Wednesday, August 4, 2010


Like the crescent in Islamic iconography, the cross (Latin crux) in European art is not an original symbol of Christianity. It is an ancient solar symbol, a pre-Christian graphic expression of mystic power of fire, war and fertility, or primitive image of the human body. But like the ‘Muslim Crescent’, the Cross is popularly identified with the Christian religion.

The earliest communities of followers of the Prophet ‘Isa (Ieshua, Jesus) did not use the cross as symbol of their faith. In the ancient ‘Christian’ graffiti from Palestine and Roman catacombs of the first century CE, Jesus’ teachings are symbolically depicted as fish, deer, ship, peacock, anchor, bread, shepard, lamb, bunch of grapes, swastika (crux gammata), letter M, X, etc.
For sure, in Dar al-Islam, the cross embodies not only Christendom but also sinister Christianism of the anti-Islamic crusaders. In the pre-modern Muslim folk tales, the Christian king was pejoratively called ‘Abd al-salib (slave of cross). The invading Frankish crusaders (frandji) outraged Muslim in the occupied western Asia by erecting large crosses over the seized buildings and desecrated mosques converted into churches. These hated crosses were recognized as the symbols of brutal occupation, belligerency, and religious conceit of the crusading barbarians from the Far West as well as signs of misfortune for the Muslims. Muslims who fought under it were inevitably doomed to defeat.

Al-Qadi al-Fadli (573 AH-643 AH), an Arab annalist, narrated that the Franks were obsessed with their iron, wooden and painted crosses. “They never go to a danger without having it; they would fly around like moths around the lamp’s fire. Their captured tyrant bore in his hand the cross by which were led to battle the people of ignorance”.

Ibn al-Jawzi (d. 597 AH), mocked the crucimania of the Franks on the example of one of their priests who led his crusaders to Damascus; He “hung a cross round his neck and put two crosses in his hands and hung a cross round the neck of his donkey. More crosses he placed in front of him”. He was confident with such a large number of Frankish amulets will break the resistance of ‘saracens’ in the besieged Damascus in 543 AH. He was wrong, and the Muslims who armed themselves with precious copies of ‘Uthmanic Qur’an captured him. The outraged Muslim commoners executed both the fanatical monk and unnecessarily killed the innocent donkey. The defenders of Damascus burned publically the “symbols of wicked Christianism”.

The minaret was also used as the antithesis of the cross during the Jihad against the Crusade. Ibn Nabih, an Ayyubid poet, praised victorious Al-‘Adil whose hands and supporters Allah used to smash the cross of the invaders. In the place of the destroyed cross, Manar al-Jamiyyah al-Islamiyyah was raised.

In the age of the Crusades, the crashing of crosses was a meaningful act in which militant Christianism was symbolically destroyed by the triumphant of Islam. Ibn Jubair in his ode, glorifies Salah al-Din Ayyubi for “breaking the despised cross by the might at battle of Hittin. The huge bronze gold-plated cross – placed by the western crusaders on the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem in 1099 CE was pulled down after the liberation of the City of First qiblah in 1187 CE. “Ibn Shaddad makes it clear that it was hurled to the ground in despite its immense size”. The valiant Ghazi Sultan salah al-Din sent this broken trophy to the Caliph in Baghdad, where it was buried underneath the Nubian Gate and trampled upon by crowd and beasts of burden.

Unfortunately, Salah al-Din Victoria magna did not halt the cyclical anti-Islamic crusades of the Occident waged against the Muslims of all races. The chilling Latin war-cry of the Western lieges: RUBET ENSIS SANGUINE ARABUM (“Make the sword red with Arab blood”) as well as the anti-Muslim genocidal papal bulls of “infallible” Urban II (Odo of Lagny), Innocent III (Lothar of Segni), Innocent IV ( Sinibaldo Fieschi), Urban III ( Uberto Crivelli), Pious II ( Silvio Eneas Piccolomini), Sixtus IV ( Francesco Della Rovere), Innocent VIII (Giovanni Battista Cibo), Alexander VI ( Rodrigo de Borja y Doms), Julius II (Giuliano Della Rovere) were never nullified by the modern Vatican and still echo in the postmodern Islamophobic hate-literature of Zionist extremist and militarism of a new unholy coalition of the reunited Res Publica Christiana, constantly reminding Muslims that Historia magistra vitae est et civi pacem para bellum ( From Plato, in Latin, means ‘History is a teacher of life and if you want peace, be prepared for war').

SOURCE: AL-SHAJARAH, Journal of ISTAC, IIUM, 2006 vol. 11, no. 2. page 220-226. By Ataullah Bogdan Kopanski and Nordalela binti Baharudin.


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