UAE astronaut Sultan AlNeyadi has posted a video of Makkah, Madina and Jeddah lit up on the night of the 27th of Ramadan, capturing the attention of Muslims around the world. AlNeyadi is currently on the longest Arab space mission on the International Space Station (ISS) and shared the video taken from the orbiting laboratory. He dedicated it to the country of the Two Holy Mosques, the landing site of revelation and the land of the message, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. AlNeyadi pointed out the light from the Masjid Al Haram, which can be seen shining bright even from space. The video has captured the imagination of Muslims around the world.
The four Russian astronauts who visited the Prince Salman Science Oasis (PSSO) told Saudi students that while taking a picture of some beautiful cities from outer space, the brightest and beautiful cities he saw were Makkah and Madinah, specifically the spots in the centers of the two holy cities. The astronauts came as part of the Association of Space Explorers (ASE) program during their 25th Assembly in Riyadh. The four Russian astronauts who visited the oasis are Andrey Borisenko, Alexander Samokutyaev, Anton Shkaplerov and their interpreter Boris Meshcherykov. PSSO is a nonprofit organization charged with developing an interactive science center. Through the science center and associated activities, PSSO aims to improve public awareness of science and to promote scientific knowledge and its practical applications in terms of promoting peace and how this knowledge can benefit mankind as a whole.
The Mayor of Madinah welcomed the astronauts, saying “You are not Russians, you are earthlings, I am not a Saudi man, I am an earthling and we are brothers in the service of humanity. You people are so blessed because out of seven billion people on Earth you were able to go to space and understand the universe around you.” He continued: “This is the difference, you see the big picture. I am not blessed as you but I am trying to see the picture, you see the big picture through your hearts and through your eyes. You are blessed that’s why when you say that you have that bright picture of Madinah you are showing me something very precious. You are going through the philosophy of life to make a difference in your research in medicine, helping communication, transportation and environment and so on.”
Taher, the PSSO’s Supervisor General, told Arab News that the Russian astronaut’s observation was inspiring from a spiritual point of view. He said the noteworthy point was how, amid thousands of cities on Earth, the brightest lights he saw from space were the ones coming from Makkah and Madinah. Taher also paid tribute to Prince Salman for his support for PSSO and his dedication to the cause of strengthening the role of science in Saudi Arabia.
The video posted by AlNeyadi and the comments made by the Russian astronauts have captured the imagination of Muslims worldwide. The view of the two holy cities from space has been described as a breathtaking and unprecedented spectacle. Through their missions, astronauts have the unique ability to see the Earth from a different perspective and remind us of the fragility and beauty of our planet. This reminds us of the importance of protecting our planet and its inhabitants and working towards a peaceful future for all.