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Islamic Symbols

Symbols of Islam

First, it should be known, there are no official Islamic symbols. By that, I mean there are no symbolic items or logos mentioned in either the Quran or the hadith (statements and traditions of Prophet Muhammad).

Too often people, Muslims included, try to give IslamĀ  a specific symbol like the cross is for Christians and the Star of David is for Jews.

What you see today as symbols of Islam are actually remnants of past empires and modern Arab nationalism. They have little if anything to do with actual Islamic beliefs.

But over the years, several different symbols have come to represent Islam and Muslims. The most popular of these, is of course the star and crescent. But once again, there is nothing in the Quran legitimizing this.

This is a brief overview of some of the more popular Islamic symbols:

Popular Symbols

Star and Crescent

This is the symbol most commonly associated with Islam, though it has little to do with the faith.

star-and-crescent

Star and Crescent

The origins of the star and crescent are somewhat unknown and muddled. However, it was the flag of the Ottoman Empire which was the dominant Muslim power for almost 700 years.

Hence, the European world always associated the Ottomans with Islam. And since the Ottomans represented Islam, their flag came to represent Islam as well. For instance, when people see the Statue of Liberty, they immediately associate it with the Unites States of America.

But you don’t need to be a historian to know that the Founding Fathers did not designate the statue as a symbol of America.

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Likewise, Prophet Muhammad never designated the star and crescent as a symbol of Islam. This, like all other so-called “Islamic symbols” came about centuries after he passed.

So now, most of the world still associates the star and crescent with Islam. Many Muslims also take the star and crescent is an Islamic symbol.

I will admit, it does look pretty cool. But it ain’t right.

Shahadatain

Saudi Flag

Saudi Flag

Another popular symbol in Islam is the Shahadatain which means “two Shahadas.” The Shahada is the Muslim statement of faith.

The Shahadatain is more representative of Islam than the star and crescent. The Shahada is the most fundamental belief in Islam. In order for a person to become Muslim, they must recite the Shahada.

For more information about what the shahada means, I encourage you to read my post on the 5 pillars of Islam. You’ll find it very useful in understanding the basics of Islam.

Eight Pointed Star

8 Pointed Star

8 Pointed Star

The eight pointed star is prevalent throughout most of the Muslim world. It can be seen on flags, mosques, and Qurans.

This is not really a symbol of Islam per se. But Muslims have always used geometry and shapes to express themselves artistically. This is mostly because Islam generally looks down upon drawing, painting, or sculpting images of living creatures.

So Muslims of the past used Arabic calligraphy and shapes to create beautiful Islamic designs. The 8 pointed star is a result of this.

This symbol is made by overlapping two squares, as seen in the picture above:

The eight-pointed star was used to help keep track of Quranic recitation.

Colors as Symbols in Islam

Certain colors have become very symbolic in Islam as well. The most prominent two colors are green and white.

The color green has been associated with Islam for centuries. Allah mentions the color green in several Quranic verses as the color of clothing in paradise.

During the times of the Islamic Caliphate, the two main factions took on specific colors. The Umayyad Caliphate had White flags while the Abbassid Caliphate had black flags.

Today, many Arab nations utilize the colors of Pan-Arabism in their flags: Red, White, Green, and Black.

Egyptian Flag

Egyptian Flag

Syrian Flag

Syrian Flag

Jordanian Flag

Jordanian Flag

Iraqi Flag

Iraqi Flag

yemeni-flag

Yemeni Flag

Palestinian Flag

Palestinian Flag

Many of these symbols and colors are popular throughout the world. But it should be remembered that there are no official symbols of Islam. These are just things that we have come to associate with Muslims.

For further reading on Islamic symbols you may enjoy:

Heraldic symbols: Islamic insignia and western heraldry

SYMBOLS, MEANING, AND THE SACRED QUEST: Spiritual Awakening in Jewish, Christian and Islamic Stories

Related Articles:

Kaaba

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9 Responses to Islamic Symbols

  1. Michael says:

    I AM PUTTING TOGETHER A CHILDREN’S BOOK, AND WONDER IF THERE IS A SYMBOL FOR “FRIDAY” THAT IS RECOGNIZABLE FOR MUSLIMS. IN AMERICAN CULTURE, WITH ITS SEVEN DAY WEEK, SUNDAY IS “HOLY” FOR CHRISTIANS, SATURDAY FOR JEWS, AND FRIDAY (A SCHOOL DAY) HOLY FOR MUSLIMS. SATURDAY IS NAMED (IN THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE) FOR SATURN, AN OLD LARGELY FORGOTTEN GREEK/ROMAN GOD (ZEUS’ FATHER…) AND, OF COURSE, SUNDAY IS NAMED FOR THE SUN. MOST LINGUISTIC SOURCES POINT TO “FRIDAY” COMING FROM NORSE MYTHOLOGY, (FRIGA BEING ONE SPELLING, AND RELATING HER TO VENUS…..WHICH I CAN’T VERIFY) WHICH OF COURSE IS NOT RELEVANT TO ISLAMIC PRACTICE….

    MY BOOK, INTENDED FOR THE VERY YOUNG, WILL NOT “EXPLAIN” ANY OF THIS, BUT I HOPE TO SHOW IN SUBTLE WAYS THAT IT IS POSSIBLE, AND DESIRABLE, NOW MORE THAN EVER, TO RESPECT AND SHOW REVERENCE FOR EVERY FAITH. SO, WHEN I PUT IN A “WHEEL” OF THE SEVEN DAYS, I WOULD LIKE TO BE ABLE TO REPRESENT FRIDAY WITH A PARTICULAR SYMBOL, AND NOT JUST THE WORD. WHAT IS THE BEST CHOICE FROM THE POINT OF VIEW OF IT BEING HOLY FOR MUSLIMS? ANY SUGGESTIONS?

    • Michael says:

      I enjoyed the website.

    • Abu Ibrahim says:

      Hello Michael and thank you for visiting Islamic Learning Materials.

      The Arabic word for Friday is Yawmul Jumuah, which means “The Day of Gathering.” It’s often just called Jumuah (Gathering). This is because this is the day that Muslims gather together for communal prayer. I don’t know if you can make a symbol representing people gathering or praying together, but that would be the best representation (I believe) from a Muslim’s point of view.

      I hope your book is successful. Literature like this is needed in these days of rising mistrust and xenophobia.

    • Fahmy says:

      Hi michael, please send ur book name to email address fahmy2001@hotmail.com

  2. jesse lezama says:

    this was very useful and straight to point.lolz.

  3. [...] not a typo. I really despise the so-called Islamic symbol of the star and crescent. I hate it because it has absolutely nothing to do with Allah, His [...]

  4. Kim Troy says:

    I think you need a couple more symbols, please, Abu Ibrahim. It’s ok, but not stellar, and not exactly the source I was hoping for. I am doing a school project, and need this information fast. It’s not a wonderful website, nor is it terrible. Mediocre, to say the most.

    • Muttaqi says:

      I agree that more symbols would be better. Unfortunately, Islam really isn’t a symbolic religion. Many of the symbols that do exist now are really more or less, nationalistic and dynastic symbols. There are very few, true Islamic symbols.

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