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UAE Clerics' Fatwa Forbids Muslims From Traveling To Mars 363

Posted by timothy
from the limited-jurisdiction dept.
PolygamousRanchKid writes "The Khaleej Times of Dubai reports that a fatwa committee has forbidden Muslims from taking a one-way trip to the Red Planet. At the moment, there is no technology available that would allow for a return trip from Mars, so it is truly a one-way ticket for the colonists, who may also become reality TV stars in the process. The committee of the General Authority of Islamic Affairs and Endowment in the United Arab Emirates that issued the fatwa against such a journey doesn't have anything against space exploration, Elon Musk's Mars visions, or anything like that. Rather, the religious leaders argue that making the trip would be tantamount to committing suicide, which all religions tend to frown upon."
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UAE Clerics' Fatwa Forbids Muslims From Traveling To Mars

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  • by Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) on Saturday February 22, 2014 @03:42AM (#46309637)

    You don't want to go to Mars? Please by all means, keep your bullshit on Earth and let us evolved human beings make a fresh new life on a fresh new planet without you!

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Shut it, Mars. We know what you did to Spirit.
      Now you're gonna pay.

    • by Khalid (31037) on Saturday February 22, 2014 @08:15AM (#46310323) Homepage

      Please stop this fatwa unsanity !

      The muslim word is full of stupid jerks who use religion and the beliefs of other people to serve their own agenda, while pretending speaking in the name of Islam. This is not different from a stupid christian priest who give his opinion about a a society matter, they only represent themeslves.

      • by TubeSteak (669689)

        This is not different from a stupid christian priest who give his opinion about a a society matter, they only represent themeslves.

        Some countries have state religions. The UAE is one of those countries.
        AFAIK, all the countries with state religions have a leading religious authority that issues opinions and interpretations on religious matters.
        Hence the "Fatwa committee under the General Authority of Islamic Affairs and Endowment"

        It's no different than opinions issued under the auspices of the Chief Rabbinate of Israel or the Archbishop of Canterbury (head of the Church of England, under the Monarch).
        This should make for some light read

      • by K. S. Kyosuke (729550) on Saturday February 22, 2014 @04:10PM (#46312321)

        The muslim word is full of stupid jerks who use religion and the beliefs of other people to serve their own agenda

        All theist communities are like that. Actually, that's what theism is about in the first place! The sooner we get rid of this crap, the better for everyone.

  • Let it begin! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MPAB (1074440) on Saturday February 22, 2014 @03:44AM (#46309639)

    Cue witty jokes about blowing oneself up not counting as suicide.

    But they should also forbid being born, as everyone that does will die eventually.

    • Re:Let it begin! (Score:4, Informative)

      by mwvdlee (775178) on Saturday February 22, 2014 @05:58AM (#46310003) Homepage

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/F... [wikipedia.org]

      As you might have guessed, Fatwa's aren't really laws as much as they are rules that may or may not be followed depending on whether an individual Muslim wants to.

    • by N1AK (864906)
      Modding this a troll seems a little harsh. It's not unusual for religions to include different groups with vastly different interpretations of what a good follower should or shouldn't do. Personally I find it equally amusing that they have the time to worry about this and that they've taken such a backwards view. What level of risk is ok before it is effectively the same as suicide? Does the benefit to others mitigate that in some way?
  • Buddhism (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 22, 2014 @03:56AM (#46309685)

    "the trip would be tantamount to committing suicide, which all religions tend to frown upon."

    Hey get your Judeocentric religious world views out of here! Buddhism goes so far as to feature a story of the Buddha himself committing suicide just to feed some hungry tiger cubs.

    Which is insane like all religions, but I reserve the right for their insanity to be characterized accurately!

  • by Taelron (1046946) on Saturday February 22, 2014 @03:57AM (#46309687)
    then staying on Earth, living out your life and dying is also tantamount to suicide too. So you are damned if you do and damned if you dont...
  • by burni2 (1643061) on Saturday February 22, 2014 @04:01AM (#46309699)

    .. Fatwa

    Stop blasting yourself into pieces, it's forbidden,
    and no your chance to survive is below the mars mission.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Choosing to live the rest of your life in a distant location is not a suicide in any way. If they choose to see this as suicide, then why do they allow youngsters to enroll in their armies? That looks a heck of a lot closer to suicide.
    • by khallow (566160)

      Choosing to live the rest of your life in a distant location is not a suicide in any way.

