RIYADH — Today, Friday, September 23, 2022, Saudi Arabia celebrating its 92nd National Day. On this day in the year 1932, King Abdul Aziz bin Abdul Rahman Al Saud made the historic announcement when he unified the country under the banner of Islam and named it the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia after 32 years of struggle, during which he laid firm foundations for this great edifice, inspired by guidance from the Holy Qur’an and the Sunnah, following the path of his predecessors from the House of Saud.
At that time, a young state was established that prides itself on the application of the rituals of Islam, and proclaims its tolerant teachings and human values in all parts of the world, spreading peace, goodness, and the da’wah, seeking knowledge and development, moving steadily toward a better future for its people, the Islamic nation and the whole world.
The people of this great nation and those who reside on its land recall a glorious day when the Saudi people became proud of their religion and patriotism under the shadow of a rational government that put the interest of the Saudi people as its ultimate goal with its objectives toward developing and empowering them to rise among the peoples of the world with pride and honor, bearing the title of “Saudi citizens”.
Saudis invoke this occasion as they live today in a new reality full of enormous development and a wise vision that stand witness to the progress and advancement of the Kingdom, similar to the developed countries — a great entity characterized by growth, safety, ambition and determination to turn the impossible into a tangible reality.
The epic Saudi story took place in the land of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, in which King Abdul Aziz was able to bring together the hearts and minds of his countrymen on a good and noble goal for realizing of which he spent his whole life.
The people of the Kingdom live the images and epics of that date, praying in gratitude to the Almighty Allah to reward King Abdul Aziz the best reward and for his successors for the blessings Saudis are enjoying now and for the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman, the course of pride for all Saudis.
In this report, we recall parts of the personality of King Abdul Aziz, the founder of our great homeland, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the inspiring leader, generation after generation, who spent his life facing the challenges of life in the Arabian Peninsula, which was suffering more than eight decades ago under the burden of hatred, fear, panic and hardship, to establish a young state enjoying security, tranquility and abundant resources, and for which the world stands in respect and appreciation.
The founding king was born in Riyadh in 1293 H, according to what was mentioned in a volume printed by the King Abdulaziz Foundation for Research and Archives (Darah) on the biography and personality of King Abdul Aziz and the stages of building the third Saudi state.
Riyadh is located in the middle of the Arabian Peninsula in Najd, and the oldest mention of Riyadh in historical sources dates back to 715 BC, in the context of mentioning the city of Hajar, which lost its value in the tenth century AH, and was scattered into small villages such as Al-Oud, Al-Buniya, and Ma’kal, Al-Sulai`ah, and Gabra, some of which are still known to this day in Riyadh.
Riyadh was subject to the rule of the first and second Saudi state, and then returned to the rule of the third Saudi state at the hands of King Abdulaziz Al Saud in 1319 AH.
It is no wonder that King Abdul Aziz insisted on restoring Riyadh, which is a historical extension of the path of his ancestors, where he was born and raised. He received his education from its scholars after his father, Imam Abdul Rahman bin Faisal Al Saud entrusted him to Judge Abdullah Al Kharji to teach him the Holy Qur’an, reading and writing at the age of seven. At the age of 10, he received his education in jurisprudence and monotheism at the hands of Sheikh Abdullah bin Abdul Latif Al-Sheik, and in parallel with that, King Abdul Aziz was learning horse riding and equestrian skills.
The personality of King Abdul Aziz was greatly influenced by the personality of his father, Imam Abdul Rahman Al-Faisal, who was a teacher, brother and friend to his son, as well as the personality of his mother, Princess Sarah Al-Sudairy, who was one of the most perfect women in mind and management, and was loving to his brothers (Khaled, Faisal, Fahd, Mohammed, and Noura), but his relationship with Princess Noura was more intimate, and occupied a great place in himself, to the extent that he used to take pride into calling himself “I am Noura’s brother”, and was keen to visit her daily at her home.
