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Please vote: Islam.SE temporary logo — can we vote?

Many sites replace their icon using a unicode character. Chess.SE uses a rook ♜, Poker.SE uses a club ♣, and so on. I believe it's possible to do the same here.

Question: Should the Islam.SE icon (currently "Is") be changed to something Islamic?

I think we've got a solid "yes" here". So....

Are there any more candidates?

  1. Once I feel satisfied there's negligible chance of an alternative candidate (with a realistic chance of being implemented), I plan to ask people to vote in a separate meta post. I intend to use a similar format as in Chinese Language temporary logo — can we vote? at Chinese.SE: voting on a completely context-free icon, as it would appear once implemented.

  2. After that, assuming there's some approximate consensus, I plan to create yet another meta post: a feature request proposing the change. (If there's no consensus... I don't know---it doesn't need solving unless it arises.)

I understand the restrictions are just "it has to be a unicode symbol". I don't think there's formalized restrictions on this (see below): my feeling is that it needs to be something which can readily convert to a blue-and-white icon, and not raise issues with copyright.

This would be a temporary change, until SE fully designs the site. However, given the sheer number of sites waiting for designs, it may be a long time.

Candidates...

These seem to be the current possibilities (i.e., those that I consider to have a realistic chance):

  1. Star and crescent: ☪︎

  2. Allah in Arabic: ﷲ or الله

    • Upside: It's not denomination specific; absolutely central to Islam.

    • Downside: Using Allah as a logo for a private company is not reverent. It's possible it may be considered mistreatment. (At the same time, many Muslims put ﷲ stickers on their cars, etc.)

  3. Rub el Hizb: ۞

    • Downside: I had no idea this is a Muslim symbol. (Just me?)
    • Downside: It might be mistaken for a gear (when displayed very small); it also looks similar to ☸ used at Buddhism.SE.
  4. Place of sajdah: ۩

    • Downside: I wouldn't naturally associate this with Islam. (Just me?)
  5. Islam in Arabic اسلام

    • Upside: It's not denomination specific.
    • Downside: It simply might not fit.

Several (maybe all) of these are unlikely to be recognizable those unfamiliar with Islam: this may be an upside or a downside depending on how you look at it (excluding irrelevant audience).

My opinion...

Despite all of them having drawbacks, we could choose any one of these, and it would be better than "Is" or "IS". Is is a word in English; sometimes people have difficulties with "Islam" vs. "Muslim"; and IS is also an unfortunate acronym nowadays. In other words, I feel the drawbacks of "Is" outweigh the drawbacks of any of these candidates.

Just be aware that in most cases it's going to be displayed very small. It mainly shows up on the hot network questions list and your flair. E.g. here's my flair (the Islam.SE icon is after the math.SE icon):

profile for Rebecca J. Stones on Stack Exchange, a network of free, community-driven Q&A sites

Here are the icons for Islam.SE (there may be more):

The smallest one is 16 x 16 pixels.


Unfortunately, the Kaaba 🕋︎ and a mosque 🕌︎ are out, even though they're both good choices for a non-controversial logo. I think the Kaaba would have been a good choice: mistreating an icon of the Kaaba is far less problematic than mistreating an icon saying Allah. (This topic may arise again when the site's full design comes along.)

I asked about this on meta.SE. There, I gave a mock up of what I had in mind based on discussions here:

I received this answer:

When I say Unicode, I mean the simple characters and symbols that look like they belong to a font... and are, in fact, available in many complete fonts.

Emoji are special and not included. These characters are generally copyrighted based on platform and require licensing to use them in many cases. We don’t just use the code for the symbol so that it appears differently on each system type, we create an image with the letter/s or symbol so it’s always the same.

So, I’m sorry, but this wouldn’t be an option. If the site ever gets a custom design we might design a Kaaba from scratch if it’s a good representation for a logo but we won’t use an emoji in one of our logos.

Catija ♦

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    I propose a word islam in arabic: اسلام – Rafid Nov 25 '19 at 21:40
  • Yes, in my opinion star and crescent will be most suitable. – Fawad Dec 7 '19 at 13:27
  • "we might design a Kaaba from scratch", why is that option not included in the list? – Rafid Jan 21 '20 at 2:33
  • The "we" refers to Stack Exchange Inc.'s professional designers. Not us (: [Catija is a Stack Exchange employee.] – Rebecca J. Stones Jan 21 '20 at 2:34
  • yeah i know that, doesnt that mean we (people here) can propose to them virtually any logo as long as it meet their requirement? – Rafid Jan 21 '20 at 4:42
  • Okay, but that’s a different matter altogether. I don’t anticipate Stack Exchange allowing us to design our own icons, although I haven’t asked. – Rebecca J. Stones Jan 21 '20 at 5:02
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I'm not a fan of the star and crescent symbol either. But to be honest I'm not a fan of any kinds of symbols that seems to be connected to Islam. Be it the star and crescent or the green or black flags or whatever.