      From the article:

      âoeSuch a one-way journey poses a real risk to life, and that can never be justified in Islam,â the committee said. âoeThere is a possibility that an individual who travels to planet Mars may not be able to remain alive there, and is more vulnerable to death.â

      It does sound pretty flimsy as an argument. But keep in mind that current one-way plans to go to Mars really haven't even gotten to the Power Point stage yet. They don't really have a lot of incentive to burn brain power on this. I suspect this is a nice way to say, "please don't fall for these scams".

      • by Firethorn (177587) on Saturday February 22, 2014 @05:17AM (#46309903) Homepage Journal

        It does sound pretty flimsy as an argument. But keep in mind that current one-way plans to go to Mars really haven't even gotten to the Power Point stage yet. They don't really have a lot of incentive to burn brain power on this. I suspect this is a nice way to say, "please don't fall for these scams".

        I think there's translation issues, but what it amounts to is that the proposed mars journey is not only effectively one way, they're also not hauling enough supplies for you to live the rest of your life.

        So rather than living to ~70 or so minimum, assuming no accident takes you out earlier, you're going on a trip with no real scientific value other than studying how you end up croaking, where your life on mars maxes out at around 3-5 years* from lift-off. You're not fighting a war, you're not dying to save others, etc...

        Would the Fatwa have been issued if the proposal was 'The plan is to visit mars and come back, but we figure the odds are 50-50 that something will happen that we can't make it back, but in return we'll collect all this information that may help explorers in the future'? Maybe, maybe not. There's plenty of hazardous expeditions that Muslims have gone on without having a Fatwa issued against it - scaling Mount Everest, visiting the South/North pole, etc...

        *From what I've seen of the proposal.

        • by erikkemperman (252014) on Saturday February 22, 2014 @06:20AM (#46310047)

          There's plenty of hazardous expeditions that Muslims have gone on without having a Fatwa issued against it - scaling Mount Everest, visiting the South/North pole, etc.

          And the ISS, if I remember correctly. There were some issues in determining the direction in which to pray, but those were resolved. Wonder how that would work for Martian Muslims, though.

          • by Firethorn (177587) on Saturday February 22, 2014 @08:23AM (#46310343) Homepage Journal

            I think that the idea is that while visiting the ISS is 'hazardous', there's a lot of hazardous things out there, the religion doesn't forbid hazardous. What it forbids is outright suicide. Join an expedition to reach the top of Everest without a plan to return? That's suicide. Riding a russian rocket up to the ISS? Let's call it a 1% chance of death. Dangerous, but not suicide. For that matter, sacrificing yourself for others (war, evacuation and such) isn't considered suicide either, even if death is certain.

            As for the Martian Muslims, it depends on which sect they belong to - the simplistic method is simply to pray facing the Earth, but there's something forbidding praying towards the sun(so when Mars and the Earth are on opposite sides...). Then there's the fact that they don't actually use a straight line calculation, they use the shortest route, which means using a circle route on earth... Alaskan Muslims pray pretty much straight north because of that. Also means that you have an actual direction rather than 'into the ground' while on the opposite side of the planet. But when on mars it'd likely be the retrograde orbit to reach Earth.

            Assuming significant colonization of mars by practicing Muslims, I wouldn't be surprised if some leader there just declares a 'Spiritual Martian Mecca' on Mars for them to face when praying.

            Oh, and there's the clarification that if you're spending more worry about which direction to pray in than the prayer itself, you're doing it wrong and that there's an 'any' option in that case. Oh, and you shouldn't change facing during the prayer, even if Mecca is going to pull a 180(start facing towards, end facing away) during that time. Figure out the direction in an expedient fashion(computers are allowed) and pray.

        • by Jawnn (445279)
          By that logic, any act that has a reasonable expectation of shortening one's life is "suicide". True, most of us, including the Imam, I suspect, would disagree. Tough titty. That is the argument he made, while disregarding the tremendous opportunity presented by the mission. Such nonsense is what comes from so-called religious leaders trying to wedge their dogma into real-world problems.
          • by Firethorn (177587)

            By that logic, any act that has a reasonable expectation of shortening one's life is "suicide".

            I think you misunderstood what I said - I said 'Translation issues' for a reason, it's not just word translation, there are cultural terms in there to be aware of. The proposed trip to Mars was a one way trip with insufficient supplies. As in, everybody would die unless some agency managed to get additional supplies and equipment to them within a relatively tight period of time(for interplanetary travel). You have a better chance of winning the lottery than surviving that.

