Riyadh: An Arab astronaut who spent the holy month of Ramadan shared unforgettable moments from his space journey.
According to details, Prince Sultan ibn Salman, the first Arab Muslim astronaut, said that he was overwhelmed with the sight of new moon of Eid Al-Ftir of 1985 while swimming in space aboard the US space shuttle Discovery.
While giving an interview to Arab News, he told that he had completed a full recitation of the Holy Quran in six days by devoting part of his allocated sleeping time for the recitation. Prince Sultan said that the experience of fasting in space is an unforgettable experience.
“During the holy month of Ramadan which fell in summer that year, I underwent the special training for the voyage at the Space Center in Houston. I endured severe heat and thirst during the training days there when the night did not exceed six hours. The journey was originally scheduled to start on 24th of Ramadan but was postponed till 29th of Ramadan,” said Prince Sultan.
The astronaut shared that doctors at National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) observed the effect of fasting on his health and affirmed that his physical health during the fasting days was excellent.
“I was also seeking advice of Sheikh Abdul Aziz Bin Baz on many matters pertaining to fasting during the training days. The religious scholar told me that I could break the fast on the basis of the timing of the place on earth from where I started the fasting.”
Finally on the 29th of Ramadan the team set out to board the Discovery. The prince was praying for the success. He was fasting after taking the suhour and praying the dawn prayer.
The prince ascertained the time of the sunset in order to break the fast of the day. He also heard on the radio that the next day was Eid in Saudi Arabia.
Prince Sultan also noted that that he could not see the new moon on that day. But on the second day he could see the new moon and informed the Saudi scientific team under Abdullah Al-Dabbagh, present president of the Maaden Company, that he could see the new moon on the second.
After careful investigation the authorities confirmed that one day of Ramadan was missed and was to be compensated.
The prince said that he observed the obligatory prayers in the space journey on basis of the views of Bin Baz and Sheikh Abdul Aziz Al-Asheikh, the Kingdom’s grand mufti. He had performed the ablutions using moistened napkins because of the lack of gravity in space.
The prince hoped that the Malaysian space traveler would be careful to observe religious duties during his trip and strive to highlight the great Islamic values. The prince wished success to the new Muslim space traveler and that he would make a complete recital of the Holy Qur’an as he did in his journey.
Courtesy: Arab News