The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia celebrates its national day on the first day of September 23rd of each year and to commemorate the unification of the Kingdom and its founding at the hands of His Majesty King Abdul Aziz bin Abdul Rahman Al Saud, may Allah have mercy on him.
This day of the year 1351 AH / 1932 AD witnessed the birth of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia after an epic battle, led by founder King Abdul Aziz bin Abdul Rahman Al Saud - God rest his soul - over the past thirty-two years after He recovered the city of Riyadh, capital of the kingdom of his ancestors and fathers in the fifth the month of Shawwal in 1319, corresponding to 15 January 1902. On the 17th of Jomada Al-oula 1351, A royal decree was issued to declare the unification of all parts of the modern kingdom under the name of Saudi Arabia, King Abdulaziz chose on Thursday, May 21st of the same year, September 23rd 1932, the day of the proclamation of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
King Abdulaziz was born in Riyadh city in the year 1876, his father was Imam Abdurrahman bin Faisal bin Turky bin Abdullah al Soud. He was taught by Sheikh Abdullah Al Kharji a well learned man from Riyadh City. He learned many chapters of the Holy Quraan. Later he learned the whole Quraan, Islamic Theology from another teachernamed Abdullah bin Abdullatif Al Al-Sheikh.
When he was young, King Abdulaziz was fond of horse riding, he was known to be very brave, courageous, daring and was of good manners.He accompanied his father in his journey to the Badiyah. He was greatly influenced by the nomad life he led after leaving Riyadh City. Abdulaziz was only twelve years old when he arrived in Kuwait with his father. He spent about ten years there during which period he learned the holy Quraan, learned about politics and learned about how to lead soldiers in the battle field.
The Beginning of the New Era
King Abdulaziz was in his twenties when left Kuwait leading a handful of his relatives and aids towards Riyadh, by then he was about 26 years old. The Arab peninsula was in a mess. But on the 15th of January 1902 King Abdulaziz was able to enter Riyadh City victoriously and the Arab peninsula witnessed a new era. He took over both the political and religious powers when his father, Imam Abdurrahman bin Faisal stepped down for him. This took place in the Grand Mosque after the Jumaah prayer.
Gradually, the new King started to unite Najd area beginning with southern Riyadh when he defeated his opponents in an area called Dalam near Kharj thereby taking over all towns of southern Riyadh including Kharj, Al Hareeq, al Aflaj and Wadi Al Dawasir.
King Abdulaziz then went to Al Washam area and conquered its capital city Shagra and then went on to Thadiq and the capital of Sudair Al Majmaah. This was culminated in uniting all these areas under his rule and became part of what is known as the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
King Abdulaziz was able to conquer Gasim area in the 1321/1324 after several minor battles but the last and decisive one was Raudat Mahannah on the 14th of April 1906.
Uniting the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
On the 17th of Jumadah Al Uola 1351, a Royal Decree was issued declaring all parts of the Kingdom united, under the name" Kingdom of Saudi Arabia" and his title was King of Saudi Arabia. King Abdulaziz chose Thursday the 21st of jumadah al Uola to declare that unity. Now this is the national Day of Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
During his reign, two crossing swards and a datepalm between them was chosen as an emblem for the newly established Kingdom.The flag of the kingdom was also chosen, it is a green rectangle in the center were written the words "No god except Allah and Mohammed is his messenger in white, and under it is white sword.
From the beginning, King Abdulaziz, organized his kingdom in a modern way. He delegated authority and formed a government for Hijaz area after conquering it. He then created the non-existing office of General Prosecutor and appointed his son Prince Faisal to head that office that was in the year 1926. He also assigned to Prince Faisal the Chairmanship of the Shuora Council which was a consultative council. In December 1931, another decree was issued establishing a council of deputies. King Abdulaziz, then formed several ministries to run the government. Diplomatic relations with some countries were established and ambassadors, councils, commissioners and ministers were also appointed.
King abdulaziz also supported the Palestinian issue and when the Arab League was established in Cairo in 1945 the Kingdom was among its first members. Among the first achievements of King Abdulaziz was his project to settle the Nomads. They were settled in villages and agricultural lands. An army of volunteers was formed out of these settled nomads. King Abdulaziz worked hard to improve the social and economic conditions of Saudi Arabia. He gave his instructions to establish new schools and institutes and encouraged book publishing especially Islamic books. He also expanded the Prophets mosque and supplied it with waster and medical services to serve Pilgrims.
In 1937, oil was produced in commercial quantities in the Eastern Region thereby increasing the wealth of the country which in turn contributed to the development of the Kingdom and its welfare.
The Saudi Arabian Monetary Fund was then Established. The King also ordered that agricultural equipment should be bought and distributed among farmers. Asphalt roads were also constructed and a railway line was also established to link Riyadh with Dammam. A network of telecommunications was established together with the Saudi Arabian Airways in 1945. a pipeline was constructed from the Arabian Gulf to the Mediterranean Sea.
Saudi Arabian Broadcasting Station was also established by the King in 1949. to fight disease the king ordered the establishment of Hospitals and provide heath services in the different parts of the kingdom. Immigration law was enacted to regulate the immigration and regular residence in the kingdom.
Therefore it is clear that King Abdulaziz (IP) succeeded in laying the foundation stone of a strong government in the Arabian Peninsula whereby it's constitution was based on the Holy Quraan and the saying of Prophet Mohammad (BUH) and as a result the country became one of the most peaceful and prosperous in the world for a long time to come.
