Originally posted by serigado
If he is in the antipode of Mecca? (i guess somewhere in the French Polynesia, in the middle of the pacific). Anyplace where he can turn (tangent to the surface) is equally close to Mecca, or must he turn down, into the floor (i guess this is the closest straight line)?
Every set of laws has exceptions or cases where the law is difficult or impossible to apply. When a religion teaches that certain laws must be obeyed to the letter then problems will always arise. However I have been told by a Muslim that most rules should be followed to the best of your ability and when you don't know the correct thing to do you may be forgiven. For example if you accidentally eat something that was not Halal then you might be forgiven (unless it was due to carelessness ie not even bothering to ask).
In Cape Town the last day of Ramadan is celebrated on two different days by two sets of Muslims because of different interpretations of the rule. I believe the day is based on the moon, but the question is whether the moon is seen from Mecca or from the location of the person in question. Apparently this interpretation difference has lead to a significant split in the Muslim community.
Extreme interpretation of laws leads to other interesting things such as a Jew saying that it is wrong to drag a chair on the Sabbath as that is considered plowing (work), or if the chair has more than two rungs in the back then it is a ladder etc.
On the opposite end we have Christians who have generally discarded almost all rules and regulations with precious little justification for doing so.