No, black flag not hoisted atop Iran mosque ‘for the first time’ amid Israel-Hamas war

By: Rohith Gutta
November 2 2023

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No, black flag not hoisted atop Iran mosque ‘for the first time’ amid Israel-Hamas war

Screenshots of posts on Social Media (Source: Facebook/Modified by Logically Facts)


The Verdict False

The black flag is used to mark mourning and martyrdom anniversaries and has been displayed over the Imam Rezvi shrine before.

Claim ID 675b9ec6

What's the claim?

A photo of a black Islamic flag with Arabic text atop a golden dome was shared on Facebook with the claim that it has been hoisted above the Imam Reza shrine in Iran “for the first time in human history” and that “this is a call for a Muslim uprising against Zionist warmongers.” Archives of similar posts can be seen here and here

The same photo and similar claims have been shared on X (formerly Twitter), too (archives here and here). 

Screenshots of the posts on social media (Source: X/Modified by Logically Facts)

However, this is not the first time a black flag was hoisted over the Imam Reza shrine in Iran. 

What we found

The Imam Reza shrine is a mosque in Mashhad, Iran. It contains the mausoleum of Imam Reza, the eighth Imam of the Twlever Shias sect of Muslims. According to the Iran-based Razavi news agency, a black flag was hoisted on the dome of the mosque on October 17, 2023, mourning those killed in Gaza. On October 18, the Facebook page of the shrine also posted photos of the black flag on the shrine's dome.

However, the shrine displays a black flag during mourning and martyrdom anniversaries. This was not the first time, as widely claimed.

According to a report in the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA), a black flag was raised on April 19, 2022, atop the shrine to mourn the martyrdom of Imam Ali. Imam Ali is considered to be the first Imam of the Shia sect. The report says, “The flag of the dome of the Holy Shrine of Razavi is changed several times during the year on religious occasions during the holidays and the anniversary of the martyrdom of the Imams of Masoomin (AS), and the longest time it remains black is in the months of Muharram and Safar.” (Note: The date on this article below is according to the official calendar of Iran, the Solar Hijri Calendar. This date can be converted to the Gregorian calendar by adding 621 to the year in the Solar Hijri calendar.)

Black flag hoisted atop the dome of Imam Reza shrine on April 19, 2022 (Source: IRNA/Screenshot)

Similarly, according to a report on Razavi news agency on August 9, 2022, prayers were conducted to commemorate the martyrdom anniversary of Imam Hussein, the third Shia Imam, on the previous day. A black flag was hoisted atop the mosque. 

Black Flag hoisted atop the dome of Imam Reza shrine on August 8, 2022 (Source: Razavi News Agency/Screenshot)

According to a post on X by the Imam Reza shrine on June 25, 2023, “Black flags and banners are raised for martyrdom anniversary of Imam Baqir (as).” Imam Baqir is considered to be the first Shia Imam to engage in systematic teaching of Shia beliefs. 

Black Flag hoisted atop the dome of Imam Reza shrine on June 25, 2023 (Source: X/Imam Reza Shrine/Screenshot)

The verdict

The claim that the Imam Reza shrine in Iran displayed a black flag for the first time in history for the ongoing Isarel-Hamas war is false. The black flag has been hoisted on multiple occasions. Therefore, we have marked this claim false.

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Global Fact-Checks Completed

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