President Barack Obama's wedding ring has been the recent subject of debate for some who believe that it is inscribed with the Islamic declaration of faith, while others are now claiming that clearer images of the gold wedding band bear no resemblance to the shahada.
While World Net Daily (WND) initially reported that Obama's ring contains the Islamic and Arabic phrase "There is no God but Allah," the Digital Journal uncovered a high resolution photograph of the ring taken by Miguel Villagran in 2009. Villagran's photograph appears to be much clearer than the images featured on WND, giving viewers more of a detailed look at the symbols carved on the gold wedding band.
According to About.com Urban Legends, Obama's ring bears an abstract design instead of an Arabic script initially spoken about by WND and the publication's sources. While the shahada, or Muslim profession of faith's phrase in its entirety states "There is no god but God and Muhammad is the prophet of God," some believed that the president's ring only contained the first part of the statement.
However, Snopes.com, a website discussing urban legends, also seemed to debunk the rumors that the ring contained any Arabic writing at all.
"Looks to be an artifact of someone's trying mightily to find a hidden message where none exists," the website stated.
Although a Duke professor who preferred to remain unnamed told TheBlaze.com that the image of the president's ring obtained by WND did seem to accurately portray the first part of the shahada, a Harvard University professor of Indo-Muslim and Islamic Religion and Cultures told the publication that he needed a closer look at the ring other than the lower resolution image.
"I'd actually have to see it much closer to see exactly what it says. It's very clear that it's not the whole shahada – of course in the shahada there the two different phrases," Asani said.
However, About.com's Urban Legend section stated that WND's images seemed "forced" with no clear indication that the symbols on Obama's ring were even Arabic. The Digital Journal went one step further to debunk the rumors by using three separate translation services such as "Translation Babylon," "Translate Google" and "Translation Services USA" too look up the English to Arabic translation of the phrase "No God but Allah."
When compared to Villagran's high-resolution image taken in 2009, the Arabic symbols found in a search of the three translation services did not match. The ring in question has been worn by Obama since his days at Harvard Law School before he married Michelle Obama, according to WND reports. However, Obama's wife reportedly placed the same ring on his finger when they exchanged nuptials at their wedding ceremony in 1992, according to the publication.
While the ring has caused some to question Obama's claims of being a Christian, the president has remained vocal about being a practicing follower of Christ.
"It was because the precepts of Jesus Christ spoke to me in terms of the kind of life that I would want to lead," Obama has said, according to a Los Angeles Times report. "Understanding that Jesus Christ dying for my sins spoke to the humility we all have to have as human beings, that we're sinful and we're flawed, we make mistakes. And that we achieve salvation through the grace of God."