, 26 tweets, 16 min read Read on Twitter
There exists some debate among Islamic scholars and historians about the engraved signet ring of the #prophet Muḥammad. The most common reading of the engraving is "Allāh Rasūl Muḥammad", while others argue that "Muḥammad Rasūl Allāh" is historically correct.
The oldest sources do indicate that the opposite of popular belief could be correct. In a ḥadīth reported by #Muslim and al-Bukhārī the Prophet says: “I have acquired a ring of silver and engraved on it Muḥammad Rasūl Allāh, and no one should have an engraving like this.”
In another ḥadīth reported by al-Bukhārī, Anas ibn Mālik says: "The engraved signet ring of the Prophet is three lines: Muḥammad on one line, Rasūl on one line and Allāh on one line."
Old Islamic coins do indeed feature these words in that particular order. The 1st picture is a gold #Abbasid coin. The 2 other pictures are bronze #Umayyad coins. Although the reversed order holds the same meaning, it's not entirely clear why the words could've changed position.
Contrary to popular belief, this signet seal of the Prophet should in no way be classified as an #IslamicState symbol. The seal has actual historical roots in Islam, and was used on letters, rings and flags long before the existence of #ISIS.
The seal currently appears mostly on black banners, positioned under the first part of the Islamic shahāda. This combination is erroneously called "the flag of jihād", even in academic circles. In reality, the use of a black banner can be traced back to the Prophet himself.
This first #Muslim banner was indeed a black square nicknamed "The Banner of the Eagle" (Rāya al-'Uqāb). The same black flag was also used by the Abbasids during their 8th century revolution and throughout their caliphate.
You can recognise the Seal of the Prophet on this letter he reportedly sent to the Coptic Muqawqis of Egypt. The original letter was discovered in 1858 by Etienne Barthelemy in a monastery in Egypt and is now carefully preserved in #Istanbul.
Currently, a black Seal on a white background or a white Seal on a black background is a preferred banner for activist #Muslim movements and organisations. However, and I can't stress this enough, it doesn't partain to one group in particular.
The pictures below show the Somalian Ḥarakat ash-Shabāb al-Mujāhidīn militant group displaying the (inf)famous black standard with the #Islamic shahāda and the signet seal of the Prophet Muḥammad. The group emerged as a distinct entity as early as 2006/2007.
@2kufic gives his take on the black banner featuring the Seal of the Prophet. An interesting summary for some things I already said.

squarekufic.com/2015/05/27/isi…
A mural left behind by the #IS in al-'Alam in #Iraq featuring the banner appropriated by the organisation, the black standard with the Seal of the Prophet. The mural is crossed out and "There is no God but Allāh, Muḥammad is His Messenger, 'Alī His ally" is written over it.
Some pictures showing members of Jamā'at Nuṣrat al-Islām wal-Muslimīn, a union of Al-Qā'ida groups in the Mahgreb and West-Africa (since 2017). As pictured, the militants operate under the black and white banner featuring the Seal of the Prophet.
Senior leaders of the al-Qā'ida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) group in front of a black banner with the Seal of Muḥammad. 1st pic: Sa'īd al-Shihrī. 2nd pic: Ibrāhīm al-Rubaysh. 3rd pic: Khālid al-Bāṭarfī. The group was formed in 2009 and uses the black flag as its banner.
One of the most controversial symbols must be the Seal of Muḥammad, often associated with activist and militant Islamism. It does, however, have deeper historical roots in Islam, and doesn't pertain to one group in particular. Feel free to have a look!

menasymbolism.com/2018/12/23/the…
The War Museum in Ṣanʿāʾ, the capital of #Yemen, features a facsimile of the #Prophet Muḥammad's letter to the governor of #Bahrain, Al-Mundhir bin Sāwī. This reproduction also appears in Sultan Ahmed Qureshi's 1983 "Letters of the Holy Prophet." You can clearly see his seal.
So @MoussaNDT posted this picture of a #HTS fighter in the #Aleppo area. He wears a patch of Muḥammad's Seal on a black background, an image currently falsely attributed to #ISIS. The fact alone that this symbol is fairly common among HTS fighters refutes this idea.
All right, so since @PhDniX argued in another one of his interesting thread on the forgery of the #prophet Muḥammad's letters to several contemporary heads of state, there was an uptick in interest for his Seal and the order of words featured on it.
I already wrote about the Seal, but it might be interesting to explore as to when the order of words changed from "Muḥammad Rasūl Allāh" to "Allāh Rasūl Muḥammad". First of all, coins. Like I previously mentioned, and @shahanSean again, #Islamic coins featured the Seal.
All of the below coins are 8th c. AD #Abbasid coins featuring the Seal of Muḥammad on their reverse in the order "Muḥammad Rasūl Allāh". Such coins could be found until well into the 11th c. AD, which's reason enough to assume that this was the prefered word order at the time.
It is extremely important to notice the following: some #Abbasid coins feature the Seal on their reverse BUT only after mentioning the word "Allāh", following the Islamic tradition to start everything with God's name mentioned first. The Seal itself however, remains untouched.
Secondly, secondary sources. As mentioned by @afzaque, the word order of the Seal has been commented on by Ibn Ḥajar al-ʿAsqalānī (1372-1449 AD). Below is a comment by Ibn Ḥajar mentioned in Fatḥ al-Munʿim by Dr. Mūsā Shāhīn Lāshīn (2002). Later sources are much scarcer.
Another secondary source commenting on the word order of the Seal is Taqī ad-Dīn ibn Taymiyya (1263-1328 AD). In his Majmūʿa al-Fatāwā, he confirms the Seal as reading "Muḥammad Rasūl Allāh." Based on the above, it's safe to conclude that this was still prefered by the 15th c.
However, Ibn Ḥajar stated that some scholars in his time already prefered starting with the word Allāh, as to elevate His name above all. This opinion might have played a role in the 19th century "rediscovery" of the Prophet's Seal on his letters.
Indeed, the earliest discovery of the Prophet's letters, like the one to Al-Muqawqis of #Egypt, date to mid-19th century. On the letter, the Seal reads "Allāh Rasūl Muḥammad". This "tangible" and visual evidence of his Seal then spread among the Muslim public during the 20th c.
So the visual/popular change of the word order happened somewhere between the 15th and 19th c., although it was already present before. Why? Well, it's sufficient that the maker of the forged letters prefered this order to convince the public of its religious authenticity.
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