King Abdulaziz has a strong, captivating and reverent personality that affected everyone who met him, and a bright smiling image of what was known about him for his soft-sidedness, humility and fun, and his humbleness when talking to his people, as well as his generosity with everyone, he was not only a king, but was the head of a family, and a role model in his actions and behaviors.
King Abdul Aziz was known for his great respect for scholars throughout his life, so he used to present them to his brothers in his council, and listens to them, emanating from his absolute faith in the importance of knowledge and scholars and their impact on life, and that their respects and maintaining and good relationship with them and listening to their feedback and consulting them are a must as stipulated in the teachings of Islam which he continued to apply in all aspects of the private and public life in the country, as succeeding kings and sons continue to follow.
King Abdul Aziz went through various events and stations in his life that were influential in building his unique personality, especially when he was 15, but these events contributed to reshaping his personality as he learned patience, and gained strength and courage.
Historians considered the departure of Abdul Aziz, with his father, Imam Abdul Rahman and some members of his family from Riyadh in 1308 AH as the most difficult event in his life. Their first stop after Riyadh was the Yabrin oasis in Al-Ahsa and then Bahrain until they later arrived in Kuwait and settled there for several years during which King Abdul Aziz remained attached to Riyadh.
“Yabrin” — which the founding king took as his headquarters to implement his plan to restore Riyadh — is an oasis in Al-Ahsa along the sands of the Empty Quarter to the north.
When Abdul Aziz turned 20, on the fifth of Ramadan 1319 AH he started from Kuwait to Riyadh on a heroic journey. He led his men to march through the desert whose sands were burning under the hot sun, fasting, before the day of Eid came while they were in a site called “Abu Jafan”.
On the fourth day of Shawwal 1319 AH, King Abdul Aziz and his companions arrived at Al-Shaqib District, which is about 90 minutes from Riyadh on foot. The garrison did not last long, and King Abdul Aziz folded the time of the bygone era in Riyadh, announcing the beginning of the prosperous era in Najd after the people of Riyadh and its notables pledged allegiance to him in 1320 AH as Emir of Najd and imam of its people, after Friday prayers in the square of the Grand Mosque in Riyadh. This great development brought political stability to Riyadh after years of turmoil, and the unity of government was one of the most important factors that paved the way for Riyadh to enter a new stage of growth and civilized prosperity.
King Abdul Aziz Al Saud was able, through a long journey, in which he spent a long walk and thought, to gather the diaspora of the country, restore security, confront the chaos that prevailed in the Arabian Peninsula at the time, and with the love of people, he became the king of a state that he watched to build and establish its system until it had a prestigious and well-respected position among the Islamic-Arab nations and the whole world.
King Abdul Aziz was interested in developing the country, so he issued a royal decree to change the name of the state from (the Kingdom of Hejaz, Najd, and its annexes) to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, on Jumada Al-Awwal 21, 1351 AH corresponding to September 23, 1932.
At the beginning of organizing the structure of the state, King Abdul Aziz focused on the Two Holy Mosques and their expansion, and on serving Hajj and Umrah pilgrims, as well as opening schools, establishing hospitals, building villages, repairing soil, settling the Beduins, and excavating irrigation water to support agriculture. However, these efforts needed money for their implementation.
In line with the desire to advance the country, in the fall of 1933, oil exploration began in some of the Kingdom’s areas, but four lean years passed, and these efforts did not yield a positive and satisfactory result for the discovery of oil reserves until experts decided to explore offshore in an area called “Ain Jet”. King Abdul Aziz had stopped there in 1319 AH on his way from Kuwait to Riyadh, and the surprise was when the excavators found oil at a depth of 5,000 feet.
The desert land was revived by the discovery of black gold, which transformed the arid desert into a city crowded with workers, engineers and oil experts, and in 1939, the first tidings of oil were pumped in a ceremony attended by King Abdul Aziz, becoming the kickstart of the state projects that he had planned.
