The black banner in the image bearing the full text of the shahada (Islamic testimony of faith holding that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is his messenger). According to prophetic tradition (hadith), the black flag was the battle flag of the Prophet Muhammad and it was carried into battle by many of his companions. The image of the black flag has been used as a symbol of religious revolt and engagement in battle (i.e., jihad). In the contemporary Islamist movement, the black flag with the shahada is used to evoke notions of jihad and of reestablishing the Islamic Caliphate.

The yellow and red of the sun’s light invoke the fajr al-Islam, the dawn of Islam, a symbol of hope and renewal of the faith through jihad.

The image also makes use of the bird motif. The world of birds is very important in the symbolic language of Islam. Pre-Islamic Arabs imagined soul birds fluttering around the grave of the deceased, and the bird continues to symbolize the flight of the soul beyond the confines of this world. Finally, the appearance of shrubbery in the image–albeit in silhouette (and not in green)–resonates the idea of God’s benevolence, and is symbolic of creation, life and sustenance.

More Information
Group Name Prisoner of Joy
Group Type Jihadist Group
Dominant Colors Black
Secondary Colors Orange
Language Arabic and English
Isolated Phrases / Mottoes / Slogans Shahada
Image Number 0301
Groups Region of Operation Global
Date Image Created Online 01/05/2011
Weapons Firearms, Automatic / Assault Rifle, AK47
Air Analysis Sun & Orange Sky
Air Celestial Bodies, Sky
Fire Light Rays / Light
Geopolitical Symbols Non-country Flag, Symbol of party, movement or company, Slogan
Geopolitical Analysis Black flag with text of shahada (including the seal of the prophet). SI/AQI and global jihad sympathizers logo - black flag bearing shahada that includes the seal of the Prophet.
People Operative / Warrior (=mujahid), Man / Men
People Analysis Silhouettes of armed fighters.
Religious Textual References Shahada
Religious Textual References Analysis La ila illa Allah, Muhammad rasul Allah (including the seal of the Prophet)
Religious Symbols Black / White / Green Banners, Seal of the Prophet
Fauna Dove / Default Bird
Flora Trees / Shrubs
Topography Horizon

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