With all religions there is an outer teaching and the Inner Teaching. Since the Beginning the Path to the Inner Teaching, known as the Tree of Life (‘Etz Hayyim), has been concealed (Genesis 3:24). We (the Lovers of God) are obligated to seek out this Path (Ecclesiastes 1:13), because the end thereof is Eternal Life (Genesis 3:22).
The Inner Teaching is communicated to us through symbolism -the language of the Mind. The symbol for Islam is the Sun, the Moon, and the Star. The Sun, Moon, and Star represent Man, the walking Trinity, who is created in the Image and the Likeness of God.
Usually only the crescent Moon and a five-point Star is represented, but the presence of the Sun is implied because the Moon receives its light from the Sun. The Sun (God in us) is ever-present, whether we actually see it or not, otherwise we would not be able to see anything whatsoever, because it is our Sun that makes seeing possible.
The Sun, Moon, and Star is a glyph of the Family: Man, Woman, and Child. In the Holy Bible and al Qur’an Majid, Joseph is given a vision of the Sun, the Moon, and eleven Stars making obeisance to him. (Genesis 37:9; AQM 12:4) The Sun, Moon, and Stars in Joseph’s vision represented Joseph’s Father, Mother, and Brothers, and this caused his brothers to envy him and plot against him.
The Sun sustains our Milky Way galaxy and the Man sustains his Family. The Man is likened to the Sun because he is the purveyor of light (spiritual knowledge and guidance) to his Family via the Woman (the Moon), who in turn reflects her wisdom to the Children.
“…Wisdom is justified of [known by] her Children.” (Matthew 11:19)
Since ancient times the Moon has been used as a symbol for the Woman. The Moon -Earth’s only natural satellite – is symbolic of the creative forces and the feminine psyche, or mind. The Moon’s cycle around the Earth is approximately 29 days and coincides with the Woman’s menstrual-cycle.
The Moon represents the physical body (the lower self). The Moon, like our bodies, is also in a constant state of flux. The Moon has not always existed. Like the human body it came from the Earth.
The Moon has two sides, but only one side is visible. The Moon’s two periods of waxing and waning signify the vicissitudes of Life. This is the significance of the postures in Salat. The bending (ruku’), the sitting (jalsa), and the prostrating (sajda) symbolize the periods of gain and loss, opulence and poverty, wealth and indigence, intelligence and ignorance.
The Crescent is the Mother’s Womb and the Star is the Child. Each one of us is a Star, as we have all come into the world through the Womb of our Mother. The Star seems to be pushing its head out, struggling to be born head-first into the world. The Star is a man born perfect, yet imperfect.
“Consider the human self, and how it is formed in accordance with what it is meant to be, and how it is imbued with moral failings as well as with Consciousness of God! To a happy state shall indeed attain he who causes this [self] to grow in purity, and truly lost is he who buries it [in darkness].” (“The Sun,” Surah 91:7-10; AQM, M Asad translation)