This is the well-known
ideogram found on most of the Islamic countries' national flags. This
ideogram is a general symbol for the Islamic faith. It combines the pictorial
sign for the waning moon and the sign for the planet Venus as the Morning
The five points of the Venus star are in this context said to represent the five pillars of Islam:
Al-Shahadah-the profession of faith. There is no other god but Allah, and Muhammed is his prophet.
As-Salah-the prayer. Five times a day the Muslim kneels and bows to Mecca, putting his forehead to the ground several times and reciting holy prayers.
Az-Zakah-the giving of a small percentage of one's income to help the poor.
As-Siam-fasting in the month of Ramadan.
During the month Ramadan no food is eaten as long as the sun is over the horizon.
Al-Hadj-the pilgrimage to the holy city, Mecca.
Mecca is the birthplace of the Prophet and the location of the Kaaba, a shrine many centuries older than Islam. Kaaba is a square building, the sides of which measure approximately 10 meters and whose height is approximately 15 meters. The pilgrim walks around this building seven times and then kisses a black stone built into the base of one of the walls. This stone is the most holy object a Muslim knows. At least once in his lifetime a believer should go to Mecca to worship.
For a derivation of the relation between and the planet Venus, look up in Group 29. The crescent moon, , was the symbol of Constantinople (now Istanbul), the capital city of the Eastern Roman Empire, Byzantium. When the Turks, led by Muhammed II, conquered Constantinople in 1453, they also adopted the city's symbol , but changed its position so that it was clearly a picture of the waning moon (for people living on the northern hemisphere).
According to some sources, however, the Turks already used the crescent as their symbol at this time. Now it became the symbol for the Ottoman-Turkish Empire. As such it was used until around the end of the eighteenth century. At the beginning of the nineteenth century a star was added to it. At first it was not five-pointed, but soon became so.
From the beginning of the twentieth century this combined crescent and five-pointed star symbol began to appear on other Islamic countries' flags.