Home | Commentary | The flag of treachery on the Day of Qiyamah

The flag of treachery on the Day of Qiyamah

Question

وعن أبي سعيد الخدري رضي الله عنه أن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم قال ‏:‏ ‏لكل غادر لواء عند استه يوم القيامة يرفع له بقدر غدره، ألا لا غادر أعظم غدرًا من أمير عامة‏

Abu Sa’id Al-Khudri (radiyallahu ‘anhu) narrates that Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) said, “Everyone who breaks a covenant will have a flag by his rear on the Day of Resurrection. It will be raised (higher) according to the nature of his breach. Behold! There will be none more treacherous than a ruler who breaks his covenant with the Muslim masses.”

Can you kindly explain to me the meaning if the above Hadith with example in today’s times?

 

 

Answer

The Arabs were accustomed to using flags as a means identification and communication. If a particular businessman was honest and trustworthy, a white flag would be erected at his stall. If he was dishonest, a black flag would take its place so that people would know to stay away.

(Fathul Bari, Hadith: 3188 & Al Minhaj of ‘Allamah Nawawi, Hadith: 4513)

 

This Hadith has been quoted in two ways:

Without the mention of a leader.

Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) said: “When Allah Ta’ala gathers all mankind on the Day of Qiyamah, the first of them and the last of them, a flag will be erected for everyone who has broken a covenant. It will be said: “Behold the treachery of so and so, son of so and so!”

(Sahih Muslim, Hadith: 1735)

In this case, it highlights the seriousness of treachery, corruption, fraud and general dishonesty. It reminds one that there will be a reckoning and that such a person’s wrongs will be exposed in front of Allah Ta’ala and all of mankind.

(Fathul Mulhim, Hadith: 1735)

With the mention of a leader.

Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) said: “Everyone who breaks a covenant will have a flag at his rear on the Day of Resurrection. It will be raised according to the nature of his breach. Behold! There is no greater treachery than that of a leader of the masses.”

(Sahih Muslim, Hadith: 1738)

 

The aspect of leadership and treachery that is mentioned in the Hadith can be understood in two ways:

1. The people betraying their leader.

When the people of Madinah Munawwarah denounced Yazid Ibn Mu’awiyah (rahimahullah) as their leader, Ibn ‘Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhuma) summoned his friends and and family. He quoted the above mentioned Hadith and then said: “We have sworn allegiance to this man as Allah Ta’ala and Rasulullah (sallallahu’alayhiwasallam) have commanded (that we should swear our allegiance to the Amir). I can not think of any treachery greater than this allegiance being sworn to someone and then war being declared on him. If any of you denounce Yazid or attempt to overthrow him, I will deal with you personally.

(Fathul Bari, Hadith: 7111)

This explains that trust and loyalty is expected of both the leader and the follower, and anyone acting in breach of this trust is directly contradicting the instruction of Rasullullah (sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam).

 

2. The leader betraying his people.

In this instance, the Hadith explains that while dishonesty is explicitly prohibited, it is even worse when perpetrated by a figure of authority.

When a ruler lies, he lies to his entire nation. When he fails to fulfil his mandate, he has failed an entire nation. When he is unjust, he has oppressed an entire nation. When he makes a promise that he does not intend to keep, he has given false hope to an entire nation. His sin is compounded by the number of his subjects. (Fathul Mulhim, Hadith:  1738)

This explanation is the preferred one for the Hadith in question.

(Sahih Muslim with Al Minhaj, Hadith: 4513)

 

 

And Allah Ta’ala Knows best.

 

Approved by: Moulana Muhammad Abasoomar