Written by: Beth Davies-Stofka
The color green is also traditionally associated with Islam. Although the origins of this are obscure, by the time of the Crusades, the European Crusaders avoided using the color green in their coats of arms so that they would not be mistaken for Muslims during battle. Some believe that the color green was the color of Muhammad's tribe, the Quraysh, while others believe that green was the Prophet's favorite color, and that he always wore a green turban. Others associate the color green with a hadith attributed to Muhammad, which says that "Three things of this world are acceptable: water, greenery, and a beautiful face." Still others find special status attributed to the color green in the Quran, which says in surah 18:31 that in paradise, the blessed will wear garments of green silk. Covers of green silk cover the graves of Sufi saints, and Qurans are bound in green. A number of flags of the Islamic world are green, including those of Iran and Libya.
The colors white and black also have symbolic meaning in Islam. White symbolizes purity and peace, and many Muslims wear white when attending Friday prayers, or while performing the sacred rites of pilgrimage. Devout Iranian Shi'i women wear black chador, and the Iranian ayatollahs wear black cloaks. The male sayyid, or descendants of the Prophet Muhammad through his daughter Fatima and son-in-law Ali, wear black turbans. Blue is a color of protection and many mosques are beautifully decorated with blue turquoise, blue tile, and blue paint.
The flag of the Organization of the Islamic Conference coordinates several of the central symbols of Islam, including the color green, the Red Crescent on a white disk, and the words "God is great" (Allahu akbar) in Arabic calligraphy. The Organization of the Islamic Conference, with 57 member states, is an international organization with a permanent delegation to the United Nations.
1. Why are there no depictions of the prophet Muhammad or Allah?
2. Where did the red crescent moon symbol originate? What is its relationship to Islam?
3. What colors are associated with Islam? Why?