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Sunday, August 10, 2008

Some Muslims believe that astronauts heard call to prayer on the moon

I just read a fatwa in Arab News where the response included an answer to a question that was not published:
As for your other questions, I may say that there is no truth whatsoever in the story of an American astronaut having heard the call to prayer as he landed on the moon. He denied it himself. It simply does not fit. There are no humans living on the moon. There may be other creatures, having a totally different form of life, but then they would not be using human language in calling to prayers.
Which prompts the question: do some Muslims believe that astronauts heard the Muslim call to prayer on the moon?

Sure enough, there has been such a belief among some Muslims for decades. Muslim newspapers published these rumors as fact in 1983 (you can see some of the titles in this footnote to a biography of Neil Armstrong) and it is still being spread.

Here is how the current version of the rumor looks:
Armstrong and his two fellow astronauts, Aldrin and Collins, saw an object on the Moon’s horizon, which looked like an open book, and then they heard some mysterious “music.” They reported this back to Earth. At first, no one on Earth believed them: how could there be a book on the Moon and music in airless space? But the “music” was also heard on Earth over the radio transmission, and the “book” was photographed.

It is believed that the book the astronauts saw on the Moon is the prototype of the earthly Koran that exists in the heavens.

But all this information was classified.

In February 1983, fourteen years after his flight to the Moon, Astronaut Neil Armstrong went to Egypt to participate in a scientific conference. During the meeting, the azan sounded. Armstrong, sitting in the presidium, went pale and asked: “What is that music?” Surprised by the astronaut’s behavior, the conference participants explained that it was the Muslim call to prayer. “That voice. That’s what I heard when I first stepped on the Moon, hearing it is giving me goose bumps!… O Allah! I found You not on Earth, but on the Moon!… I stepped onto the Moon without praying, but now I will pray, you can consider me a Muslim.” So the first person to walk on the Moon, American astronaut Neil Armstrong, became a Muslim.

Later a NASA employee, who recorded all the conversations between the spaceship and Earth during the astronauts’ time on the Moon, declassified this information by allowing the public to listen to the tape.
The same website goes into full details:

Astronaut Aldrin: “We can see some object that looks like an open book. Right above the Sea of Tranquility (Mare Tranquillitatis).”

Astronaut Armstrong: “It looks like two rings, or to be more exact, like an open book.”

Astronaut Collins: “I changed the position of the sextant, now we can clearly see that it is shaped like a book.”

Observation from Earth: “What are you talking about, how can there be a book on the Moon?”

The voices were recorded on tape. The next day the book disappeared, however some external interference constantly jammed the radio transmission, a sound kept breaking in similar to the siren of a fire engine.

Collins: “Earth, can you hear me, get rid of the interference, that siren, or I’ll go deaf…”

Earth: “That sound is not coming from Earth, it’s coming from without, are you sure there isn’t another ship there besides yours?”

Armstrong: “And now some music has started, Earth, are you going to get rid of the music or not?”

Earth: “Everything here is in working order. The music is coming from you.”

Aldrin: “What nonsense! Can we agree or not? That music is coming from you!”

* * *

The next day, Armstrong went onto the Moon again. “The Eagle has landed!” he said with emotion. A person was walking on the Moon for the first time. Suddenly the sound like a siren was heard again. But this time (this is all recorded on tape), the following words were heard: “RABBI-EL ARDZ-DINI ENDAHU-IZA-KUN-ALIM.”

Earth: “Hey, who’s talking?”

Armstrong was walking on the Moon at this time. Again the sound of music was heard: “Ashgadu ala illaga illallag.” (I testify – there is no God but Allah.)

Earth: “UFOs again? What were the words in that music?”

Collins: “Ashan mahatma rasamballa…,” something like that. Sounds like Indian…”

Armstrong: “I heard it (the Arabian prayer presented above. – Ed.) to the end. It somehow makes you feel good. I think it’s from African radio stations…”

Aldrin: “I changed the frequency, the same sound again. It’s coming from the Moon. It’s not a radio wave. It’s something hard to believe.”

Earth: “What, have you all gone crazy up there? How can there be sound in airless space?” Collins: “So what is it then? UFOs?”

Armstrong: “Can UFOs be shaped like books?”

Earth: “A strange indisposition. Or some space wave? It’s obvious that the voices, sounds, are all figments of your imagination?”

Armstrong: “You can’t take pictures of figments! You can’t record an imaginary voice on tape!”

Earth: “Alright, but how can sound spread in airless space?”

Sometime later, the astronauts returned to Earth. The cassettes were listened to again. In the meantime, consultations were held with Al-Baz, NASA’s executive secretary. He gave an explanation of the “music” heard on the Moon, declaring it to be a holy saying in Arabic.

Much time passed, and Warden, an Apollo 16 astronaut, heard the same “saying.”

What is more, while photographing the Earth in infrared rays, he picked up something akin to the aura of our planet, which looks like the Arabic inscription of the Creator’s name – Allah.

This photograph, which was published in “National Geographic,” has traveled around the whole world.

Details about this hoax can be seen at Answering Islam. Neil Armstrong has had to deny these rumors multiple times, and even the State Department got into the act (click to enlarge):