What is the authenticity of this narration?
“When the black flags come from Khorasan go to them, even if you have to crawl on snow, for among them is the Khalifa from Allah, the Mahdi”
Imam Ibn Majah (rahimahullah) has recorded two narrations of this nature. Both of these narrations state that a nation from the east will appear with black flags, without specifying Khorasan.
The wording of this Hadith is as follows:
Sayyiduna Thawban (radiyallahu ‘anhu) reported that Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “Three will fight one another at your treasure. Each one of them will be the son of a khalifah, then neither of them will attain it. Then black flags will appear from the east and they will kill in an unprecedented manner.
The narrator states, ‘He mentioned something else, which I cannot recall and then said, ‘When you see him, pledge allegiance to him even if you have to crawl on snow for he is the khalifah of Allah, the Mahdi.”
(Sunan Ibn Majah, Hadith: 4084. Also see Hadith: 4082)
Hafiz Ibn Kathir (rahimahullah) explains that ‘treasure’ in this Hadith refers to treasures of the Ka’bah.
(An Nihayah Fil Fitani Wal Malahim, vol. 1 pg. 44)
Imam Shamsud Din Al Qurtubi (rahimahullah) has graded this chain authentic (sahih). Hafiz Ibn Kathir (rahimahullah) has also declared the chain authentic (qawiyyun sahih) and ‘Allamah Busiri (rahimahullah) has also authenticated the chain (isnadun sahih, rijaluhu thiqat)
(At Tadhkirah Fi Ahwalil Mawta Wa Umuril Akhirah, vol. 3 pg. 221, An Nihayah Fil Fitani Wal Malahim, vol. 1 pg. 44, Zawaid Ibn Majah, Hadith: 1370)
Imam Tirmidhi (rahimahullah) has recorded a weak narration which specifies Khorasan. The wording of this version is as follows:
Sayyiduna Abu Hurayrah (radiyallahu ‘anhu) reported that Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “[An army with] Black flags will emerge from Khorasan. Nothing shall turn them back until their [flags] are set up in Iliya [Jerusalem].
(Sunan Tirmidhi, Hadith: 2269. Declared weak –gharib– by Imam Tirmidhi)
Imam Ahmad (rahimahullah) has recorded another similar narration:
Sayyiduna Thawban (radiyallahu ‘anhu) reported that Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “When you see black flags emerging from Khorasan, then go to it, for among them is the khalifah of Allah; the Mahdi.”
(Musnad Ahmad, vol. 5 pg. 277 with a weak chain)
These weak narrations could be quoted in conjunction with the first Hadith recorded in Sunan Ibn Majah.
And Allah Ta’ala Knows best.
Answered by: Moulana Suhail Motala
Approved by: Moulana Muhammad Abasoomar