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Fahd bin Abdulaziz Al Saud
فهد بن عبد العزيز السعود
Fahd bin Abdul Aziz.jpg
King of Saudi Arabia
Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques
Prime Minister of Saudi Arabia
Preceded by Khalid
Succeeded by Abdullah
Succeeded by Abdulaziz bin Mohammad Al al-Shaikh
Preceded by Faisal bin Turki Al Saud
Succeeded by Nayef bin Abdulaziz Al Saud
Personal details
Born (1921-03-16)16 March 1921
Riyadh, Kingdom of Hejaz
Died 1 August 2005(2005-08-01) (age 84)
King Faisal Hospital, Riyadh
Religion Islam

Fahd bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, (Arabic language: فهد بن عبد العزيز السعودFahd ibn ‘Abd al-‘Azīz Āl Sa‘ūd) (16 March 1921 - 1 August 2005) was the King of Saudi Arabia from 1982 to 2005.

Early life and educationEdit

Fahd bin Abdulaziz was born in Riyadh in 1921.[1][2] He is the eighth son of Ibn Saud.[3] His mother was Hassa Al Sudairi[4] and he was the eldest member of the Sudairi Seven.[5]

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.[6] He received education for four years as a result of his mother's urging.[7] While at the Princes' School, Fahd studied under tutors including Sheikh Abdul-Ghani Khayat.[8] Then he went on to receive education at the Religious Knowledge Institute in Mecca.[6][9]

Early political positionsEdit

Prince Fahd was made a member of the royal advisory board at his mother's urging.[10] In 1945, Prince Fahd traveled on his first state visit to San Francisco for the signing of the UN charter.[11] On this trip he served under his brother, Prince Faisal, who was at the time Saudi Arabia's foreign minister.[9] In 1953, Fahd led his first official state visit, attending the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II on behalf of the House of Saud.[8][12][13] On 24 December 1953, Prince Fahd was appointed education minister, being the first person holding this post in the country.[14][15] Prince Fahd led 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.[7] As interior minister he headed the Saudi delegation at a meeting of Arab Head of States in Egypt in 1965.[9] He was named second deputy prime minister in 1967, which was created for the first time by King Faisal.[9][16]

Crown PrinceEdit

After the death of King Faisal in 1975, Fahd was named first deputy prime minister and concurrently crown prince in 1975.[17][18] Although Prince Fahd had two elder brothers, Prince Nasser and Prince Saad, who had prior claims to the throne, but both were considered unsuitable candidates.[17] By contrast, Prince Fahd had served as minister of education from 1954 to 1960 and minister of interior from 1962 to 1975.[17] Appointment of Prince Fahd as both crown prince and first deputy prime minister made him a much more powerful figure in contrast to the status of King Khaled when he had been crown prince during King Faisal's reign.[19]


Abdulaziz Mosque Gibraltar

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.

When King Khalid died on 13 June 1982, Fahd succeeded to the throne. He was the fifth king of Saudi Arabia.[20] However, the most active period of his life was not his reign, but when he was Crown Prince.[21] He adopted the title "Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques" in 1986, replacing "His Majesty", to signify an Islamic rather than secular authority.[9]

Foreign policyEdit

Fahd was a supporter of the United Nations. He supported foreign aid and gave 5.5% of Saudi Arabia's national income through various funds especially the Saudi Fund for Development and the OPEC Fund for International Development. He also gave aid to foreign groups such as the Bosnian Muslims in the Yugoslav Wars, as well as the Nicaraguan Contras, providing "a million dollars per month from May to December 1984".[22] King Fahd was also a strong supporter of the Palestinian cause and an opponent of the State of Israel.[23] Fahd was staunch ally of the United States, and once said "After Allah, we can count on the United States."[24]

King Fahd developed a peace plan in order to resolve Arab differences particularly between Algeria and Morocco.[25][26] He also actively contributed to the Taif accord in 1989 that ended conflict in Lebanon.[15][25] In addition, he led the Arab world against the invasion of Kuwait by Iraq.[25] He developed a special bond with both Syrian President Hafez Assad and Egyptian President Hosni Mobarak during his reign.[27]

Islamic activitiesEdit

Fearing that the 1979 Revolution in Iran could lead to similar Islamic upheaval in Saudi Arabia, Fahd spent considerable sums, after ascending the throne in 1982, to support Saddam Hussein's Iraq in its war with Iran.[28] 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.[29]