King Abdul Aziz’s interest in external affairs was the same as his interest in internal affairs. He dealt with all countries with high-level diplomacy, taking into account the independence of the Kingdom by its decision and choosing the nature of its relations with countries without prejudice to their religious, civilizational and cultural backgrounds, which made him beloved to various world leaders and became the talk of the Arab, regional and international media at the time.
In Muharram 1373 AH, King Abdul Aziz became seriously ill during his stay in Taif and at the dawn of the second of Rabi’ Al-Awwal 1373 AH corresponding to November 9, 1953, he passed away.
He died after living a long journey in which he witnessed the greatest events and faced many challenges, but he left for the next generations a great legacy in which everyone is enjoying the blessing of living in a state founded on unity to remain in continuous development, security, goodness and peace until the present time.
The body of King Abdul Aziz bin Abdul Rahman Al Saud was buried in the Al-Oud Cemetery in the center of Riyadh.
King Abdul Aziz bin Abdul Rahman Al Saud was interested in collecting scientific literature during his life, despite his preoccupation with the state-building at that time. He was passionate about reading Arabic books concerned with various sciences, especially Shariah, and printing most of them at his expense and distributing them free of charge for the benefit of all. Currently, 1,468 rare volumes are found in his private library.
The books and periodicals of the King Abdulaziz Private Library at its headquarters in King Abdulaziz Foundation for Research and Archives (Darah) in Riyadh dealt with rare and distinguished knowledge in Shariah, translations, geography, Islamic and general history, Arabic language and literature, arranged per digital indexing that spares researchers and scholars the burden of searching in scientific, intellectual and Islamic fields.
The library was considered an important source of modern history in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, especially concerning King Abdul Aziz’s relationship with science and knowledge. Its books also contain phrases and historical evidence written by many well-known historians and authors in the Arab and Islamic worlds at that time.
King Abdul Aziz was keen during his life to publish, print and distribute books to people in general and students of science, especially inside and outside the Kingdom. He also helped some authors to continue their scientific activity by purchasing many copies of printed books and distributing them at his own expense.
The books that King Abdul Aziz ordered to be printed during his lifetime were devoted to the works of doctrine, interpretation and jurisprudence of the early scholars, such as Sheikh Ahmed bin Hanbal, Sheikh Al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah, and his student Ibn Al-Qayyim and Sheikh Ibn Qudamah Al-Maqdisi, among them the books “Al-Mughni” and “Al-Sharh Al-Kabeer,” which were printed on King Abdul Aziz’s expense in 1340 AH. The books that were printed also included specializations of Arabic language and literature, Islamic history and geography.
These published books were printed at the expense of King Abdul Aziz in several printing presses, including Al-Mustafawi Press in Mumbai, India, the Qur’an, and Sunnah Press in Amritsar, India, Al-Manar and Al-Nahda Press in Egypt, Al-Etidal and Taraqi Press in Damascus, the Salafi Press in Makkah and Cairo, and Umm Al-Qura Press in Makkah.
Researchers and historians pause for reflection and admiration in the history of this lofty entity on building, overcoming obstacles and difficulties, and all challenges with strong faith and full awareness of the unity of the goal and sincerity of orientation under the arbitration law of Allah and justice in enforcing its provisions in all aspects of life.
We all contemplate the establishment of the first Saudi state in 1139 AH with Imam Mohammed ibn Saud’s support for the call of Sheikh Mohammed ibn Abd al-Wahhab aimed at returning to true Islam and correcting beliefs that were tainted by doubts, as they pledged to cooperate to return the Arabian Peninsula to the belief of Islam as it was in the early days of Islam, and proceeded on this path to achieve this noble goal.
The efforts of the Al Saud family continued, starting from the same premise, and the flame of faith in the hearts of the believing group did not fade with the end of the rule of the first Saudi state after nearly 46 years due to foreign interference.
In 1240 AH, the second Saudi state was led by the second founding imam, Turki bin Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Saud, who, as well as his successors, continued the path of their ancestors for nearly 68 years.
