Muslims Banned From Mars
Islamic scholars prohibit one-way journeys to the Red Planet
Muslims who dream of traveling to Mars are being told that a proposed one-way journey to settle Mars is prohibited by Islam.
A committee of the General Authority of Islamic Affairs and Endowment, an Islamic institution in the United Arab Emirates, has issued a Red Planet “fatwa,” or religious legal judgment, according to Khaleej Times.
“Such a one-way journey poses a real risk to life, and that can never be justified in Islam,” the committee said, according to the article. “There is a possibility that an individual who travels to planet Mars may not be able to remain alive there.”
Anyone undertaking the perilous voyage to the Red Planet is likely to die for no “righteous reason,” the committee reportedly said, and thus will suffer a “punishment similar to that of suicide in the Hereafter.”
Lest you interpret this as a bizarre ruling by some obscure fundamentalist cleric, remember that the ruling addressed only one-way trips to Mars. Which is exactly what an organization called Mars One is planning. It seems the denouncement is a specific reaction to the planned expedition.
The Mars One group is putting together a program that it claims could set up an unmanned settlement on Mars by 2023—followed by human settlers in 2025 … and then more Earth immigrants every two years.
The project would use existing space technology to reach Mars, which has already been visited by numerous satellites and several intrepid robotic landers.
While Mars One has a plan for sending humans to Mars, it has no idea how to bring them back. “A ‘one-way’ trip (or, in other words: emigration) to Mars is currently the only way we can get people on Mars within the next 20 years,” the organization states.
“This in no way excludes the possibility of a return flight at some point in the future,” Mars One continues. “It is likely that technological progress will make this less complex down the line, not to mention the fact that once the planet is inhabited, it will be that much easier to build the returning rocket there.”
Mars One argues that settling Mars is actually very Islamic. The group quotes the Koran saying that “among His Signs is the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the variations in your languages and your colors: verily in that are Signs for those who know.”
The Mars One response points to several famous Muslim explorers and urges the General Authority of Islamic Affairs and Endowment to focus on the benefits as well as the risks of the trip.
The fatwa seems to boil down to this: a one-way trip to Mars is a form of suicide, which is a sin under Islam and many other religions. Whether the Islamic ban will discourage any Muslims from actually making the trip is unlikely.
Anyone signing up for Mars One will know exactly what they are getting into—and will surely have made peace with their own doubts.