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Flag of the Arab Revolt

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Arab Revolt
Flag of Hejaz
UseNational flag and war flag
Adopted10 June 1917
DesignA red triangle to which three parallel horizontal colours are attached, black at the top, followed by green in the middle and white at the bottom.
Designed byMark Sykes
The flag of the Arab revolt – Aqaba, 2006

The flag of the Arab Revolt, also known as the flag of Hejaz, was a flag used by Hussein bin Ali and his allies, the Arab nationalists, during the Arab Revolt against the Ottoman Empire during World War I, and as the first flag of the Kingdom of Hejaz. It was designed by Mark Sykes but is highly reminiscent of previous Arab flags, such as the flags of the al-Muntada al-Adabi, al-ʽAhd and al-Fatat.[citation needed]

The flag consists of three horizontal stripes (black, white, and green) and a red triangle on the hoist side, using Islamic religious tradition, each color has a symbolic meaning: black represents the Abbasid dynasty or the Rashidun caliphs, white represents the Umayyad dynasty, and green represents Islam (or possibly, but it is not certain, the Fatimid dynasty). The red triangle represents the Hashemite dynasty, to which Hussein bin Ali belonged.

The flag became a symbol of Arab nationalism and unity and is still used today in various forms in the flags of Egypt, Jordan, Iraq, Kuwait, Sudan, Syria, the United Arab Emirates, Yemen, Palestine, Somaliland, the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, and Libya.


The horizontal colors stand for the Abbasid Caliphate (black), Umayyad Caliphate (white) and Rashidun Caliphate (green).[1][2] The red triangle has been described as referring to the Hashemites[3][2] or the ashraf of Mecca.[1]

According to Tim Marshall, white was the Umayyad colour in memory of Muhammad's first military victory, black was the Abbasid colour to mark a new era and to mourn the dead of the Battle of Karbala, and green was the colour of the Prophet's coat and of his followers as they conquered Mecca.[2] Alternatively, the colours' symbolism has been described as follows: white for the Damascene Umayyad Caliphate, green for Ali, red for the Kharijites, and black for Muhammad, showing the "political use of religion" in opposition to the increasingly secularized Turkish rule.[4]

Similarly, Marshall explains the use of the European tricolor as a sign of the break with the Ottoman past, while the colours are deeply Islamic without using the star and crescent used by the Ottomans.[2] The explanation given in the official note of the ceremony marking the first anniversary of the Revolt, celebrating Hussein's decree on the adoption of the flag, was that black represented the Black Standard of Muhammad (the al-ʿuqāb "eagle"), his companions, and the Abbasid Caliphate, the green represented the Ahl al-Bayt or Prophetic Family, white various Arab rulers, and red the Hashemites.[3]


Soldiers in the Arab Army during the Arab Revolt of 1916–1918. They are carrying the flag of the Arab Revolt and are pictured in the Arabian Desert.
Auda Abu Tayi (marked with an X) of the Howeitat offers allegiance to the King; a soldier next to him bears the Arab flag. (1917)

It has been suggested that the flag was designed by the British diplomat Sir Mark Sykes, in an effort to create a feeling of "Arab-ness" to fuel the revolt.[5] According to Stanford University historian Joshua Teitelbaum, this claim is made both by Sykes' 1923 biographer and by Hussein ibn Ali al-Hashimi, who in 1918 told Woodrow Wilson that it symbolized Hashemite rule over the Arab world.[1] According to one version, Sykes, keen to challenge the French flag being flown in French-controlled Arab territories, offered several designs to Hussein, who chose the one that was then used.[3]

Although the Arab Revolt was limited in scope and supported by the British, the flag influenced the national flags of a number of emerging Arab states after World War I. Flags inspired by that of the Arab revolt include those of Palestine, Jordan, Egypt, Iraq, Kuwait, Sudan, Syria, Yemen, the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic and Libya.[citation needed]

The Hashemites were allies of the British in the conflict against the Ottoman Empire. After the war ended, the Hashemites achieved or were granted rule in the Hejaz region of Arabia, Jordan, formally known as the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, Iraq, and briefly in Syria.

The Arab Kingdom of Syria was dissolved after only a few months of existence after the French conquest in 1920. The Hashemites were overthrown in the Hejaz in 1925 by the Sultanate of Najd after the Saudi conquest of Hejaz, and in Iraq in 1958 by a coup d'etat, but retained power in Jordan.

A 60 m × 30 m version of the flag currently flies from the Aqaba Flagpole, currently the seventh tallest freestanding flagpole in the world, located in Aqaba, Jordan.[6]


The flag contains the four Pan-Arab colors: black, white, green and red. There are three horizontal stripes: black, green, and white, going down the flag. There is also a red triangle on the hoist side of the flag.



See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Teitelbaum, Joshua (2001). The Rise and Fall of the Hashimite Kingdom of Arabia. London: Hurst & Company. p. 205. ISBN 1-85065-460-3. OCLC 630148867.
  2. ^ a b c d Marshall, Tim (2017). A flag worth dying for : the power and politics of national symbols. New York, NY: Scribner, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, Inc. pp. 110–111. ISBN 978-1-5011-6833-8. OCLC 962006347.
  3. ^ a b c Podeh, Elie (2011). The Politics of National Celebrations in the Arab Middle East. New York: Cambridge University Press. p. 49. ISBN 978-1-107-00108-4. OCLC 1277339058.
  4. ^ Sergie, Lina, Recollecting history : songs, flags and a Syrian square Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Architecture, 2003
  5. ^ Easterly, William (2006). The White Man's Burden. New York: Penguin. p. 238. ISBN 978-1-1012-1812-9.
  6. ^ "The Flag of the Arab Revolt". Andrewcusack.com. 28 July 2016. Archived from the original on 30 August 2016.

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