Being Patriotic is a big deal in America. From baseball games, to Bald Eagles we love to love our country and what symbolizes our love? Our Flag. The red represents valor, bravery, and sacrifice while white represents purity, innocence, and peace, and blue represents vigilance, perseverance, and justice. The stripes represent the first thirteen colonies established in the United States and the stars represent the fifty states. This got me to start thinking about other countries flags and what they could represent or how they came about. Let’s take a look at the countries in the Middle East!
The red and white flag of Bahrain was adopted in 2002. The five points on the flag represent the five pillars of Islam which include; The Testimony of Faith, Prayer, Giving Zakat, Fasting the Month of Ramadan, and the Hajj.
The Iraqi flag was adopted in 2003 and is red, white, black and green. The red represents struggle and the courage to overcome it while black represents oppression against Islam and triumph of Islam. White represents generosity and the bright future of Iraq and green represents the favorite color of Prophet Muhammad and in relation to paradise as mentioned multiple times in the Quran.
The red white and green flag of Iran has the national emblem positioned right in the center with the words “Allah-o-Akbar” which means God is Great. Adopted in 1980, the green portion symbolizes growth, prosperity, and vitality in addition to the same reasoning as Iraq. White symbolizes honesty, purity, and peace while red represents the blood of the martyrs.
Based on the Arab revolt flag during the Ottoman Empire the flag of Kuwait was adopted in 1961. The Green represents fertile land and also represent Prophet Muhammad’s favorite color just like Iraq and Iran. Black stands for the defeat of Kuwait’s enemies and white represents the purity of the countries deeds. Lastly, red represents both the blood of Kuwait’s enemies and the courage of Kuwait soldiers.
The Qatar flag consists of nine points which symbolize Qatar being the ninth member of the “reconciled Emirates” during the Qatari-British treaty of 1916. The white represents peace and the maroon represents the bloodshed in Qatari wars.
Adopted in 1970, the flag of Sudan consists of three horizontal lines and a triangle on the left side. The red, like most of the countries, represents the bloodshed. White stands for peace, purity, and light for the future while black stands for Sudan because in Arabic the word “Sudan” means black. The green portion symbolizes Islam, prosperity and agriculture.
Based on the Arab Liberation Flag, Syria used the four colors, green, red, black, and white because those colors represented the four major dynasties of Arab history (Abbasids, Fatimids, Umayyads, and Hasimites) on the Arab Liberation Flag. Red on Syria’s flag represents bloodshed and the black stands for oppression. Green represents Syria and Egypt (the two constituents of the United Arab Republic which was short-lived during the years of 1958-1961) and the white represents a bright future.
Adopted in 1943, the flag of Lebanon is red and white with a green tree in the center. The red symbolizes martyrs and sacrifice while white represents the snow-capped mountains in Lebanon as well as peace and purity. The tree is actually a Cedar tree and represents immortality, tolerance, strength, and prosperity.
Adopted in 1928, the flag of Jordan was based off the Arab revolt flag used during the Ottoman Empire. The black area represents the Abbassid Caliphate, the white represents the Ummayyad Caliphate, and the green stands for the Fatimid Caliphate. The red in the flag represents the Arab Revolt in general and the seven point white star represents the seven verses of the first surah in the Quran (faith in One God, humanity, national spirit, social justice, virtue, and aspirations.)
United Arab Emirates
The UAE flag was adopted in 1971 and is red, black, green and white. The white represents purity, openness, peace and transparency. Black stands for dignity, authority, and elegance while green represents success and growth and the red portion represents sacrifice and power.
Yemen’s flag was adopted in 1990 and is modeled after the Arab Liberation Flag. The white represents a bright future, red represents bloodshed and black represents oppression.
Adopted in 1844, legend has it that the Turkish flag represents the moon and stars in a pool of blood of Turkish warriors. The moon and stars are symbolic to Islam and also represent military rank for Turks.
Adopted in 1995, the Oman flag displays its national emblem in the upper left hand corner which is a dagger and two swords. The red represents previous battles, the white represents peace and prosperity, and the green represents fertility and the Jebel Akhdar, which means Green Mountains.
The Israeli flag was adopted in 1948 five months after the British Mandate of Palestine-Israel. The flag consist of a white background, two blue stripes and a blue Star of David in the center. The Star of David, as referred to as the Jewish star represents Judaism. The white and blue background represent purity guided by the Torah.
Adopted in 1973, the Saudi Arabian flag is green for two reasons. One, it is said to be the Prophet Muhammad’s favorite color, and two, in honor of the Wahhabi Sect. The white in the middle of the flag says “There is no God but God, and Muhammad is the Messenger of God.”
The green portion of the flag represents the Fatimid dynasty and the white represents the Umayyads and the fact that they used white as a color of mourning while the black represents the Prophet Muhammad and the red represents the formation of the first republican party in the early days of Islam.
What are some similarities you see among the flags in the Middle East? Any differences? What about similarities and differences between flags in the Middle East and America’s flag?
Facts – Encyclopedia Online. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://facts.co/
Israel Flag – World Flags 101 – Israelian Flags. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.worldflags101.com/i-flags/israel-flag.aspx
Islam Guide: What Are the Five Pillars of Islam? (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.islam-guide.com/ch3-16.htm