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 Islam a specific symbol like the cross is for Christians and the Star of David is for Jews.
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:
Star and Crescent
This is the symbol most commonly associated with Islam, though it has little to do with the faith.
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.
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.
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
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.
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: