JEDDAH, 6 May 2007 — Makkah Gov. Prince Abdul Majeed died in the United States yesterday following a prolonged illness, the Royal Court has announced. He was 64.
Funeral prayers will be held at Imam Turki ibn Abdullah Mosque in Riyadh after Asr prayers today, the announcement added.
Abdul Majeed, who served as governor of both Madinah and Makkah regions during his three decades of public service, played a significant role in the expansion of the Two Holy Mosques initiated by King Fahd. During his tenure, the holy cities of Makkah and Madinah witnessed unprecedented development.
Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah received at Al-Yamamah Palace in Riyadh a number of princes, ministers, top officials and a large number of citizens who came to convey their condolences on the prince’s death. Crown Prince Sultan, Prince Abdul Rahman, deputy minister of defense and aviation, and other senior princes were also present.
Born in Riyadh in 1943, Abdul Majeed was brought up in the care of his father, King Abdul Aziz, the founder of Saudi Arabia. He received his early religious education from Sheikh Abdullah Al-Khayyat before joining Al-Anjal School in Riyadh. He joined the Saudi Navy and later left for the UK to continue his studies.
Prince Abdul Majeed began his public career as the governor of the northern Tabuk region (1980-86). He worked for the development of the Tabuk region and encouraged investors to make use of the region’s agricultural potentials. As a result of the prince’s efforts, Tabuk became one of the Kingdom’s major agricultural regions, growing many crops. He changed the region’s face by constructing new roads and expanding residential areas.
He was appointed governor of Madinah in 1986 following the death of Prince Abdul Mohsen ibn Abdul Aziz. He presided over the expansion of the Prophet’s Mosque, the largest expansion project in history, which was ordered by King Fahd. He also developed the areas surrounding the mosque and renovated the city’s historical mosques. The credit for making Madinah a world-class city with modern facilities goes to him.
In order to carry out large-scale agricultural and real estate projects, Prince Abdul Majeed was instrumental in the establishment of Taiba Investment Corporation in Madinah. A large number of real estate projects later sprang up around the Prophet’s Mosque as a result of his initiative. He also worked out a long-term plan for Madinah’s development.
During his 14 years as governor of Madinah, the region made tremendous strides in economic, commercial, agricultural, health and cultural sectors. He also introduced the Madinah Prize to honor outstanding public servants and men of letters. He regularly held meetings with various department officials and transferred powers to them to enable them to carry out their duties efficiently.
He held weekly meetings to listen to the problems of people in the region and gave instructions to officials to solve the problems as quickly as possible.
Abdul Majeed was named Makkah governor in 2000 in order to make use of his expertise to further develop the holiest city for the world’s Muslims. He was appointed by royal decree as the chairman of the Makkah Development Authority. He initiated some of the biggest construction projects in the city, including Jabal Omar.
Abdul Majeed was honorary president of a number of public and private institutions, such as the Jeddah Holding Company, the Charitable Society for Enabling Young People to Marry, the Committee for Helping Prisoners and the Needy, the Committee for Patients’ Friends, the Charitable Society for the Memorization of the Holy Qur’an and the Jeddah Science Club.
Abdul Majeed was considered a pro-business governor who had also called for greater participation of women in public life. “Prince Abdul Majeed was a major supporter of Saudi businesswomen,” said Hussa Al-Aun, a member of the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JCCI). Under his directive, the JCCI’s Khadeeja bint Khuwailed Center for Businesswomen in Jeddah was established in 2003. Abdul Majeed gave instructions for the construction of the first racetrack in the Kingdom which was built in Jeddah. He was the first to encourage young men and women to take blood tests before marriage in order to curb the spread of blood diseases. The procedure has now become obligatory.
Saudis and expatriates expressed their deep sorrow at the death of Prince Abdul Majeed.
“The demise of Prince Abdul Majeed is a big loss for the Kingdom and its people,” said Muhammad Bin Ahmed Tayeb, director general of the Foreign Ministry’s office in the Makkah region. He commended Prince Abdul Majeed’s efforts for the development of Makkah and Madinah regions. He extended his condolences to King Abdullah, Crown Prince Sultan and other members of the royal family including Prince Faisal, the son of Abdul Majeed.
“I have received several calls from foreign diplomats who conveyed their condolences on Prince Abdul Majeed’s death,” Tayeb told Arab News. He said the Foreign Ministry’s office in Jeddah would open a register tomorrow (Monday) for diplomats to record their condolences. “The register will be kept open for three days,” he added.
Makkah Mayor Dr. Osama Al-Bar said he was shocked upon hearing the sad news. “Everybody who knows about the prince’s good qualities and morals and his great services to the country and people will feel sad on hearing the news of his death,” he said. Prince Abdul Majeed, he added, had always tried to carry out his duties in the best possible way.
“He was the right person in the right place,” Al-Bar said when talking about Abdul Majeed’s role as governor of Makkah. “He was an example to everybody who worked with him. He was blessed to become the governor of the two holy cities. May Allah reward him for his good deeds and bless him by giving him a place in paradise,” he said.
Dr. Adnan Al-Wazzan, president of Umm Al-Qura University in Makkah, and Dr. Hashim Bakr Hariri, undersecretary at the university, commended Prince Abdul Majeed’s efforts for the development of Makkah and Madinah.
Dr. Muhammad ibn Nasser Al-Khozaim, vice president of the Presidency for the Affairs of the Grand Mosque in Makkah, described the late governor as a successful administrator and a man of chivalry. Sheikh Ahmed Al-Ghamdi, head of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice in the Makkah region, said the prince’s death was a great loss.
Dr. Nasser Al-Zahrani, executive president of the Committee for Social Reforms and Reconciliation, said his organization was one of Abdul Majeed’s achievements. He said the committee was instrumental in resolving many family and social conflicts. “Prince Abdul Majeed was one of the principal supporters of the committee,” Zahrani said.
The committee has now become a foundation with three branches in Jeddah and Taif. He noted the role played by Abdul Majeed in reconciling families and saving a number of people from death sentences.
“Prince Abdul Majeed will be remembered for his contributions to the development of Makkah and Madinah,” said the Pakistani consul general in Jeddah, Masood Akhtar.
“This shows the interest he had in making both the cities a place of comfort and hospitality to all those who visit them. I am confident that the prayers and good wishes of all the pilgrims and visitors will always be with the departed soul,” Akhtar said in a statement.
“We Pakistanis in the Kingdom share the grief and loss of the royal family and our Saudi brothers and wish the departed soul a place in heaven. May Allah give the bereaved family the strength to bear the loss,” Akhtar said.
Abdul Raheem Faisi, chairman of Al-Mawarid International School in Jeddah, expressed his deep sorrow at the prince’s death.
“Muslims all over the world will remember Prince Abdul Majeed for his commendable services to the Two Holy Mosques,” said Faisi, an Indian.