Sultan Al Neyadi’s Ramadan in Space: Ramadan, the holy month of fasting, is a time of spiritual reflection and devotion for millions of Muslims around the world. This year, a unique event is taking place that combines the religious observance with the cutting-edge field of space exploration. Sultan Al Neyadi, a UAE astronaut, will be spending Ramadan aboard the International Space Station (ISS), making him the first Muslim to observe the holy month in space.
Al Neyadi, a member of the UAE Astronaut Program, was selected along with fellow astronaut Hazzaa AlMansoori for a mission to the ISS in 2019. During the mission, AlMansoori became the first Emirati and Arab astronaut to fly to space. Al Neyadi, who was originally selected as the backup astronaut, will now have the opportunity to make history as the first Muslim astronaut to observe Ramadan in space.
The UAE has been making rapid strides in the field of space exploration in recent years. The country launched its first satellite in 2009 and has since sent a number of missions to space, including the Mars Hope Probe, which successfully entered orbit around the Red Planet in February 2021. The UAE Astronaut Program was launched in 2017 with the aim of training and sending Emirati astronauts to space.
The program has been highly successful, with four Emirati astronauts now trained and ready for missions to the ISS. In addition to Al Neyadi and AlMansoori, the program includes astronauts Nora AlMatrooshi and Mohammad AlMulla. All four astronauts have undergone rigorous training, including spacewalk simulations, survival training, and scientific experiments.
Sultan Al Neyadi’s Experience of Ramadan in Space
Al Neyadi posted a video of the crescent moon signalling the start of Ramadan seen from space. The beginning of the holy month is signalled on Earth by the moon’s appearance.
The Post Read: “Ramadan Mubarak. Wishing you all a month filled with blessings. Sharing the beautiful night time scenery from the International Space Station with you all,”
Al Neyadi’s mission to the ISS will not only be a historic moment for the UAE, but also for the Muslim world. Fasting during Ramadan is one of the five pillars of Islam, and it is obligatory for all adult Muslims who are able to do so. However, the question of how to observe Ramadan in space has never been answered before. Al Neyadi will be the first to experience this unique challenge and find ways to adapt to the environment of the ISS.
One of the biggest challenges for Al Neyadi will be the lack of a clear day and night cycle aboard the ISS. The station orbits the Earth every 90 minutes, which means that the astronauts experience a sunrise and sunset every 45 minutes. This will make it difficult for Al Neyadi to keep track of the time and know when to begin and end his fast.
To address this challenge, Al Neyadi has consulted with Islamic scholars and experts in the field of space travel to come up with a plan for observing Ramadan in space. He will be using a combination of the time in the city of Baikonur, Kazakhstan, where the spacecraft was launched from, and the time at the ISS to determine the start and end of his fast.
Al Neyadi will also be carrying a special prayer rug and Quran with him to space. The rug is designed to stick to the walls of the ISS using velcro, allowing Al Neyadi to pray in the direction of the Kaaba, the holiest site in Islam located in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. He will also be listening to recordings of the Quran to help him feel connected to his faith.
In addition to his religious observance, Al Neyadi will also be conducting a number of scientific experiments during his time on the ISS. The experiments are focused on studying the effects of microgravity on human physiology, as well as the growth of plants in space. Al Neyadi will also be communicating with students and young people in the UAE and around the world to inspire them to pursue careers in science and technology.
The mission is a testament to the UAE’s commitment to both space.