Asiatic Muslims have been using swastikas in calligraphy and architecture for a long time. But is this Islamic?
First of all, the swastika is not anti-Semitic. If all you (think you) know about the swastika is that it was used by National Socialist (“Nazi”) Germany, then be aware of two facts:
- The swastika has been used around the world, even Sub-Saharan Africa(!) for thousands of years:
- Arabs and Ethiopians (among others) are Semites. They USE the swastika, so it can’t be anti-Semitic:
If that’s not enough to convince you read more about swastika use in Africa here: Afrikan Swastikas – Knowledge of Self.
Now let’s take a virtual tour the Muslim world, past and present…
Makka is Islam’s holiest city. It is where the Qur-an was revealed. It houses Masjid al-Haram (The Sacred Place of Prostration) the direction to which all Muslims pray. Recently, the government currently controlling Makka has overseen the tallest clock tower in the world (apparently overlooking the fact that most Muslims have mobile phones to tell time with). Believe it or not, that clock, that monument, has swastikas. Look how the white lines intersect:
Persia is much larger than modern day Iran. Basically, ‘Persia’ refers to the homeland of Persians, who since ancient times have used the term Aryan (hence, Iran) to describe themselves and their language:
We will look at swastika use in what is now Iran and Tajikistan.
Like other post-Soviet countries, Tajikistan has taken a fresh look its history following independence in 1991. The result is a state campaign to promote the notion that the Tajiks as a Aryan nation – and the widespread use of the swastika. (Aryan Myth and Metahistory)
Anatolian Peninsula (Modern Turkey)
This was the center of power of the Uthmani (“Ottoman”) Empire, which ruled over many Muslim territories for centuries.
The Indus River Valley civilization (mostly in modern Pakistan) is where the names ‘India’ and ‘Hindu’ come from. It is from this civilization that many religions like Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism and Sikhism, famous for their use of the swastika, ultimately originated.
The Mughal (Mongol) dynasties which ruled India used this symbol in their architecture. They either adopted its use from locals, or had already been using it.
Andalus (Modern Iberian Peninsula/Spain)
Andalus was a medieval Muslim cultural domain and territory occupying at its peak most of what are today Spain and Portugal.
The fact that Spain was the first [West Asian] country to acquire technical supremacy at the dawn of modern times and for a certain period dominate the world can only be explained by the [Muslim] contribution during the time of its colonization. (Diop, Cheikh Anta, Precolonial Black Africa (Chicago: Lawrence Hill Books, 1987), p.36)
As you can see from the calligraphy especially, the swastika is a consequence of lines intersecting at right angles. Muslims have historically avoided depicting living things in artwork, so geometric patterns are where they focused their creativity. Perhaps at least some of the swastikas are unintentional apexes that allow uninterrupted patterns. However, some are obviously a continuation of pre-Islamic use of the swastika by central Asian populations and their diaspora, which includes Arabia. Which brings us to the next question:
But is using the swastika symbol Islamic?
No, but neither is using the crescent moon and star, the supposed symbol of Islam.
Though the crescent was originally a secular symbol of authority for Muslim rulers, it is now often used to symbolize the Islamic faith. However, the crescent was not a symbol used for Islam by Muhammad or any other early Muslim rulers, as the Islamic religion is, in fact, against appointing “holy symbols” (so that during the early centuries of Islam, Muslim authorities simply didn’t want any geometric symbols to be used to symbolize Islam, in the way that the cross symbolizes Christianity, the menorah was a commonly occurring symbol of Judaism, etc.). This is why early Islamic coins were covered with Arabic writing, but contained no visual symbols. (wikipedia)
The crescent, like the swastika, is a pre-Islamic symbol.
Unlike the swastika, however, whose origins are debated, the crescent and star have clear polytheist (mushrik/pagan) significance:
The crescent is one of the oldest symbols known to humanity. Before Islam, the crescent was the symbol of Sassanids and after capturing Persian lands, the crescent has been adopted by Arab Muslims and later by other Muslims. The crescent and star also appears on pre-Islamic coins of South Arabia.
In the 12th century the crescent and star were adopted by the Turks and since then the crescent has been a frequent symbol used by powerful Muslim empires such as the Ottomans and the Mughals. It is a historical symbol of the Turks, associated especially with the Ottoman Empire, but pre-Islamic Turkic nations such as the Göktürks used the crescent and star figure on their coins. (wikipedia)
So it’s no worse to use the swastika on a mosque, or as a Muslim symbol (it obviously can’t be Islamic) than it is to use the crescent.
Can a Pagan Symbol Represent Islam?
Swastikas, crescents, stars, eagles, etc. may or may not be “bad”, but a government that uses a pagan symbol doesn’t seem to be saying they represent Allah as sovereign. Coincidentally, no government is doing a good job implementing the authority of Allah and his Messenger (sA’a&s).
“And he shares his authority with no one (Qur-an 18.26)
Decorating Mosques is a Sign of Spiritual Decline and Materialism
“Narrated / Authority of: Anas bin Malik: The Messenger of Allah (sAaws) said: ‘The Hour will not begin until the people compete in (building) masjids (mosques).’” (Sunan Ibn Majah) (ahadith.co.uk)
‘Umar ordered that the mosque be rebuilt and he said: Protect the people from rain, but beware of using red or yellow (for adornment) and distracting the people.
Anas said: They build mosques and boast about that, but they do not use them for worship except rarely.
Ibn ‘Abbaas said: You are going to adorn (mosques) as the Jews and Christians adorn (their places of worship) (Islam Question & Answer)
Verily the Safa and Marwa [two small mountains now located in the Masjid al-Haram in Makka] are among the Symbols of Allah. So, if one visits the House in the Season or at other times, there is no blame on him if he should compass them round. If any one obeys his own impulse to good, be sure that God is Thankful and All Knowing (Qur-an 2.158)
And [mention, O Muhammad], when We designated for Abraham the site of the House, [saying], “Do not associate anything with Me and purify My House for those who perform Tawaf and those who stand [in prayer] and those who bow and prostrate.
And proclaim to the people the Hajj [pilgrimage]; they will come to you on foot and on every lean camel; they will come from every distant pass –
That they may witness benefits for themselves and mention the name of Allah on known days over what He has provided for them of [sacrificial] animals. So eat of them and feed the miserable and poor…
Then let them end their untidiness and fulfill their vows and perform Tawaf around the ancient House.
That [is so]. And whoever honors the symbols of Allah – indeed, it is from the piety of hearts. (Qur-an 22 (Suratu-lHajj))