The True Meaning of the Flag
During the past several days, we saw the Jordanian flag proudly draped over cars, by entries to our houses and in the hands of our youth, proudly waving in defiance to those that want to destabilise our beloved land and shake our sense of security.
The Jordanian flag is not simply a visual graphic symbol of the country; it also has a symbolic meaning that transcends the obvious. The obvious describes a flag that consists of four colours and a star. Yes, it is a star, but we never stop to think whether is it more than a simple star; that it has seven points. How do we create this form from Euclidean geometry and why is the star harmoniously embedded in the centre of a crimson isosceles triangle? And why are the flag’s proportions two to one, width to height? But most important, what did those who decided on the seven as opposed to the five-point star want to convey?
What is the deeper meaning beyond the obvious form and colour? The pentagram, or five-point star, is a symbol of the ability to bring spirit to earth, to make us whole; it is a sign of reemerging enlightenment, not just a star!
The pinnacle, or top point of the star, is the grand symbol of spirit. Then, just below it, are the four remaining points that indicate the elements of air (intelligence), earth (stability and physical endurance), fire (courage and daring spirit) and water (emotions and intuitions). This is just one of many interpretations of this symbol.
In the same light, the 7-point star that our forefathers chose for our flag not only symbolises the seven hills that Amman was built on, but also the first seven verses of the Koran in the opening sura, Al Fatiha; faith in God (Verse 1), humanity (Verse 2), national spirit (Verse 3), humility (Verse 4), social justice (Verse 5), virtue (Verse 6), aspirations (Verse 7).
Talking about humility, whose antonym is arrogance, its synonyms are humbleness, modesty and unassuming nature. This word also symbolises a virtue that we have begun to bury deep beneath the material and whose true meaning we are not teaching our children by way of action.
Tolerance and compassion are by-products of humility, and truly sensing them will teach us to respect nature, animals and mankind, along with the forces beyond. These values are not easily regained if our leaders, teachers and parents fail to understand them, as what we do not understand, we cannot properly teach. But since we are the society, making up its leaders, teachers and parents, then no one is to blame but ourselves if we fail to educate the new generation to the true meanings of what is symbolised in this 7-point Islamic star that goes beyond the sacred teachings.
The star represents the unity of the Arab people, not their disunity and dismemberment in a sea of blood! The pure crimson isosceles triangle represents the Hashemite dynasty and symbolises the Great Arab Revolt of 1916, joining the three equal bands representing the Abbasid (black), Umayyad (white) and Fatimid (green) dynasties respectively.
It is the duty of every single parent, teacher and leader to work patiently towards teaching the true spirit, the true symbolic meaning of the Jordanian flag.
The writer is a Jordanian architect. She contributed this article to The Jordan Times.
Tuesday, November 15, 2005