A newly issued fatwa bans one-way trips to Mars for those practicing Islam, claiming the trip is akin to committing suicide and is therefore prohibited, according to the Khaleej Times.
A fatwa is a scholarly ruling or legal order given by an Islamic religious leader.
"Such a one-way journey poses a real risk to life, and that can never be justified in Islam," a committee under the General Authority of Islamic Affairs and Endowment in the United Arab Emirates said, according to the Khaleej Times. "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."
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As such, death will have occurred for no "righteous reason," the committee said, leading to punishment "similar to that of suicide in the Hereafter," the Times reported.
As strange as a one-way trip to the Red Planet may seem, Dutch company Mars One is planning such a journey and more than 200,000 people applied to participate
, and the list had been whittled to 1,058 candidates from 107 countries as of December 2013
"Protecting life against all possible dangers and keeping it safe is an issue agreed upon by all religions and is clearly stipulated in verse 4/29 of the Holy Quran: Do not kill yourselves or one another. Indeed, Allah is to you ever merciful," said Professor Dr. Farooq Hamada, who heads the fatwa committee, The Huffington Post reported
Mars One responded with a statement that asked the authorities to cancel the fatwa
, maintaining that they are taking every precaution to reduce the risk of death, and also includes a verse from the Quran that "encourages Muslims to go out and see the signs of God's creation in the 'heavens and the earth,'" and adds that the first Martian settlers would "walk in the footsteps of great Muslim explorers like Ibn Battuta, the 14th century Moroccan journeyman whose travels took him across North Africa, the Middle East and Asia."
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