I'm wondering if anyone can shed light on the color theme of Black and white squares
I guess I am going to have to quote the sufis again on this one. I'll try and be mercifully brief (as if...).
There are those that today doubt that the Templars had 'Saracenic' leanings, but that is not, however what the sufis say. Some of the symbolism of the Templars is so similar to that of sufism it is doubtful the two could not have had a common origin. Without going into the evidence, I ask you to accept it as a possibility.
A prominent historical authority on the Masons is Tobias Churton. I recommend his book 'Freemasonry The Reality' as a very good historical account of Masonry, without the sensationalism. In private correspondence with me Tobias agrees that the origins of Masonry is very likely to have been through influence from the Middle East.
So whether Masonry was a direct descendent of the Templars or whether they both share an origin by different routes from sufism is something to ponder. There are lots of well-documented strands of different sufi schools one could delve into. The aim of any true sufi school today, as ever, is the activation of the higher faculties of a person leading to his or her direct experience of higher consciousness. Sufis, unlike Islam, have women saints as well as men.
To me it makes little difference. Sufis say the Templars used their terminology and they say the Masons do too. If it seems very secretive, we must remember that Sufis have been oppressed by Islam in history as much as heretics have been tortured by Catholics. Sufis say they were in contact with the Cathars, which might bring them into the RLC arena. Secret also means to avoid unwanted attention from noisy sensation-seekers and shallow people. They have a job to do.
Masonry since its takeover by Grand Lodge is not the same animal it was originally. Grand Lodge collected and suppressed as much ancient Masonic literature as it could find, I dare say we have lost much of the early documentation, or it is now deep underground.
Above all in dealing with Arabic literature, especially of an esoteric nature, you have to be aware of the Arabic love of wordplay. Puns if you like. Deeper than that, it seems as if the Arabic triliteral word roots were originally devised around the association of ideas and words. This is a fundamental issue when dealing with translations of sufi literature. They inevitably miss at least half the connotations, probably much more. Coupled with this you also have Abjad, the system where each letter has a numerical equivalent. This is similar to the later Hebrew system (which has a few differences). In Persian, Urdu and other non-semitic languages the sounds differ a little but the numerical values of the letters remain exactly the same.
A thing you should note is that the Arabic word for black and wise are one and the same. The FHM triliteral root can mean black or wise (understanding). This root word also occurs in the Templar 'Head' they called Baphomet.
Mohammed's banner was black, standing for wisdom and lordship. The Kaaba in Mecca is also draped in black, signifying wisdom.
There is a sufi phrase 'Dar tariki, tariqat' - 'In the darkness, the path'.
The word Sayed, prince, is also connected with a word for black and is a term associated with a direct descendent of Mohammed.
The black and white motif is associated with the Verse of Light in the Koran, Sura 24, v 35. It is specifically stated that this verse is an allegory and should be understood metaphorically.
According to the sufi Sayed Idries Shah, the black and white checker effect is said to have been handed down from great antiquity. Sufi meetings perpetuate the alternation of light and dark by laying down a cloth of alternate black and white on the floor of the meeting house. The tracing boards of Masonry do the same, I am given to understand.
The sufis speak of light as truth, illumination. Black is wisdom. White being as near as we can to showing light.
Al-Ghazali (known as Algazael) wrote a book that greatly influenced the west, 'The niche for lights'. The whole book is the subject of light and darkness.
The famous sufi teaching joke about Mulla Nasrudin is also in this vein.
A man was walking home late one night when he saw Mulla Nasrudin searching under a street light on hands and knees for something on the ground.
"Mulla, what have you lost?" he asked.
"The key to my house," Nasrudin said.
"I'll help you look," the man said.
Soon, both men were down on their knees, looking for the key.
After a number of minutes, the man asked, "Where exactly did you drop it?"
Nasrudin waved his arm back toward the darkness. "Over there, in my house."
The first man jumped up. "Then why are you looking for it here?"
"Because there is more light here than inside my house."