King AbdulAziz: The greatest of all Arab kings


When the famous Arab-American writer and founding father of Arab-American literature Ameen Rihani authored the book “The Modern History of Najd,” he dedicated in the preface of the book a special tribute to King AbdulAziz.

In it he referred to the King saying: “His Majesty King AbdulAziz, may he long live... From the era of Caliph Omar until the beginning of your Saudi era, Arabs were not fortunate enough to have such a ruler like him who closed their ranks, united their word, and strengthened their affairs, making them under one sovereign Kingdom where it is good for all, and it is the one Arab sovereignty.”

Rihani believes that what King AbdulAziz achieved was the first comprehensive success in the Arabian Peninsula. The Umayyads and Abbasids failed, but AbdulAziz succeeded. “There was Muawiyah among the Umayyads; Al-Ma’mun among the Abbasids and Salah Al-Din among the Ayyubids.

They were not only three of the great Arabs but also great men in general history. Even though they reached the heights of their glory and raised the flags of the Arabs in many countries, they would not be able to extend their sovereignty over the entire Arabian Peninsula.

In 1922, Rihani returned from his exile in the United States, and made an exceptional historic trip, touring the Arab countries. During his visits, he met with Yahya Hamid Al-Din, the imam of Yemen; Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, the emir of Kuwait; Salman Al-Khalifa, the emir of Bahrain; and Faisal I, the king of Iraq, but his meeting with King AbdulAziz was different from those meetings and it had a great impact on him.

Rihani says about his first meeting with King AbdulAziz: Here, I met all the Arab princes, and I did not find in them greater than what I saw in this man. I am not exaggerating in what I say, as he is entitled to have greatness in his handshake, in his smile, in his words, in his looks, and even in his hitting the ground with his stick.

In the very first audience, he reveals his thought, and does not fear anyone, but rather reveals his secret, and what is the most honorable secret is the secret of a man who knows himself and trusts himself after God. The man in him is greater than the sultan, who governed his people with good character and not by titles.

When I came to Ibn Saud, I saw in him one with a heart empty of hatred but only of love, as I told him that it was neither the opinion of the English nor the opinion of the Hejaz, and it was neither the praise nor the criticism from my part.

Here, the King filled my heart with love in my first audience itself.
I am happy that I visited Ibn Saud after I visited all other Arab rulers. “He is truly the final musk. He is truly the greatest of all Arab kings.”

During his tour of the Arabian Peninsula, Rihani recalls a word that is being echoed in all parts of the country: “It is the justice of Ibn Saud... It is a word that you hear in the sea and on the land, and on your way to Najd before you reach there, a word repeated by riders in every place ruled by the Sultan of Najd, from Al-Ahsa to Tihama and from the Empty Quarter to Al-Jouf. If justice is the basis of rule, then security will be the first manifestation of justice.”

The testimonies of intellectuals, orientalists, and historians about King AbdulAziz reveal to us every day more aspects of the greatness and genius of this personality; about those historical achievements and the awesome heroism that was represented in the unification of the Kingdom, as Hafiz Wahba stated: “It is a fabulous story, resembling the epic stories of the Greek heroes.”

— The writer can be reached on Twitter at: @ALRrsheed