Fahd of Saudi Arabia

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Jump to: navigation, search
فهد بن عبد العزيز آل سعود
Fahd bin Abdul Aziz
Fahd bin Abdul Aziz
October 1998
House of Saud
Fahd bin Abdul Aziz al-Saud

Fahd bin Abdul Aziz al-Saud (Arabic: فهد بن عبد العزيز آل سعود, b.1923August 1, 2005) was the king and prime minister of Saudi Arabia and leader of the House of Saud. One of thirty-seven sons of Saudi founder Ibn Saud, and the fourth of his five sons who have ruled the Kingdom (Saud, Faisal, Khalid, Fahd, and Abdullah), Fahd ascended to the throne on the death of his half-brother, King Khalid, on June 13, 1982.

Fahd had been appointed Crown Prince when Khalid succeeded their half-brother King Faisal, who was assassinated in 1975, and especially in the later years of Khalid's reign, Fahd was viewed as the de facto prime minister.

Fahd suffered a major stroke in 1995, and from that time on he was unable to perform his full official duties. His half-brother, Abdullah, served as de facto regent of the kingdom and Crown Prince, and succeeded Fahd as monarch upon his death in August 2005.


Early life

Fahd was a son of King Abdul Aziz bin Abdul Rahman Al-Saud, known as ibn Saud, the founder and first monarch of modern Saudi Arabia. At the time of his birth, Fahd's father was completing the consolidation of the House of Saud's power on the Arabian Peninsula, having evicted the Hashemite clan from control of Mecca and Medina.

He was the eldest of the "Sudairi Seven", the seven sons of ibn Saud by Hussah bint Ahmad Al Sudairi, the favorite among ibn Saud's many wives; they remained close all their lives, and although there are some 30 other children of ibn Saud, these have never been as trusted or powerful. They long functioned as a close-knit group, trying to meet at least once a week. The exact date of birth of Fahd and his brothers is not known because meticulous records were not kept in 1920s Arabia, but the year of his birth is generally quoted as 1923 (although some sources say 1921). Among his full brothers, Prince Sultan bin Abdul Aziz (born 1927) has been Minister of Defense since 1962 and Second Deputy Prime Minister since 1982, and is currently the Crown Prince. Prince Nayef bin Abdul Aziz, who succeeded Fahd as Interior Minister in 1975, and Prince Salman bin Abdul Aziz, the Governor of Riyadh, are also considered potential future kings.

At the age of nine in 1932, Fahd watched as his father officially founded the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia by signing the Treaty of Jedda.

Fahd's education took place at the Princes' School in Riyadh, a school established by Ibn Saud specifically for the education of members of the House of Saud. While at the Princes' School Fahd studied under tutors including Sheikh Abdul-Ghani Khayat. Following his education at the Princes' School, Fahd moved on to the Religious Knowledge Institute in Mecca, where he studied Wahhabi Islam.

In 1945 Fahd travelled on his first state visit to New York City to attend the opening session of the General Assembly of the United Nations. On this trip Fahd served under his brother, King Faisal who was at the time Saudi Arabia's foreign minister.

Liberal reputation

Numerous sources reported on Fahd's famously liberal youth, although this topic was never discussed by official Saudi media. Fahd's obituary by the BBC noted "he had a reputation as a playboy in his youth, with allegations of womanising, drinking and gambling to excess. Indeed, it is claimed that he once lost more than $6m in one night at the Monte Carlo casino."[1] Summoned back to Saudi Arabia by the King, however, he reinvented himself in an apparently complete break from his youthful indiscretions, landing a series of increasingly important ministerial positions.


The King had a fondness for the Spanish resort of Marbella. Following his original visit in the seventies, he bought an estate of over 200 acres (0.8 km²). Following his death he was declared an "adopted son" by councillors, and three days of mourning for Marbella was declared.

Early political positions

In 1953, at the age of 30, Fahd was appointed Education Minister by his father. Also in 1953, Fahd led his first official state visit, attending the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II on behalf of the House of Saud.

