How do Muslims pray in space?




Praying on Mars? This does not Grok!


What about direction? Muslim’s are supposed to face Mecca when they pray, right? So how do you do that in space?


As I understand it from the scholars, you basically try aiming for Earth, which is sufficient in that case.


Just like the other religions: to very little effect.


Religious acts in Islam are heavily intention-based. Without intent or focus, then it’s as if you haven’t worshiped at all. You commit to the minutiae of the rituals because of devotion, but when they are physically impossible, then they cease to be important.


Praying to Mars, on the other hand…


Harshaw tries to explain religion to him, Smith understands the concept of God only as “one who groks”, which includes every extant organism. This leads him to express the Martian concept of life as the phrase “Thou art God”, although he knows this is a bad translation.

Wiki: Stranger in a Strange Land


I remember decades ago when orbiting the earth was a Jewish issue, with days defined as sundown to sunrise, how would you know when to pray? The solution they arrived at, I believe, was to use the local time of your takeoff point as reference. I think that got reset to local time at landing for after the return.


Isn’t it dependent on the Star Date?


Coming from the not-particularly-scholarly branches American protestant religion, I’m absolutely fascinated by the traditions of debate, analysis, and re-evaluation of religious rules that happens in Judaism and Islam. It just makes so much damn sense. If you’re going to have a religion, of course you need to hash stuff like this out regularly.


I remember a SF novel… I believe it was a Poul Anderson one dealing with time dilation (no, not Tau Zero), where there was a Muslim character who tried to keep up with the 5-times-a-day prayer based on Earth time.

I think he also explained that he didn’t think it was strictly necessary to do it this way, but he wanted to do it more as an exercise and a reminder of the time passing.


I think it’s interesting how much Islam and Judaism have in common, at least in terms of how the religions are structured. Makes sense, right since they (and Christianity) are all derived from a common ancestor (theologically speaking, of course). I think what Islam does not have in common with Judaism, it shares with Christianity, namely the concept of proselytizing, which Judaism for the most part just doesn’t have.

I think what’s interesting is that they both do this in order to account for any variety of new situations, so they are both constantly changing and evolving, and are deeply adaptive to human realities, even if it doesn’t seem like it to non-religious folks. You can see this in history, how Islam was employed both as a power structure and as resistance to power (the Ottomans vs. say the Mahdist insurrection in the Sudan in the 19th century). But you can see it in this sort of minutia too. One example I like that illustrates this is from the Levant during the Ottoman period, in cities like Jerusalem or what have you, where people would go to Imams to have their issues worked out according to Sharia (so any issue, but especially what we’d think of today as family law–divorce, issues of property inheritance, child custody, etc). However, given that Sunni Islam (which was the official religion of the empire) has at least 4 schools of jurisprudence, if someone didn’t get a fatwa they could live with from one Imam practicing one school, they would often go down the street to another Imam practicing another school, who would tell them something more amendable to them. From everything I’ve studied about it, Islam seems a very flexible and adaptive religion in general, in part because it depends on concepts like ijtihad (which translates to “diligence” I think, but refers to the reasoning process involved in deciding religious rulings). In this case, obviously, both religions need to deal with the realities of space travel in a productive manner, especially if we start to get more national space programs in the future, especially from the global south.

Sorry, I just geeked out on you there… Always an interesting topic, I think.


Another good example is the Fremen resistance to Imperial Sardaukar. (Sorry, I forget which century that was.)


Wasn’t that in Dune?




Sci-fi, myth, fiction, reality… it all just sort of blends together after a while… just ask any undergrad in a history class…


Sorry, I’m not that familiar with Eric Frank Russell. I thought I was making a funny, only to find I was treading on your heels.


So was I. That was a Rick Perry oops. Damn you, internet!


got me wondering about how Muslim prayer works off-planet

It works the same way as prayer on earth: you waste several minutes by speaking to a non-existent group delusion to avoid facing the reality that it’s all a farcical joke on par with the finest Monty Python.