Emirati astronaut Sultan Al Neyadi
Countries around the world are busy expanding their access to space. Now even the Gulf countries are not lagging behind in this race, where a large population of Muslim community lives. The United Arab Emirates is at the forefront among the Gulf countries which have traveled to space. Last year, Sultan Al Neyadi of UAE went on a space trip and spent the entire month of Ramadan in the International Space Station. During this period he could neither fast nor offer namaz. Now a demand is being raised in UAE to issue a fatwa related to Roza-Namaz for astronauts, so that they can be exempted from religious activities till their return.
Maryam Al Hattali, a professor at Mohammed bin Zayed University for the Humanities in Abu Dhabi, addressed Islamic experts at the second international conference of the UAE Council for Fatwa. He advocated concessions to offer Namaz for astronauts going on long space missions. He also emphasized on the provision of bathing in space and said that scientists work for humanity and experts should consider their religious rules.
The Sultan did not fast so that the mission was not affected.
Professor Maryam said that due to lack of arrangements, Emirati astronaut Al Neyadi spent six months on the ISS but spent the month of Ramadan in space itself. Before his visit, Al Neyadi had also expressed concern that during his visit, Ramadan and Eid would also fall but he would not be able to celebrate the festivals. He had accepted that fasting can affect health and this can affect the mission.
Malaysian astronaut also faced difficulties
Malaysian astronaut Sheikh Muzaffar Shukor also had to face many challenges during Ramadan during his space mission in 2007. Later a fatwa was issued for him, in which it was made clear that he should not fast until he returned to earth. In the coming days, UAE is planning many more missions, due to which many more Emirati astronauts will go on space travel, but in the meantime it is difficult to perform fasts and prayers. In such a situation, there is a demand to arrange a fatwa for scientists in these countries so that they can fulfill their fast and religious beliefs after their journey.