Flag of Saudi Arabia


The modern national flag of Saudi Arabia was approved in 1973. The history of its creation and the symbols depicted on it are of great interest.

This is what the modern flag of Saudi Arabia looks like:

Флаг Саудовской Аравии
Flag of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

History of the flag

The name of the state comes from the ruling dynasty of the Saudis. The predecessors of Saudi Arabia were Nejd and Hijaz.

In 1744 Mohammed Abdel-Wahhab and Mohammed ibn Saud founded the first Saudi state, the Diri Emirate. Central Nejd was subordinated. The flag of Nejd from 1744 to 1891 was a green rectangular cloth with a white crescent.

Флаг Саудовской Аравии
Flag of Nejd from 1744 to 1891

In 1818 the Egyptians defeated the first Saudi state. Chaos and internecine strife ensued in the formerly Saudi-controlled territory. Turki, a side branch of the Saudis, became ruler, followed by his son Faisal. A new Saudi state was established.

The vassal of the Saudis at that time was the emirate of Jebel Shammar. A power struggle between the dynasties began there. The Al-Rashid clan won. The banner of this dynasty was a red cloth with a yellow crescent at the stem and an eight-pointed star in the upper right corner. This banner lasted from 1835 to 1920.

Флаг Саудовской Аравии
Flag of the Al Rashid dynasty, from 1835 to 1920

By 1891 the second Saudi state had disintegrated. The emirate of Jebel Shammar had strengthened by annexing most of the Saudis’ lands.

In 1902, Abdul-Aziz, a descendant of the ruling dynasty, received aid from the Emir of Kuwait in the form of men and arms. Abdul-Aziz made a daring attack and seized the Saudis’ ancestral nest of Riyadh. He proclaimed himself ruler of the new Saudi state. The flag was a rectangular cloth of green with a white stripe at the stem and a white inscription in Arabic. The flag existed until 1921. In that year, Abdul-Aziz finally defeated Jebel Shammar and proclaimed himself ruler of Nejd, taking the title of sultan.

Флаг Саудовской Аравии
Flag of Nejd from 1902 to 1921

The flag of the Sultanate from 1921 to 1926 was very similar to the modern banner of the Arab Emirates – a green rectangle with white lettering and a saber.

Флаг Саудовской Аравии
The flag of Nejd from 1921 to 1926, reminiscent of the modern Saudi flag

During World War I, the sheriff of Mecca was Hussein bin Ali. The British government in 1915 promised to make him king over most of the Arab lands. Trusting the British, Hussein launched an anti-Ottoman uprising in 1916. The flag of Hejaz in 1916 was a red rectangular cloth.

Флаг Хиджаза, с 1916 по 1917
Flag of Hijaz, from 1916 to 1917

From 1917 to 1926, the pan-Arab colors, the colors of Arab unity, appeared on the banner of Hejaz. In 1917 the flag was adopted in the form of a rectangle with a red isosceles triangle at the stem and three horizontal stripes – black above, green in the center and white below.

Флаг Хиджаза с 1917 по 1920, основанный на панарабских цветах
Flag of Hijaz from 1917 to 1920, based on Pan-Arab colors

In 1920, the white and green stripes switched places.

Флаг Хиджаза с 1920 по 1926
Flag of Hijaz from 1920 to 1926

And in 1926-1932 the white color was replaced by yellow, the stripes were arranged in the following order: black, green, yellow.

Флаг Саудовской Аравии
Flag of Hijaz from 1926 to 1932

The result of the revolt was the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. Hussein expected Britain to fulfill its obligations, but the British and French chose to divide their spheres of influence in the Arab countries. Hussein became king of Hijaz alone. He went to war with Najd and lost. Abdul-Aziz seized Hijaz and declared the creation of the kingdom of Nejd and Hijaz. In 1932 it transformed into Saudi Arabia.

In 1932-1934, the flag of Saudi Arabia was a green rectangle with a white stripe at the stem. In the center was a shahada and a saber.

Флаг Саудовской Аравии
A version of the flag used from 1932 to 1934, with a white stripe at the stem

In 1934-1938 there was a version with a thinner white stripe.

Флаг Саудовской Аравии
A variant of the flag used from 1934 to 1938, with a thinner white stripe

In 1938-1973 the version without the strip was used.

Флаг Саудовской Аравии
A variant of the flag used from 1938 to 1973, without the stripe

On March 15, 1973, the official version of the national flag of Saudi Arabia was approved, which is used to this day.


It is a rectangular green cloth with a width to length ratio of 2:3.

In the center is a silver (white) Arabic inscription called shahada: “لاَ إِلَهَ إِلاَّ اللَّهُ مُحَمَّدًا رَسُولُ اللَّهِ.”

The Arabic inscriptions are read from right to left.

Shahada is a testimony of faith in Allah. It translates, “There is no god but Allah, and Muhammad is his prophet.

The inscription is executed in the Thuluth style, which is characterized by intertwined elements and rounded letterforms.

Under the shahada is a silver (white) saber without a sheath. The blade is turned to the left.

In order that the shahada can be read on both sides, the flag is sewn from two identical cloths, folded together with the wrong side inwards.

Flag colors

Two colors:

  • green corresponds to Pantone 330C;
  • white.

The color used on the flag at the UN is green, corresponding to Pantone 349.

Meaning of colors and flag symbol

  • Green is the traditional color of Islam.
  • Shahada is the symbol of faith in Allah.
  • Saber – sign of justice and victories of the founder of the state Abdul-Aziz ibn Abdurrahman ibn Faisal Al Saud.

Other Flags

The civilian flag is a green rectangle. In the upper right corner, highlighted by a white border, is a white shahada and saber.

Флаг Саудовской Аравии
Civic Banner (front side)

The Navy flag is a green rectangle with a blue stripe at the stem, separated by a thin white stripe. On the green background is a white shahada and saber. On the blue stripe is the naval emblem, which shows a helm with a palm tree and crossed sabers in the center, behind the helm is an anchor. There is a frame in the form of palm leaves, tied at the bottom with a red ribbon. The emblem is topped by a crown. The ratio of width to length is 12:25.

Флаг Саудовской Аравии
Navy flag

The naval flag, with a 2:3 aspect ratio, is a blue rectangle with the Navy emblem in the center.

Флаг Саудовской Аравии

The royal flag is a green rectangle with an aspect ratio of 2:3. In the center is a silver (white) shahada and saber. In the lower right corner is a gold (yellow) palm and two crossed sabers below it.

Флаг Саудовской Аравии
Royal Flag

Interesting facts about the flag

The national flag of Saudi Arabia is used only for official purposes.

Флаг Саудовской Аравии
The flag of Saudi Arabia is never at half-mast

It is strictly forbidden to place the image of the flag on clothing or other objects. In 2002, the Saudi authorities protested against the depiction of the country’s national flag on soccer balls at the World Cup. They declared that it was unacceptable and blasphemous to kick the Shahada inscription, which is sacred to all Muslims.

In 2007, the U.S. military decided to provide a kind of humanitarian assistance to Afghan children. They dropped from helicopters balls with the images of flags of different countries. There were demonstrations in Saudi Arabia to protest the action.

Only the horizontal arrangement of the flag is used. On the rare occasions when vertical versions of the flag are created, the shahada and the saber are rotated 90 degrees, since it is forbidden to depict these symbols upside down.

General information about Saudi Arabia

Official language Arabic
Capital Riyadh
Territory 2 149 690 km²
Population 34,218,169 people
Currency Saudi Riyal
Phone code +966

Map of Saudi Arabia

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