Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor, a Malaysian physician, was rocketed into orbit yesterday. This article reports on the spiritual guidance he’s received to assist him in practicing his religion while in space.
- How to pray five times daily when an astronaut in low Earth orbit enjoys sixteen sunrises and sunsets?
Shukor won’t need to pray eighty times a day. Muslim scholars state he will be bound by the sun position at his point of launch, the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
- How to direct the body toward Mecca in the weightlessness of space?
The astronaut may pray according to his own capabilities, and that body posture and direction is at his discretion.
- How does one conduct the sunrise to sunset fast of Ramadan?
Shukor was given permission to fast after his return to Earth at the conclusion of the mission.
The doctor’s statement about his mission and his faith:
Being a Muslim going to space is a big responsibility for me, not only before the Malaysian people but all Muslims. To be close to God’s creation, I will feel more spiritual and I do hope to come back and share all my feelings with other Muslims all over the world.
Godspeed, Doctor, and have a good mission.