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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Reading Arabic Calligraphy On Flags

The above calligraphy is termed the Shahada, and it is "La ilah illa Allah, Muhammad Rasuul Allahi", which is "There is no god but Allah, (and) Muhammad is the messenger of Allah."

This was the sign that was seen in the Sydney cafe, and I think it is the flag that a fellow in New Jersey got into trouble for having on his lawn. However, it is an Islamic profession of faith, and has nothing to do with partisan politics.

So it was not the flag of ISIS. Nor is it the flag of the Nusra Front. It is not the flag of the Taliban, although the Taliban flag consists of the shahada on a white background and would appear just as the picture above.
The American flag has stars on it, but few people believe that stars belong to America. Just so with the shahada.

This calligraphy, however, is rather difficult for someone as prosaic as myself to read. I will give it a try:

1) the light red outlines the first two words "La 'ilah..."  [there is no god...]
2) the light purple outlines the third word "... illa..."   [...but...]
3) the light green outlines the fourth word  "...Allah..."   [...Allah...]

 4) the light brown outlines the fifth word  "..., Muhammad..."

5) the light orange outlines the sixth word  "...rasuul..."   [...messenger...]

and this is even trickier for me, since the "r" in "rasuul" is below the "...suul", not in front of it (meaning to the right... remember Arabic is written right-to-left). Below is the "r" outlined in orange:
6) the darker green outlines the last word "... Allahi"   [... of Allah ]

It is easy to see why we get various pennants mixed up. Reading the calligraphy is not an easy task.

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