The anxiousness continues to build inside of me, while I wait to feel suitably guided on how to deal with this. I have no reason to believe that any engagement with the local Ulema will be productive given that the last time I presented proof of the despicable origins of the moon and star as symbols of Islam, they hurled verbal abuse at me, raised their voices in the masjid and dumped a calendar of pictures of mosques from Saudi in front of me as proof that the embellishment of our masjid with such symbols is acceptable in Islam.

Subsequent to that distasteful experience, I challenged the Jamiatul Ulama on their stance around the Soccer World Cup in 2010 versus their position on the moon and star. At the time of the World Cup, they were exceptionally vociferous in their condemnation of the religious symbols that were incorporated into the logo designs for the various countries which generally represented the Christian faith, and they made a point of speaking out from the pulpit on Fridays, having publicity campaigns in the form of talk shows on radio, compiled posters for the mosque boards, and even put in significant effort in emails and on their website to raise the awareness of this apparently Kufr practice if those soccer tops were worn by Muslims.

So I thought it was an appropriate time to raise the issue of the moon and star being incorporated into the designs of so many mosques in South Africa and the world over. I presented them with proof that the crescent symbol originated from the pagan worship of the goddess of the hunt known as Diana, and that the star was in fact the symbol of King Richard who conquered Constantinople before the Ottomans did. The invading Ottoman army saw these symbols all over the city, and because of its congruence with a dream that the leader of the army had before they entered the city, they took it as an omen of good fortune and adopted it as the symbol for their army. Being the head of the Islamic state at the time, this was quickly adopted as the symbol of Islam and not just the Ottoman army, and so was the beginning of the embellishment of the houses of Allah with these symbols of utter blasphemy!

So after much evasiveness, the Jamiatul Ulama finally conceded that the symbols had no place in Islam, suggested that a subtle program of awareness would be adopted at some point to avoid creating consternation in the Muslim community, but they refused to respond to my questions about the disparity between their response to the soccer tops versus these symbols. That was over a year ago. To this day, I have yet to see even the semblence of an awareness campaign to highlight the fact that we worship Allah while placing our foreheads on symbols deifying Diana, or standing beneath symbols of Christianity that have been placed on our domes and minarets. And for this reason I cannot bring myself to enter that masjid again. The more I contemplate ignoring it, the more I wonder if I’m succumbing under internal pressure to be seen as a respectable Muslim in the community, and would therefore not want people to judge me wrongly for not attending salaah with congregation! But that reminds me that my intention would then be performing salaah to be seen of men, and not to sincerely worship and praise Allah.

So I found another mosque close by that is not adorned with these symbols, and I’ve chosen to perform my Jumu’ah salaah there at least. However, in the meantime, I have resorted to performing the rest of my salaah alone in a quiet dimly lit corner of my own home, and I pray that this effort is accepted from me. But I also pray that Allah guides me towards a means to get others to realise the gravity of this evil innovation that has been adopted as an innocent embellishment of supposedly Islamic architecture.

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