The Deeply Rooted Symbols of Islam And Their Meanings -

The Deeply Rooted Symbols of Islam And Their Meanings

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By ummah

The Muslim world is adorned with many Islamic symbols that hold great significance. Throughout the centuries, from the time of the Prophet Muhammad to the Ottoman Empire, these symbols have been a reflection of Islamic traditions, Islamic law, and the very essence of the Muslim faith.

Let’s take a look at a few of these religious symbols associated with Islam, to understand their origins and significance. 

The Islamic Art and the Color Green

A particularly prominent emblem of the Islamic faith is the color green, frequently seen in Islamic art and on the flags of many Muslim countries, such as Saudi Arabia. This color is deeply tied to the religion’s symbolic meanings; it is often referred to as the color of Muhammad and is associated with paradise in many Islamic cultures.

To find out more about Islam and the color green, this article is fascinating.

Green is also notably present in Islamic books, specifically the green bindings used on copies of the Qur’an. Green, therefore, in addition to being a color of religious significance, serves as an important symbol of identity and belief for Muslims worldwide.

green quran and tasbeeh

Related: The Hardest Surahs to Memorise in the Quran and the Rewards for Perseverance

The Five Pillars of Islam

The Five Pillars of Islam is arguably the best-known symbol of Islam. These pillars represent the five basic acts of worship that form the foundation of a Muslim’s life. They include the Shahada (faith), Salat (prayer), Zakat (charity), Sawm (fasting), and Hajj (pilgrimage to Mecca).

Every Friday, Muslims gather for Friday prayers in the prayer hall of mosques, often adorned with Arabic calligraphy and Islamic art. The tall tower, or minaret, from which the call to prayer is announced, has become another significant visual symbol of Islam.

The Crescent Moon and Star

The image of a crescent moon with a star has become an official symbol of Islam and is used widely across the Muslim world. This symbol, while a common emblem on Islamic coins since the late seventh century, was popularized by the Ottoman Turks when they conquered the city of Byzantium.

The exact origin of the crescent moon and star as Islamic symbols is unclear. However, the crescent moon holds particular significance in the Islamic lunar calendar. The sighting of the new moon marks the beginning of a new month. The new moon’s significance is particularly evident during Ramadan, the holy month of fasting, and during the Hajj pilgrimage.

islam symbol crescent moon star

The star often accompanying the crescent moon is traditionally a five-pointed star. This star, not to be confused with the Star of David from the Christian and Jewish faiths, is a popular interpretation of the Five Pillars of Islam, each point representing one pillar.

You can read more here about the significance and symbolism of the crescent moon across cultures.

The Role of Arabic Calligraphy

Arabic calligraphy is a distinctive aspect of Islamic art, often decorating mosques, books, and monuments. With the prohibition on the depiction of human and animal figures in art, Muslim scholars and artists have developed an intricate and beautiful style of writing. The Arabic script serves not only for communication but also as an art form and a form of religious expression.

arabic calligraphy art

The Bismillah (“In the name of Allah”) and the Shahada (“There is no god but Allah, and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah”) are among the most common phrases rendered in calligraphy. Phrases like “Allahu Akbar” (God is Great) are often seen on flags, like the simple solid-colored flags of Saudi Arabia and other Islamic countries.

bismillah calligraphy

Other Symbols in Islam

Several other symbols, while not as globally recognized, play important roles within the Islamic community. 

The Rub El Hizb, an intricate star symbol used to mark sections of the Qur’an, is one such symbol. 

The Black Banner, originally carried by the first Caliph, Abu Bakr, and later used by various Islamic dynasties, is another. 

The Red Crescent, akin to the International Red Cross, is used by Muslim countries and societies to symbolize aid and humanitarian efforts, particularly in times of war.

The use of geometric shapes, also prevalent in Islamic art, has a deep symbolic significance. Circles, squares, and other forms reflect the Islamic emphasis on unity, symmetry, and the natural order of the universe.

Islam and Symbols in the Modern World

In recent years, the Islamic symbols we’ve discussed have continued to evolve, serving both religious and identification purposes. They can be seen in various forms, from the green flag waved by followers during religious processions, to the symbols that represent Islamic organizations, like the Red Crescent Societies.

The influence of these symbols has even reached the United States military, where a crescent can be used to denote the Muslim faith on a soldier’s dog tag.

Moreover, symbols from the Ottoman Empire, such as the crescent moon and star, are displayed on the flags of several countries, including Turkey, Pakistan, and Malaysia.

As Islam is the second largest religion globally, these symbols serve as a unifying force across different cultures and regions, from the Middle East to Northern Africa and beyond.

Pakistan flag green with a crescent moon and star

In conclusion, symbols play an important role in the Islamic faith. They not only represent the religion’s core principles and teachings but also act as a source of identity, unity, and spiritual connection for Muslims worldwide.

From the color green to Arabic calligraphy, from the Crescent Moon and Star to the Pillars of Islam, each symbol has a unique history and a special place in the hearts of Muslims. These symbols act as a shining light, guiding Muslims through their journey of faith, embodying the spiritual and moral values inherent in Islam.

The understanding and appreciation of these symbols bring us closer to comprehending the richness of Islamic traditions, as shaped by the Prophet Muhammad, early Muslim authorities, and later generations of Muslim scholars. Today, these symbols continue to resonate with millions of Muslims, representing their devotion and commitment to their faith, and remain a powerful testament to Islam’s enduring legacy.

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