Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Crescent Moon.

Mr. John Walter from US asked me about Crescent Moon.

I said that there is no revealed or specific symbol for Islam, as a religion. Islam is a monotheist religion with a pure concept and understanding of The Creator as a transcendental God. It is fully against incarnation.

That is the reason the Islamic art and architecture is very distinct and you would not find any statues or even pictures of Prophet Muhammad [pbuh]. Some may have done it out of their ignorance, which in fact provide no excuse

Even the messenger of [God] Allah that is Prophet Muhammad is considered a man, simply conveyed the message and was never considered an icon of Islam.

A simple symbol is quite different from an icon. A symbol refers to a meaning, while an icon tries to capture a transcendental meaning by turning it into an incarnated form.

This idea also is very much related to the Christian claim of Trinity and the claim of the incarnation of God in Jesus. That is why icons have a “holy” interpretation in Christian practices and the “embodiment” of meaning is a common feature, even in their ceremonies.

This case is completely the opposite in Islam, which is transcendental; symbols are symbols! They are just pointing to a meaning and are never attempting to turn it into an immanent presence. They are neither trying to capture the sacred into an icon, which embodies it.

What prompted some Muslims to use the crescent, as a symbol on their flag, was the starting of the fast during the month of Ramadan, when the crescent appears. The crescent marks the beginning of the Islamic months, as Muslims follow the lunar calendar, not the Gregorian calendar.

The crescent is not a “holy symbol”. Islam does not believe in any “holy idols” or symbols to be worshipped!

Allah says in The Holy Qur’an in Surah Al Baqarah 2:189:

They ask you concerning the new moons. Say: They are but times appointed for [the benefit of] men, and [for] the pilgrimage...

However, some accusations have been leveled against Islam that the crescent is a “holy symbol” of Islam and that it is originally a pagan symbol. Dr Robert Morey made the argument that the pre-Islamic Semitic world was the home to widespread worship of a moon god or goddess named "Allah".

The problem with this kind of speculations, about pre-Islamic deities from the Semitic world, as in this case, is the fact that any inscription prior to the advent of Islam is also prior to the introduction of diacritical marks in the Semitic languages.

If one claims to have found evidence of a moon god named "Allah" in Palestine, Syria, or Lebanon, this claim applies to the respective deities of both Christianity and Islam.

One of the basic Hebrew words for God, Eloh, can easily be pronounced alah without the diacritical marks. The Aramaic word for God is alah! This word, in the standard script or the Estrangela script is spelled alap-lamad-heh [ALH], which is the exactly corresponding letters, to the Hebrew eloh.

The Arabic word for God, Allah, is spelled in a very similar way. It is even related to the more generic word for deity, ilah.

The obvious linguistic and etymological connections between the respective words for God, in these closely related Semitic languages. Allah, Alah, and Eloh being related to ilah, Eel, and El, respectively. It is Trinitarians want to claim that Allah or Alah was the name of a tribal moon god, and that worship of such a deity is a gross pagan practice.

Dr. Robert Morey in his book entitled The Islamic Invasion: Confronting the World's Fastest Growing Religion also sees Islam as an invasion into North America and a threat to his religious heritage. Unfortunately, Dr. Morey has resorted to hostile tactics in combating Islam. To prove his contention that Allah is not the God of Christians and Jews, he quoted from several books in such a dishonest and malicious fashion that the quotations say the opposite of what is found in those books.

Thus, the using of the crescent as a symbol, along others symbols, to represent Islam is a non issue and infact permissible, on the condition that you are aware that it is in no way holy or immanent codification of belief. Islam is a monotheist religion and its conception of God is highly transcendental.

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