From the archive, originally posted by: [ spectre ]

http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/religion_malaysia_islam_dc
http://us.news3.yimg.com/us.i2.yimg.com/p/afp/20060425/capt.sge.lwa12.250406105517.photo00.photo.default-250×384.jpg?x=180&y=276&sig=SD2aBb8MCgoas5CbFFxMdQ–

Malaysia weighs concerns of Muslim space travelers
BY Clarence Fernandez  /  Apr 26 2006

BANGI, Malaysia (Reuters) – As Malaysia prepares to pick its first
astronaut, the country’s space agency is hunting for solutions to the
problems it expects devout Muslims to face while in orbit, such as in
which direction to pray.

One of the five pillars of Islam requires the faithful to pray five
times a day, and to face Mecca, the birthplace of Islam, while doing
so. Astronauts aboard spaceships could have difficulty meeting these
requirements.

“Among the astronaut’s needs, if he is a Muslim, are guidelines on
performing prayers in space, and other aspects of life according to
Islamic principles,” Malaysian government official Mohd Ruddin Abdul
Ghani told a two-day meeting of scientists and religious experts to
thrash out solutions.

There are three Muslims on a shortlist of four candidates from which
Malaysia must pick two in May to begin training as astronauts. The
program was launched two years ago, after Russia offered the country a
free trip into space aboard a Soyuz spacecraft.

The trip, meant to sweeten a deal for Malaysia’s $900-million purchase
of Russian-made fighter planes, will see the best man or woman blasting
off with Russian astronauts in October 2007 to spend six to eight days
aboard the International Space Station.

The effort aims to boost public support for Prime Minister Abdullah
Ahmad Badawi’s push for new “growth industries” such as biotechnology,
space science and information technology to help broaden Malaysia’s
economy, which relies heavily on its reputation as a low-cost
manufacturer.

Following Earth time and facing in the direction of Earth are the key
elements to solving the problem, said Zainol Abidin Abdul Rashid, a
professor at the space science institute attached to the National
University of Malaysia.

Zainol said he had written a computer program with the help of his
graduate students to calculate the correct prayer times and directions
for astronauts, once their positions are keyed in.

“It can be set up on a computer or even a personal digital assistant,
and figuring out your location is as simple as connecting to the
Internet,” Zainol told Reuters.

After securing the go-ahead from Islamic experts, he said he expected
to be able to offer free programs downloads from 2007.

But other perplexing questions remain — what about ablutions before
prayers, and how does one kneel in zero gravity?

Orthodox answers to these questions include using alternative cleaning
modes, such as tissues or napkins, or praying in a seated position,
strapped into one’s chair, experts at the conference said.

A group of muftis took a pragmatic approach in tackling these questions
in advice recently published on the Web site IslamOnline.net.

“According to an established principle of Islamic jurisprudence, if for
any reason we are unable to fulfil a certain condition or a
prerequisite on which the validity of a certain act of worship is
dependent, then we must still perform the act without the condition,”
the site said.

HOW TO PRACTICE ISLAM IN SPACE

http://www.spacedaily.com/reports/Malaysia_Conference_Considers_How_To_Practice_Islam_In_Space.html
http://www.spacedaily.com/images/malaysia-astronauts-candidates-russia-space-afp-bg.jpg

Malaysia Conference Considers How To Practice Islam In Space / Apr 20, 2006

“How do Muslim astronauts pray in space? Malaysia’s National Space Agency is holding a conference to consider such questions as the country prepares to send its first citizen into orbit.

A nationwide competition in the majority-Muslim country has narrowed the field to four astronaut candidates, three of whom are Muslims.

Two will eventually be trained and sent into space by Russia, and Malaysia’s space agency — or Angkasa — said it had been scratching its head over how Muslim rituals could be carried out properly.

Performing ablutions for Muslim prayers with water rationing in space and preparing food according to Islamic standards will be among issues discussed, said Angkasa’s director-general, Mazlan Othman.

“So far, Angkasa has not discussed these matters with Russia because the candidates have not been decided and the needs of Malaysian astronauts have not been determined,” Mazlan was quoted as saying by
the state Bernama news agency.

“We have to make preparations to discuss with Russia when the time comes,” she added.

The astronaut will also visit the International Space Station, which circles the earth 16 times in 24 hours, so another thorny question is how to pray five times a day as required by Islam, she said.

Muslims also have to turn towards Mecca to pray and working out which direction that will be while hovering above the earth might also be challenging.

The two-day Islam and Life in Space seminar will begin next Tuesday and brings together 150 scientists, astronauts, religious scholars and academics.

An offical from the Malaysian Astronomy and Islamic Law Association said the gathering would be the first time the Islamic world mulled life in space.

The agreement to send the Malaysians aboard Russian spacecraft was part of a billion-dollar deal in which Russia will sell Malaysia 18 Sukhoi 30-MKM fighter jets.”

{Source: Agence France-Presse}

http://www.we-make-money-not-art.com/archives/008381.php

COMMENTS

Every common muslim knows the thing that while travelling muslims can shorten their prayer and he don’t bother about the direction towards the Mecca. No muslims can have permission to make new rules for any
situation but its already defined before 1400 years by the prophet Mohamed (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) for any situation for any century

Consider the following from his sayings(hadith)

It is related that ‘Abdullah said, “I prayed two rak’ats at Mina with the Prophet, Abu Bakr and ‘Umar, and also with ‘Uthman at the beginning of his rule, but he later did the prayer in full.”

It is related that ‘Abdullah ibn Dinar said, “During journeys ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar used to pray on his mount using gestures no matter which way it turned. ‘Abdullah said that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and
grant him peace, used to do that.” (Muwatta, Book 9, 28)
Posted by: shameer at April 21, 2006 01:19 PM

Not to mention, you can probably make exceptions for something as extreme as space travel.
Posted by: Fred at April 21, 2006 07:26 PM

When you’re not on the plane of the earth there is no day or night and you do not have to pray towards the Mecca at intervals. But you should still pray sometime.
Posted by: Jick at April 22, 2006 03:37 AM

Look it is given in the Holy Quran, that if u dont know or cannot know which side is the direction of prayer, then pray in any direction as both of the east and both of the west(which means north, south, east and west) belong to Allah and he will accept it , Inshallah. I hope this helped, and yes it is, that u r allowed to shorten ur payer when u r on a journey, but i think that if it goes too long u r supposed to pray it in full, but im not sure. But Inshallah, Allah shall accept there prayers.
Posted by: Hashim at April 22, 2006 08:00 PM