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Q&A: Islamic flags and banners

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Question:

The following has been brought into question from one of the brothers, and I will cite its text:

Assalamu alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu... The controversy here in Syria regarding the banner of Rasoolullah صلى الله عليه وسلم has increased, including the disagreements. One of the questions that were directed to the Islamic Authority of al-Sham on its website titled: "Is there a specific banner for Syrians to abide?"

The following was mentioned in their response: "There is no reference about the Prophet Muhammad's صلى الله عليه وسلم war banners regarding color or shape. It was confirmed that Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم had a black and sometimes white banner and others also yellow. It was not confirmed that Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم had anything written on these banners as some backward-minded have suspected, and what was narrated by Ibn Abbas that the banner of Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم had the following written on it: "La Ilaha Illa Allah, Muhammad Rasoul Allah" is a void (batil) Hadith as stated by scholars." The End.

Please provide the answer regarding this subject, and may Allah reward you with good deeds.

Answer:

First: The color of the banner and the flag, the Sahih and Hasan Shari' evidences that were narrated shows that the banner is white, and the flag is black from the following evidences:

1- أخرج النسائي في سننه الكبرى، والترمذي عَنْ جَابِرٍ، أَنَّ النَّبِيَّ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ «دَخَلَ مَكَّةَ وَلِوَاؤُهُ أَبْيَضُ». وأخرج ابن أبي شيبة في مصنفه عَنْ عَمْرَةَ قَالَتْ: «كَانَ لِوَاءُ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ أَبْيَضَ».

1. An-Nasa'i has narrated in his book al-Sunan al-Kubra, and at-Tirmidhi has narrated on authority of Jaber that Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم "entered Makkah with his white banner."

Ibn Abi Shayba narrated in his Musannaf on authority of Amra that she said: "the banner of Prophet Muhammad sallalahu alaihi wassalam was white."

2- أخرج أحمد، وأبو داود، والنسائي في سننه الكبرى عن يُونُسُ بْنُ عُبَيْدٍ مَوْلَى مُحَمَّدِ بْنِ الْقَاسِمِ، قَالَ: بَعَثَنِي مُحَمَّدُ بْنُ الْقَاسِمِ إِلَى الْبَرَاءِ بْنِ عَازِبٍ يَسْأَلُهُ عَنْ رَايَةِ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ مَاهى؟ فَقَالَ: «كَانَتْ سَوْدَاءَ مُرَبَّعَةً مِنْ نَمِرَةٍ."

2. Ahmad, Abu Dawud, and an-Nasa'i in his book al-Sunan al-Kubra have narrated on authority of Younus bin Obeid, the slave of Mohammad Bin al-Qassem that he said: Mohammad Bin al-Qassem sent me to al-Baraa bin Azeb to ask him about the flag of Prophet Muhammad sallalahu alaihi wassalam what is it? He said: "it was a black square from Namira".

3- أخرج الترمذي وابن ماجه عَنْ ابْنِ عَبَّاسٍ قَالَ: «كَانَتْ رَايَةُ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ سَوْدَاءَ، وَلِوَاؤُهُ أَبْيَضَ».

3. At-Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah have narrated on authority of Ibn Abbas who said: "The flag of Prophet Mohammad sallalahu alaihi wassalam was black, and his banner was white."

وأخرج البغوي في شرح السنة، عَنْ عَمْرَةَ، قَالَتْ: «كَانَ لِوَاءُ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ أَبْيَضَ، وَكَانَتْ رَايَتُهُ سَوْدَاءَ...»

Al-Baghawi has narrated in Sharh al-Sunnah on authority of Amrah who said: "the banner of Prophet Mohammad sallalahu alaihi wassalam was white, and his flag was black..."

Second: As to what was mentioned that it was yellow as in the Hadith of Abu Dawud and al-Baihaqi, there is an argument in his sanad (chain of narration).

حَدَّثَنَا عُقْبَةُ بْنُ مُكْرَمٍ، حَدَّثَنَا سَلْمُ بْنُ قُتَيْبَةَ الشَّعِيرِيُّ، عَنْ شُعْبَةَ، عَنْ سِمَاكٍ، عَنْ رَجُلٍ مِنْ قَوْمِهِ، عَنْ آخَرَ مِنْهُمْ قَالَ: رَأَيْتُ «رَايَةَ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ صَفْرَاءَ".

The Hadith is as follows: Uqbah bin Mukram narrated, Salm bin Qutayba al-Sha'iri narrated, on the authority of Shu'ba, on authority of Simak, on the authority of a man from his tribe, on authority of another person from them, said: I saw "the flag of Prophet Mohammad sallalahu alaihi wassalam yellow." And as you see, there are two unknowns in the sanad (chain of narrations) of the Hadith, and it is weak.

Third: As to what was narrated that (the flag of Ali (radiyallahu anhu) at the day of Siffeen was red written on it: Mohammad Rasoolullah, and he had a black flag.) It is clear that it is not a Hadith from Prophet Mohammad صلى الله عليه وسلم, but it is an action of a Sahabi. In addition to that, the narration itself also says: "and he had a black flag", and as it is known what is approved is the Hadith of Prophet Mohammad صلى الله عليه وسلم.

Fourth: This is in regards to the color of the flag of Prophet Mohammad صلى الله عليه وسلم and the color of his banner, i.e. the official flag for the state, and also its banner.

