Flowers and martyrdom — visual representations in jihadi propaganda
I’ve always been fascinated by the visual representations in jihadi propaganda. Especially with the flowers surrounding pictures of martyrs and how these depictions are used symbolically to try to represent that jihadists are/were legitimately following in God’s path.
Usually these pictures have red roses, which as I understand it are meant to depict the blood of the Prophet Muhammad. However, I was told some time ago that the red lily is also used because lilies arose from the blood of the Prophet Muhammad’s son. Often there are pictures of meadows of flowers; this representation is of the blood of the martyr quenching the thirst of the soil where flowers then grow.
Roses are more common in jihadi depictions. I’ve often wondered if this is because it is easier to find images of them on the internet. Violets also have a symbolism, and the scent of all three (roses, lilies and violets) is often described in relation to the scent of martyrdom. Although the most prevalent description of the aroma of martyrdom is the smell of musk that is believed to emit from the blood of the martyr and can last sometime after death.
Anyway, this is what I’ve been told and/or discovered. If I have it wrong or you have anything to add I’d be interested to hear it.
Below is a fairly typical representation I found on the forums some time ago. It’s a picture of a dead AQAP commander who was killed in 2004.