Saturday, September 29, 2007

A Muslim Astronaut's Dilemma: How to Face Mecca From Space

He's a devout Muslim and when he says his daily prayers he wants to face Mecca, specifically the Ka'aba, the holiest place in Islam ("Turn then thy face towards the Sacred Mosque: wherever ye are, turn your faces towards it .... " The Quran, Al-Baqarah, 2:149).

That's where the trouble comes in. From ISS, orbiting 220 miles above the surface of the Earth, the qibla (an Arabic word meaning the direction a Muslim should pray toward Mecca) changes from second to second. During some parts of the space station's orbit, the qibla can move nearly 180 degrees during the course of a single prayer. What's a devout Muslim to do?

www.wired.com

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1 comment:

na said...

subhan'Allah.

i heard somewhere if you don't know where the qibla is you have a leeway of 180 degrees.

which is how many degrees it would shift in a single prayer for this guy.

subhan'Allah.