            Climbing Mt Everest and going to

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by polymath69 (94161)

        It is flimsy as an argument, especially as there's a better argument to be made.

        Suppose the colonization succeeds, but only supplies can be sent, with no return trips? Due to lack of refueling capabilities on Mars this is a reasonable assumption for the next many years. Now imagine "many" is large enough that children may be born, live, and die on Mars before return trips become possible.

        Now how is such a child, able-bodied, supposed to complete the pillar of Islam that is the Hajj, the pilgrimage to Me

  • by Dorianny (1847922) on Saturday February 22, 2014 @04:29AM (#46309779) Journal
    I can't see many religious people lining up for an expedition to discover if life evolved on another planet. They still don't believe that it evolved on this one.
    • This. Seriously - how many astronauts have ever been devoutly religious? Doesn't NASA generally hire scientists?
      • by naarok (102579)

        Apparently many of the early ones.

        http://www.actsweb.org/article... [actsweb.org]

      • by causality (777677)

        This. Seriously - how many astronauts have ever been devoutly religious? Doesn't NASA generally hire scientists?

        Most scientists believe in a God (look it up). They simply have the maturity of character to separate their private personal beliefs from their work. Not all spiritual people are New Earth creationists who believe dinosaur fossils are the work of Satan, you know.

        While they tend not to give a great deal of support to mainstream religion, members of NASA are known to practice various Masonic rituals, even choosing landing sites on the Moon etc. based on numbers important to Freemasonry.

    • Re:Hold the lines (Score:4, Insightful)

      by rubycodez (864176) on Saturday February 22, 2014 @12:13PM (#46311189)

      you're confused, most Muslims and most Christians have no problem with evolution.

  • Fine. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by SuricouRaven (1897204)

    More space for the rest of us.

    • by EnsilZah (575600)

      Only until the hard part is done, then it's not suicide anymore.

      • Someone may one day make a lot of money running ferry ships from outpost settlements to Earth and back so very rich Muslims can visit Mecca. The target market may be very tiny, but their religlin obliges them to go if they can afford it.

      • by Tanuki64 (989726)

        Oopps... nope... Mars mission is nothing for me... No women for the rest of my life.

        • If you're a typical /.er, how is that different from your life until now?

          Disclaimer; I am married to a breathtakingly beautiful Indonesian doctor lady who earns so much more than I do.
  • by Mr_Wisenheimer (3534031) on Saturday February 22, 2014 @04:39AM (#46309817)

    After all, Tobacco leads to the premature death of most people who use it.

    I always thought of suicide as the act of killing yourself just for the sake of killing yourself. While one might call something a "suicide mission", that is not the same as suicide, is it? If a soldier stays behind to man a turret in the face of certain death to provide covering fire so his comrades can escape, is he committing suicide?

  • Bringing a child into this world is murder. You know that new life will die. There is 0 chance that they will live forever. Therefor you create life while knowing it will suffer and die. This is a pretty flimsy case. There are other things that are just as risky. If not more risky.
  • "All religions"?!

    It makes sense to study what drives the inhabitants of this planet, which is often their religion.

  • Irony (Score:5, Funny)

    by Dunbal (464142) * on Saturday February 22, 2014 @07:29AM (#46310209)

    the religious leaders argue that making the trip would be tantamount to committing suicide, which all religions tend to frown upon."

    Brought to you by the religion that also endorses suicide bombers, because some suicides are actually ok.

  • But... but... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Maritz (1829006) on Saturday February 22, 2014 @07:53AM (#46310265)
    What if there's a school on Mars that has a girl in it? It's not going to blow itself up now, is it?!?! More short-sightedness from the 'clerics'.
  • by msobkow (48369)

    This from a religion famous for suicide bombers.

    What a shame the radicals and terrorists don't actually READ the Koran.

    • by AmiMoJo (196126) * <mojo@world3AAA.net minus threevowels> on Saturday February 22, 2014 @10:41AM (#46310755) Homepage

      The problem is they did read the Koran. It says non believers should be killed. Quite explicitly. Since it is supposed to be god's literal word many scholars have concluded that jihad is pleasing to him. Therefore death as a result of fighting in his name is fine, to be encouraged even.

      Suicide bombing is more contentious, but only in the senses that some people argue against the legitimacy of the war and some argue that it isn't the best way to fight.

      • by msobkow (48369)

        Funny.

        The Koran translation I read explicitly ordered the Muslims to get along with the Jews and the Christians and to live in peace amongst them because they all believe in the same God.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by dskoll (99328)

      Have you actually READ the Koran? It's basically disgusting hate literature. What do you think inspires the radicals and terrorists?

