The Rise of the Black Flag through Forged Prophecy[1]

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم


Prophet Muhammad () was given the Quran and the Sunnah. The Quran commands the Muslims to pray on a daily basis, but its actual conditions, its description and its timings are only found in the Sunnah. The Quran orders the Muslims to perform Hajj; but its rites aren’t mentioned in Allah’s Book. Every action for the daily life of the Muslim is found within the books of Hadith (Sunnah).

The Sunnah is defined as Prophet Muhammed’s () speech, actions, approval, character and appearance. All narrated traditions conveyed from Muhamamd () must fulfill five conditions before they can be accepted and acted upon. The Books compiled from the time of companions until today contain various narrations, however all those reports aren’t authentic. Throughout Islamic history different movements and people forged narrations on the Prophet to suit their agendas. Among those narrations falsely linked to the Prophet, and his companions, and the epics before  Judgment Day are the Hadith about the Black Flag.[2]

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These narrations are coded with propaganda to sway people’s emotion. The first narration frequently used today about the rise of the black flag is collected by Imam At-Tirmithi in his comprehensive book of hadith known as , Jami’ At-Tirmithi hadith number 2269.

تَخْرُجُ مِنْ خُرَاسَانَ رَايَاتٌ سُودٌ لَا يَرُدُّهَا شَيْءٌ حَتَّى تُنْصَبَ بِإِيلِيَاءَ

Black banners  will come from Khorasan, nothing will turn them back until they are planted in Jerusalem.”

Imam At-Tirmithi graded this hadith as being weak by saying it was Ghareeb. The weak narrator in the chain is Rishdeen ibn Sa’d.[3]

People believe the Taliban are the carriers of the black flag from this unauthentic report which mentioned Khorasan. For that reason their atrocities aren’t denounced by some Muslims.

In another erred report which has two chains of transmission

عَنْ ثَوْبَانَ ، قَالَ : قَالَ رَسُولُ اللهِ صَلَّى الله عَليْهِ وسَلَّمَ : يَقْتَتِلُ عِنْدَ كَنْزِكُمْ ثَلاَثَةٌ ، كُلُّهُمُ ابْنُ خَلِيفَةٍ ، ثُمَّ لاَ يَصِيرُ إِلَى وَاحِدٍ مِنْهُمْ ، ثُمَّ تَطْلُعُ الرَّايَاتُ السُّودُ مِنْ قِبَلِ الْمَشْرِقِ ، فَيَقْتُلُونَكُمْ قَتْلاً لَمْ يُقْتَلْهُ قَوْمٌ – ثُمَّ ذَكَرَ شَيْئًا لاَ أَحْفَظُهُ فَقَالَ ، فَإِذَا رَأَيْتُمُوهُ فَبَايِعُوهُ وَلَوْ حَبْوًا عَلَى الثَّلْجِ ، فَإِنَّهُ خَلِيفَةُ اللهِ الْمَهْدِيُّ.

Thawban said that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said:

“Three will fight one another for your treasure, each one of them the son of a caliph, but none of them will gain it. Then the black banners will come from the east, and they will kill you in an unprecedented manner.” Then he mentioned something that I do not remember, then he said: “When you see them, then pledge your allegiance to them even if you have to crawl over the snow, for that is the caliph of Allah, Mahdi.


Shaykh Al-Albani (may Allah rest him in Jannah and send this Ummah someone else like him again) said: “ This hadith is Munkar.[4]

Whenever  an unreliable narrator solitarily narrates a report that contradicts others  it is thus  judged as being Munkar.[5]

Ibn Majah (518-519) and Al-Hakim (4/463-464) recorded this hadith with two chains from:


  • Muhammad ibn Yahya —Ahmed ibn Yusuf—Abdur Razzaq—Sufyan At-Thowri—Khalid Al-Hatha’I — Abu Qallabah— Abu Asma—Thowban on the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) This is the 1st isnad. Between Ibn Majah and the Prophet there are a total of 8 narrators


1-    Muhammad ibn Yahya –Trustworthy

2-    Ahmed ibn Yusuf – is  known as  “ Hamdan” Ibn Hajr said he is Trustworthy and reliable.

3-    Abdur Razzaq ibn Hammam As-San’anee – Ibn Hajr said he is a Trustworthy Hafith and author of the Musnaf.

