What is a minaret ?
A minaret is generally a slim tower attached to a mosque in which the Mu’adhin (person appointed at a mosque to announce the call to prayer) announces the call to prayer (Adhan) from.
Have minarets always been around in Islam ?
Strictly speaking, no. In the times of the Prophet, the Mu’adhin would generally stand on the tallest point in the mosque.
When did minarets become prominent in Islam ?
Minarets were traditionally Greek watchtowers as well as the towers of Churches were were then repurposed.
What significance does the crescent moon have on a mosque ?
There is no real significance of the crescent moon and thus a reason as to why it is present on the tops of mosques. However in the modern day, symbols on top of religious buildings have become a way of distinguishing different religious institutes i.e. mosques, gurdwaras and mandirs.
The Muslim Ottoman Empire adopted the crescent symbol after conquering Constantinople. And thus this was the origin of when the crescent moon began to gain association with mosques and Islam.
However to be complete, it should be noted that muslims do follow the lunar calendar as opposed to the solar calendar. It is thus when the new moon is sighted that the new months and thus significant events i.e Ramadan and Eid begin.