The national flag of Bahrain (Arabic: علم البحرين, romanized: ʿalam al-Baḥrayn) consists of a white band on the left, separated from a red area on the right by five triangles that serve as a serrated line. The five white triangles symbolize the five pillars of Islam. It is sometimes mistaken for the flag of Qatar, but that flag is maroon, not red, has more points (9) and normally has a much greater length-to-width ratio.
|Use||National flag and ensign|
|Adopted||14 February 2002|
|Design||A white field on the hoist side separated from a larger red field on the fly by five white triangles in the form of a zigzag pattern|
The white colour comprises 13⁄40 (32.5%) of the flag area, while the red colour comprises 27⁄40 (67.5%) of the area.
The colour specification is red: Pantone 186 c / CMYK (%) C 0 – M 90 – Y 80 – K 5
The flag is used on land and at sea as a national, civil and war ensign. In 2002, the King of Bahrain Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, issued Decree by Law No.(4) for 2002, which pertained to the flag:
- Article I: The Flag of the Kingdom of Bahrain shall take a rectangular shape, and shall be divided into two main sections; the first in red, and the other in white color.
- Article II: The King shall have his own flag, for which a royal order shall be issued to determine its shape, measures, and places.
- Article III: The Flag of the Kingdom of Bahrain shall be hoisted on the Royal Court, Palaces, governmental buildings, public establishments, embassies, Bahraini bureaus abroad, and Bahraini ships.
- Article IV: Each non-Bahraini ship entering the territorial waters of the Kingdom of Bahrain shall hoist the Flag of the Kingdom, and shall keep the flag hoisted till it departs from the territorial waters of the Kingdom.
- Article V: The Flag shall be hoisted on governmental buildings, public institutions during public holidays and occasions from sun-rise to sun-set.
- Article VI: The Flag of the Kingdom of Bahrain shall not be hoisted on vehicles, except on the official protocol vehicles.
- Article VII: The Flag of the Kingdom of Bahrain shall be hoisted half mast at the state of mourning.
- Article VIII: The Flag of the Kingdom of Bahrain shall not be used for commercial purposes.
- Article IX: In case the Flag is used otherwise, and not as stipulated in the above law, a punishment of one month of imprisonment as a maximum, or a fine not exceeding than BD 100, or both shall be inflicted.
The earliest known flags of Bahrain were plain red. In 1820, Bahrain signed a general maritime treaty with the British Empire, and as result, a white stripe was added to the flag to signify the treaty and to distinguish it from the flags commonly used by pirates. In 1932, a serrated edge was added to the flag in order to differentiate it from those of its neighbours.
The flag originally had twenty-eight white points, but this was reduced to eight in 1972. On 14 February 2002, the number was again reduced, to five, so that each of the points could stand for one of the Five Pillars of Islam.