Hazza Al Mansouri at the Baikonur Cosmodrome Museum in Kazakhstan as per pre-launch traditions. Image Credit: sUPPLIED

“As a professional pilot, I'm used to praying while flying at high speed," UAE’s first Emirati astronaut Hazzaa Al Mansoori said at a news conference in Baikonur yesterday when asked about praying.

As a Muslim, Hazzaa has to pray 5 times a day, but the question is how he would do it - due to time and space constraints. Hazzaa will be orbiting the earth every 90 minutes, which means he will be witnessing 16 sunsets and sunrises a day.

"Of course in space it will look a little different. I plan to record a prayer as I go down to earth, " he added. 

So how will he pray five times a day and how will he figure out which way Makkah is?

Dubai Islamic affairs have tackled this dilemma for Hazzaa with a prayer booklet, and recommended for Hazza to follow the timings of Makkah in Saudi Arabia. As the land where the message of Islam started, this, they said, would be easier and better than the country of the launch.

In the booklet, the scholars at Dubai Islamic affairs have said that Hazzaa in space won’t be absolved from praying or fasting, and he has to administer those worships as a Muslim. They advised him to face Earth while praying if possible.

A song to my mother

As astronauts wait, strapped in, in the spacecraft, music is played to them right before the space flight begins. It’s a tradition and it helps calm them before the flight.

When asked if they have chosen a song that will be played to him while they're sitting on the Soyuz spacecraft before launch, Hazzaa said: "I chose one song for my mom because I believe that we're all here because of our parents. I chose one song for her to thank her."

Hazzaa’s first words before lift-off

Hazzaa was asked by Yusuf Abdal Bari from Dubai TV about what he would say before lift-off - since Yuri Gagarin, the first man in space, has the famous line "Poyekhali" which means "Let's go!" and Neil Armstrong, first man on the moon, has another popular line "Houston, we have lift-off."

Hazzaa said as part of his culture, he entrusts everything to God, and said he thought his first line would be, “Tawakal na ala Allah,” which is Arabic for “We rely on the name of the almighty Allah.”