UAE astronaut takes Mecca's photo from space, goes viraltext_fields
Riyadh: UAE astronaut Sultan Al Neyadi has captured the attention of the world with a viral photograph of Mecca taken from space.
"Today is Arafat Day, a pivotal day during Hajj, that reminds us that faith is not just about belief, but also action and reflection. May it inspire us all to strive for compassion, humility, and unity. Here's a view of the holy site of Mecca that I captured yesterday," he tweeted.
It has been viewed over 1.5 lakh times.
Mecca and the Hajj pilgrimage, one of the five pillars of Islam, is significant for devotees. On the Day of Arafat, millions of pilgrims gather around Mount Arafat, near Mecca in Saudi Arabia, to pray. This pilgrimage is obligatory for all Muslims who have the means to do so, at least once in their lifetime. The Hajj ritual commences on the seventh day of Dhu al-Hijjah, the final month of the Islamic calendar, and concludes on the twelfth day.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Saudi authorities implemented restrictions last year, limiting the number of pilgrims and imposing an age cap of 65. These measures were eventually lifted in January 2023, enabling a larger hajj gathering with the participation of thousands of elderly individuals.
It is not clear whether Al Neyadi has undertaken the pilgrimage himself. But the timing of his photo resonates with the spiritual occasion.
Sultan Al Neyadi's awe-inspiring photograph of Mecca from space served as a powerful reminder of the significance of the holy site and the profound impact of the Hajj pilgrimage on the lives of millions of Muslims around the world. The image has captivated people across the world as it offers a unique perspective of the sacred location and inspires a sense of wonder and unity.
Al Neyadi, currently on a six-month mission aboard the International Space Station (ISS), shared the image on his official Twitter account just before the global celebration of Eid. His achievement as the first Arab astronaut to perform a spacewalk has further added to his historic feat. Prior to his spacewalk, Al Neyadi underwent extensive training for over 55 hours at NASA's Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory (NBL) in Houston, Texas.