The Meaning of the Palestinian Flag


At all the rallies and vigils we attended in the past month to support the Palestinian people of Gaza. one thing was always present: the Palestinian flag or its colours depicted on scarves and other items. It was at our recent vigil (on August 15) for all those who have died in Gaza since July 8 that a woman asked me about the significance of the Palestinian flag. Her young son had brought a small flag to our event. What follows below is the answer to her question and may also be of interest to anyone who ever wondered about the flag of this revolutionary people.

For anyone wanting to to look it up, the research for this article came from: Evolution of the Arab Flag, by Mahdi Abdul Hadi

The four colours in the iconic Palestinian flag each have great significance to Muslims.


The colour black on the flag is meant to symbolize the Prophet Mohammad (570-632). In the 7th century, rwo flags were actually carried, one white and one black. In pre-Islamic times the black flag symbolized revenge. It was also the colour of the headress worn when leading troops into battle.

“There is no god but God (Allah) and Mohammed is the Prophet of God” was written on the white flag.

Both black and white flags were placed in the mosque during Friday prayers.

The Abbasid Dynasty (750-1258) ruled from Baghdad and took black as a symbol of mourning for the assassination of relatives of the Prophet and in remembrance of the Battle of Karbala.


The Umayyads ruled for 90 years, taking white as their symbolic colour as a reminder of the Prophet’s first battle at Badr, and to distinguish themselves from the Abbasids, by using white, instead of black, as their mourning colour.

Green The Fatimid Dynasty (909-1171) North Africa

The Fatimid Dynasty was founded in Morocco by Abdullah Al-Mahdi, and went on to rule all of North Africa. Green was their colour, to represent their allegiance to Ali, the Prophet’s cousin, who was once wrapped in a green coverlet in place of the Prophet to prevent an assassination attempt.


Arab tribes who participated in the conquest of North Africa and Andalusia carried the red flag, which became the symbol of the Islamic rulers of Andalusia (756-1355). In modern times, red represents the Ashrafs of the Hijaz and the Hashemites, descendants of the Prophet.

The Current Flag

Sharif Hussein designed the current flag of the Arab Revolt in June 1916. The Palestinian people raised it as the flag of the Arab National Movement in 1917. In 1947. the Arab Ba’ath Party interpreted the flag as a symbol of the liberation and unity of the Arab nation. The Palestinian people readopted the flag at the Palestinian conference in Gaza in 1948. The flag was recognized by the Arab League as the flag of the Palestinian people. It was then endorsed by the PLO at the Palestinian conference in Jerusalem in 1964.

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