Monday, April 26, 2010

While Pondering Life's Mysteries ...

I was looking at the CNN website today, and I saw an opinion piece by a woman named Anousheh Ansari.

Ansari is an Iranian–American businesswoman who was the first Muslim woman in space.

I'm glad to see articles like that because they show us things that cultures have in common, and sometimes they shatter myths that serve as barriers between cultures.

Ansari recites a litany of the labels she has been given and protests the "labels we put on ourselves and let others put on us." I appreciate her resistance to labels.

I, too, try to avoid labeling people, but I can't help wondering something about a Muslim in space. Ansari doesn't address it in her column, and I would appreciate it if someone would tell me if anyone has ever talked about this.

Muslims are supposed to perform ritual prayers called salah five times each day, and they are supposed to face Mecca while doing so.

As I understand it, these prayers are mandatory, but, depending on the circumstances, there is a certain amount of wiggle room on the specifics, so what does a Muslim in space do about facing Mecca? Does he/she even bother with that part of it and just go ahead with the prayers?

Or does he/she simply face in the direction of the earth, whichever direction that may be?

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