The Other Finger

Finger pic

Raising the index finger up became like a gang sign for different Islamic organizations like ISIS, Al-Qaeda, Al-Shabab(Somalia), Abu Sayyaf (Indonesia) and Boko Haram (Nigeria). But this hand gesture is part of a body language with different meanings widely used by politicians and religious people around the world.

Communication Aspect

  • It is considered a rude gesture in a professional environment and termed a domineering behavior.
  • It is a way to silent an individual and ask them to pay attention
  • It is a sign of unspoken threat and warning.
  • It reflects a spokesperson’s speech as the single and only solution
  • Vanity, selfishness and sense of power are also common traits.

Religious Annotation

In Buddhism, raising the index is known as “Suchi Mudra” which has several meanings like to search for something, to contemplate something, or scolding somebody.

In Islam, raising the finger is testifying that there is no other God except Allah, just like in court when people are sworn on a Bible or Quran. When ISIS militants hold up a single index finger on their hands and shout “Takbeer”, they are alluding to the tawhid, the belief in the oneness of God and a key component of the Muslim religion; which rejects any other view, including other Islamic interpretations. (IT).

In Christianity, the raised index finger simply means divinity and identifies Jesus Christ as the “Son of God”. The finger’s direction towards the sky is considered a sign from people on earth to glorify the lord. Christ was never portrayed raising the index finger, unlike John The Baptist who some believe his gesture was a sign of “remember John the Baptist”. In the Old Testament, every finger had a meaning: Index (fire), the thumb (water), the middle finger (Ether/5th element), the ring finger (earth) and the little finger (air). Philip Coppens

In Judaism, the index finger was first used as a replacement of the Yad, a metal pointer used to read the Torah. The finger was first raised up in the sky then directed toward the Torah scroll without touching the parchment. Now it’s commonly used in Jewish marriages, whereas the rings of the newly married are placed in the index finger.


“Puis-je sortir aux toilettes Madame…?”

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