|| Front Page Top

#20 'Israel's first space traveller faces other difficulties: How does a Jew observe the Sabbath in space?

While in space Colonel Ramon intends to observe the Sabbath

More precisely, if he or she is in a low-lying orbit where the sun rises and sets every 90 minutes, what constitutes the Biblical "seventh day of rest?"

Colonel Ramon is not particularly religious on the ground, but believes it is important to mark the Sabbath in space.

"My mother is a Holocaust survivor who was in Auschwitz and my father fought for the independence of Israel not so long ago," says the 48-year-old veteran fighter pilot from the Israel Air Force.

"I was born in Israel and I'm kind of the proof for my parents and their generation that whatever we've been fighting for in the last century is becoming true.

"I feel I'm representing the whole Jewish people," adds Colonel Ramon, who will be Columbia's payload specialist on its 16-day mission designed to study how the human body adapts to the zero gravity of space.

So how will Colonel Ramon celebrate the Sabbath?

"Basically, we've decided that he'll follow Cape Canaveral time," says Rabbi Zvi Konikov, a Florida-based orthodox rabbi to whom Colonel Ramon posed the question.

Kosher meals

Rabbi Konikov's ruling is based on a principle in Jewish law that if one lives in a remote place, he or she should celebrate the Sabbath according to the times of the nearest big city with a sizeable Jewish community.

For example, Jews in Alaska celebrate the day according to Seattle time.

The most notable features of the Jewish Sabbath include the lighting of candles and the recitation of a blessing over wine - called Kiddush - which inaugurate the Day of Rest.

Strictly religious Jews also refrain from all forms of creative labour, such as using electricity and writing.

Since most prohibitions are not practical aboard a manned spacecraft - especially lighting a fire which could be downright dangerous - Colonel Ramon has chosen the Kiddush blessing as his way of celebrating the Sabbath.

"I was surprised and overwhelmed by the effort Nasa made to accommodate my request," says Colonel Ramon, who has also managed to get kosher meals provided during the mission.

"I'm impressed by Colonel Ramon," says Rabbi Zonikov, who will be attending the launch as a guest of the astronaut.

"Here is a successful, colourful scientist and Air Force pilot and what's on his mind - the Sabbath! That's incredible. In addition to fulfilling his mission for Nasa, it's clear Ilan also wants to represent Israel and the Jewish people with pride." '

Posted by liberalhawk 2006-04-20 11:06||   2006-04-20 11:06|| Front Page Top

#21 Thanks, LH. Rest in peace, Colonel Ramon.
Posted by Seafarious">Seafarious  2006-04-20 11:13||   2006-04-20 11:13|| Front Page Top

#22 OldSpook, fascinating post.

There is nothing in the Koran even remotely similar to the golden rule?

Posted by john 2006-04-20 11:19||   2006-04-20 11:19|| Front Page Top

#23 In space no one can hear you scream...
Posted by eLarson 2006-04-20 11:28||]">[]  2006-04-20 11:28|| Front Page Top

#24 Just as an exercise: What will the clerics tell Angkasa? Since there are issues of national pride involved, I'm certain they'll come up with some enabling fatwas.

I'll bet the issue of the direction of Mecca came up a thousand years ago: what happens when you start prayers on board ship and the ship changes course? I'd guess that they thought it more disrespectful to wiggle your butt around than to stay put, and will decide that Muslim guests on a spacestation must point in the direction Mecca was found when their imam started the prayers. And somebody will point out that they need to be strapped down to pray or they'll bounce off the walls. (Prayer mat without velco straps = flying carpet.)

A day will be a working day. Since I don't think prayers are scheduled for dawn, they can just set alarm clocks. (Maybe special ones with a chant instead of a bell?)

And the dates of Ramadan will be defined by some arbitrary location on Earth: their launch site or (better) Mecca. Of course day and night are a trifle arbitrary, but just so long as they change their (already arbitrary :-)) schedule they should be OK.

And for ablutions, they could use a sponge. Or skip it (Item 294). I can't find the reference that suggested that dry-wiping was OK in some circumstances.
Posted by James">James  2006-04-20 11:47||]">[]  2006-04-20 11:47|| Front Page Top

#25 I'll bet the issue of the direction of Mecca came up a thousand years ago: what happens when you start prayers on board ship and the ship changes course?
But how do you calculate the direction to Mekka, even on Earth? Compass direction? Or course to shortest distance? Al-Aska Paul would know. Bet he solves the problem with a great circle.
Posted by 6 2006-04-20 11:58||   2006-04-20 11:58|| Front Page Top

#26 Thanks OS - Rantburg U. is back in session.
Posted by GORT 2006-04-20 11:58||   2006-04-20 11:58|| Front Page Top

#27 There is nothing in the Koran even remotely similar to the golden rule?

Yes there is! He who has the gold makes the rules!

Thank you! I'll be here all week!
Posted by DarthVader 2006-04-20 12:23||   2006-04-20 12:23|| Front Page Top

#28 Muslims,

When praying in space take off your shoes and gloves and step out of the airlock.
Posted by Bright Pebbles 2006-04-20 13:14||   2006-04-20 13:14|| Front Page Top

#29 he should just pray we don't convince Russia to leave him up there.
Posted by banned from rantburg 2006-04-20 13:34||   2006-04-20 13:34|| Front Page Top

#30 warning: when the first muslim wants to know how to fly the shuttle but doesn't care how to take off or land.......
Posted by Frank G 2006-04-20 13:43||   2006-04-20 13:43|| Front Page Top

#31 There must be something in the porKoran that explains this. The other question is where will all the child space suits come from for the arabs 6 year old pedo wives.
Posted by Chenter Hupeager7883 2006-04-20 13:56||   2006-04-20 13:56|| Front Page Top

#32 LOL #30!
Posted by Cromogum Snoluck5080 2006-04-20 14:06||   2006-04-20 14:06|| Front Page Top

#33 How will Muslims pray in space?