On the dawn of the fifth day of Shawwal 1319 AH, heralding of a new era started, when King Abdul Aziz recaptured the city of Riyadh, the homeland of his forefathers and ancestors in a true form of heroism, courage and bravery, laying the first stone of this great structure on strong foundations whose goal is to arbitrate Allah’s law and embrace the Holy Qur’an and the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad, Peace be Upon Him.
This glorious history leads us to live the meanings of the strength of the builder, the founder, King Abdul Aziz, and his men who, despite their limited number and equipment, set out from Riyadh with that sincere faith in jihad until he gathered ranks and laid the foundations of truth, justice, security and safety and united all to Guidance of the Holy Qur’an and the Sunnah of the Prophet. As well as throughout the country, where those efforts at that time resulted in security, safety and stability, and society transformed from feuding tribes to a united and stable nation following the teachings of the Qur’an and the Sunnah.
Proceeding from the true Islamic approach, the Founder called for Arab cooperation and Islamic solidarity and made a distinguished contribution to the founding of the Arab League and the United Nations as a founding member. History has recorded the famous positions of King Abdul Aziz in many regional and international events and matters.
King Abdul Aziz passed away after establishing a sound path and legacy that his sons followed so that the frameworks of security and peace would be completed according to his vision and goal.
King Saud was the first to follow that approach and work within its framework until the features of progress emerged and the structures of many basic institutions and agencies in the state were completed. He was succeeded by the pioneer of Islamic solidarity, King Faisal, and the outstanding achievements continued. During his reign, the Kingdom began implementing ambitious five-year plans for development.
The springs of goodness flowed abundantly, with King Khaled taking over, construction and development continued in the service of the homeland and the citizen in particular, and Islam and Muslims in general, and development plans were being implemented back to back to achieve more prosperity and stability.
The building of the state increased in glory, and a new era of goodness, giving, growth, and achievement prevailed after the swearing-in of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Fahd bin Abdulaziz Al Saud as king of the country. King Fahd has many characteristics, namely his adherence to the Qur’an and the Sunnah, and his dedication to serving his country, his citizens, the Islamic nation and the entire humanity.
During the reign of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Saudi Arabia witnessed giant developmental leaps throughout the country in the educational and health sectors, transportation, industry, electricity, water, agriculture and the economy.
Now, we are all living in a special present today, and we are looking forward to a more distinguished future. We are filled with confidence in that, the title of the stage “Salman bin Abdul Aziz” who, since assuming power in the Kingdom, has made and continues to make all efforts to move the country forward, as his activities have varied in various fields at the internal or external level, in different stages.
In our dear Kingdom, we have the right to be proud of saying that hearts were united on the Holy Qur’an and the Sunnah, thus uniting the country and bringing peace, security and stability, and society transformed from feuding tribes to a united and stable nation following the guidance of the Holy Book and the Sunnah. We are even more proud to see citizens, pilgrims and visitors enjoying security and safety in this country.
In his dealings with his citizens, King Abdul Aziz adopted a policy based on consultation and advice. He seized all opportunities to exchange opinions and advice with the public, guided by the rituals and teachings of our true Islamic religion.
This right approach, which King Abdul Aziz and his sons followed, had a great impact on the development that the Kingdom is going through based on the solidarity of the state and citizens.
With his sharp vision, King Abdulaziz realized that cohesion and communication between the leadership and the people and the open-door policy are one of the best and most effective ways to serve the country and its citizens and advance the country.
In the ceremony held by King Abdulaziz in Jeddah on the 25 of Muharram 1355 AH on the occasion of the end of the Hajj season and his travel to Riyadh, he said: “The purpose of our meeting tonight is to advise and support each other and inform each of us about what the other has on the one hand, and on the other hand to bid you farewell as we are about to depart and will leave this place soon. It is not easy for us to leave, but interest dictates these travels. There is also an issue that I would like to explain to you because I have something of it in myself. I do not like to be hard on people, but my duty is, to be honest with you. We are in dire need of meeting and contacting you so that you are fully aware of what we have in mind and we are fully aware of what is in your minds, and I would like this communication to be direct and in my council to convey to us the demands and desires of our people, and convey to the people our actions and intentions. I would like my contact with the people to be always close because this is the right way to realize the people’s desires. Therefore, my council will be open to anyone who wants to attend.”
