Symbolism in Islam
When we think about religious symbols, many can recount that Christianity is marked by the Cross, and Judaism is represented by the Star of David. But when recalling the symbol that signifies Islam, the crescent moon, with or without a star, seems to denote the religion accurately. However, there is no historical or religious basis for the crescent moon or the star to symbolize Islam. Actually, Muslims don’t believe in symbolism, and therefore do not identify with any particular symbol to represent their religion as a whole. According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, the crescent was used to represent “the worship of Near Eastern goddess Astarte (The Editors of Encyclopedia Britannica, 2014).” For this reason, many have erroneously believed that Muslims worship a moon god, symbolized by the crescent moon. Instead of being a longstanding Muslim tradition, the Byzantine and Ottoman empires were the actual peoples to use the moon shape for their respective reasons. But because the Ottoman Empire adapted the symbol and the Islamic faith, the crescent moon and Muslims become synonymous. It is important to note that Muslims are adamantly against idolatry, and believe that even seemingly harmless symbols can result in transference of worship from Allah to a mere representation of Allah. Therefore, symbols are not recognized within the faith, and instead, artistic representations of Islam, such as calligraphy and the use of geometric shapes in architecture, distinctively characterize the Muslim identity.
The Communication Channels of Muslims
The Islamic culture focuses on three major channels to transmit messages both internally within the community and externally throughout the world.
The first transmission channel in the faith is spoken or oral communication. The Quran 41:33 states, “And who is better in speech than one who invites to Allah and does righteousness and says, ‘Indeed, I am of the Muslims.’” This verse indicates the significance placed on spoken communication as a means to invite non-believers into the faith. Furthermore, the Quran 55:1-4 affirms, “The Most Merciful taught the Qur’an, created man, [and] taught him eloquence,” asserting the value of speech as a direct gift from Allah. Therefore, because speech is graciously given by their God and is to be used to convert non-believers into Muslims, the importance behind spoken communication is exponentially substantial, given that their words are to be used with reverence to the One who gave them the ability to speak articulately.
The second channel of communication of Islam is written communication. The Qur’an is the authoritative word and way of life for Muslims. It is singlehandedly the most important text to their faith. And the use of the Qur’an for daily prayer, studying, and modeling of righteous living greatly defines the Muslim identity. Additionally, the Qur’an has been kept in its original language of Arabic, as to preserve the word of Allah...