Flags are a way institutions and countries express their story or beliefs. The colors, drawings, and words all have meanings that reflect values and symbols from their history. The flag becomes part of a country or institution’s identity, that’s why their allegiance to the flag becomes personal and emotional.
The Red Cross is a great example of the emotional meaning a flag can carry. Its red cross is a reference to the crucifixion of Jesus Christ and a symbol of sacrificial giving by the medical units in war torn areas and around the world. This design is one of the most recognizable in the world and forms the basis of many other flags.
When it comes to Islam, Muslims created flags and banners to express their own ideology and conquests starting from the time of Muhammad to modern day. The history of flags in Islam is long and detailed. It's important for us to understand what the Islamic flags mean today because it gives us insight into the way the Islam is both a religion and a political power.
The history of Islam’s first black flag
Islam has a main flag that has been its symbol since Muhammad’s lifetime. This flag is black, with a white painted sword at the bottom, and white Arabic words written on it, usually the creed of Islam: “There is no god but Allah, and Muhammad is the prophet of Allah.”
Through our Almagd TV 24/7 initiative, which reaches a potential of 400 million Arabs worldwide via Satellite and online, our staff chats on WhatsApp and Viber with hundreds of viewers every month. Here are a few recent stories that affirm God’s work in the lives of Muslims who live in remote villages and towns of closed Islamic countries.
When Muhammad first began his conquests of other Arabian tribes, it is said that he flew under a black banner. This first banner was called “ar-Rāya” or “al-Ùqāb”, which mean “the Banner” or “the Young Eagle.”
Interestingly, this first banner was supposedly made using the headscarf of Muhammad’s favorite wife. This was his wife, Aisha, whom Muhammad is said to have married when she was 7 years old and consummated the marriage with her when she was 9 (You can read more about his wives here).
Facts about modern Islamic flags
Over the centuries of Islam’s existence, there have been many flags to represent Islamic empires and institutions. The most used is the Helal or Crescent flag that replaced the Red Cross flag institutions in Islamic countries in all medical services. Muslims replaced the red cross with a red crescent and it is currently used in all Islamic countries.
For Islamic countries, you will notice that most of them either use the crescent moon and star, the Shahadah creed, Allahu Akhabr (Allah is greater), one or two swords, or the green color. They also use a combination of the five elements to indicate that this is an Islamic country.
You may notice that the green color is used a lot in Islamic flags. Muslims claim green was Muhammad’s favorite color. Living in the beige colored desert in the Arabian Peninsula, this makes sense for Muhammad to yearn for green pastures and tall leafy trees. Notice that the Saudi flag for example is green with the creed and two swords, while Iran’s flag uses the green with white and red, Allahu Akhbar, and two crescents.
The flags in Islam have important meanings because since the beginning of Islam in the 7th century, Islam has desired political and military power, as well as religious spread.
We believe it is important for us to know the truth about Islam’s origins and true nature, but it is even more important for us to recognize that there is a difference between Islam and the majority of its followers. Not every single Muslim is a purist who wants Islam to be in power and who believes in violence against non-Muslims.
However, the true nature of authentic Islam is this: Since the beginning of Islam in 622 AD, the enemy has made it a religion and power based on fear and violence.
What do you do with this information?
Your goal should always be to love your Muslim friend. This information can actually help you do that because it can spark conversations that can open their eyes to the religion they are following.
The best way to start a conversation with your Muslim friend is asking questions. This shows you want to talk and hear their thoughts, not attack them. Here are some questions about our topic you can ask to get started:
- What does Islam’s flag symbolize for you?
- If your Muslim friend is from an Islamic country: Are there Islamic symbols on your home country’s flag?
When having these conversations, try to emphasize that your first and foremost loyalty is not to a nation on earth, but to Jesus Christ. Instead of getting caught in a political argument or attacking Islam, the best way to reach your Muslim friend is to focus on Jesus. You can share with your Muslim friend that a relationship with Jesus will always offer them more than anything on earth ever could.