Will Islam Be Our Future?
A Study of Biblical and Islamic Eschatology
By: Joel Richardson
The Army of Black Flags
(Excerpt from Chapter 4. The Mahdi: Islam’s Awaited Messiah)
The Mahdi’s ascendancy to power is said to be preceded by an army from the east who will be carrying black flags or banners of war. Sheikh Kabbani states:
Hadith indicate that black flags coming from the area of Khorasan will signify the appearance of the Mahdi is nigh. Khorasan is in todays Iran, and some scholars have said that this hadith means when the black flags appear from Central Asia, i.e. in the direction of Khorasan, then the appearance of the Mahdi is imminent. 17
Another tradition states that:
The Messenger of Allah said: The black banners will come from the East and their hearts will be as firm as iron. Whoever hears of them should join them and give allegiance, even if it means crawling across snow. 18
In Islam there are two flags. One is white and one is black. Written across both flags in Arabic are the words, “There is no God but Allah and Muhammad is his Messenger”. The white flag is called Al-Liwaa and serves as the sign for the leader of the Muslim army and is the flag of the Islamic State. The black flag is called Ar-Raya and is used by the Muslim army. It is also called the flag of jihad, and is carried into battle. One flag is governmental and the other is a military flag. 19 When Muhammad returned to his home city of Mecca after being exiled for eight years, he returned as a conqueror. With him were ten thousand Muslim soldiers. They carried with them black flags. On the flags was one word written in Arabic: punishment. 20
I was once talking to a group of young Muslim men and asking them some questions. I asked them if the obvious superior militaries of America and Israel compared to the militaries of any Islamic nations were a source of difficulty for many Muslims. One of these men then became very angry at my question and snapped out, “You Americans and Zionists better get ready, because the black flags are coming!” At the time, I had no idea what he was talking about. Later I learned the meaning.
The Conquering Of Israel
Islamic tradition pictures the Mahdi as joining with the army of Muslim warriors carrying black flags. The Mahdi will then lead this army to Israel and re-conquer it for Islam. The Jews will be slaughtered until very few remain and Jerusalem will become the location of the Mahdi’s rule over the Earth.
Rasulullah [Muhammad] said: “Armies carrying black flags will come from Khurasan. No power will be able to stop them and they will finally reach Eela (Baitul Maqdas in Jerusalem) where they will erect their flags.” 21
It is important to note here the reference above to “Baitul Maqdas”. In Arabic this means “the holy house”. This is referring to the Dome of the Rock Mosque and is located on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.
In a particularly venomous manner, Egyptian authors, Muhammad ibn Izzat and Muhammd ‘Arif comment on the above tradition:
The Mahdi will be victorious and eradicate those pigs and dogs and the idols of this time so that there will once more be a caliphate based on prophethood as the hadith states… Jerusalem will be the location of the rightly guided caliphate and the center of Islamic rule, which will be headed by Imam al-Mahdi… That will abolish the leadership of the Jews… and put an end to the domination of the Satans who spit evil into people and cause corruption in the earth, making them slaves of false idols and ruling the world by laws other than the Shari’a [Islamic Law] of the Lord of the worlds. (Emphasis mine) 22
There is a very famous tradition that is often quoted throughout the Islamic world that speaks of the Mahdi’s military campaign against Israel. The tradition is both sickening and very sobering:
The Prophet said… The last hour would not come unless the Muslims will fight against the Jews and the Muslims would kill them until the Jews would hide themselves behind a stone or a tree and a stone or a tree would say: Muslim, or the servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me; come and kill him… (Emphasis mine) 23
Are these Islamic black flags the banner Isaiah prophesied about in the following passage concerning the last days? I have not yet ruled it out as I fully believe the Bible, God’s written Word, gives us insight and understanding for everything that is going on today.
1 The burden of Babylon, which Isaiah the son of Amoz did see.
2 Lift ye up a banner upon the high mountain, exalt the voice unto them, shake the hand, that they may go into the gates of the nobles.
3 I have commanded my sanctified ones, I have also called my mighty ones for mine anger, even them that rejoice in my highness.
4 The noise of a multitude in the mountains, like as of a great people; a tumultuous noise of the kingdoms of nations gathered together: the LORD of hosts mustereth the host of the battle.
5 They come from a far country, from the end of heaven, even the LORD, and the weapons of his indignation, to destroy the whole land.
6 Howl ye; for the day of the LORD is at hand; it shall come as a destruction from the Almighty.
7 Therefore shall all hands be faint, and every man’s heart shall melt:
8 And they shall be afraid: pangs and sorrows shall take hold of them; they shall be in pain as a woman that travaileth: they shall be amazed one at another; their faces shall be as flames.
9 Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate: and he shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it.
Yet while the black Islamic banner of jihad waves, God never leaves His people without hope and in the following passage, directed to the nation of Israel in the last days, God tells us He has a banner of His own that will be displayed over them that fear Him!
1 O God, thou hast cast us off, thou hast scattered us, thou hast been displeased; O turn thyself to us again.
2 Thou hast made the earth to tremble; thou hast broken it: heal the breaches thereof; for it shaketh.
3 Thou hast shewed thy people hard things: thou hast made us to drink the wine of astonishment.
4 Thou hast given a banner to them that fear thee, that it may be displayed because of the truth. Selah.
5 That thy beloved may be delivered; save with thy right hand, and hear me.
The word banner is only recorded three times in the King James Bible. This last occurrence describes God’s banner over the Bride of Christ.
Song of Solomon 2:4
He brought me to the banqueting house, and his banner over me was love.
Now read all three passages together as the understanding we get regarding what is presently playing out before our eyes in the Middle East is truly amazing!
- When Islam waves its black flags in war (Isaiah 13:2)
- Israel begins to call out to God to save them (Psalm 60:4)
- The bride is brought (caught up) to God’s banqueting house (Song of Solomon 2:4)
Wow! And to think this little impromptu Bible study came about just from reading a news article. God is so faithful and gracious to give us understanding regarding current events! Keep looking up!
Until That Day…
He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus