Saud the Great and Mohammed the future
In the folds of the rich history of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, there have been a number of pivotal transformations required by the circumstances at the time, and none of them would have happened without the wisdom and sound judgement of the rulers of this great country since Prince Manaa’ Al-Muraide, the thirteenth grandfather of King Salman, set foot in Diriyah nearly 600 years ago and established his emirate in it.
The first Saudi state was established at the hands of Imam Mohammed ibn Saud, King Salman’s fifth grandfather, in 1727 AD, followed by the success of Imam Turki ibn Abdullah, King Salman’s third grandfather, in reviving the dream state project once again through the establishment of the second Saudi state in 1824 AD.
Despite the difficulties and problems, the hope continued with a repeated attempt when the founder King Abdulaziz entered Riyadh in 1902 AD to materialize the dream that his ancestors have long sought by announcing the start of the great unity project for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in 1932 AD.
Each stage had its knight and imam who dealt with its requirements with skill and anticipated the construction of an exceptional future. The sons of that royal Saudi family kept on giving the land of their fathers and grandfathers the knight necessary for each stage.
The imams — Mohammed ibn Saud, Turki ibn Abdullah, Faisal ibn Turki and King Abdulaziz — were visionaries who planned with insight and a hope for success despite the difficulties and multiple challenges.
The land of Arabia has blessed us with a great figure whose influence has extended from Diriyah to the rest of the region since the mid-18th century — an influence that we still discern to this day — in Imam Saud ibn Abdulaziz Al-Kabeer, the third imam of the first Saudi state.
Imam Saud showed great leadership qualities at an early age. Al-Kabeer was the commander of Saudi forces in the era of his father, who achieved many resounding victories over the enemies of the state. His imamate was reckoned as the golden period of the first Saudi state at the height of the greatness of the state. For this, he was rightly called “Al-Kabeer” or “the Great,” given the greatness and expansion of the Kingdom’s reach under his reign. The state’s influence extended to 95 percent of the Arabian Peninsula, from the outskirts of Damascus and Iraq to the outskirts of Yemen and Oman, from the Arabian Gulf to the Red Sea, where all the citizens enjoyed security, stability and well-being. Moreover, the state’s resources grew substantially under that great unity and economic diversity while the leadership made the most of all its riches for the first time in the history of the Arabian Peninsula.
It is no mystery that for more than 1,000 years, the people of the Arabian Peninsula have missed the unity and the peace that the region has witnessed during the Saudi era. Imam Saud was a man of vision, exploring the depths of a reality that has not yet been discovered in the Arabian Peninsula over the past centuries. He took it upon himself to secure the means of Hajj and Umrah, which certainly contributed to the increase in the numbers of pilgrims to Makkah and Madinah after they were annexed from the Ottoman empire and went ahead with the implementation of his vision and dream, despite tendentious attempts to dissuade him from his endeavor by the Ottoman and Persian states.
He was the first in Saudi history to cover the Kaaba with a Kiswa made of textile brought from the peninsula and specifically from Al-Ahsa, part of his efforts to invest in the outstanding textile industry in eastern Arabia.
Imam Saud valiantly confronted all the external campaigns against his great state. He fiercely defended his country and repelled threats, frustrating the perpetrators who grew angry with every great success he achieved for his Kingdom thanks to his strategic planning, savvy and foresight.
He was called “Abu Shawareb,” which means the man with a moustache. According to Johann Ludwig Burckhardt, he was given this nickname because he had a beard and moustache longer than what was normal for the Saudi royal family in the past.
Imam Saud’s vision expanded to include all aspects of life, most notably the cultural aspects, as evidenced by the towering clay palaces built in Diriyah, as well as the great architectural development witnessed during his reign. Another proof of the greatness of that period is the aesthetics of Saudi manuscripts written during his reign through decorations and engravings, showcasing his interest in Arabic calligraphy and its development and dissemination by paying attention to the finest details and following up on the students learning this art and encouraging them by providing financial rewards to the most promising young calligraphers.
This royal family continues to fulfill its promises by giving to the nation its knight at this stage, and God has granted us the man of the present and the bright future, the owner of Vision 2030, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the brilliant architect of the strategic plan that will invest the state’s resources to consolidate its strengths through a pioneering vision, a careful understanding of reality and the passion and ambition it generates in every Saudi man and woman.
Today, with the anniversary of Saudi National Day, our thoughts sail back through the paths of our rich Saudi history, to recall the similarities between yesterday and today through its events and personalities, revealing that today perfectly mirrors yesterday.