The flag of a nation is more than just a piece of colored fabric; it is a symbol of identity, history, and values. The flag of Saudi Arabia is no exception, reflecting the Kingdom’s history and values it stands for.
A brief history of the flag of Saudi Arabia
The flag of Saudi Arabia, as it exists today, was adopted in 1926. However, the flag’s origins go back even further, to the creation of the first Saudi state, also known as the Emirate of Diriyah, in 1744, founded by Muhammad bin Saud Al Muqrin, the founder of today’s reigning Saudi dynasty.
Green and white
The most striking feature of the Saudi flag is its green background. This color was not chosen arbitrarily, as green is considered the color of Islam.
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In contrast to the green background, the Saudi flag features two key white elements: a sword and the shahada. The sword depicted on the Saudi flag evokes Ibn Saud’s conquest and unification of the country. Below, the flag displays the shahada, the Muslim profession of faith, written in Arabic: “Lā ilāha illa-llāh, Muḥammadan rasūlu-llāh.” This statement translates as: “I attest that there is no deity but Allah and I attest that Muhammad is his messenger”. The shahada is the fundamental creed of Islam, encompassing the essential beliefs of Muslims the world over. Due to the presence of the Islamic creed in the Saudi flag, it can never be flown at half-mast, and international organizations respect this diplomatic convention with regard to Saudi Arabia.