Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham
Flag of the Islamic State
Name Black Banner
Usage National & War Flag
FIAV 111000 / 001000
Proportion 3:5
Adopted 13 October 2006
Designer  ?
A black banner with the Shahada inscription placed above a rendition of the historical Seal of Muhammad at the bottom-centre in white.

The Black Banner (Arabic: راية السوداء; Rāyat al-sawdā), or the Banner of the Eagle[1] is the flag flown by the Islamic State, a self-declared Islamic Caliphate with military operations in Egypt (Sinai Peninsula), Iraq, Libya, and Syria. A similar flag is also used by the militant group "Harakat al-Shabaab al-Mujahideen" in Somalia.


The black banner of Islam traces its origins to the 8th century when the second dynasty of Islam, the Abbasid Caliphate, came to power with black banners.[2]

It was first adopted by Islamic State's predecessor, the Islamic State of Iraq in 2006.


The design consists of a black banner with the Shahada (an Islamic Creed) at the top written in white:[3][4][5]

  • لَا إِلٰهَ إِلَّا الله
  • lā ʾilāha ʾillā-llāh
  • "There is no god but Allah"

In center of the banner contains the Seal of Muhammad with the following inscription from bottom to top in black:[4][5]

  • لله محمد رسول
  • muhammadun rasūlu-llāh
  • "Muhammad, messenger of Allah"


The holding of the banner is often accompanied by a single raised index finger. The symbolism behind this hand gesture alludes to their fundamentalist interpretation of the Tawhid — "the belief in the oneness of God and a key component of the Muslim religion".[6]

The usage of the black banner for non-educational purposes has been forbidden in Germany by the Federal Ministry of the Interior.[7]


  1. Unfolding Meaning of ISIS Flag, Food World News, 16 October 2014. Retrieved 08 November 2014.
  2. Ever wonder what the black-and-white ISIS flag means?, Public Radio International, 16 October 2014. Retrieved 08 November 2014.
  3. Mohammad Noor. "The Doctrine of Jihad: An Introduction". The Journal of Law and Religion, 3(2) (1985): pp. 381–397.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Ilene Prusher. What the ISIS Flag Says About the Militant Group, Time Magazine, 09 September 2014. Retrieved 08 November 2014.
  5. 5.0 5.1 "What Does the ISIS Flag Mean? Black Flags of Jihad Explained", TestTube, 29 August 2014. Retrieved 10 November 2014.
  6. Michael Skoler. "ISIS has a new hand sign – and it means far more than We’re #1", Public Radio International, 05 September 2014. Retrieved 08 November 2014.
  7. Federal Ministry of the Interior (German)

External links