Hadīth al-rāya (Arabic: حديث الراية, raya: flag, standard) is a narration from the Prophet (s) regarding Imam 'Ali's (a) courage and bravery in the Battle of Khaybar. This narration is one of the special merits of Imam 'Ali (a) and a decisive proof of his priority and superiority over other companions of the Prophet (s).
By the time of the Prophet (s) and afterwards, a leading raya (flag), was for the commander in chief.
In the Battle of Khaybar, the Prophet (s) first gave the flag to Abu Bakr, and the next day to 'Umar b. al-Khattab, but they failed. The Prophet (s) then said:
- Verily tomorrow, I will give the flag to one who is fond of God and His Prophet, (and God and His Prophet adore him as well). God will conquer through him, and he does not ever flee.
Then he asked for 'Ali (a) whose eyes were painful, and healed him, and said: "get hold of this flag and carry it through, until God grants you conquest".
The servant of the Prophet (s), Abu Rafi', has said regarding the conquest of Khaybar:
- We went towards one of the forts of Khaybar in company with 'Ali b. Abi Talib (a) who had the flag of the Prophet (s) in his hand. As he got close to the castle, enemy forces came out and attacked us. In the thick of the battle, a Jew struck him so as he lost his shield. 'Ali (a) then dislodged the door of the castle and using it as a shield, fought so long until God conquered the fort for him. Read more...