Saudi Arabia's flag: The legacy of a national symbol
The Saudi flag is the national symbol that tells the story of the Kingdom's history and its great legacy.
The flag that dates back to centuries ago carries with it many strong moments in the history of his country that would make every Saudi proud.
Because of this great history of the Saudi flag, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman announced in February 2023 that Saudi Arabia will celebrate Flag Day on March 11 every year in order to honor the Kingdom’s National Flag.
The reason for choosing March 11 to be the Saudi Flag Day is that it was on this day in 1937 AD that the Kingdom's founder, King Abdulaziz bin Abdulrahman, approved the national flag of Saudi Arabia.
The story of the Saudi flag began with the founding of the first Saudi state in 1727 AD. Using the flag formed an extension of the Arab and Islamic heritage and is one of the state’s manifestations.
The roots of the Saudi flag go back to the history of the Kingdom since its founding. Though it went through several stages and changes during the reign of King Abdulaziz, the flag preserved its essence.
When King Abdulaziz restored Riyadh, the flag that he bore was square and green with two crossed swords placed above the Islamic creed or shahada: “There is no god but Allah; Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.”
The design was later changed to keep a single sword above the shahada. The flag witnessed another change when the sword was placed below the shahada and the Qur'anic verse “Help from Allah and an imminent victory” (verse 13, Sura Al-Saff) written below the sword.
Finally, the design was changed to what we see today. Now the Saudi flag is emerald green and the Islamic creed is written in the middle in white with a white sword below.
The Saudi flag bears the Islamic declaration of faith (the shahada), which symbolizes the message of peace. The imams of the Saudi state chose to put it on the flag to denote the message that they carried.
The flag of Saudi Arabia, since the reign of Imam Muhammad bin Saud, the founder of the first Saudi state, was green and made of wool and ibrisam (generally known to be the finest silk thread) with the shahada written on it.
Imam Turki bin Abdullah also took it as the national flag during his efforts to unify the second Saudi state.
The same design continued to be in use at the beginning of the reign of King Abdulaziz, until he developed it following the unification of Saudi Arabia.
The first time the Saudi national flag was raised was during the reign of Imam Muhammad bin Saud in 1727 AD. It was a witness over three centuries to the Kingdom's efforts to unify the country.
Due to the importance of the Kingdom’s flag being a symbol of its unity and a sign of its cohesion and revival, a royal decree was issued in 1973 AD approving the law of Saudi Arabia's flag.
As for the characteristics of the Saudi flag, it is distinguished by its green color, which symbolizes peace, prosperity and benevolence, and tolerance that distinguishes Saudi Arabia. In the beginning, the flag was used in several sizes and multiple dimensions.
The white sword that was added during the reign of King Abdulaziz symbolizes power and justice. The shahada placed below the sword represents wisdom and truth.