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The Black Standard as used by various Islamist organisations has Shahadah written in white on black background

Hadith of black flags (Arabic: أحاديث الرايات السود) are several apocalyptic prophecies revealed by the Islamic prophet Muhammad that predict the appearance of an army carrying black flags or banners from the East, specifically Khorasan, in support of a messianic figure, the Mahdi, at the end of time.[1]


The Hadith mentioned in this respect from the Prophet are:

"There will emerge from Khorasan black banners which nothing will repel until they are set up in Jerusalem"

(Ahmad in al-Musnad, 14/383) [2]

"When the black flags come from Khorasan go to them,even if you have to crawl on snow, for among them is the Khalifa of Allah, the Mahdi"

(Abd al-‘Alim in al-Mahdi al-Muntazar) [3]

"Surely black flags will appear from the Khorasan until the people (under the leadership of this flag) will tie their horses with the olive trees between Bait-e-Lahya and Harasta (names of places in Jerusalem)"

(Nuaim Ibn Hammad in Kitab Al-Fitan) [4]

"A Nation will come from the east with black flags and they will ask for some goodness (authority) but the people will not give them, then, they will fight and win over those people. Now the people will give them what they asked for but they will not accept it until they will hand it over to a person from my progeny who will fill this earth with justice just as it was previously filled with oppression and tyranny. So if anyone of you finds this nation (i.e. from the east with black flags) then you must join them even if you have to crawl over ice"

(Al-Barzanji in Isha’ah li Ashrat Al-Sa’a) [5]

"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. 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"

(Sunan Ibn Majah, 4084) [6]


Khorasan is a large territory that includes the north-east of Iran. From a political point of view it includes Transoxiana and Sistan. The region that is now known as Khorasan encompasses less than half of historical Khorasan; the rest of that region now belongs to Afghanistan. These black banners may be those with which Abu Muslim came and overthrew the Umayyad Caliphate in 132 AH. Modern Jihadist organizations such as Al-Qaeda, Taliban and Islamic State also use black flags.[7][8]


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