Reform and Development
King Abdulaziz did not sufficed himself with what he achieved earlier, but he continued to develop it and improve on it in all aspects and by will of God he succeeded in laying the firm bases for a good Islamic System that is concentrated on responsibility and good governance. So ministries and governmental organizations were established to continue this development. New innovations were imported to replace the old systems.
The judiciary was based on the Sharia system therefore various courts were formed. It was also known that King Abdulaziz has achieved a lot in the field of security, law and order, he was serious in applying the law and punishing anyone who tried to bring disorder in the kingdom so much that the Kingdom became very famous security wise.
Care For Pilgrims
Pilgrims in Saudi Arabia who believed to be the Guests of Allah, were served with the best services and a law governing pilgrimage was enacted and the king himself supervised it's implementation to prevent anyone from exploiting them especially in transportation and accommodation services. The king was keen in seeing that food and water were provided to them in sufficient quantities.
King Abdulaziz was keen to spread Islamic education and knowledge, he fought ignorance everywhere in his Kingdom by supporting teachers, preachers and private schools and culminated this by establishing education department to oversee education in the kingdom .
Relation and Connections
King Abdulaziz did not only concentrate his efforts in the internal building only but he worked hard in the external area too. He established strong external relations with other friendly and brotherly countries based on clear objectives and steadfastness to principles according to Islamic teachings.
King Abdulaziz therefore strengthened relationships with brotherly Arab countries and worked hard to unite their stands on international issues and solve their internal differences through dialogue and agree on objectives that would guarantee them the liberation of their occupied territories and keep their rights.
Establishing Sharia Law
The main objective of King Abdulaziz was to establish the rule of Islamic Law in the kingdom according to the Quraan and the teachings of Prophet Mohammad. This objective was achieved fully by King Abdulaziz because up till now the Kingdom is governed by the Sharia law. The Kings speeches and sayings prove this. Among what he said is " I depend on whatever I do on Allah who there is no God but him, I depend on him overtly and covertly, I believe that He is going to support us because of this dependence on Him. I am making Jihad to see to it that his word is supreme" .
He also said in the opening speech of the first Shoura council in 1349H. "All of you know that the base of our governance is the Islamic Law, therefore you are free to pass bills and enact laws that you believe suitable for this country, and these laws must not contradict the Islamic law because laws that are contrary to the Islamic law will not be of any benefit to any one. It is really bad and damaging to enact law against the Sharia laws which was revealed to our prophet Mohammad.
Before King Abdulaziz, there was no security in the Arab Peninsula, even pilgrims suffered from highwaymen who attacked them and took their property, the Othman Empire imposed some sort of taxes to protect pilgrims to be paid in gold to highwaymen so that they would not attack pilgrims but still some attacks occur from time to time.
When king Abdulaziz came to power and applied the Sharia law he was able to reinforce law and order in the country and the robbery gangs have disappeared forever. An interesting story was being told about the security in the Kingdom, it was a story of a lost came loaded with goods and foodstuff which moved from town to town without being taken by any body until the owner found it. The kingdom therefore witnessed an ideal sort of security that has not been seen in most countries in the region by that time.
King Abdulaziz as a good Muslim leader who obeyed Gods instructions that Muslims should be brothers to each other, was the first Muslim leader to call for Muslim solidarity, therefore the first General Islamic conference in the history of Islam took place, it was called upon by king Andulaziz in 1345.
The policies which were laid down by king Abdulaziz on uniting Muslims stands and solidarity became the underling principles for the Kingdoms policies thereafter. Among his sayings on this issue "the most beloved thing to me is that I want to see Muslims united in their stands, to see them love each other and also to see Arabs loving each other, pursuing the same objective and follow the same way that leads them to the good.
Personality Traits of King Abdulaziz
King Abdulaziz was a unique leader of his time for he had a strong character that could be described by the following.
He was a strong believer in God and he depended on him in all his deeds.
He used to have a good experience in the religious affairs, because he learnt the Quraan by heart and also learned by heart many of the prophets sayings together with the knowledge of the Islamic exegesis and applies all this knowledge practically on the way he governed throughout his time of rule. He used to sit with the well-learned people overnight and discussed religious affairs with them
as a sagacious leader, King Abdulaziz was very wise in approaching any problem that faced him no wonder his choice of solutions in most cases was right.
King Abdulaziz was also known to be very courageous, he lead his soldiers very successfully in all battles he fought.
he was also known to be a highly capable military man who drew successful plans and implemented them courageously where he was able to win battles by exploiting his enemies mistakes.
King Abdulaziz had a good knowledge and experience of Bedouin and urban lives in the Arab penesula and he also knows well the Arab tribal lineage, he could even know the tribe of a man by the first sentence he pronounces, therefore he used to treat his people according to the society they belong to.
King Abdulaziz was very steadfast on the religion of Islam he is never apologetic in applying Islamic rules, but in spite of that he was a very kind and sensitive person.
He was kind to all his subjects; to him all people are the same.
King Abdulaziz died on the 2nd of Rabie Al awal 1373, corresponding to the 9th of November 1953, after a very long struggle that influenced the Islamic and Arab worlds, and after he established his Modern I Islamic kingdom which used modern day ways of live without violating Islamic rules and principles aiming only to serve Sharia and Muslims everywhere.