Last modified: 2008-01-19 by eugene ipavec
Keywords: jordan | transjordan | triangle: hoist (red) | star: 7 points | koran | hashemite | canton on fly | arab league | league of arab states |
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image by Željko Heimer
Official Name: المملكة الأردنية الهاشمية [Al-Mamlakah al-Urdunniyyah al-Hāšimiyyah], Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan
Short Form: الأردنّ [Al-Urdunn], Jordan
Location: Middle East
Government Type: Constitutional Monarchy
Flag Adopted: 16th April 1928
Coat of Arms Adopted: 25th May 1946
ISO Code: JO JOR 400
FIPS 10-4 Code: JO
MARC Code: jo
IOC Code: JOR
Risk of confusion with: Palestine, Western Sahara, Sudan
Adopted on April 16th, 1928. The seven-pointed star refers to the first seven verses of the Quran.
David Kendall, 04 Oct 1996
From the King Hussein Official Website:
The flag symbolizes the Kingdom's roots in the Great Arab Revolt of 1916, as it is adapted from the revolt banner. The black, white and green bands represent the Arab Abbasid, Umayyad and Fatimid dynasties respectively, while the crimson triangle joining the bands represents the Hashemite dynasty. The seven-pointed Islamic star set in the center of the crimson triangle represents the unity of Arab peoples in Jordan.
Ivan Sache, 29 Dec 1998
It is not only based on the flag of the Arab Revolt of 1916. The leader of the revolt, Hussein, is the great grand-father of the today king of Jordan who is named after him. Today's king is Hussein Ib'n Talal Ib'n Abdalla Ib'n Hussein [deceased 7th February 1999]. The former Iraqi kings came from the same family [the Hashemites].
Dov Gutterman, 29 Dec 1998
I seem to recall that the seven points in the Hashemite star stand for the Fatiha, the first seven verses or Surahs of the Quran.
Santiago Dotor, 06 Nov 2000
On the seven-pointed star: Dov posted a while back that the seven points stood for the seven pillars of Islam. I questioned that on the grounds that there are only five pillars of Islam. In his coverage of Jordan, Whitney Smith's FTTAAATW say the points stand for the seven verses of the first sura of the Koran, the Fatihah, which is the most important and most often repeated of Muslim prayers:
Joseph McMillan, 27 Jul 2005
In March and April 1997 I visited Syria and Jordan. In contrast to Syria, Jordan uses a lot of flags for different purposes. This results from the long British influence there – whereas Syria was influenced by France. Another difference between Syria and Jordan is that in Syria you can find horizontally and vertically hanging flags, differing proportions of length to width, different dimensions of the stars etc., whereas in Jordan all the flags conform to certain regulations (e.g. proportions 1:2).
Marcus Schmöger, 24 Nov 1997
There seems to be no question about the national flag being used as civil ensign, according to both Smith 1982 and Album des Pavillons 2000. The first source also marks it as state ensign. I guess Album des Pavillons 2000 dismissed the use as state ensign having no proof of that usage, but what do the Jordani state-owned vessels fly? Possibly the police boats fly the blue ensign, but FotW only mentions the use of that blue flag on land.
Željko Heimer, 05 Mar 2002
from the King Hussein I Official Website
From the King Hussein I Official Website:
"The crown symbolizes the system of monarchy. The sash upon which the crown is placed symbolizes the Hashemite throne. Its scarlet color represents sacrifice, while the white inner background symbolizes purity.
"The two flags are the flags of the Great Arab Revolt. The eagle in the center of the coat of arms symbolizes power, might and loftiness. The eagle is perched on the globe, and his wings touch the two flags of the Great Arab Revolt. The blue color of the globe symbolizes the spread of Islam across the world.
"The bronze shield in front of the globe represents the defense of truth and right in the world. The spears, swords, bows and arrows are traditional Arab weapons.
"Below the shield to the left are three branches of wheat, and to the right is a palm branch. Stretching down from between the wheat and palm branches is the highest Jordanian medal, the decorative order of al-Nahda.
"Above the al-Nahda medal are three phrases inscribed on a golden ribbon. In the middle: King of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. To the right: Al-Hussein bin Talal bin Aoun (Aoun, one of the Hashemite patriarchs, was great great-grandfather of Sherif Hussein)."
Santiago Dotor, 10 Jan 1999
In Pedersen 1979 (Danish edition), Jordan's Navy, Army and Air Force flags are shown with the national flag in the upper fly, and with the triangle at the outer edge of the flag. The images made me think 'It must be a mistake. The national flag should be in the canton.' Is Pedersen mistaken, or are Jordanian flags just very odd?
Ole Andersen, 29 Apr 1998
Actually neither. We who read from left to right believe that the wind blows from left to right; at least, that's how we picture our flags. In countries where people write from right to left – in Arabic, for example – they show the flags flying from right to left. This convention is sometimes referred to as sinister hoist. Jordan's armed forces ensigns have the national flag in canton, with the triangle at hoist. Some books show such a flag with a bit of flagpole next to it, as a hint. Others don't.
John Ayer, 29 Apr 1998
I believe that that's the old problem with different tastes in representing flags in western and arabic countries. We like representing them with the hoist to the left, and they like it better the other way around. So, in our ways, the flag you describe is a mirror image of what is really flying.
