Flag of Saudi Arabia
The flag of Saudi Arabia (Arabic: علم المملكة العربية السعودية) is the flag used by the government of Saudi Arabia since March 15, 1973. It is a green flag featuring in white an Arabic inscription and a sword. The script on the flag is written in the Thuluth script. It is the shahadah or Islamic declaration of faith:
لا إله إلا الله محمد رسول الله
lā ’ilāha ’illa-llāh muḥammadun rasūlu-llāh
"There is no God but Allah and Muhammad is the messenger of Allah"
The sword symbolizes justice.
Green flags bearing this or other Arabic scripts are frequently seen in Islam and should not be confused with the Saudi national flag. These other flags normally do not bear the sword symbol.
The flag is manufactured with differing obverse and reverse sides, to ensure the shahada reads correctly, from right to left, from either side. The sword points from hoist to fly on both sides. The flag is sinister hoisted, meaning that it is hoisted to the left of the flagpole, as viewed from the obverse (front) side.
The green used in the flag is 330C.
Because the shahada is considered holy, the flag is not normally used on T-shirts or other items. Saudi Arabia protested against its inclusion on a planned football to be issued by FIFA, bearing all the flags of the participants of the 2002 Football World Cup. Saudi officials said that kicking the creed with the foot was completely unacceptable. Similarly, an attempt by the U.S. military to win favour with children of the Prost region of Afghanistan by distributing footballs adorned with flags, including that of Saudi Arabia, ended in demonstrations.
The normal flag cannot be hoisted vertically according to Saudi legislation. Special vertical flags are manufactured where both the inscription (the creed) and the emblem (the sword) are rotated, although this is rare as most Arab countries lack the tradition of hoisting flags vertically.
As of autumn 2008, it had been displayed over the side entrance (at East 50th Street) of the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City, but was taken down in May 2009 (as well as the American flag that was displayed beside it). A week or so later, a larger flag was displayed at the Park Avenue front entrance of the hotel, next to an American flag.
shahada has been connected with the Salafi movement since the 18th century. This movement was associated with the Al Saud family's rise to power, and when Abdulaziz Abdulrahman Al-Saud became King of the Nejd in 1902, he added a sword to this flag. The design of the flag was not standardized prior to March 15, 1973, and variants with two swords and/or a white vertical stripe at the hoist were frequently used. By 1938, the flag had basically assumed its present form.
The precursor states to Saudi Arabia were Nejd and Hejaz. The state flag of Nejd followed today's Saudi flag pattern very closely. The state of Hijaz followed the patterns seen in countries like Western Sahara and Sudan. From 1744 a crescent was present.From 1902 until 1921 a different Arabic inscription was used. One of the primary opponents to the Saudis was the Al Rashid family in the north of the peninsula, until their defeat in 1921.
The civil ensign, for use by merchant vessels at sea, is a green flag with the state flag in the canton with a white border. The royal standard is the state flag with the palm tree and swords in the canton.
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