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International Alliance for Advanced Judicial Studies (IAAJS)

Ibn Saud

 

Abdulaziz ibn Abdul Rahman ibn Faisal ibn Turki ibn Abdullah ibn Muhammad Al Saud usually known within the Arab world as Abdulaziz and in the West as Ibn Saud, was the first monarch and founder of Saudi Arabia, the "third Saudi state".

In 1890, the House of Saud's long-term regional rivals, the Rashidis, conquered Riyadh. Ibn Saud was 15 at the time. He and his family initially took refuge with the Al Murrah, a Bedouin tribe in the southern desert of Arabia. Later, the Al Sauds moved to Qatar and stayed there for two months. Their next stop was Bahrain, where they stayed briefly. Their final destination was Kuwait, where they lived for nearly a decade.

Following the capture of Riyadh, many former supporters of the House of Saud rallied to Ibn Saud's call to arms. He was a charismatic leader and kept his men supplied with arms. Over the next two years, he and his forces recaptured almost half of the Najd from the Rashidis.

In 1925, Ibn Saud's forces captured the holy city of Mecca from Sharif Hussein, ending 700 years of Hashemite rule. On 8 January 1926, the leading figures in Mecca, Madina and Jeddah proclaimed Ibn Saud the King of Hejaz. He raised Najd to a kingdom as well on 29 January 1927. On 20 May 1927, the British government signed the Treaty of Jeddah, which abolished the Darin protection agreement and recognized the independence of the Hejaz and Najd, with Ibn Saud as their ruler. For the next five years, Ibn Saud administered the two parts of his dual kingdom as separate units.

His newfound oil wealth brought with it a great deal of power and influence that Ibn Saud would use to advantage in the Hijaz. He forced many nomadic tribes to settle down and abandon "petty wars" and vendettas. He also began widespread enforcement of the new kingdom's ideology, based on the teachings of Muhammad Ibn Abd al-Wahhab. This included an end to traditionally sanctioned rites of pilgrimage, recognized by the orthodox schools of jurisprudence, but at odds with those sanctioned by Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab. In 1926, after a caravan of Egyptians on the way to Mecca were beaten by his forces for playing bugles, he was impelled to issue a conciliatory statement to the Egyptian government. In fact, several such statements were issued to Muslim governments around the world as a result of beatings suffered by the pilgrims visiting the holy cities of Mecca and Medina. With the uprising and subsequent decimation thereafter of the Ikhwan in 1929 via British air power, the 1930s marked a turning point. With his rivals eliminated, Ibn Saud's ideology was in full force, ending nearly 1400 years of accepted religious practices surrounding the Hajj, the majority of which were sanctioned by a millennium of scholarship.

In the last stage of the war, Ibn Saud met significant political figures. One of these meetings, which lasted for three days, was with U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt on 14 February 1945. The meeting took place on board USS Quincy in the Great Bitter Lake segment of the Suez Canal. The meeting laid down the basis of the future relations between the two countries.

He appointed his second son Prince Saud heir to the Saudi throne in 1933. He had many quarrels with his elder brother Muhammad bin Abdul Rahman as to who should be appointed heir. Muhammad wanted his son Khalid to be designated the heir. His eldest son was Turki Al Awwal, who was the Crown Prince of the Kingdoms of Nejd and Hejaz, but Turki died at age 18, predeceasing his father, and his younger full-brother was appointed Crown Prince. Had Turki not died, he would have been the Crown Prince. Ibn Saud had 45 sons, of whom 36 survived to adulthood. Ten of his sons were capable enough to be candidates for the succession. They were Saud, Faisal, Muhammad, Khalid, Fahd, Abdullah, Sultan, Nayef, Salman and Muqrin. Of these ten, six became king. Muhammad, Sultan, Nayef and Muqrin were crown prince but never succeeded to the throne. Muhammad resigned from the post, Sultan and Nayef predeceased King Abdullah, and Muqrin was removed from the post.

His last words to his two sons, the future King Saud and the next in line Prince Faisal, who were already battling each other, were "You are brothers, unite!" Shortly before his death, Ibn Saud stated, "Verily, my children and my possessions are my enemies.

In October 1953, Ibn Saud was seriously ill due to heart disease. He died in his sleep of a heart attack at the palace of Prince Faisal in Ta'if on 9 November 1953 (2 Rabi? al-Awwal 1373 AH) at the age of 78. Prince Faisal was at his side. Funeral prayer was performed at Al Hawiya in Ta'if. His body was brought to Riyadh where he was buried in Al Oud cemetery.

 
 

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