Later Fahd would lead the Saudi delegation to the League of Arab States in 1959, signifying his increasing prominence in the House of Saud — and that he was being groomed for a more significant role.

In 1962, Fahd was given the important post of Interior Minister and five years later he was appointed Second Deputy Prime Minister.

Family and progeny

Fahd was married at least three times, but the exact number is only known to very few people. He had six sons and a number of daughters. His sons were:

  • Faisal Bin Fahd Bin Abdul Aziz (1946-1999, heart attack). He was president of Youth Welfare, member of the International Olympic Committee and headed the Arab Sports Federation.
  • Muhammad bin Fahd bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud (born 1950), governor of the Eastern province.
  • Saud bin Fahd bin Abdul Aziz (born 1950), deputy chief of general intelligence.
  • Sultan Bin Fahd Bin Abdul Aziz Al-Saud (born 1951), succeeded his brother Faisal as president of Youth Welfare.
  • Khalid bin Fahd bin Abdul Aziz Al-Saud
  • Abdul-Aziz bin Fahd bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud (born 1971), minister of state without portfolio. He is the son of Princess Jawhara al-Ibrahim, Fahd's fourth and, reportedly, favorite wife [[2]].


King Fahd gave money for building mosques throughout the world.  The Ibrahim-Al-Ibrahim Mosque, at Europa Point, Gibraltar, which opened in 1997, is one such mosque.
King Fahd gave money for building mosques throughout the world. The Ibrahim-Al-Ibrahim Mosque, at Europa Point, Gibraltar, which opened in 1997, is one such mosque.

On March 25, 1975, King Faisal was assassinated by his nephew and King Khalid assumed power. Fahd, as next in the line of succession, became Crown Prince and First Deputy Prime Minister. Especially in the later years of King Khalid's reign, Fahd was viewed as the de facto prime minister. When King Khalid passed away on June 13, 1982 Fahd succeeded to the throne. He adopted the title "Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques" in 1986, replacing "His Majesty", to signify an Islamic rather than secular authority.

As King, Fahd controlled the largest petroleum reserves in the world with an estimated personal fortune of £32 billion, seven palaces in Saudi Arabia, a chateau on the French Riviera, a private Boeing 747 and two liner-sized yachts. His residence in Marbella, on the Costa del Sol, is a faithful replica of the U.S. White House.

Foreign policy

King Fahd's foreign policies included support on for the War on Terror which he described would crush the terrorists "with an iron fist". He has been a supporter of the United Nations. He supports foreign aid and has given 5.5% of Saudia Arabia's national income through various funds especially the Saudi Fund for Development and the Opec Development Fund. He has also given aid to the needy such as the Bosnian Muslims in the recent Balkan Wars. King Fahd had also been a strong supporter of the Palestinian cause and an opponent of the State of Israel. [3]

Fundamentalism, Iran, and Islamic education

The Islamic Revolution in Iran in 1979 radically transformed the political landscape in the Middle East, as the hereditary monarchy of the Shah of Iran was deposed in favor of a religious autocracy based on Shari'a. In the same year, dissidents seized the Holy Mosque in Mecca, and accused the Saudi royal family of being insufficiently Islamic to rule the Kingdom. Fearing that the Saudi nation and the royal family could be at risk, and seeking to counter the ascendant Shi'ite fundamentalist movement, after ascending the throne in 1982 Fahd spent considerable sums supporting Saddam Hussein's Iraq in its war with Iran.[4] He also changed his royal title to "custodian of the two holy mosques", and took steps to support the conservative Saudi religious establishment, including spending millions of dollars on religious education, further distancing himself from his inconvenient past.[5]

Gulf War, 1990

After Iraqi forces under Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait, placing the Middle East's largest Army on the border of Saudi Arabia, King Fahd agreed to host coalition troops, led by the United States, in his Kingdom, and later to allow American troops to be based there. This decision brought him considerable criticism from Islamic hard-liners who objected to the presence of non-Islamic troops on Saudi land, and is a casus belli against the Saudi royal family prominently cited by Osama bin Laden and Al-Qaeda.

