A Muslim organization in the United Arab Emirates has issued a fatwa barring followers of Islam from living on Mars, according to a Wednesday report in the British newspaper the Daily Mail.
The fatwa was issued after Mars One, a Netherlands-based non-profit which aims to colonize the red planet, announced that it will build a colony for four people on Earth's nearest neighbor by 2025.
The Islamic organization, the General Authority of Islamic Affairs and Endowment, explained that the attempt to colonize Mars is dangerous and equivalent to suicide, which is forbidden in Islam.
"A one-way journey like this presents substantial mortal danger and this cannot be justified according to Islamic law. There is the possibility that a man who travels to Mars will not survive and die," read the fatwa.
The explorers, claims the state-run organization, will die for no justifiable reason and will be punished in the afterlife in the same manner as a person who commits suicide.
The chairman of the committee which examined the issue for the Muslim authority, Professor Farook Hamada, said that the sanctity of life is paramount: "Protecting life from all danger – keeping it safe – is important for all religions and is written in the Koran, 'Do not kill yourselves or one another.' Allah is merciful."
A Mars One press release announced that in the coming years several missions to Mars will launch from Earth, including two rovers, communication satellites, and equipment for colony construction.