Independence Day is celebrated from coast to coast in every town and city on Fourth of July. Independence Day is considered as the birthday of the United State as an independent nation.

 

The July fourth holiday commemorates the signing of the Declaration of independence from Britain in 1776.

 

It is a day marked with American flag, patriotic parades, concerts, barbecues, picnics, and red, white, and blue fireworks.

 

But what does a Flag mean?

 

It is nothing more that the symbol. Today, Cross, Star of David and Crescent and Stars are well-known symbols of Christianity, Judaism, and Islam respectively.

 

It is very common to find stars and crescent featured on the flags of many countries in the Islamic world.  But what is the history behind the crescent and stars? How and when did it become associated with the faith of Islam? Is it a valid symbol for the faith?

 

The crescent and stars symbol pre-dates Islam by several thousand years and it is not an Islamic in origin, rather, it was a polytheistic icon associated with celestial symbols of pagans in their worship of sun, moon, and sky Gods.

 

Also, there is no mention whatsoever of such symbols in the either Quran, or can one find any traditions (Sunah) of prophet Muhammad.

 

The early Muslim communities during the time of prophet Muhammad did not have any symbols, but Islamic armies did have simple solid-colored flags generally black, white, and green for identification purpose.

 

Muslim Caliphs after the death of the prophet Muhammad continued to use simple black, white, and green flags with no writing or symbol on it.

 

However, it was during the time of Ottoman Empire that crescent and star became affiliated with the Muslim world and when Turks conquered Constantinople (Istanbul) in 1453, they adopted the city’s existing flag with crescent and star symbol.

 

Many Muslims reject using the crescent and stars a symbol of Islam. Historically Islam has had no symbol, but due to the cultural diffusion and the spread of Islam by the ottoman Turks who adopted crescent and star symbol on their flag.

 

It has since become associated with Islam. Islam generally shuns images and symbolism, but due to the political reason’s flags were introduced to give a standard for Muslims, especially during wars.

 

Prophet Muhammad adapted two flags, one green, the other black, but the rulers after the death of prophet Muhammad adapted different colors for various reasons.

 

The Khawarji adapted red flag, the Umayyad dynasty chose white, the Abbasid’s dynasty chose the black after the battle of Karbala, and the Fatimid’s dynasty took green as their color, to symbolize their allegiance to Ali who once slept in a green cover in the place of the prophet in order to thwart an assassination attempt.

 

Historians have firmly established color green has a special place in Islam and Muslims use green out of love and respect.  One can often find green color on the Dome and in the mosques. It is said that green was Muhammad’s favorite color, also it is said in Quran (Chapter 18:31) that the inhabitants of paradise will wear green garments of fine silk. Regardless of its origin, the color green has firmly cemented in Islamic culture for centuries.

 

Mohammed Khaku

Bethlehem, PA  18017