When we saw your black flags emerged in Khorasan in order to prepare the ground for the advent of Mahdi and learned about your invitation toward his government apart from that of other people, we were reminded of the words of the Prophet, peace and blessings of God be upon him and his family: «إذا رأيتم الرايات السود قد أقبلت من خراسان فأتوها ولو حبوًا على الثلج، فإنّ أصحابها يسألون الحقّ فلا يعطونه، ثمّ يسألونه فلا يعطونه، فيقاتلون فينصرون، فيعطون ما سألوه، فيؤدّونه إلى المهديّ» which means, “When the black flags set off from Khorasan, rush toward them, even though by crawling on snow; for their owners will ask for the truth, but it will not be given to them, then they will ask for it again, but it will not be given to them, then they will fight and win, and what they asked for will be given to them, then they will hand it over to Mahdi”, and in another narration: «تجيء رايات سود من قبل المشرق كأنّ قلوبهم زبر الحديد، فمن سمع بهم فليأتهم، ولو حبوًا على الثلج، فإنّهم أنصار المهديّ في آخر الزمان، يوطّئون له سلطانه» which means, “Black flags will come from the East, as if their hearts are pieces of iron; so whoever hears of them should rush toward them, even though by crawling on snow; for they are the helpers of Mahdi in the end time, who will prepare the ground for his rule”. We hope you are them.
This is the content of a mutawatir Hadith known among the Ahl al-Hadith as “Hadith al-Rayat”, which is considered the oldest, most famous and most authentic Hadith from the Messenger of God, peace and blessings of God be upon him and his family, his companions and his Ahl al-Bayt about signs of the advent of Mahdi, peace be upon him; to the extent that it has inspired some uprisings in the history of Islam, such as the uprising of Abd al-Rahman ibn Ash‘ath (d. 85 AH) against Abd al-Malik ibn Marwan, the uprising of Harith ibn Surayj (d. 128 AH) against Nasr ibn Sayyar, the uprising of Abu Muslim al-Khorasani (d. 137 AH) against the Umayyads, and it has been reflected in the books of all Islamic sects; as for example, from among the Sunnis, people such as ibn Hammad (d. 228 AH) in al-Fitan, ibn Abi Shaybah (d. 235 AH) in his Musannaf, Ahmad ibn Hanbal (d. 241 AH) in his Musnad, ibn Majah (d. 273 AH) in his Sunan, Abu Dawud (d. 275 AH) in his Sunan, Ahmad ibn Amr al-Bazzar (d. 292 AH) in his Musnad, al-Ruyani (d. 307 AH) in his Musnad, Abu Sa‘id al-Shashi (d. 335 AH) in his Musnad, Mukram al-Bazzaz (d. 345 AH) in his Fawa’id, Mutahhar ibn Tahir al-Maqdisi (d. about 355 AH) in al-Bada’ Wa al-Tarikh, al-Tabarani (d. 360 AH) in al-Mu‘jam al-Awsat and al-Mu‘jam al-Kabir, ibn Adi (d. 365 AH) in al-Kamil, Hakim (d. 405 AH) in al-Mustadrak Ala