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What do meteorites during Ramadan mean?

Khaleej Times logo Khaleej Times 03/06/2019 Sarwat Nasir
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Meteorites shooting over skies during the last 10 days of Ramadan does not mean a catastrophe is  coming, nor does it have any religious significance: this is the message from the Dubai Astronomy Group's CEO, Hasan Al Hariri. 

The comments have been made following "several phone calls" to the astronomy centre from residents asking if the strange fireballs recorded over Australia's skies on May 21 signified the "end of the world" or "religious significance". The stellar show was caught on a security camera and went viral worldwide overnight. Earlier in the Holy month of Ramadan, a fireball was also recorded over Brazil's skies on May 13.

People also asked the astronomy centre if more such occurrences were going to take place during the last 10 days of Ramadan, as one of these nights - specifically one of the odd-numbered dates - is considered as the "Night of Decree' in Islam, known as  Laylatul Qadr.

"Meteorites and meteor showers are a common occurrence - they do not represent any such kind of significance," Al Hariri told Khaleej Times. "We don't have information from our Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) or other sources that indicates Ramadan is associated with any kind of astronomical activity, except the moon observation at the start and end of the month. Ramadan is a holy month and beautiful month, it's for people to purify themselves, not to wait for a catastrophe to happen.

It is written in different hadiths that angels will be traveling down from the skies during Laylatul Qadr and people seem to think meteorites or meteorite showers will represent that movement. So, people call us and ask if the meteorites are related to religion or the month of Ramadan."

The centre also tweeted several images of meteorites flying over the skies in many different days during Ramadan to highlight the common occurrence of these space rocks. 

This is not the first time such calls have been to the astronomy centre. Al Hariri said they often get calls from people who believe in superstitions and insist that astronomical activity represents religious significance, with a few buying into "doomsday" theories.

Last summer, the astronomy centre rejected claims that the "world was ending" because of the rare blood moon that was visible in the skies.

A video had gone viral of a US preacher who made sensational claims that the lunar eclipse was a sign that doomsday is nearby and that "we're in our last days".

The centre also receives "several calls a year" from residents who claim they spotted a UFO (Unidentified Flying Object) over the UAE skies, insisting it was an alien ship.

Al Hariri is encouraging residents to visit or call the astronomy centre - located in Dubai's Mushrif Park - to learn more about astronomy and the science behind it.

sarwat@khaleejtimes.com

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