Every single thing within this universe is a manifest proof of the Power and Might of Allah Almighty. However, Allah Almighty has also placed some of His specific signs within creation, which are known as شَعَآئِرُالله ‘[i.e. symbols of Allah]’. Moreover, they are also known as ‘the symbols of Islam’ or ‘the symbols of the religion’.
What does شَعَآئِرُالله mean? The word شَعَآئِر [Sha’aair] is the plural of شَعِیْرَۃٌ [Sha’irah], which means ‘sign ’or ‘recognition’ (i.e. that thing which makes one aware of something). (Tafseer Na’eemi, vol. 6, pp. 170) شَعَآئِرُالله (i.e. the symbols of Allah) refer to those matters and things which have been made the sign for distinguishing between truth and falsehood, and through which one comes to know of the things which Allah Almighty has declared as Halal and Haram, and His commandments and prohibitions. (Tafseer Tabari, vol. 4, pp. 394, Al-Ma’idah, Taht-al-Ayah 2)
These signs are means of attaining proximity to Allah Almighty and recognition of Him. It is a religious obligation and from the piety of every believer’s heart to honour and revere them. To deem شَعَآئِرُالله insignificant is a cause of loss and harm in both worlds, and to dishonour them is a cause of incurring the wrath of Allah Almighty.
Allah Almighty has commanded the Muslims to be mindful of the sanctity of the Divine Signs:
یٰۤاَیُّهَا الَّذِیْنَ اٰمَنُوْا لَا تُحِلُّوْا شَعَآىٕرَ اللّٰهِ
O believers! Do not make lawful (i.e. dishonour) the symbols of Allah,
[Kanz-ul-Iman (translation of Quran)] (Part 6, Surah Al-Ma`idah, Verse 2)
The greatness of revering شَعَآئِرُالله, i.e. the signs of Allah Almighty, is mentioned in the following words:
وَ مَنْ یُّعَظِّمْ شَعَآىٕرَ اللّٰهِ فَاِنَّهَا مِنْ تَقْوَى الْقُلُوْبِ(۳۲)
and whosoever respects the symbols of Allah, so this is from the piety of the hearts.
[Kanz-ul-Iman (translation of Quran)] (Part 17, Surah Al-Hajj, Verse 32)
The signs of Allah Almighty
شَعَآئِرُالله are actually many, some of which are also mentioned in the Noble Quran; for example, in the Holy Quran, Allah Almighty has declared Safa, Marwah and the Budnah (the sacrificial animal in Qurbani) as His Signs. However, there is no specific number that can be mentioned regarding the signs of Allah Almighty. In short, they can be divided into four categories:
*Individuals and things
*Buildings and places
*Times and moments
*Actions and (acts of) worship
Some detail regarding them is as follows:
*Individuals and things: The Holy Quran, Prophets, Companions, Saints, and the sacred relics of the Noble Prophets.
*Buildings and places: The Ka’bah, the plains of ‘Arafat, Muzdalifah, the three Jamarat (the three pillars located in Mina which are pelted with stones, namely, Jamrah Al-Ukhra, Jamrah Al-Wusta and Jamrah Al-Oula), Safa, Marwah, Mina, Masajid, the graves of the righteous (i.e. shrines of the Prophets, companions and saints).
*Times and moments: The month of Ramadan, the sacred months (Rajab, Zul-Qa’dah, Zul-Hijjah and Muharram), ‘Eid-ul-Fitr, ‘Eid-ul-Adha, Friday and the days of Tashreeq (11th, 12th and 13th of Zul-Hijjah).
*Actions and (acts of) worship: Azan, Iqamah, Salah in congregation, Friday Salah, both ‘Eid Salahs, circumcision, keeping a beard, sacrificing a cow. (Khaza`in-ul-‘Irfan, Surah Al-Baqarah, Verse 185, pp. 52; Tafseer Na’eemi, vol. 2, pp. 97; Fatawa Razawiyyah, vol. 14, pp. 573)
Respecting things that are associated with شَعَآئِرُالله
Honouring the thing which becomes attributed to شَعَآئِرُالله is in fact considered to be the honour of شَعَآئِرُالله themselves. For example, the Ka’bah is from شَعَآئِرُالله, and respecting its covering is respect of the Ka’bah itself. The Noble Quran is from شَعَآئِرُالله, and its cover and the cloth in which it is kept are also worthy of respect. In this regard, A’la Hadrat, the Imam of the Ahl-us-Sunnah رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَلَيْه states: ‘Without doubt, the Ka’bah is from شَعَآئِرُالله, and to honour its covering is to honour the Ka’bah itself. Honouring شَعَآئِرُالله is required in Shari`ah.’ (Fatawa Razawiyyah, vol. 22, pp. 343)
The ruling concerning the signs of Allah Almighty
*Only the one who has an ill-intent towards Islam will try to put an end to the Symbols of Islam. (Fatawa Razawiyyah, vol. 14, pp. 573)
*Mocking the symbols of Islam is in fact mocking Islam itself. (Fatawa Razawiyyah, vol. 21, pp. 215)
*Preserving religious symbols is the Sunnah of Allah Almighty. For example, Allah Almighty has preserved Safa and Marwah, as they are a reminder of the righteous. (Tafseer Na’eemi, vol. 2, pp. 99)
اٰمِیْن بِجَاہِ النَّبِیِّ الْاَمِیْن صلَّی اللہ علیہ واٰلہٖ وسلَّم