Reform and industrialization

Rule after the 1995 stroke

King Fahd suffered a debilitating stroke in 1995 and became noticeably frail, and decided to delegate the running of the Kingdom to Crown Prince Abdullah. After his stroke King Fahd was mostly inactive, though he still attended meetings and received selected visitors. In November 2003 he pledged to "strike with an iron fist" at terrorists after deadly bombings. However, it is Crown Prince Abdullah who took official trips; when King Fahd travelled it was for vacations, and he was sometimes absent from Saudi Arabia for months at a time. When his oldest son and International Olympic Committee member Prince Faisal bin Fahd died in 1999, the King was in Spain and did not return for the funeral. [6]


King Fahd was admitted to the King Faisal Specialist Hospital in the capital, Riyadh on May 27, 2005 for unspecified medical tests. An official told the Associated Press on the condition of anonymity because the monarch's death had not officially been announced. The king had died at 7:30 EDT on August 1, 2005. The minister Iyad bin Amin Madani publically announced his death on Saudi TV the same morning. He announced the death to be the result of a disease which officials later stated the king had been suffering from pneumonia and a high fever.


He was buried in the last thobe (traditional Arab robe) he wore. Fahd’s body was carried to Imam Turki bin Abdullah Mosque, also called Grand Mosque, and funeral prayers were held at around 3:30 local time (12:30 GMT). The prayers for the late monarch were led by the Kingdom’s grand mufti, Sheikh Abdul Aziz Al Sheikh.

The "prayer for the dead", during which mourners remain standing, was recited after afternoon prayers. The ceremony was replicated in other mosques across the vast kingdom, where the "prayer for the absentee" was read.

Ordinary citizens also took part in the funeral service, albeit without chanting slogans or raising flags, in line with local tradition.

The body was carried by the Fahd's son, Prince Abdul Aziz bin Fahd, to the mosque and to the Al Od Cemetery some two kilometers away, a public cemetery where Fahd’s four predecessors and other members of the Al Saud ruling family are buried.

Arab and Muslim dignitaries who attended the funeral were not present at the burial. Only ruling family members and Saudi citizens were on hand as the body was lowered into a hole that was be covered by earth, in keeping with the tradition of the strict Wahhabi interpretation of Islam which is predominant in Saudi Arabia.

Muslim leaders offered condolences at the mosque, while other foreign dignitaries and leaders who came after the funeral paid their respects at the royal court.

In line with the family and official state religion, Wahhabism, Saudi Arabia did not declare a national mourning period. Also, all government offices and public buildings were open as usual and the state flag was not lowered (since the flag of Saudi Arabia bears the shahadah, the Islamic declaration of faith, lowering the flag to half mast would be considered blasphemous).

After his death, many countries declared mourning periods. India and Spain have declared Tuesday a national day of mourning. Algeria, Egypt, Iraq, Kuwait, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Syria, Yemen, the Arab League in Cairo, and the Palestinian Authority all declared three-day mourning periods. Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates declared a seven-day mourning period and ordered all flags flown at half-staff. In Jordan, a national three-day mourning period has been declared and a 40-day mourning period has been decreed at the Royal Court.

The United States announced that Vice President Dick Cheney would attend the funeral. French President Jacques Chirac announced that he would also attend, as did the United Kingdom's Prince Charles, Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf, Jordan's King Abdullah II, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and the Singapore Senior Minister, SM Goh Chok Tong.

Also, Lebanon announced that all public buildings would close on the day of the funeral, as did Jordan. The United States Embassy and its consulates in Saudi Arabia would close through Wednesday. All government offices are closed until Tuesday, August 9 in the United Arab Emirates, and, in Oman, all public buildings are closed through Thursday.

See also

Soccer tournaments

External links

Preceded by:
King of Saudi Arabia and
head of the House of Saud

Succeeded by:
Personal tools