Thoughts
Time immemorial

"He has programmed for you from the Order what He has willed with it Noah, and which We inspired you, and what We willed with it Abraham, Moses, and Jesus. You shall uphold the Order, and do not you be divided therein. Most difficult upon the infidels what you call them to. For the God, He choses towards Him whomever He wills, and He guides towards Him those who return."
(Q 42:13)


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Quotes

Carl Sagan
"How is it that hardly any major religion has looked at science and concluded, 'This is better than we thought! The Universe is much bigger than our prophets said, grander, more subtle, more elegant?' Instead they say, 'No, no, no! My god is a little god, and I want him to stay that way.'

A religion old or new, that stressed the magnificence of the universe as revealed by modern science, might be able to draw forth reserves of reverence and awe hardly tapped by the conventional faiths."

Carl Sagan

Wrong Direction!

Pray In Space

Oh my god! It's more difficult than I thought...!

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Religion And Science

Praying In Space?

Endeavour

The Arab Religion's Contribution To Space Exploration

Space exploration by Earthlings is relatively new, which dates back to the '50s. The main players in this new adventure are the former USSR (now Russia), and USA.

More and more technological advanced countries are now embarking on space programs, and the not so tech-savvy ( but financially and economically stable) ones simply engage themselves indirectly by purchasing satellites, or participate by supplying local astronauts on special organized space missions, and in other indirect ways.

This new interest coming from smaller nations is good, and the sharing/transferring of space technologies between the haves and have-nots is a good sign under the waves of global thinking.

Its heart warming to note that the current trend is leading the world into an era where the barriers between science and religion are slowly diminishing. History has shown that science was not compatible with religion, especially when scientific findings conflict with religious texts on matters pertaining to Creation, cosmology, and astronomy. Slowly, but surely geocentric religionists have succumbed to the heliocentric model willingly. And in the case of the unwilling converts, the inconvenient truths are too much of an embarrassment to be rejected openly.

Well, for whatever reasons that religion is now more susceptible to science, it is a way forward.

However, certain religions need to make certain adjustments to their laws and by-laws when they wish to participate. Their sacred texts did not cover this subject on space adventure. The reason is simply because its lawmakers were not able to foresee future technological progress and advancements by Earthlings, and therefore were not able to guide its devotees in addressing any new and rather awkward technological scenarios/situations when it arise, like "How do you pray in space?"

One example, is the Arab religion. The 5 daily prayers is a MUST (under any circumstances), and up to now the rules and regulations on performing this ritual under various earthly circumstances (traveling, sickness) are adequate enough to guide its devotees. Space travel, however, a subject, which apparently was unknown and humanly unimaginable and unforeseeable centuries ago, now poses a new sort of challenge for the would-be Arab (and Arab followers alike) space travelers.

A harrowing tasks indeed, for its lawmakers, who even up to the present day know next to nothing about conditions above the Earth's clouds, to draft rules and guidelines for its devotees to perform this sacrilegious act in zero-gravity conditions.

Malaysian Astronauts

Fortunately, and good news for the devotees worldwide, Malaysia, wherein the Malays are the majority and of the Arab faith and is currently participating in space travel, is innovative enough to come up with a solution on how to correctly perform the ablution and prayers in space for her debutant Malay astronauts. This solution comes in a booklet. By the way, the Malaysian astronauts are also expected to fast during the Ramadan flight, and the "do's and dont's" are presumably provided for in that little booklet. Its not clear though, how day and night is being defined in space, or how time is measured, but rest assured, all that little details are "scientifically" explained therein.

Shame on the Arabs for lagging behind on this religious-tech race. To think that the Arabs were earlier than the Malays in the participation of space travel only leads one to the question as how did that Arab astronaut/s perform their prayers then? Chances are they did it incorrectly if they ever prayed, and if not, how dare they, when they were so much closer to their god (supposedly positioned out there in outer space)?

Come to think of it, how did the Christian and Jew astronauts do it, or did they bother at all...? And as for the Communist Russians...I supposed that question does not arise...!?

Talking about communism, Malaysia fought the communists for decades during the early stages of its formation, and communism is banned in this country. In reality, Islam and communism does not mix at all. The winds of change has now flown in and what the world is witnessing is a collaboration of sort between the godly and the godless.

This religious ritual in outer space mumbo-jumbo may seem ridiculous (to some), and might even prove in the end that religion and science does not mix that well as in milk-and-tea, but it nevertheless is interesting (at least) to see how some sectarian religionists make an effort, no matter how silly and absurd it may seems, in trying to reconcile religion/rituals and science. On a positive note, the religionists now have undoubtedly, increased knowledge about doing things (especially rituals) above ground.

alien

And who knows, this precious little booklet might come in handy for future space-bound Arab missionaries should they strike an "Close Encounter of the 1st Kind", assuming Martians and aliens alike as faithless beings.

On the other hand, if rituals are too cumbersome and not practical to be done beyond the Earth's atmosphere, then in all probability its not even meant for anywhere on Earth. All said, the Malaysian astronauts might return to Earth and submit their reports on this. It looks like this will become a religious-outer-space research mission of sort for those young astronauts. The study might even look into the viability of this religion, and whether it is viable outside the Earth's atmosphere. Interesting. The Malaysian authorities might altogether scrap future space travels for Malaysian, if they find that its too difficult, burdensome, and more seriously - sinful for the Malays, and maybe perhaps would delegate space travels to their non-Malay/non-Muslim counterparts, whom we could all presumed would have none such problems.

I'm not sure what NASA, and other space agencies' thoughts are on this, or how this little contribution from the religious sector could be used in their future developments. Perhaps, they might index this subject in their astronaut training manuals under "miscellaneous" items, or "religious practices in space". It would be more interesting though, to know if they would consider designing prayer rooms with earth-condition gravity-effect in their future spacecrafts. I guess it depends (on the economics of it) on how many more Arab astronauts (and followers) there would be in the future, or whether the Arabs are willing to bear the extra costs.

Whatever come out of this episode in the space-tech context, a standing ovation is in order for the innovative Malaysians, for as surely - this is her historic moment. They have earned a place in the book of records for being the first humans to pray in space, if not the world's first ever religious outer space research mission. And for the Arabs (and followers around the globe) - a handy little booklet.

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