In a historic and unprecedented move, a black flag has been hoisted above the illuminated Razavi dome, of the Imam Reza mosque complex in Iran - a stark departure from tradition as it's outside of Muharram, the month of mourning in the Islamic calendar.
The Imam Reza mosque complex in Mashhad, Iran, home to the mausoleum of Imam Reza, also known as Ali al-Rida, is an iconic religious complex and the largest mosque in the world by area.
The flag change, ordered by the custodian of the Astan Quds Razavi, is a symbolic gesture with multifaceted significance.
🔴🇮🇷🇵🇸 #IRAN || The Astan Razavi orders the raising of the black flag over the dome of the Holy shrine of Imam Reza (PBUH) in condemnation of the Israeli massacre at the Ma'madani Hospital in #Gaza.#AlAqsaFlood #IsraelTerorrist#PalestineGenocide https://t.co/7cT2sWaROE pic.twitter.com/hlCuP5FU76— Haidar Akarar (@HaidarAkarar) October 17, 2023
The black flag holds a distinct place in Islamic history and tradition.
In contrast, a red flag symbolizes the pursuit of vengeance.
El cambio de bandera en el santuario del Imam Reza, la mezquita más grande de Irán, no significa -necesariamente- una señal de lucha (jihad), La bandera roja es venganza y la negra luto. La última vez que se izó la negra en Mashhad fue el 3 de enero de 2020 después del asesinato… pic.twitter.com/pJkmzWfNVJ— 𝔖𝔦𝔤𝔣𝔯𝔦𝔡𝔬 𝔡𝔢 𝔅𝔞𝔯𝔠𝔢𝔩𝔬𝔫𝔞 (@SigfridoDBCN) October 17, 2023
The reason for this extraordinary change in flag color seems to be the tragic incident in Gaza, where an Israeli missile struck a hospital, resulting in over a thousand casualties.
🔴🇮🇷 #Mashahad: The Imam Reza Shrine in Mashhad raises the black flag in mourning for the martyrs and to condemn the Israeli Ma'madani Hospital massacre in Gaza. A massive anti-Israeli and anti-American demonstration unfolds at this sacred shrine.#Iran— Haidar Akarar (@HaidarAkarar) October 17, 2023
The black flag also holds a unique place in Islamic prophecy.
However, the black flag at Imam Reza primarily signifies a powerful and poignant message of sorrow and solidarity with the civilian casualties of Israeli retaliation in Gaza.