Malaysia Sets Flexible Religious Rules for Muslims in Space

October 11, 2007

Author: Staff Writer

Source: AOL News

Wire Service: AP

he Malaysian government's Department of Islamic Development has prepared religious guidelines for the country's first astronaut, who is spending about 10 days at the international space station this month. Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor is the first Muslim to be in space during Ramadan, the Islamic holy fasting month.

Here are some of the key guidelines:


A Muslim astronaut should "maintain the relationship with Allah ... observe peace with other beings and maintain sustainability of the space environment."


Ritual cleansing before prayer can be performed through "dry ablution" - striking both palms of one's hands on a clean surface such as a wall or mirror, with or without clean sand or dust.

Facing Mecca to pray is encouraged, but facing the Earth or any direction will still do.

Praying five times a day can be calculated in a 24-hour duration according to the time zone from where the astronaut was launched - in this case, Baikonur, Kazakhstan.

For physical postures during prayer, any standing posture will suffice if upright standing is impossible. If not, the astronaut can sit, lie flat or simply imagine the prayer sequence.