Recreational activitiesEdit

At the same time as King Fahd presided over a more strict Islamic policy at home he was known to enjoy luxurious living abroad, even in ways that would not be allowed in his own kingdom. He visited the ports of the French Riviera, in his 147-metre (482 ft) yacht, the $100 million Abdul Aziz. The ship featured two swimming pools, a ballroom, a gym, a theatre, a portable garden, a hospital with an intensive-care unit and two operating rooms, and four American Stinger missiles.[30] The king also had a personal $150 million Boeing 747 jet, equipped with his own fountain. In his visits to London he reportedly lost millions of dollars in the casinos and was even known to circumvent the curfew imposed by British gaming laws by hiring his own blackjack and roulette dealers to continue gambling through the night in his hotel suite.[31]

Persian Gulf War, 1991Edit

In 1990, Iraqi forces under Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait, placing the Iraqi army (then the largest in the Middle East) on the Saudi-Kuwaiti border. King Fahd agreed to host American-led coalition troops in his Kingdom, and later allowed American troops to be based there.[32] This decision brought him considerable criticism and opposition from many Saudi citizens, who objected to the presence of foreign troops on Saudi soil;[33] this was a casus belli against the Saudi royal family prominently cited by Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda. His decision was also objected to by his full brothers or the Sudairi Seven.[32]

Reform and industrializationEdit

In regard to reform, King Fahd showed little tolerance for reformists. In 1992, a group of reformists and prominent Saudi intellectuals petitioned King Fahd for wide ranging reforms, including widening political representation, and curbing the royal family's wasteful spending. King Fahd first responded by ignoring their requests and when they persisted, reformists were harshly persecuted, imprisoned and fired from their jobs.

During King Fahd's rule, the royal family's lavish spending of the country's wealth reached its height. In addition, the biggest and most controversial military contract of the century, the Al-Yamamah arms deal was signed on his watch.[34] The contract has cost the Saudi treasury more than $90 billion. These funds were originally allocated to building hospitals, schools, universities and roads. As a result, Saudi Arabia endured a stagnation in infrastructure development from 1986 till 1999 when the new King, Abdullah, fully came into power.

Like all the countries bordering the Persian Gulf, Saudi Arabia under King Fahd has focused its industrial development on hydrocarbon installations. Up to this day, the country is reliant on imports for nearly all its light and heavy machinery.

King Fahd established a Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs directed by senior family members and technocrats in 1994. The council was planned to function as an ombudsman of Islamic activity concerning educational, economic and foreign policy matters. The chairman of the council was Prince Sultan. Prince Nayef, Prince Saud and a technocrat Mohammed Ali Aba al Khayl were appointed to the newly established council. One of the covert purposes of the council was thought to be to reduce the power of the Ulemas Council had been increasing its power.[35]

Succession mechanismEdit

In an effort to institutionalize succession King Fahd issued a decree on 1 March 1992.[36] The decree expanded the criteria for succession, which had been only seniority and family consensus, and led to speculations.[36] The most significant change by the edict was that the King did acquire the right to appoint or dismiss his heir apparent based on suitability rather than seniority and that the grandsons of Abdulaziz became eligible for the throne.[36]

Rule after the 1995 strokeEdit

King Fahd was a heavy smoker, overweight for much of his adult life, and in his sixties began to suffer from arthritis and severe diabetes.[5] He suffered a debilitating stroke on 29 November 1995[15] and became noticeably frail, and decided to delegate the running of the Kingdom to Crown Prince Abdullah on 2 January 1996.[33][36][37] On 21 February, King Fahd resumed official duties.[38] After his stroke King Fahd was partly inactive and had to use a cane and then wheelchair,[39] though he still attended meetings and received selected visitors. In November 2003, according to government media, King Fahd was quoted as saying to "strike with an iron fist" at terrorists after deadly bombings in Saudi Arabia, although he could hardly utter a word because of his debilitating stroke and deteriorating health. However, it was Crown Prince Abdullah who took official trips; when King Fahd traveled 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.[40]

In a speech to an Islamic conference on 30 August 2003, King Fahd condemned terrorism and exhorted Muslim clerics to emphasize peace, security, cooperation, justice, and tolerance in their sermons.[41]


Fahds's wealth was estimated to be $25 billion in 2002.[42] Fortune Magazine reported that his wealth in 1988 was $18 billion, making him the second richest person in the world.[43] In addition to residences in Saudi Arabia he had a palace on Spain's Costa del Sol which made Marbella a famous place.[44]

Personal lifeEdit

King Fahd was married at least four times. The spouses of King Fahd were as follows:

  • HH Princess Al Anood bint Abdulaziz bin Mousad Al Saud (Deceased), mother of his eldest four sons, Prince Faisal, Prince Saud, Prince Sultan and Prince Khalid.[45][46]
  • HH Princess Al Jawhara bint Ibrahim Al Ibrahim, mother of Prince Abdulaziz bin Fahd
  • HH Princess Jawza bint Abdallah bin Abdul Rahman Al Saud (Divorced), mother of Prince Mohammad[47]
  • HH Princess Al Jowhara bint Abdullah Al Sudairi (Deceased)
  • HH Princess Modhi bint Turki bin Abdullah Al Saud (Divorced)
  • HH Princess Joza'a bint Sultan Al Adgham Al Subaie (Divorced)
  • HH Princess Turfa bint Abdulaziz bin Mo'amar (Divorced)
  • HH Princess Watfa bint Obaid bin Ali Al Jabr Al Rasheed (Divorced)
  • HH Princess Lolwa al Abdulrahman al Muhana Aba al Khail (Divorced)
  • HH Princess Shaikha bint Turki bin Mariq Al Thit (Divorced)
  • HH Princess Seeta bint Ghunaim bin Sunaitan Abu Thnain (Divorced)
  • Janan Harb (Widowed)[48]

King Fahd had six sons and four daughters.[7] His sons are:

  • Faisal bin Fahd (1945–1999) Died of a heart attack. Director-general of Youth Welfare (1971–1999), director-general at ministry of planning and minister of state (1977–1999)
  • Muhammad bin Fahd (born January 1950), former governor of the Eastern province
  • Saud bin Fahd (born 8 October 1950), former deputy president of the General Intelligence Directorate[49]
  • Sultan bin Fahd (born 1951), army officer. Elevated to ministerial rank in November 1997. Former head of Youth Welfare
  • Khalid bin Fahd (born February 1958)[49]
  • Abdulaziz bin Fahd, (born 1973), Fahd's favorite and youngest son and minister of state without portfolio. He is the son of Princess Jawhara Al Ibrahim, Fahd's fourth and, reportedly, favorite wife.[50]


King Fahd was admitted to the King Faisal Specialist Hospital in Riyadh on 27 May 2005 for unspecified medical tests.[51] An official (who insisted on anonymity) told the Associated Press unofficially that the king had died at 7:30 EDT on 1 August 2005. King Fahd was 84.[52] Official statement was announced on state television at 10:00 am by then information minister Iyad Madani.[52]


King Fahd was buried in the last thawb (traditional Arab robe) he wore. Fahd’s body was carried to Imam Turki bin Abdullah Mosque, and funeral prayers were held at around 3:30pm local time (12:30 GMT) on 2 August.[52] The prayers for the late monarch were led by the Kingdom’s grand mufti, Sheikh Abdul Aziz Al Sheikh.

The "funeral prayer", during which worshipers remain standing, was performed after afternoon prayers. The ceremony was replicated in other mosques across the Kingdom, where the "prayers for the absentee" were held.

The body was carried by King Fahd's son, Abdul Aziz bin Fahd to the mosque and to the Al Oud cemetery some two kilometres away, a public cemetery where Fahd’s four predecessors and other members of the Al Saud ruling family are buried.[53][54] 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 the grave.

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.

According to the regulations and social traditions, Saudi Arabia declared a national mourning period of three days during which all offices were closed. Government offices remained closed for the rest of the week.[52] The state flag was not lowered (since the flag of Saudi Arabia bears the Shahada, the Islamic declaration of faith, the flag's protocol requires the flag not to be lowered)

After his death, many Arab countries declared mourning periods.[6] 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.[6] Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates declared a seven-day mourning period and ordered all flags flown at half-staff.[55] In Jordan, a national three-day mourning period was declared and a 40-day mourning period was decreed at the Royal Court.

Many foreign dignitaries attended the funeral, such as Dick Cheney, President Jacques Chirac. King Juan Carlos, Prince Charles, President Pervez Musharraf, King Abdullah II, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and the Singapore Senior Minister, SM Goh Chok Tong, Maaouya Ould Sid'Ahmed Taya.


Royal Victorian Chain Ribbon Royal Victorian Chain.[56][57]

İstiqlal ordeni-lent
Istiglal Order (7 March 2005)[58]

In 1984, King Fahd received the Faisal Prize for Service to Islam awarded by the King Faisal Foundation.[59]


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External linksEdit

Fahd of Saudi Arabia
Born: 1923 Died: 2005
Regnal titles
Preceded by
King of Saudi Arabia
Succeeded by
Political offices
Preceded by
Faisal bin Turki I
Minister of Interior
Succeeded by
Nayef bin Abdulaziz

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