As to the fact that some tribes used to take a flag with a special color in their wars to distinguish themselves, this is permissible. For example, the army of al-Sham can take in war a flag with a different color in addition to the black flag, and the army of Egypt can take also a flag with a different color in addition to the black flag... And this is from the permissible (mubah).

وقد ورد عند الطبراني في الكبير عن مَزِيدَةَ الْعَبْدِيَّ، يَقُولُ: «إِنَّ النَّبِيَّ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ عَقَدَ رَايَاتِ الْأَنْصَارِ فَجَعَلَهُنَّ صُفَرًا".

It was narrated in at-Tabarani in al-Kabeer on authority of Mazeeda al-Abdi' saying: "The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم has knotted the flags of al-Ansar and made them yellow."

وكذلك ورد عند ابن أبي عاصم في الآحاد والمثاني عَنْ كُرْزِ بْنِ سَامَةَ قَالَ: «...وَإِنَّ النَّبِيَّ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ عَقَدَ رَايَةَ بَنِي سُلَيْمٍ حَمْرَاءَ".

And it was narrated from Ibn Abi Asem in al-Aahad and al-Mathani on the authority of Kurz bin Sama who said: "... And the Prophet sallalahu alaihi wassalam knotted the flag of Bani Suleim red", so this is from the permissible (mubah). Army brigades nowadays use badges to differentiate themselves other than the official flag of the state, and it is permissible also to differentiate the armies by their names, as if numbering each army of its armies, so it is called: the first army, the third army for example, or naming it by its wilayah from the wilayat, or a province from its provinces, so it is called: Al-Sham Army or the Aleppo Army for example.

Fifth: As for the writing on it,

فقد أخرج الطبراني في الأوسط قال: (حَدَّثَنَا أَحْمَدُ بْنُ رِشْدِينَ قَالَ: نا عَبْدُ الْغَفَّارِ بْنُ دَاوُدَ أَبُو صَالِحٍ الْحَرَّانِيُّ قَالَ: نا حَيَّانُ بْنُ عُبَيْدِ اللَّهِ قَالَ: نا أَبُو مِجْلَزٍ لَاحِقُ بْنُ حُمَيْدٍ، عَنِ ابْنِ عَبَّاسٍ قَالَ: «كَانَتْ رَايَةُ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ سَوْدَاءَ وَلِوَاؤُهُ أَبْيَضُ، مَكْتُوبٌ عَلَيْهِ: لَا إِلَهَ إِلَّا اللَّهُ مُحَمَّدٌ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ». لَا يُرْوَى هَذَا الْحَدِيثُ عَنِ ابْنِ عَبَّاسٍ إِلَّا بِهَذَا الْإِسْنَادِ، تَفَرَّدَ بِهِ: حَيَّانُ بْنُ عُبَيْدِ اللَّهِ).

It was extracted by at-Tabarani in al-Awsat: (Ahmad bin Rashdine narrated that Abdul Ghaffar bin Dawud Abu Saleh al-Harrani said: Hayyan bin Obeidillah told us that Abu Mijlaz Laheq bin Humeid narrated on authority of Ibn Abbas who said: "The flag of the Messenger of Allah sallalahu alaihi wassalam was black and his banner white written on it: La Ilaha Illa Allah". This Hadith is not narrated by Ibn Abbas except by this isnad (chain), and it is exclusive to Hayyan bin Obeidillah).

And Hayyan bin Obeidillah differed in its documentation:

A. Ibn Hibban mentioned it in al-Thiqat, and this is in his book al-Thiqat Volume 6/230:

(7491 - Hayyan bin Obeidillah Abu Zuhair the slave of Bani Odai narrating from Abu Mijlaz and his father, and Muslim bin Ibrahim and Musa bin Ismail have narrated from him)

B. al-Thahabi mentioned it in his book Mizan al-I'tidal (623/1):

(2388 - Hayyan bin Obeidillah, Abu Zuhair, sheikh from Busra on authority of Abi Mijlaz. Al-Bukhari reported: al-Salt had mentioned his mix up)

Al-Salt is bin Mohammad Abu Hammam, and Abu al-Hajjaj mentioned him in his book, Tahtheeb al-Kamal fi Asmaa al-Rijal 79/2. He said:

Abu Hammam al-Salt bin Mohammad al-Kharki is from Kharek, an island in the gulf area close to Oman, and al-Bukhri had narrated for him in al-Saheeh.

Due to his mix-up in ahadith due to his old age, al-Uqeili had considered him from the weak narrators in his book, al-Dho'afa' al-Kabir 319/1 where he said:

Hayyan bin Oeidillah Abu Zuhair is from Busra... And Adam bin Musa narrated that he heard al-Bukhari said: Hayyan bin Obeidillah Abu Zuhair was mentioned by al-Salt to be mixing up (jumbling) ahadith...

Al-Thahabi said about him in his book al-Mughni fi ad-Do'afaa 198/1 "Hayyan bin Obeidillah Abu Zuhair al-Basri on authority of Abu Mijlaz is not reliable."

Therefore he is disputed as there are people who make him reliable, and others who consider him from those who are weak because he mixed up when he became old. It seems that when he became old, he started to jumble. However, the issue is the writing of "La Illaha illa Allah Mohammad Rasool Allah" on the flag and the banner, and jumbling ahadith does not affect this writing, especially that there are two reliable narrators in the sanad between him and the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم: Abu Mijlaz Laheq bin Hameed and Ibn Abbas, so we adopted the writing of the two Shahadahs on the flag and the banner.

15 Shawwal 1433 AH

1/9/2012 CE

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