Continuing his noble approach in advising the parish and explaining their rights and duties, he said in a speech he delivered at the ceremony that was held in his honor on the occasion of his travel to Riyadh on the second of Safar 1355 AH: “The people have duties and those in authority have duties… The duties of the people are integrity, observing what is pleasing to Allah and His Messenger, correcting their condition, harmony and synergy with their government, to work in what advances their country and their nation… Serving the people is our duty, for this reason, we serve them with our eyes and hearts, and we see that whoever does not serve his people or is not loyal to them is deficient”.
From the same premise in which King Abdul Aziz managed the affairs of his country and its citizens, he built his country’s relations with Arab and Muslim nations and established strong relations with the international community.
He was very open in dealing with issues of concern to his nation at all levels, and successive events have proven to this day his correct vision and correct approach in his words and actions.
In a speech he delivered at a feast in the honor of senior pilgrims at the Grand Mosque on the 9th of Dhu Al-Hijjah 1364 AH corresponding to November 15, 1945, he devoted the bulk of his speech to the Palestinian cause, where he said, “The question of Palestine is the most important thing that preoccupies the thoughts of Muslims and Arabs these days, and it is the issue that should be the subject of everyone’s attention and interest, and although I prefer to act in silence rather than do lots of talk, I say frankly: Silence on the issue of Palestine does not correspond to the interest, and I have previously spoken with the British government as I spoke at length with President Roosevelt and mentioned everything frankly, the injustice that afflicted our brothers, the Arabs of Palestine, and the oppression to which they were subjected and demanded and asked the late president to do justice to the Arabs of Palestine, if not with actual aid, then at least stand impartiality and not help the Jews against them.”
Today, as we observe the occasion of Saudi National Day, we live in a bright reality established by the founder King Abdul Aziz, recalling his words as he said: “I am not one of the men who throw the word without thinking. I am a man of action if I say I do, and it is shameful for me in my religion and my honor to say a word that I do not follow with action. It’s something I’m not used to and I never like to get used to.”
He was honest and a man of his word. When he says he acts and when he acts, he achieves. He was a man of principle and a man of vision that his sons followed after him, following in his footsteps, and building on his insights toward more achievements that are recorded in their names in history.
Year after year, and with each celebration of the National Day, the country also celebrates new achievements internally and externally.
Since the celebration of the National Day last year 2021, many important achievements have been made, including:
– Launching strategic offices to develop the regions of Al-Baha, Al-Jawf, and Jazan
– Riyadh has submitted an official request to host the World Expo 2030
– Establishing the world’s first non-profit city in the Arqa district in Riyadh
– Establishment of NEOM Industrial City “Oxagon”, the largest floating industrial cluster in the world
– Launch of the “Boutique Group” specializing in luxury hotel hospitality
– Establishment of “Trojina”, the global destination for mountain tourism, in NEOM
– Launching the King Salman project to expand Quba, as the largest expansion in the history of the mosque
– National aspirations and priorities for the research, development and innovation sector for the next two decades in a way that enhances the Kingdom’s global competitiveness and leadership
– Announcing the designs of “The Line”, the city of the future in NEOM
– The opening of the highway linking the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Oman
– Signing a joint cooperation agreement between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Greece in maritime transport
– Signing an agreement to establish the Saudi-Greek Strategic Partnership Council
– Saudi International Falcons and Hunting Exhibition 2022
– Launching the infrastructure works and the master plan for the “Rou’a Al-Madina” project, in the area east of the Prophet’s Mosque
– Riyadh hosts the second edition of the Global Artificial Intelligence Summit
With each year, a torrent of achievements flows into a country that is moving steadily and at a confident pace toward a future and a distinguished position regionally and internationally. — SPA