| 26 September 2022, Monday |

Saudi Arabia’s Green National Flag Flutters for 3 Centuries

Late historian Abdul Rahman Ruwaished has documented the evolution of the national banner over the centuries, with focus on the history of the Saudi national flag.

He has examined medals and military ranks that he believed were cornerstones of national devotion. He also studied the codes of flags, standards, medals and ranks.

In his book, “History of the Saudi Flag: National Flags, Decorations and Insignia,” Ruwaished tackled the “code of ensigns, medals and ranks.” He delved in detail into the etymology of the word “flag” in Arabic, saying it has numerous synonyms in the language, all of which denote a piece of colored cloth that is hoisted on a pole.

The flag is usually emblazoned with significant symbols and is carried by soldiers leading a parade. The flag is also hoisted at government buildings and during various occasions.

Saudi Arabia chose green as its national color and the color of its flag. In the center of the flag is the Islamic declaration of faith, Shahada, and below it is an image of a drawn sword.

The flag dates back to the First Saudi State. Ruwaished said the banner went through several transformations before the current form was adopted during the later years of the reign of late King Abdulaziz.

The Saudi flag was first flown in 1727 by founder of the First Saudi State Imam Mohammed bin Saud, who ruled for 40 years.

Journalist Adnan al-Turaif said King Abdulaziz adopted the flag of the first and second Saudi States during the early years of the Kingdom’s founding.

He then ordered that a few changes be introduced to the flag, al-Turaif told Asharq Al-Awsat.

He cited Lebanese intellectual Ameen Rihani, who said that during the early years of King Abdulaziz’s reign, the flag was square shaped, with the Shahada in the center and two crossed swords above it.

Changes were introduced soon after, with the two crossed swords being replaced by a single one. The sword was moved below the Shahada.

In 1925, King Abdulaziz ordered that a new flag be drawn up. In 1937, the Shura Council approved the dimensions of the flag at 150 cm in length and 100 cm in width. Later that year, a decree was issued over the national flag and over dedicating a flag to each of the king, crown prince, army, air force, internal flag, royal navy and marine trade.

In 1952, the Shura Council approved new measurements and modifications to the flags. In 1973, the government approved the flag code.

During the reign of King Fahd, specifically in 1991, modifications were made to the flag, whose width would be two thirds of its length. The Shahada would remain in the center and the sword just below it. In 1997, the government decreed that the national flag would be raised in the Kingdom from sunrise to sunset on weekends and holidays.

  • Asharq Al-Awsat