According to a news story on the respected Worldnet News Daily (WND) web site – with an accompanying array of photos as evidence – U.S. President Barack H. Obama has been wearing, since his days in college, a ring on which is inscribed the Shahada, the main Muslim prayer. The report quoted Egyptian-born Islamic scholar and author of five books on Islam, Mark Gabriel, as saying that based on the photos, Obama, if not a Muslim, had a very close connection to the religion. There can be no doubt that someone wearing the inscription ‘There is no god except Allah,’ the main feature of the Shahada, has a very close connection to Islamic beliefs, the Islamic religion and Islamic society to which this statement is so strongly attached,” Gabriel said.
Obama has for years denied any connection to Islam, stating that he is a Christian, and that he has been a long-time member of the Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, presided over by the infamous Reverend Jeremiah Wright. But Gabriel said that Obama's wearing of the ring did not jibe with that claim. “Christians never use the statement,” Gabriel told WND. “By wearing the Shahada on jewelry, a person communicates that Allah is in control of all circumstances. Allah controls you; Allah is the one and only one.”
The article contains numerous photos of Obama throughout his academic and political career in which he is seen wearing the ring, which contains the Arabic letters representing the Shahada in gold inlay, written in a calligraphic style commonly used in Islamic design and literature for the prayers. The photos go back to 1981, when Obama was a student was at Occidental College, and continue through the period when he worked in Chicago, and throughout the presidential campaign and the years of his presidency.
The article also contains an excerpt from an interview by Nicholas Kristoff, an op-ed writer for the New York Times, with Obama during the 2008 campaign. Kristoff discussed with Obama his childhood education in Indonesia, where Obama said that he attended Islamic school, and learned the Adhan, the call to prayer that is broadcast at mosques around the world five times a day, which he demonstrated for Kristoff. The writer noted that Obama, who said the prayer in Arabic, pronounced it with “a first-rate accent.” He then went on to quote Obama as saying that the prayer, as far as he was concerned, was “one of the prettiest sounds on Earth at sunset.”
The ring was also described in a 2009 New York Times article recounting Obama's wedding with his wife Michelle. The article quotes the Times' piece as noting the “intricate design” on Obama's ring, unlike Michelle's, which was a traditional wedding ring. Apparently, the article said, many people who have come into contact with Obama over the years have noted the ring and questioned the President about its meaning, with Obama dodging an answer each time. The WND article cites a satirical edition of the Harvard Law Review put out by students in 1990, in which Obama is listed as having been successful at, among other things, “Deflecting Persistent Questioning About Ring On Left Hand.”
“Muslims recite the Shahada when they wake up in the morning and before they go to sleep at night,” Gabriel told WND. “It is repeated five times every day in the call to prayer in every mosque. A single honest recitation of the Shahada in Arabic is all that is required for a person to convert to Islam,” he said, adding that there was “no way” Obama could have remained oblivious to the meaning and context of the ring's inscription for so long. “By wearing this religious statement on one’s hand, it connects the person to Islam,” Gabriel said, adding that it was “a blessed statement in Islam.”