al-Sahihayn, al-Bayhaqi (d. 458 AH) in Dala’il al-Nubuwwah, Khatib al-Baghdadi (d. 463 AH) in al-Rihlah Fi Talab al-Hadith, ibn Kathir (d. 774 AH) in al-Nahayah Fi al-Fitan Wa al-Malahim, and from among the Shias, people such as Muhammad ibn Sulayman al-Kufi (d. after 320 AH) in Manaqib Amir al-Mu’minin, Muhammad ibn Ibrahim al-Nu‘mani (d. 360 AH) in al-Ghaybah, Qadi al-Nu‘man al-Maghribi (d. 363 AH) in Sharh al-Akhbar, Muhammad ibn Jarir al-Tabari al-Shi‘i (d. after 411 AH) in Dala’il al-Imamah, Muhammad ibn Hasan al-Tusi (d. 460 AH) in al-Ghaybah, ibn Tawus (d. 664 AH) in al-Malahim Wa al-Fitan and ibn Abi Hatam al-Amili (d. 664 AH) in al-Dur al-Nazim have narrated it with numerous chain of narrators from the Messenger of God, peace and blessings of God be upon him and his family; as many of them have narrated that when the eyes of the Messenger of God, peace and blessings of God be upon him and his family, fell on some youths of Bani Hashim, he paled and his eyes filled with tears, so they said: “O Messenger of God! We still see something in your face that we do not like”, he said:
«إِنَّا أَهْلُ بَيْتٍ اخْتَارَ لَنَا اللَّهُ الْآخِرَةَ عَلَى الدُّنْيَا وَإِنَّ أَهْلَ بَيْتِي سَيَلْقَوْنَ بَعْدِي بَلَاءً وَتَشْرِيدًا وَتَطْرِيدًا، حَتَّى يَأْتِيَ قَوْمٌ مِنْ قِبَلِ الْمَشْرِقِ -أَوْ قَالَ: مِنْ قِبَلِ خُرَاسَانَ- مَعَهُمْ رَايَاتٌ سُودٌ يَسْأَلُونَ الْحَقَّ فَلَا يُعْطَوْنَهُ، ثُمَّ يَسْأَلُونَهُ فَلَا يُعْطَوْنَهُ، ثُمَّ يَسْأَلُونَهُ فَلَا يُعْطَوْنَهُ، فَيُقَاتِلُونَ فَيُنْصَرُونَ، فَيُعْطَوْنَ مَا سَأَلُوا، فَمَنْ أَدْرَكَهُمْ مِنْكُمْ أَوْ مِنْ أَعْقَابِكُمْ، فَلْيَأْتِهِمْ وَلْيُبَايِعْهُمْ وَلَوْ حَبْوًا عَلَى الثَّلْجِ، فَإِنَّهَا رَايَاتُ هُدًى، يَدْفَعُونَهَا إِلَى رَجُلٍ مِنْ أَهْلِ بَيْتِي، يَمْلَأُ الْأَرْضَ قِسْطًا وَعَدْلًا كَمَا مُلِئَتْ جَوْرًا وَظُلْمًا»; “Indeed, we are the Ahl al-Bayt for whom God has chosen the Hereafter over this world, and indeed, my Ahl al-Bayt will face calamity, expulsion and exile after I am gone, until some people will come from the East -or he said: from Khorasan- carrying black flags. They will ask for the truth, but it will not be given to them, then they will ask for it again, but it will not be given to them, then they will ask for it again, but it will not be given to them, then they will fight and win, and what they asked for will be given to them. So whoever among you or among your posterity lives to see them must rush toward them and pledge allegiance to them, even though by crawling on snow; because they are the flags of guidance. They will hand them over to a man from my Ahl al-Bayt, who will fill the earth with equity and justice as it has been filled with oppression and cruelty”.
