The moon phases
The crescent is often associated with the two phases of the waxing moon (between the new moon and the full moon) and the waning moon (between the full moon and the following new moon) 1. The passage from obscurity (new moon) to clarity (full moon) and vice versa brings the moon phases closer to the night and day cycle.
The day symbolizes the light that illuminates everything and, in particular, the world manifestation.
The night not only represents the absence of light, but also its undifferentiated Principle, source of clarity. Regarding this subject, the Islamic tradition speaks of the midnight sun.
Result of the manifestation of the Principle, the being can only return towards the same Principle, which has given birth to him.
This return voyage is made in the image of the moon phases. Thrown into obscurity, representative of ignorance, the being travels towards clarity during the phase associated with the ascending moon. At the full moon and according to the spirituality degree achieved, he can either leave the lunar sphere for the full light of which the moon constitutes only a reflection or return to the obscurity he comes from during the phase linked to the descending moon.
The way out of the lunar sphere or apparent light for the true clarity will be final. The way back to the obscure world will last the time necessary for the preparation of a new exit attempt.
This picture of the moon phases is not only a characteristic of the Islamic tradition, but of most other traditions.
1 back A very simple way to know the moon phases, in the Northern as well as in the Southern hemisphere, consist in looking at the sky in the evening or in the morning. Visible in the evening, the moon is waxing (); observable in the morning, it is waning ().