Muslim clerics have issued a religious ruling (“fatwa”) forbidding any Muslim from traveling to Mars. The ruling, published in the UAE’s Khaleej Times, says that space travel in general, and to Mars specifically, is too dangerous.
“Such a one-way journey poses a real risk to life, and that can never be justified in Islam,” the clerics wrote. By taking such a dangerous trip astronauts were taking unacceptable risks, the ruling says; if they ended up dead, they would suffer the same punishment in the Hereafter meted out to those who commit suicide – namely, an eternity in Hell.
The ruling came in response to a campaign by the Mars One organization, which is gearing up for commercial and passenger flights to the red planet. The group hopes to establish a colony on Mars by 2025. According to Mars One, at least 500 Saudis are among the 200,000 applicants for a seat on the first Mars missions.
The ruling was issued by the General Authority of Islamic Affairs and Endowment (GAIAE) in the UAE, led by Professor Dr Farooq Hamada, who cited verses in the Koran forbidding endangering oneself or others. “Such a one-way journey poses a real risk to life, and that can never be justified in Islam. There 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,” according to the ruling.
According to the Daily Mail, the GAIAE was established in 2008, and has issued some 2 million religious rulings in that time.