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Monday, March 4, 2024

Navigating the Cosmos: Expert Calls for Clarity on Prayer and Fasting for Muslim Astronauts in UAE

Muslim Astronauts Dr. Maryam Al Hattali, a professor at the Mohamed bin Zayed University for Humanities in Abu Dhabi, highlighted the challenges faced by astronauts, particularly the difficulty of performing ablution in space.

Speaking at the Second International Conference organized by the UAE Council for Fatwa, she emphasized the need for scholars and experts to explore religious rulings tailored to the unique conditions of space missions.

Proposed Fatwas for Space Activities

Dr. Al Hattali urged conference attendees to consider issuing fatwas related to acts of worship, such as prayers and fasting, to ease the hardships faced by astronauts during long-term space missions.

Water Conservation in Space

Considering the scarcity of water on the International Space Station (ISS), where astronauts recycle urine and sweat, religious concessions for activities like ablution gain significance.

Ramadan in Outer Space

Earlier this year, Emirati astronaut Sultan Al Neyadi observed Ramadan and Eid on the ISS, navigating challenges related to fasting. He expressed the need for flexibility in religious practices to ensure the well-being of the crew and the success of the mission.

Guidelines for Previous Muslim Astronauts

Reflecting on past instances, when Malaysian astronaut Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor spent Ramadan in the ISS in 2007, special guidelines were issued to accommodate his religious practices.

Challenges of Religious Practices in Microgravity

The article also highlights the unique challenges of religious practices in space, such as the act of sujood (prostration) during Islamic prayers, which becomes complex in microgravity conditions.

The Call for Clear Guidelines: Muslim Astronauts

With the growing involvement of the Arab region in space exploration and an increasing number of Muslim astronauts, experts emphasize the importance of scholars issuing clear guidelines through fatwas to address religious exemptions in outer space.


The article underscores the intersection of religious practices and space exploration, emphasizing the significance of accommodating the diverse needs of astronauts to ensure the success of missions and the well-being of crew members.

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