Islam is a monotheistic religion originating with the teachings of Muhammad, a 7th-century Arab religious and political figure. The word “Islam” means submission, or the total surrender of oneself to God, Allah. An adherent of Islam is known as a Muslim, meaning “one who submits (to God)”. There are between 1 and 1.78 billion Muslims, making Islam the second-largest religion in the world.
Sacred Color of Islam: Green
Revered is the colour green, which has been associated with Islam as a symbol of the religion itself. Green is the sacred colour of Islam, and is used for the bindings of the Qur’an (the Muslim Holy Book) and in the silken covers of the Sufi saints. It has been suggested that green is revered because it was worn by Muhammad, but it also symbolizes life and nature. When finally reaching paradise in the afterlife, the Qur’an states, “ornaments shall be given to them therein of bracelets of gold, and they shall wear green robes of fine silk and thick silk brocade interwoven with gold, (18:31)” and they will be “Reclining on green cushions and beautiful carpets (55:76).” In Islamic culture green and gold are the colors of paradise.
Peace and Mourning
As in Western Culture, white is used to symbolize purity and peace. While attending Friday prayers, many Muslims will wear white. The color black is considered the color of mourning in Western and Mediterranean countries. It is also the color of the chador worn by devout Iranian Shi’a women and of the cloaks worn by the ayatollahs, the Shi’a clergy. In many Shi’a countries, a black turban is worn only by male sayids, men who descend from Muhammad though his daughter Fatima and his son-in-law Ali.
The Blue Mosques
In the Middle East blue is a protective color and it can be found coloring many of the most famous mosques. These famous Blue Mosques can be found in Afghanistan, Malaysia, Egypt, Armenua, etc. One of the most famous is located in Istanbul, Turkey. Sultan Ahmed Mosque is one of the greatest tourist attractions in Istanbul, the former capital of the Ottoman Empire.
The Kaaba and the Black Stone
The Kaaba is a large cuboidal building located inside the mosque known as al-Masjid al-Haram in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. The Kaaba is the holiest place in Islam. The qibla, the direction Muslims face during prayer, is the direction from their location on Earth towards the Kaaba. Within the eastern corner of the Kaaba is the Black Stone, which is said to date back to the time of Adam and Eve. While the stone itself is not worshiped, kissing the Black Stone emulates the kiss that Muhammad gave to it when placing it in the Kaaba. Making the trip to the stone is a sign of trust and respect in Muhammad.
The Holy Qur’an
Influence on Flags
The colors of the flags of many Muslim nations feature at least two of four colors that were used to symbolize the dynasties that ruled sprawling Middle Eastern empires that spanned from the west coast of Africa to Turkmenistan. Each dynasty flew a different banner. The first among them was the Umayyad Dynasty, who flew a white banner. Second was the Abbasid Dynasty under black. Third came the Fatimid Dynasty, under a green banner. The colors of the banners representing these three dynasties have become a part of those nations today because each dynastic family was said to have descended from Muhammad by either a common ancestor, from his daughter and son-in-law, or an uncle. Additionally, because of the many red flags of the Persian nations, white, black, green, and red became the defining colors of Muslim nations.
Also on many Muslim flags is the Red Crescent, which was widely used in substitution of the Red Cross in anticipation of possibly alienating Muslim soldiers during the Russo-Turkish War. Though it had been used in Turkey and Egypt before, it has since been adopted widely.
In 2006 Darius, Creator of COLOURlovers visited with the Non-Profit CARE to visit their projects in Kabul Afghanistan. Some of the few thousand widows CARE was providing food staples too can be seen wearing their blue chadri. The Afghan chadri covers the woman’s entire face except for a small region about the eyes, which is covered by a concealing net or grille.
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Watch for the next in our series: Judaism.
Colors of Religion Series:
Colors of Hinduism
Colors of Christianity
Colors of Buddhism
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