  • by giorgist (1208992) on Saturday February 22, 2014 @08:08AM (#46310311)
    Pretty much anybody staying on earth or even having returned to earth after going to space has died here. There is no technology yet that can change that.
  • they (UAE) say it would be suicide for such a trip but suicide is OK if they strap bombs on a kid to blow up their enemies and do in the name of allah.
  • ...control over the choices of others.

    Israel means "to battle god". Islam means "voluntary submission to god the infinite." Christianity mean saving by sacrificing savings. Hinduism means going with the whatever flow, and Buddhism means "the awakened one". So Israel wars against Islam sacrificing Christians all with the help of Hindus while Buddhist are "many" busy practicing to be "one awake" in their slumber. And all the rest help fill in any gaps in what is going to be nuclear WWIII due collectives thin

  • ... to the Mars Needs Women campaign.
  • As long as they blow themselves up when they get there, it'll be OK.

  • by nurb432 (527695) on Saturday February 22, 2014 @11:57AM (#46311099) Homepage Journal

    Its no more suicide than it is to settle in another country with no intent to return, and live the rest of your life there. The 'Mars settlers' plan on living the 'normal' remainder of their life, not just getting there to starve to death in a couple of weeks. ( sure, accidents happen but the plan is what is relevant )

    Or as a Muslim you are required to go 'home' before you die?

    Stupid religious fanatics. Get rid of them and the world would be a much happier ( and safer ) place.

    • Its no more suicide than it is to settle in another country with no intent to return, and live the rest of your life there.

      There is a distinction between deliberately and inevitably shortening your life by some action (e.g. by going to Mars), and choosing to live your life in another country. This is about the choosing to die, not about hazard, and not about location. Mars residents can expect to live up to a year, maybe less, maybe slightly more. They have no chance of living a full life.

      This Muslim is not alone in considering the current plans for suicide missions to be ethically problematic. Many of the people signing up f

  • by westlake (615356) on Saturday February 22, 2014 @04:20PM (#46312381)
    Clearing away the brush.

    The Malaysian National Space Agency (MNSA) and its Department of Islamic Development held a two-day conference in April [of 2006]. They invited 150 scholars, scientists, and astronauts to discuss "Islam and Life in Space."

    Five times a day (before sunrise, at midday, in late afternoon, after sunset, and at night), earth-bound muezzins call Muslims to prayer. A spaceship traveling 17,400 miles per hour orbits the earth 16 times in a day. Does that mean praying 80 times in 24 hours?

    If interrupting work to pray is not possible, the astronaut may practice a shorter version of the prayer or combine midday and afternoon prayer times, or the evening and night ones.

    The next problem: Where is Mecca?

    Muslims on Earth face Mecca, in central Saudi Arabia, when they pray. The MNSA suggests that the astronaut pray toward Mecca as much as possible, or at the Earth in general. But if it becomes necessary, the astronaut may simply face any direction.

    How does an Islamic astronaut face Mecca in orbit? [csmonitor.com]

    The conference went on to discuss a broad range of concerns. To sum up: The rituals of the Islamic faith are meant to focus the believer's attention on his relationship with his God. They are not an exercise in puzzle-logic and they do not require a geometric or technological solution.

    Moving on.

    In January 2014, former German astronaut Ulrich Walter strongly criticized the project for ethical reasons. Speaking with Berlin's Tagesspiegel, he estimated the probability of reaching Mars alive at only thirty percent, and that of surviving there more than three months at less than twenty percent. He said, "They make their money with that [TV] show. They don't care what happens to those people in space...

    Mars One [wikipedia.org]

    Captain John Smith ran a tight ship and had no use for the Virginian colonist whose plans were based on magical thinking and not careful planning, adequate material and financial resources and a rigorous internal discipline.

    He published a list of supplies he believed to be the minimum requirements for survival on the frontier: essentially a year's supply of all consumables and durable goods, and allowing for a generous margin of safety.

    New France saw one or two supply ships a year, which may give you some idea of the expense. New France, remember, had an economically viable export trade in furs and unflinching support from the crown. Those ships would be coming, hell or high water. Other colonies were less favored.

    Smith's budget has no allowance for a healthy communal and social life. Entertainment, education, religion and so on.

    No successful American colonial settlement ever began with a base as small as twenty or bound to a space that is at once so physically confined and isolated. I would expect to see alcohol as a problem. I would expect to see suicide as a problem.

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