Jorge Candeias, 29 Apr 1998
Jorge Candeias is exactly correct. When a Jordanian flag flies from a pole, it looks just like what we would expect: i.e. in an ensign, the national flag in the canton, next to the pole. I know this from first-hand experience: I lived in Syria for two years and visited Jordan on numerous occasions. However, when they describe it officially, they work from the fly to the hoist (i.e. backwards to us); I've always assumed that this is simply in accordance with the way people naturally do things in an Arab culture – don't forget, they read/write from right to left (which seems backwards to users of Latin scripts), as well as open books from what we would consider to be the last page/back-cover. (Hebrew, of course, is the same.) If one looks at Smith 1975 he indicates this fact through a symbol above the Jordanian flag with the pole to the right.
Glen Robert-Grant Hodgins, 29 Apr 1998
That explanation would work, if Pedersen did not include a bit of flagpole, but he does. He explicitly shows the piece of pole to the left and the triangle to the right. So I guess he has misplaced his pole. Related to all this reading/wind direction/pole placement is the matter of crescents. The waxing moon is believed to be a good omen, while the waning moon is a bad omen. But when we have the pole on the left, we make the moon waning, or decrescent, instead of waxing, or crescent.
Ole Andersen, 30 Apr 1998
In the attached picture appears a photo taken from Eilat to the direction of the neighbouring city of Aqaba (Jordan). The news report that a 136m pole and 80mx44m flag (making it probably the longest hoist and largest flag in the middle east) were put in the shores of the city close to the summer palace of the king of Jordan (of the Hashem family).
The interesting point about this flag is that it is not the Jordanian flag. Neither it is the usual royal standard. The order of the horizontal strips is black-green-white (rather than the black-white-green in the known national flag and royal standard). Moreover, in place of the 7-point star appears the crown of the Hashemite dynasty.
The apparent explanation for this is the location. The order of the stripes in the flag is the same order as appeared in the flag of the kingdom of Hejaz, the eastern coast of the gulf of Aqaba, which was ruled by the Hashemite family. Most of Hejaz today belong to Saudi Arabia after the founder of the state, ibn-Saudi, conquered it from the Hashemite family in 1924, ending their rule over it. The Small strip of land left for Jordan between the border with Israel and the port of Aqaba is all that has been left to the Hashemite family from Hejaz.
Yaron Ramati, 27 Oct 2004
Not true. This piece of land was part on Emirate of Transjordan formed by the British and given to Amir Abdallah and it is not "leftover" of Hijaz.
Dov Gutterman, 27 Oct 2004
It seems the hoisting of this huge flag in this particular place is a sort of a symbolic gesture that the Hashemite claim to Hejaz remains in force.
Yaron Ramati, 27 Oct 2004
I think that this observation has nothing to do with the truth. I don't think that the Jordanians want to upset the Saudis. I would guess that it is used when a royal personality is staying in this palace, apart of the king (and then the royal standard is hoisted)
Dov Gutterman, 27 Oct 2004
I don't have an explanation for why the flag is flying, but this explanation doesn't seem to ring true. In the first place, Jordan has been trying under King Abdullah to mend fences with the Arab neighbors (especially Saudi Arabia and Kuwait) that his father alienated by failing to oppose the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990. It's hardly in his interest to imply, or allow others to imply, that the Hashemites maintain some kind of claim to vast areas of Saudi territory.
Secondly, referring to the Aqaba area as the only remnant of Hijaz left to the Hashemites is a little misleading. Aqaba was never considered part of Hijaz until Auda abu Tayi and T. E. Lawrence defeated the Ottoman garrison there in 1917. It was briefly incorporated into the newly proclaimed Kingdom of Hijaz at that point, but so briefly as to have (in my view, at least) little real connection to Hijaz proper.
How about this explanation? The flag of Hijaz was identical with the flag of the Great Arab Revolt, which is celebrated as the founding event of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. The capture of Aqaba is remembered as the great military achievement of the revolt. There is even a Great Arab Revolt Square in Aqaba, where a flag flies. King Abdullah took part in a flag-raising ceremony there on 3 October, as reported at
Joseph McMillan, 27 Oct 2004
Very interesting indeed. More information here.
Santiago Dotor, 27 Oct 2004
I suggest to take this site with more then two grains a salt. How shall I say ...accuracy is not its best feature.
Dov Gutterman, 27 Oct 2004
Here is a picture I took last October of the Jordanian flag you mention on your Flag Superlatives page. However, it seems that King Abdallah likes to erect huge flagpoles; what about the one mentioned in an article at the Debka File site:
"an enormous flag flying from a 136 meter (446 foot) – high pole."
This is even taller than 126.8m. A new record?
Jean-Francois Dal, 27 Dec 2004
images by Ivan Sarajčič, 14 Nov 2005
An AP photo shows the flag described in the following 2005 news story:
AMMAN (JOR) - A Jordanian man with Jordanian flags attached to his head in front of the Hyatt hotel where a suicide bomber struck last Wednesday during an anti terrorism demonstration in Amman, Jordan, Sunday Nov. 13, 2005. Police have captured an Iraqi woman would-be suicide bomber who failed to detonate her explosives inside one of Amman's three bombed hotels, blown up by three other al-Qaida cell members including her husband, Jordan announced Sunday in a dramatic breakthrough in the case. The Arabic words in the flags read: "Together forward." (AP Photo/Hussein Malla) Credit: AP
Author: HUSSEIN MALLA
Ivan Sarajčič, 14 Nov 2005