This is an authentic Hadith; because its narrators have been famous and well-known men among Muslims; such as Mu‘awiyah ibn Hisham al-Qassar Abu al-Hasan al-Kufi, who died in 204 or 205 AH and is from among the men of al-Sihah other than al-Bukhari, and Ali ibn Salih Abu Muhammad al-Hamdani al-Kufi, who died in 151 or 154 AH and is from among the men of al-Sihah as well, and some people have considered him trustworthy and some others have considered his Hadith to be authentic, and Yazid ibn Abi Zyad al-Qurashi Abu Abdullah al-Kufi, who died in 136 or 137 AH, and Muhammad ibn Fudayl has considered him “one of the great Shia leaders”, al-Bukhari and Muslim have considered him trustworthy, and Ya‘qub ibn Sufyan has considered him just and trustworthy, and Ibrahim ibn Yazid al-Nakha‘i al-Kufi, who died in 96 AH and is a great jurist from among the men of al-Sihah, whose trustworthiness is agreed upon, and Alqamah ibn Qeys al-Nakha‘i, who died in 62 AH and is from among the followers and the men of al-Sihah; rather there is no doubt that this Hadith exceeds the number of tawatur; because its narrators from Yazid ibn Abi Zyad amount to eight people, who are Ali ibn Salih, Sabbah ibn Yahya al-Muzni, Muhammad ibn Fudayl, Abdullah ibn Idris, Jarir ibn Abd al-Hamid, Khalid ibn Abdullah, Fitr ibn Khalifah, Mundal ibn Ali, Khalaf ibn Abdullah and Amr ibn Qasim ibn Hamid; while Yazid ibn Abi Zyad is not alone in narrating it from Ibrahim al-Nakha‘i, rather other people have also narrated it from him, such as Hakam ibn Atibah and Ammarah ibn Qa‘qa‘, who are from among great and trustworthy Muslims; while Ibrahim al-Nakha‘i is not alone in narrating it, rather other people have also narrated it, such as Zayd ibn Rafi‘, Hasan al-Basri and Jabir ibn Yazid, and those who have narrated it from them are also considered as its narrators at this level, such as Sharik, Ala ibn Utbah, Hamzah al-Nasibi and al-Jazari, who amount to seven people; while Alqamah is not alone in narrating it from Abdullah ibn Mas‘ud, rather other people have also narrated it from him, such as Aswad ibn Yazid, Ubaydah al-Salmani and Abu Ubaydah ‘Amir ibn Abdullah ibn Mas‘ud; while Abdullah ibn Mas‘ud is not alone in narrating it from the Messenger of God, peace and blessings of God be upon him and his family, rather other people have also narrated it from him, such as Abdullah ibn Abbas, Thuban and Dhi Makhmar, and people such as Abu Asma’ al-Rahbi, Sa‘id ibn Musayyib, Tamim ibn Hudhlam and Abd al-Wahid have also narrated it from them, and Zayd ibn Hasan is also from among its narrators at this level, who amount to nine people. Also, it has been narrated with a slight difference from the Ahl al-Bayt, such as Ali and Abu Ja‘far al-Baqir, peace be upon them, and therefore, there is no doubt this Hadith is verbally mutawatir, which is the highest level of tawatur; regardless of the fact that its content has been generally narrated by other people such as Ammar ibn Yasir, Abbas ibn Abd al-Muttalib, Abdullah ibn Amr, Amr ibn Marrah al-Jahani, Abdullah ibn Harth ibn Jaz’ al-Zubaydi and Abu Huraira from the Messenger of God, peace and blessings of God be upon him and his family, and by other people such as Abu Ruman, ‘Amir ibn Wathilah, Muhammad ibn Hanafiyyah, Harith al-Hamdani, Asbagh ibn Nabatah and Sajjah ibn Abdullah from Ali, peace be upon him, and by other people such as Jabir ibn Yazid, Dawud al-Dajaji, Abu Bakr al-Hadrami, Isra’il ibn Abbad and Ma‘ruf ibn Kharrabudh from Abu Ja‘far al-Baqir, peace be upon him, and by other people such as Abu Basir, Fudayl ibn Yasar, Abd al-Hamid ibn Abi al-Ala and Abbad ibn Muhammad al-Mada’ini from Ja‘far ibn Muhammad al-Sadiq, peace be upon him. Therefore, its “tawatur in meaning” is obvious, and it can be considered an authentic Hadith from the Messenger of God, peace and blessings of God be upon him and his family, and his Ahl al-Bayt; because, to be fair, there is no other Hadith in this respect that has such antiquity, fame, chain of narrators and historical influences.