4-    Sufyan At-Thowri- Trustworthy

5-    Khalid ibn Mahran Al-Hatha’I –Trustworthy

6-    Abu Qallabah – is Abdullah ibn Zayd ibn Amr . He  was trustworthy but, he use to practice Tadlees

7-    Abu Asma- is Amr ibn Marthad .Ibn Hajr said he was Thiqah

8-    Thowban- Radi Allahu anhu


Shaykh Al-Albani graded this isnad being weak in the Silsilah Ad-Dha’eefah since Abu Qallabah said, ( عن). The (عن) from an honest person known for Tadless is unacceptable until he says, “ I heard”.[6]


Moreover, Shaykh Shuaib Ar-Naoot said there was another defect which prevents the Isnad in Ibn Majah’s and Al-Hakim’s book from being authentic. Sufyan At-Thowri contradicted Abdul Wahhab ibn Atta in his narration from Khalid Al-Hatha’i. Abdul Wahhab narrated this hadeeth from Khalid Al-Hatha’I without mentioning the Prophet ( صلى الله عليه و سلم).[7]


Furthermore, there is an extra fault that prevents this hadith from being acceptable. Imam Ahmed said Isma’il ibn ‘Ulayah used to say,”the Hadith about the black banners narrated from Khalid Al-Hatha’I is weak.”[8]


To put it briefly there are three deficiencies that prevent the narration found in Ibn Majah’s  and Al-Hakim’s collection from being valid and acceptable as an evidence.

  1. Abu Qallabah didn’t mention he heard it directly from Abu Asma
  2. Sufyan At-Thowri contradicted Abdul Wahhab in his report from Khalid ibn Hatha’i
  3. Although Khalid ibn Hatha’I is reliable Imam Ahmed mentioned that there was defect which prevents this hadith from being authentic


The other hadith collected by Imam Ahmed (5/277) and Hakim (4/502) is from


  • Shareek –Ali ibn Zayd—Abdul Wahhab ibn ‘Atta—Khaild Al-Hatha’—Abu Qallabah  on the Prophet ( صلى الله عليه و سلم )


Ali ibn Zayd is Ibn Jad’an and Abu Asma wasn’t mentioned in this chain, thus this is an error. Ibn Hajr said : “ Ali ibn Zayd is weak in his narrations.

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Shuaib Al-Arnaoot said: “ The Isnad is weak”

1-    Shareek – is Ibn Abdillah An-Nakha-ee, his  memory was deficient.

2-    Ali ibn Zayd – ibn Jad’an, he is weak.

3-    Abu Qallabah – he is Abdullah ibn Zayd ibn Amr, he didn’t hear hadith from Thowban. Between Abu Qallabah and Thowban is Abu Asam Amr ibn Marthad.

This Isnad in Imam Ahmed’s collection has three problems preventing it from being authentic. There are other narrations with different companions sharing the same meaning; all which are weak.

  • Al-Bayhaqi in Da’la’il  (6/516) Imam Ath-Thahabi said this hadith is Munkar
  • Imam Ahmed (8775) in his Musnad by way of Abu Hurairah(Radi Allahu anhu). This isnad is very weak
  • Ibn Majah (4088) by way of Abdullah ibn Al-Harith and this Isnad is weak as well.[9]




The flag waving, join the crowd propaganda built on disinformation maintains the culture of fear and religious paranoia. Allah said:

Shall We tell you the greatest losers in respect of (their) deeds? “Those whose efforts have been wasted in this life while they thought that they were acquiring good by their deeds![10]

Terror groups use  the black flag as an honor by association  to affiliate themselves to the Mahdi. The end of the weak hadith reads, “for that is the caliph of Allah, Mahdi…” It’s totally unsound to say someone is the caliph of Allah;as this demotes The Most High’s Majesty by saying He is weak and incapable. Allah is unequivocally free of needing a successor. He is the Ever Living, Sustainer of Himself and His creation. Allah witnesses everything; He will never die or be absent. Therefore, it is not possible for anyone to succeed Him and stand in His place. There is nothing equal to Allah. So whoever creates a successor for Allah, has then associated partners with Lord of All the Worlds.[11]

Prepared by ;

Abu Aaliyah Abdullah ibn Dwight Lamont Battle

PhD candidate (Hadith and Its Sciences)

Doha, Qatar (1437H) ©


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[1] There are many groups who use the black flag to try and establish their legitimacy through forged Prophecy. Some of these groups are; Al-Qaeda, Al-Shabaab, the Islamic Courts union, Hizbul Islam, and ISIL/ISIS.

[2] To have a better understanding about the conditions for a hadith to be accepted please read :

[3] Jam’I At-Tirmithi

[4] Silsilah Ad-Dha’eefah, Shaykh Muhammad Nasirudeen Al-Albani ,hadith number 85

[4] Ibid

[5] Al-Muqeetha, Imam Ath-Thahabbi (748H)

[6] Al-Albani. Tadless -Tadlees means imposition, or giving a false impression – See more at:

[7] Musnad Imam Ahmed, vol 37,pg 70-71, checked and edited by Shuaib Ar-Naoot, Adl Murshad, Sa’eed Al-Laham, Ahmed Barhoom.

[8] Al-Muntakhab min Illal , by Ibn Qudammah Al-Maqdasi, # 170

[9] Shuaib Ar-Naoot

[10] Quran: 18:103

[11] Silsilah Ad-Dha’eefah, Shaykh Muhammad Nasirudeen Al-Albani ,hadith number 85

For further reading in Propaganda tactics exploited by  Muslims groups refer to :


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