I dunno. Let's send them all up there and let them figure it out on their own.
Posted by tu3031 2006-04-20 14:10||   2006-04-20 14:10|| Front Page Top

#34 You got something there, Bright Pebbles....

Ok, let's come up with something practical. Since Haram, or Allah, or whatever you call him is actually the pagan moon-god, why not just pray in the direction of the moon when in space? Mecca is supposed to be pointing there anyway. Eliminate the middle-man....seewhumsayin?
Posted by mcsegeek1 2006-04-20 14:24||   2006-04-20 14:24|| Front Page Top

#35 In space, no one can hear you pray.
Posted by ed 2006-04-20 14:26||   2006-04-20 14:26|| Front Page Top

#36 Q: what do you call 50 muslims in outerspace?

A: A good start.
Posted by mcsegeek1 2006-04-20 14:31||   2006-04-20 14:31|| Front Page Top

#37 Lol. Karma. Some say she is a b*tch.
Posted by RR 2006-04-20 14:54||   2006-04-20 14:54|| Front Page Top

#38 In space, no one can hear you seethe.
Posted by BH 2006-04-20 15:44||   2006-04-20 15:44|| Front Page Top

#39 "Working out the direction of Mecca while hovering above the earth will also prove challenging."

WTF? What's the problem here, this isn't exactly a problem that requires a PhD in celestial navigation or orbital mechanics, for cryin' out loud: just go over to one of the viewports and open your damn eyes. Look for the Arabian Peninsula. Mecca is on the left-hand edge of the peninsula, about halfway down. Then pray.

And if that's too fuckin' complicated, ask one of the NON-muslim astronauts which direction Mecca is, and they'll tell you.

Damned stupid idiots...

Posted by Dave D.">Dave D.  2006-04-20 15:56||   2006-04-20 15:56|| Front Page Top

#40 There are a few mntions of "Do well by your brothers" but nothing that is explicit as any of the bassages cited above.

Seems when Muhammed was channeling Allah, Allah was pretty pissed off at the world and was promising to burn/boil/inflame all kinds of people and things, and was looking forward to having a lot of people for him (Allah) to torture in hell.

(Which begs the question: Why does Allah need to torture people in Hell? Is he running the place? If so then that tells me who he REALLY is LOL)

All-in-all its a very angry book, laden with cruelty and vengance from God himself in most cases, in nearly every sura.
Posted by Oldspook 2006-04-20 21:11||   2006-04-20 21:11|| Front Page Top

#41 Thanks Old Spook
Posted by RD 2006-04-20 22:59||   2006-04-20 22:59|| Front Page Top

#42 OK, my flock. Final word on Muslims praying in space. When orbiting the earth in a relatively low orbit, like the Shuttle, ISS, and Russian and Chicom models, you will have pretty much 3 principal directions: N-S, E-W, and a deflection angle we call The Dip.

First thing you do is to set up the five times that you must pray to Allan. That is related to sunrise and sunset and between times.

The second thing that you must do is to relegate all of your spaceship and scientific duties to your fellow crew members because you are going to be BUSY praying to Mecca, and will not have much time to do anything else. Your day will be about 1.5 hours long, so you will have to pray to Mecca every 18 minutes or so. Get the littany down pat and speed up the syllables! Using your handy Mecca-o-meter, keep track of the direction of Mecca and the dip from the tangent of the orbit. Line up and bow to Mecca along the dip angle indicated by the Mecca-o-meter. When you get done, then start lining up for the next one, because it is coming up in 10-12 minutes or so. This will require some precise planning, and you will reluctantly have to obtain assistance from your Infidel fellow space travellers. However, you have a special dispensation for this. Continuing.....

If you are in high earth orbit or geosynchronous orbit, the duration of the day slows down or stops. In that case, use the rotation of the earth as one day, and point in the general direction of the earth and pray 5 times a day.

If you are on the moon, or other planets, the same system applies. If there is any confusion, then drop me a line and I will issue a fatwa on your particular case, based upon my voluminous calculations and tables.

Now in the future, if you are travelling through the space-time continuum, or a worm hole to an alternate universe, then it gets quite complicated, and will require a loya jurga to sort out your problem. Drums or the mathematical equivalent will also be required. Very involved, very time consuming, and I may also add, very expensive. Peace be with you, my flock.
Posted by Al Aska Paul, Resident Imam">Al Aska Paul, Resident Imam  2006-04-20 23:28||   2006-04-20 23:28|| Front Page Top

#43 Don't worry, AP. they'll bring some Filipinos with them to do all their work for them. Just like down here.
That'll give them plenty of time to hit the floor about 60 or 70 times a day...
Posted by tu3031 2006-04-20 23:51||   2006-04-20 23:51|| Front Page Top

00:15 JosephMendiola
23:59 Oldspook
23:59 ed
23:53 Jan
23:52 tu3031
23:51 tu3031
23:49 Jan
23:44 Idunno
23:43 Jan
23:43 RR
23:43 JosephMendiola
23:41 tibor
23:38 tu3031
23:30 DMFD
23:30 RR
23:28 Al Aska Paul, Resident Imam
23:28 JosephMendiola
23:26  Barbara Skolaut
23:26 DMFD
23:24  Barbara Skolaut
23:16 Barron
23:16 JosephMendiola
23:03 trailing wife
23:01 trailing wife

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