In 1536 ce, Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent ordered extensive restorations on the Temple Mount and converted the church which had been built on Mount Zion during the Crusader conquest into a mosque. By building this mosque, Suleiman linked himself both to Solomon the son of David and the Davidic Messiah who, according to Christian belief, is Jesus.
It was Sultan Suleiman’s messianic consciousness which led him to develop the link between himself and King Solomon. On the walls which be built around Jerusalem are stone decorations in the form of two interlocking triangles Stars of David, known to Moslems as Khatam Suleiman and to Jews as Khatam Shlomo (King Solomon’s Seal) whose function was to protect the city. The symbol of the hexagram, the star-like figure formed by two triangles, has many connotations, especially when it is enclosed by a circle; super-natural powers have been attributed to it in many parts of the world since ancient times.
Beyond the Jewish national associations which have only become attached to it in the last few hundred years, the abstract element of the figure (which is connected to the celestial stars) and its geometrical completeness make it a universal symbol. Together with the five-pointed star (the pentagram, which is of much earlier origin) the hexagram represents the development of mathematics and geometry by the Greeks and their successors around the Mediterranean.
Through geometry, in which the Pythagoreans and their followers saw cosmic symbolism, the hexagram and the pentagram became an expression of heaven and its reflection on earth, the divine and its reflection in creation and of the connection between heaven and earth, between the macrocosm and the microcosm, and between spirit and matter.
Islamic civilization was a vibrant crossroads of culture through which the achievements of the ancient world flowed into modern-day Europe, through which information passed from east to west and back again, and in which various ethnic groups of different languages and religions lived side by side and contributed to cultural advancement.
King Solomon’s Seal combines strength and beauty, symbolism and illustrative quality and all within a geometric figure, the most important characteristic of Islamic art. The Moslem artist’s love of geometry allows the true essence of King Solomon’s Seal as a symbol of the connection between the two worlds to be expressed; in this context, it symbolizes the link between science, beauty and metaphysics, with elements of medicine and magic, astronomy and astrology, the art of irrigation and its influence on the garden, and the symbolic connection between pleasure gardens and the Garden of Eden, between the sky and architectural domes and on traditional cosmology and its connection to religion.