KUALA LUMPUR Malaysia has come up with the
world's first comprehensive guidebook for Muslims in space as
its first astronaut prepares to go into orbit next week.
The book, entitled Guidelines for Performing Islamic Rites
at the International Space Station, teaches the Muslim
astronaut how to perform ablutions, determine the location of
Mecca when praying, prayer times, and how to fast in space, the
Star newspaper reported on Saturday.
"The reason we formulated guidelines for Muslims in space
is because we wanted to ensure our astronaut could fully
concentrate on his mission, without having to worry about how
he should perform his religious obligations in space," Abdullah
Md Zin, a minister for religious affairs, was quoted as saying.
The 18-page guidebook will be translated into English,
Russian, Arabic and possibly more languages for the benefit of
future Muslim astronauts, he said.
Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor, an orthopaedic surgeon and
university lecturer from Kuala Lumpur, will leave Earth from
Kazakhstan's Baikonur launchpad for Russia's International
Space Station (ISS) on Wednesday.
The 34-year-old Malaysian has said he will try to observe
as much of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan in orbit as
possible. The lunar month, during which Muslims fast from dawn
to dusk, is due to end around October 13.
Saudi Prince Sultan bin Salman, who was the first Muslim in
space, had said that although he managed to pray and fast, he
was not able to face towards Mecca and could not fully kneel on