Hadīth al-rāya (Arabic:حديث الراية) is a narration from the Prophet (s) regarding Imam 'Ali's (a) courage and bravery in the Battle of Khaybar. Shi'a theologians use this narration to prove Imam 'Ali's (a) priority and superiority over other companions of the Prophet (s).
In the time of the Prophet (s) and afterwards, a leading raya (flag), for the commander in chief, and tens of smaller flags, for the tribes and secondary commanders, would be given to the troops in a battle, which were carried by the most brave and powerful warriors of the tribes and units. This kind of flag was first given to the standard-bearers in the Battle of Khaybar.
- "Verily tomorrow, I will give the flag to one who loves God and His Prophet, (and God and His Prophet love him as well). God will conquer through him, and he never escapes."
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". 'Ali (a), carrying the flag, attacked the Khaybar fort and conquered it.
Bravery of Imam 'Ali (a) in the Battle of Khaybar
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 of 'Ali b. Abi Talib (a) who had the flag of the Prophet (s) in his hand. As he approached the castle, enemy forces came out and attacked us. In the thick of the battle, a Jew struck him and he lost his shield. 'Ali (a) then dislodged the door of the castle, used it as a shield and fought until God conquered the fort for him.
In the Battle of Khaybar, some companions of the Prophet (s), such as Abu Bakr and 'Umar, failed to conquer the fort of the Jews before the Prophet (s) assigned 'Ali (a) the task, so that by killing the Jew's commander in chief, Marhab al-Khaybari, and his brother, Yasir, and some other Jewish champions, and rushing into the castle, 'Ali (a) made them accept unconditional surrender.
This hadith, which is a conclusive proof of Imam 'Ali's (a) priority and superiority over other companions of the Prophet (s), is repeatedly reported in most Shi'a and Sunni hadith collections and history books and it has reached the level of tawatur.
The content of this hadith is reported in different wording in various Sunni sources such as al-Sira al-Nabawiyya, al-Mustadrak, Majma' al-zawa'id, Musnad Ahmad b. Hanbal, Kanz al-'ummal, and Hilyat al-awliya.
- Al-Tabari, al-Tarikh, vol.3 p.387
- Ibn Sa'd, Tabaqat al-kubra, vol.2 p.77
- Ibn Hisham, al-Sira al-Nabawiyya, vol.2 p.334, Al-Hakim al-Naysaburi, al-Mustadrak, vol.3 p.37
- Al-Dhahabi, Mizan al-i'tidal, vol.2 p.218
- Ibn Hisham, al-Sira al-Nabawiyya, vol.2 p.316
- Al-Amin, Muhsin, A'yan al-Shi'a, vol.1 p.337
- Al-Zirikli, al-A'lam, vol.5 p.203
- Ibn Sa'd, Tabaqat al-kubra, vol.8 p.39
- Al-Tabari, Dhayl al-mudhayyal, p.27
- Ibn Hisham, al-Sira al-Nabawiyya, vol.2 p.334
- Al-Hakim al-Naysaburi, al-Mustadrak, vol.4 p.356
- Al-Haythami, Majma' al-zawa'id, vol.9 p.108
- Ahmad b. Hanbal, Musnad Ahmad, vol.1 p.23
- Al-Muttaqi al-Hindi, Kanz al-'ummal, vol.5 p.284
- Hafiz Abu Na'im, Hilyat al-awliya, vol.4 p.356
- The material for this article is mainly taken from حدیث رایت in Farsi WikiShia.
- Tabari, Muhammad b. Jarir al-. n.d. Tarikh al-rusul wa al-muluk. Beirut: Mu'assisat A'alami li-l-Matbu'at.
- Basri al-Zuhri, Muhammad b. Sa'd al-. n.d. Tabaqat al-kubra. Beirut: Dar Sadir.
- Ibn Hisham. n.d. Al-Sira al-Nabawiyya. Cairo: Maktaba Muhammad 'Ali Sabih
- Hakim al-Niyshaburi, Muhammad b. 'Abd Allah al-. n.d. Al-Mustadrak 'ala al-Sahihayn. Ed. Yusuf 'Abd al-Rahman al-Mar'ashli.
- Dhahabi, Muhammad b. Ahmad b. 'Uthman al-. n.d. Mizan al-i'tidal fi naqd al-rijal. Beirut: Dar al-Ma'rifa.
- Amin, al-Sayyid Muhsin al-. 'A'yan al-Shi'a. Ed. Hasan al-Amin. Beirut: Dar al-Ta'aruf, 1403/1983.
- Zirikli, Khayr al-Din al-. n.d. Al-A'lam. Beirut: Dar al-'Ilm li-l-Malayin.
- Tabari, Muhammad b. Jarir al-. n.d. Dhayl al-Mudhayyal. Beirut: Mu'assisat A'alami li-l-Matbu'at.
- Haythami, 'Ali b. Abi Bakr al-. n.d. Majma' al-zawa'id wa manba' al-fawa'id. Beirut: Dar al-Kutub al-'Ilmiyya.
- Ahmad b. Hanbal. n.d. Musnad Ahmad. Beirut: Dar Sadir.
- Muttaqi al-Hindi, 'Ala' al-Din 'Ali al-. n.d. Kanz al-'ummal fi sunan al-aqwal wa al-af'al. Beirut: al-Risala.
- 'Isbahani, al-Hafiz Abu Na'im al-. n.d. Hilyat al-awliya wa tabaqat al-asfiya'.