By Aljohara Zarea
JEDDAH — The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s national flag is considered to be a flag that is forbidden to be lowered. This is in accordance with Article 13 of Saudi Arabia’s Flag Law.
Since the first day when the Saudi flag flew high, it has not been lowered nor has it touched any surface — ground or water — due to its distinguished religious connotations: The Saudi flag bears the Islamic creed or shahada: “There is no god but Allah; Muhammad is the messenger of Allah.
Because the Saudi flag is a very important national symbol, several regulations related to it have been issued, such as the Saudi Flag Law, which was approved by Royal Decree No. (M/3), dated 2/10/1393 AH.
Additionally, the regulation of the Saudi Flag Law No. 422 dated 10/5/1398 AH, was issued by a decision of the Council of Ministers. The executive regulations for the Saudi Flag Law No. 2206 dated 8/16/1402 AH, were issued by a decision of the Minister of Interior.
All these laws and regulations contain several terms, conditions and protocols, in addition to penalties for anyone who violates them.
Among the most prominent of these laws are: while raising the Saudi flag in ceremonies, citizens attending the flag-raising ceremony or during the playing of the national anthem must stand firmly in front of the flag until the end of the ceremony.
It is forbidden to use the Kingdom’s flag as a commercial material, a trademark, or for the purpose of commercial advertising in any form.
The Ministry of Commerce, in September 2022, announced that all individuals and businesses are prohibited from using the Saudi Arabian flag in commercial promotions including publications, goods and products, brochures, special gifts and others because the products might be used insultingly, disposed of and thrown away in a negative way.
According to the Law, anyone who insults in any way or manner the Kingdom’s flags, which include the national flag or the royal flag, will be punished with imprisonment for a period not exceeding one year, in addition to a fine not exceeding SR3,000 , or any one of these two penalties.
Furthermore, it is forbidden to use the flag as a tool to tie or carry something. It is also forbidden to place the Saudi flag on the bodies of animals.
No drawings, phrases or slogans should be placed on the flag, except in the case of the king’s flag, where the Saudi emblem, which is two swords topped by a palm tree, is placed in the corner adjacent to the flagpole.
As for the ways of taking care of the Saudi flag and methods to clean it, they are as follows: If the Saudi flag needs to be replaced, it should be lowered slowly, provided that it is folded before it touches the ground or water.
The regulations state that the Saudi flag must always be clean and ironed, and carefully inspected each time it is raised.
It is important that the Saudi flag be replaced periodically to ensure that it retains its color and glow, and if it has minor damages, it must be fixed and then kept in a cold warehouse.
If the flag is old, torn, damaged, or has changed its color and is in a condition that is not good enough to be used, then, according to the law, it should be destroyed by the party that uses it.
All the above information and decisions are part of the regulations stipulated in the Saudi Flag Law, and this indicates its importance and its great role as a symbol of the country.
Because of the rich history of the flag of Saudi Arabia, King Salman ordered in February 2023 that Saudi Arabia would celebrate Flag Day on March 11 every year.
The decision comes within the efforts of the Crown Prince, who saw the necessity of celebrating the flag, as it is an important pillar in the national identity and history of Saudi Arabia.
Flag Day is a great opportunity for expressing the feelings that citizens hold towards the Saudi flag.
Celebrating the flag is a celebration of the homeland at any time and anywhere, and adherence to its regulations and standards represents an important aspect of respecting its symbolism and national and historical connotations.