Did you know that travelling to Mars is forbidden [haram], or a sin? Saudi religious scholar Shaikh Ali Al Hekmi told Al Hayat newspaper that travelling to the red planet is off limits to human beings, whose life should not be squandered.
The fatwa (religious edict) was issued following an announcement by Mars One project that it was organising a one-way trip to the planet, in the hope of creating the first human settlement there. According to Al Hayat, six out of 477 Saudi citizens who have applied for the trip (of a lifetime) have been accepted for the mission.
On Twitter, Saudis took jabs at the ridiculousness of some fatwas coming out of the absolute monarchy under the Arabic hashtag #الاشتراك_في_رحلة_المريخ_حرام, which translates to Participating in the Trip to Mars is Haram.
#الاشتراك_في_رحلة_المريخ_حرام متى ؟ وين ؟ ليه ما احد قالي ؟ طيب يمديني أسجل معهم ؟
— مثائل (@mthaail) October 31, 2013
When? Where? Why hasn't anyone informed me? How do I register with them?
And the jokes continue:
I hope they open an office for the Commission to Promote Virtue and Prevent Vice [religious police] on Mars. And while we are on the topic, what is the religious law for mating with aliens?
Ms Doshe suspected that the fatwa was issued to distract Saudis from the recent clampdown on the women driving campaign. She tweets:
Don't try to change the topic. We are still on the women driving issue
Blogger Khaled Abdulrahman says driving on the Saudi capital Riyadh's roads is more dangerous than travelling to Mars:
Riyadh's roads are a more dangerous adventure! Member of the Saudi Scholar's Higher Council Ali Al Hekmi sais that taking part in the trip to Mars is forbidden in Islam because it is a mission that will likely end in the demise of its participants
Dr Mohamed bin Abdulaziz adds:
#الاشتراك_في_رحلة_المريخ_حرام انصحكم يا سادة دعوا الارض فقد شبكوها بصكوك الوعاظ.. والمريخ من ارض الله الواسعة، ياليت التحريم عن سرقة المال.
— د/ محمد بن عبدالعزيز (@binaziz2012) October 31, 2013
I advise you to leave Earth as it is being stifled by religious scholars. Mars is part of God's land. I had hoped that they would forbid the theft of money
What is acceptable for you except for polygamy and abusing women under the guise of rehabilitating them and cursing people under the pretext that you are zealous for religion?
And Muteb Al Amari addresses the scholar saying:
#الاشتراك_في_رحلة_المريخ_حرام محد طلب راي فضيلتكم ،، وشكراً
— Muteb Al-Aamri (@MutibMusa) October 31, 2013
No one has asked for your opinion. Thank you.