As for taking "الله" as a symbol I have some reservation to this too.

So if we really need to take a symbol my tendency is for your options 2. and 3. and if possible I would chose the less controversial among all Muslims.

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  • It's not really necessary... just a nicety if we can agree on something suitable. – Rebecca J. Stones Nov 25 '19 at 7:20
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I'm not a huge fan of the star and crescent symbol myself, but as an easily identifiable symbol of "This site is about Islam" — especially to non-Muslims — it kinda has the others beat by a landslide. I do somewhat worry that it might end up a bit politically charged and seen as too Sunni-centric though.

I would also like to throw the following symbols into the ring, which are common symbols in Qur'anic orthography:

  • U+06DE ARABIC START OF RUB EL HIZB (۞)
  • U-06E9 ARABIC PLACE OF SAJDAH (۩)

And since different computers render different fonts with different glyphs, I have included a screenshot of what these look like on my end:

U+06DE ARABIC START OF RUB EL HIZB (۞) U-06E9 ARABIC PLACE OF SAJDAH (۩)

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    I’d guess the first one would likely be mistaken for a gear. – Rebecca J. Stones Nov 24 '19 at 2:12
  • @RebeccaJ.Stones True, but the Rub el Hizb does have a history of being used as an Islamic symbol: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rub_el_Hizb – goldPseudo Nov 24 '19 at 2:16
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    As a person growing up in a country that doesn't belong to the middle east the two proposed symbols have no meaning to me as in our Moshafs they don't even appear. North African Moshafs usually have very simple layout either there's a ring with a number inside or a simple star U+2733 to show that either a eighth or quarter or half or full hizb has ended or even a verse of sujud is referred to by this simple star. It's the first time I read that the Marineds, Watasides and Sa'adi's had the rub el-Hizb Symbole in their flags but this doesn't mean it has been referetd to as rub' eö-Hizb. – Medi1Saif Nov 25 '19 at 6:49
  • The place of sajdah looks very different on my phone and computer: would it be possible to clarify what you have in mind here? (The one on my phone looks like a mushroom-shaped outline, whereas on my computer it looks more detailed.) – Rebecca J. Stones Dec 10 '19 at 11:31
  • @RebeccaJ.Stones I have added a screenshot for how these render on my end. To my understanding, the place of sajdah symbol is a stylized representation of the mihrab, which is found in many masajid to indicate the direction of prayer. – goldPseudo Dec 10 '19 at 15:51
  • Ta... that's what it looks like on my computer, but not my phone. – Rebecca J. Stones Dec 10 '19 at 15:55
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I'm up for a "kitab"...

I've struggled with all the so-called "Islamic" data and info on my systems. I've gone with the context. I do use the 🕌 for a few things.

However, I propose a 📖... although, I'm sure someone is going to offer a conclusive argument for why that can be a big risk of some sort.

Al'hamdulilah. Can't wait to see where this lands.

Wa'salaam, and Peace, from the source of peace.

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    I don't mean to be discouraging but kitab = book... and I feel a generic book (not the Qur'an) is a better icon for Literature.SE. – Rebecca J. Stones Dec 3 '19 at 1:03
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Let's have a think about...

اسلام

I seriously doubt this would look any good in the tiny space provided. The vast majority of logos only have two characters in them, I don't think I've ever seen one that has more than three. – goldPseudo♦ 6 hours ago

It's my instinct too, but I'm not sure. I made a mock up of the smallest icon:

Mock up icon with اسلام

Mock up icon with اسلام (zoomed in)

Honestly, it's not that bad. Probably someone with actual skills could do better than me.


However, it's possible if we request اسلام, Stack Exchange will just tell us "it's too long". We may have to settle for an abbreviation (at least for the 16 x 16 favicon):

اس

which is basically "Is" but in Arabic, which I don't think has negative connotations (Wiktionary). Or

سلام

which is a common Muslim greeting (literally "peace", but in effect people use it to mean "hello"). I believe Arabic-speaking people in general use it too, so it might be better for an Arabic language site.

These might not be bad options. What's your thoughts?

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