Tuesday, February 14, 2006


Cobbled together from various net sources.

There is no mention whatsoever of such a symbol in the Koran, nor is there any relationship between the crescent and star and the Prophet. Mohammeds flag was black and white, inscribed "Nasr um min Allah" (with the help of Allah).

The early Muslim community did not have a symbol. During the time of the Prophet Muhammad, Islamic armies and caravans flew simple solid-colored (black, green or white) flags, for the purpose of identification. In later generations, the Muslim leaders continued to use simple black, white or green flags, with no markings, writing or symbols on it.

Today, the star and crescent is widely accepted as a symbol of the Islamic faith and like the cross in Christian countries, is used in decorative arts, jewelry, and national flags. It is also associated with the use of the moon to time festivals. It is, however, not accepted by all Muslims. In fact, many Muslims consider it un-Islamic and even blasphemous.

It is said that the five points of the star stand for the five pillars of Islam but this is also no more than conjecture.

The star and crescent moon is a very ancient symbol that pre-dates Islam by several thousand years. Origins of the symbol are difficult to ascertain, but most sources agree that these ancient celestial symbols were in use by the peoples of Central Asia and Siberia and even the Balkans in their worship of sun, moon, and sky gods. 

It dates back to early Sumerian civilization, where it was associated with the Sun God and Moon Goddess (one early appearance dates to 2100 BCE), and later, with the Goddess Tanit (above left) - Patron of Carthage and the consort of Baal, Astarte/Ishtar (above right) - the Phoenician Moon Goddess, the Greek Goddess Artemis (below left), worshipped by the Amazons and Roman Diana (below right). The symbol remained in near constant use.

The city of Byzantium (later known as Constantinople and Istanbul) adopted the crescent moon symbol and it was featured on the city's flag. Either chosen in honor of Diana or a Roman victory of the Goths on the first day of a lunar month. It was eventually adopted into the battle-standard of the Ottoman Dynasty, who are mainly responsible for its association with Islam. As the Dynasty was also the policitical head of the faith, it was inevitable that their symbol would be associated with Islam as well.

Thrace. Byzantion. Circa 1st Century BC. � 20mm. Draped bust of Artemis right; quiver, bow behind / BUZANTIWN, six-rayed star above crescent. SNG Cop 498

This emblem, commonly recognized as the symbol of the Islamic faith, has actually acquired its relationship to the faith by association, rather than intent.


Blogger Knight of Pan said...

The Sun and Moon conjoined also equates to the union of a male and female or the divine with creation, it's reflection. Oh wait, we're back to sexual and solar symbolism again.

2:30 AM  
Blogger The Scavenger said...

Godess made me do it. (See also next post)

2:57 AM  
Blogger Laurent said...

I have my own blog in french and I would like to translate this article into french (as my most of my readers don't understand english). I will link to your blog of course and mention you. Thanks in advance.


11:46 PM  
Blogger The Scavenger said...

Laurent, be my guest. And thanks for the link.

8:36 PM  
Blogger ggl said...

It is ironic how Greeks, once represented by the crescent moon, learn to recognize their "enemy" in it.

6:09 PM  

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