During this holy month of Ramadan, the real Muslims are finally getting the good attention they deserve.
Time magazine recently featured Photo Essays of Breaking Ramadan’s Fast featuring Muslims celebrating Ramadan all over the world. The photos capture everything from women selling dates, the traditional break-fasting fruit, in Jordan to men breaking the fast at a refugee camp in Afghanistan. The most poignant of these pictures, however, is of a Pakistani flood victim warming tea for the traditional suhoor meal prior to beginning the fast. How these devoted Muslims find the strength to heed God’s call of duty in such dire conditions, is inconceivable.
The New York Times recently published an article about how consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies and advertising agencies are beginning to cater brand messages to the 1.57 billion Muslims worldwide. Unilever is pitching Sunsilk’s Lively Clean & Fresh shampoo to Muslim women who cover their head in Malaysia; Colgate-Palmolive is printing halal logos on their toothpaste and mouthwash in Malaysia to make it clear that their products are permissible in Islam; and Nokia has been launching Muslim friendly applications such as Islamic prayer timetables and e-books. What’s more is that advertising agency Ogilvy & Mather launched a new department – Ogilvy Noor, which means light in Arabic, devoted to Islamic marketing. Just take a look at your Iphone – Muslim applications are pouring in to fill the growing consumer needs of Muslims all over the world. This is just the beginning, however, as companies will continue to compete to capture the growing consumer segment of Muslims.
And Newsweek is promoting a new book entitled Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void, in which Mary Roach explores the daily life of human beings tackling zero-gravity life, from motion sickness to bladder control. However, what’s most intriguing is her study of prayer in space. In space, astronauts operate on 90-minute day vs. the traditional 24-hour day, so Muslims drafted a document entitled “Guideline for Performing Ibadah (worship in Arabic) at the International Space Station” for Muslim astronauts, instructing them to pray their 5 daily prayers every 24 hour vs. every 90 minutes, and simply face Earth rather than search for Makkah. Praying in space – not a dilemma you hear about every day.
In case you were wondering who these Muslim astronauts are, here’s the list so far:
– Sultan Salam Al Saud from Saudi Arabia on June 17, 1985
– Muhammed Faris of Syria on July 22, 1987
– Musa Manarov of Azerbaijan on December 21, 1987
– Abdul Ahad Mohmand of Afghanistan on August 29, 1988
– Talgat Musabavev of Kazakhstan on November 4, 1994; August 25, 1998; and May 6, 2001
– Salizhan Sharipov of Kyrgyzstan on January 20,1998
– First female Muslim astronaut Anousheh Ansari of Iran on September 18, 2006
– Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor of Malysia on October 10, 2007