Sixteen Sunrises a Day: Practicing Ramadan in Space

Future-ish Case Study | 24-02

Author | Sean G. Schmidt

Publication Information | Future-ish, 2024. Published in Schmidt, S. G. (2024). Future-ish: case studies and context for exploring the science, design, and culture shaping the future (2nd ed.). Innovative Ink Publishing.

Abstract

In 2007, Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor became the first Malaysian to travel in space and stay in the International Space Station (ISS). Shukor’s journey was groundbreaking in many ways. He was among the first individuals identified as spaceflight participants by Russian and United States agencies and he was the first Muslim to stay on the ISS. Shukor worked closely with Malaysian Islamic religious leaders to determine how to carry out aspects and practices of the Islamic faith during his mission, which coincided with the observance of Ramadan in that particular year. Although other astronauts and space participants also practiced aspects of their particular worldview or religion while in space, Shukor’s experience gained significant media coverage given the timing and complexity of his unique situation. His seminal voyage also set the stage for subsequent Muslim and other space travelers to practice their worldviews and religions while in space, demonstrating that science and religion can and do coexist.


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