According to this Hadith, it is obligatory for every Muslim to join the movement that emerges from the Greater Khorasan in the east of the Islamic world with black flags and invites toward the Ahl al-Bayt of the Messenger of God, peace and blessings of God be upon him and his family, in general, and toward Mahdi, peace be upon him, in particular, and prepares the ground for the government of Mahdi, peace be upon him. Many people of knowledge believe that it is the movement of Mansoor Hashemi Khorasani; because the movement of this reforming and eminent scholar has emerged from the Greater Khorasan in the east of the Islamic world with black flags and invites toward the Ahl al-Bayt of the Messenger of God, peace and blessings of God be upon him and his family, in general, and toward Mahdi, peace be upon him, in particular, and prepares the ground for the government of Mahdi, peace be upon him, and no other movement with these characteristics has emerged before it in this area, and if a movement with these characteristics emerges after it in this area, it will inevitably follow and continue it; because it will do what has been started before, and starting it again is obviously meaningless. Therefore, it is not possible for another movement with these characteristics to emerge in this area unless it follows the movement of Mansoor Hashemi Khorasani, while undoubtedly, joining the superior is prior to joining the subordinate; rather it is not reasonable that God does not command to join the superior but commands to join the subordinate; as He has said: ﴿أَفَمَنْ يَهْدِي إِلَى الْحَقِّ أَحَقُّ أَنْ يُتَّبَعَ أَمَّنْ لَا يَهِدِّي إِلَّا أَنْ يُهْدَى ۖ فَمَا لَكُمْ كَيْفَ تَحْكُمُونَ﴾; “Is one who finds the path to the truth more deserving of being followed, or one who does not find the path by himself until he is guided?! What is wrong with you?! How do you judge?!”; as putting what is late in time before what is early in time is indecent and contrary to the wisdom and justice of God; as He has said: ﴿ثُمَّ أَوْرَثْنَا الْكِتَابَ الَّذِينَ اصْطَفَيْنَا مِنْ عِبَادِنَا ۖ فَمِنْهُمْ ظَالِمٌ لِنَفْسِهِ وَمِنْهُمْ مُقْتَصِدٌ وَمِنْهُمْ سَابِقٌ بِالْخَيْرَاتِ بِإِذْنِ اللَّهِ ۚ ذَلِكَ هُوَ الْفَضْلُ الْكَبِيرُ﴾; “Then We bequeathed the Book to those of Our servants whom We selected, so from among them is one who oppresses himself, and from among them is one who is moderate, and from among them is one who excels in good deeds with the permission of God, and that is verily the great virtue”, and said: ﴿أُولَئِكَ يُسَارِعُونَ فِي الْخَيْرَاتِ وَهُمْ لَهَا سَابِقُونَ﴾; “They excels in good deeds and are the first in them”. Therefore, these people of knowledge believe that if the movement of Mansoor Hashemi Khorasani, which has emerged in this area and invites toward Mahdi and prepares the ground for his advent, is not the example of this Hadith, then no other movement after it will be the example of this Hadith; because any movement that emerges after it in this area will not be out of two cases: either it will invite toward Mahdi and prepare the ground for his advent, like the movement of Mansoor, in which case it will not be the example of this Hadith, like the movement of Mansoor, or, contrary to the movement of Mansoor, it will not invite toward Mahdi nor will it prepare the ground for his advent, in which case a fortiori it will not be the example of this Hadith; because this Hadith has considered the invitation toward Mahdi and the preparation of the ground for his advent as the most important characteristics of its example.
It is hereby understood that the statement about the realization of this Hadith in the movement of Mansoor Hashemi Khorasani has the utmost firmness, rather having certainty about it, as it has been achieved for some people of knowledge, is in the utmost of soundness, and this is regardless of other characteristics and signs that have been said to exist in this reforming and eminent scholar. However, he does not claim frankly that he is the example of this Hadith, and this can be due to piety, considering that he hates making claims about himself and does not want to be like pretenders, or can be due to taqiyyah, considering that he fears for his life from disbelievers and oppressors, or can be due his opinion that acting on what is certain is sufficient to help him; considering that helping him because of his invitation toward Mahdi and his preparation of the ground for his advent achieves the purpose, even though it is not based on the belief that he is the example of this Hadith. In either case, people can know whether this Hadith is realized in him or not if they look into the place of his emergence, the nature of his invitation and his other characteristics and signs, regardless of whether he claims it or not, and clearly, it is up to people to identify the issue, and their success is only with God, and He guides whomever He wills to the right path.