Anṣār (الأنصار) banner

Item

Title

Anṣār (الأنصار) banner
flag

Creator

Creator Unrecorded

Subject

Mahdi
Flags and Colours

Description

Banner carried by Anṣār (الأنصار) soldier and described in current interpretation as having been “picked up after the enemy’s charge at Abu Klea”. (This battle, at Abū-Ṭulayḥ on the Gordon Relief Expedition’s route across the Bayūḍa Desert between Kūrtī and al-Matamma, took place on 17 January 1885 and claimed more than a thousand anṣār lives.) The original fabric square is of a very high quality, possibly silk, and was imported, perhaps as a tablecloth or decoration. The Arabic script – appliqued in dark blue cotton in a barely literate style – represents the most basic form of the anṣār declaration of loyalty. The Arabic script reads:


lā illah ill’allah muḥammad rasūl allah muḥammad mahdī allah


There is no god but Allah Muḥammad is the Prophet of Allah Muḥammad is the Mahdī of Allah


There is also a line of finely appliqued Arabic text on the reverse of the banner, running down the flagstaff:


yā allah yā raḥīm yā qayūm yā ḍhi’l-jalāl wa’l-ikrām naṣr min allah wa fataḥ qarīb


O Allah O merciful O everlasting, O Lord of Majesty and Generosity | Victory is from Allah and a new era imminent

[FN/ON/FHM 2019]

Publisher

Making African Connections

Date

1871
1898

Type

PhysicalObject

Format

1060 mm x 1040 mm

Identifier

GGC100

Language

Rights

© Royal Engineers Museum

Linked resources

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Relation
Title Alternate label Class
Flags of the Mahdiyya Text