Abdulaziz bin Muhammad Al Saud
Emir of First Saudi State
Reign1765 – 1803
PredecessorMuhammad bin Saud
Died12 November 1803 (aged 82–83)
HouseHouse of Saud
FatherMuhammad bin Saud

Abdulaziz bin Muhammad Al Saud (Arabic: عبد العزيز الأول بن محمد بن سعود‎) (1720–1803) was the second ruler of the First Saudi State and the eldest son of Muhammad bin Saud.[1] He was also the son-in-law of Muhammad ibn Abdul Wahhab. Abdulaziz ruled the First Saudi State from 1765 until 1803.[2][3]


Abdulaziz was born in 1720[4] and was the eldest son of Muhammad bin Saud.[5] Before the death of his father Abdulaziz was announced the ruler of the state at the request of Muhammad bin Abdul Wahhab.[1] Although his father was titled as Emir, Abdulaziz bin Muhammad was given the titles of both Emir and Imam.[1] The latter title was a reflection of his religious education by Muhammad bin Abdul Wahhab[1] and his deeply religious personality.[6] His younger brother, Abdullah, unsuccessfully challenged the rule of Abdulaziz.[7]

In 1773 Riyadh was captured and became part of the First Saudi State.[3][8] This victory allowed the Al Sauds to rule all of Najd. Their military success and orthodox approach to religion won them great support in the area. Their standing was also boosted by Abdulaziz's practice of holding open meetings where tribal elders could meet with him, allowing access to their ruler.

The expansion continued with the capture of Al Hasa and Qatif in 1794[9] where Shiites were dominant.[10] In 1802 Hejaz, namely Taif and Khurma, was captured,[6] and the people living there were slaughtered.[11] In 1803 Mecca was taken by Abdulaziz's forces, and the religious figures in the city declared their alliance to Wahhabis.[11]

During his reign Muhammad bin Abdul Wahhab was his major advisor and dealt with all major activities, including treasury.[1] However, following the capture of Riyadh Abdulaziz bin Muhammad himself began to control the budget of the state due to the significant increase in revenues.[1]

Sack of KarbalaEdit

In 1801 the Emirate of Diriyah (First Saudi state) under his rule attacked Karbala and Najaf in Iraq.[12] They massacred thousands of the Shia population, stole enough precious loot to load 4,000 camels, and destroyed the dome over the tomb of Husayn ibn Ali.[13] Unlike other attacks the goal of Saudi forces was not to rule or control the region.[12]

Personal life and deathEdit

Abdulaziz married to the daughter of Muhammad bin Abdul Wahhab and the daughter of Uthman bin Mu'ammar, the ruler of Uyayna.[3]

Shortly after his capture of Mecca Abdulaziz returned to Dir'aiyah where he was assassinated by a Persian man who was a darwish when Abdulaziz was leading Asr Salat in the mosque of Turayf in November 1803.[3][11][14] The motive of the assassin was to take revenge against him due to the killing of his sons in the Karbala attack.[12] The British newspaper London Times dated 12 March 1804 reported the following about the assassination:[15]

Abdulaziz ibn Muhammad was assassinated by Ibadgi Osman, a Mussulman of the sect of Ali. He had profaned the tomb of Ali, and thus excited the fury of the disciples of that prophet. Ibadgi Osman resolved to avenge the ashes of Ali. He crossed the desert of Arabia on a dromedary, entered the tent of Abdulaziz while he was at prayers, and plunged a cangiar into his breast crying, "Let this avenge the tomb of Ali, for thy profanations." The brother of Abdulaziz, hearing the noise, ran into the tent, where he found his brother bathed in his blood, and the assassin, who squatted himself down, saying his prayers, and calmly awaiting death. He attacked him; but Ibadgi Osman, who was the strongest of the two, got up and killed his assailant with the same cangiar which was still stained with the blood of his brother. The soldiers then entered, and cut the assassin in pieces with their sabers.

Abdulaziz was succeeded by his son, Saud.[2]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Alejandra Galindo Marines (2001). The relationship between the ulama and the government in the contemporary Saudi Arabian Kingdom: an interdependent relationship? (PDF) (PhD Thesis thesis). Durham University. p. 88.
  2. 2.0 2.1 J. E. Peterson (2003). Historical Dictionary of Saudi Arabia (2nd ed.). Scarecrow Press. p. 16.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Parvaiz Ahmad Khanday (2009). A Critical Analysis of the Religio-Political Conditions of Modern Saudi Arabia (PDF) (PhD thesis). Aligarh Muslim University. Retrieved 20 September 2020.
  4. Khalid Abdullah Krairi (October 2016). John Philby and his political roles in the Arabian Peninsula, 1917-1953 (PDF) (PhD thesis). University of Birmingham. p. 383. Retrieved 27 January 2021.
  5. Charles F. Balka (December 2008). "The Fate of Saudi Arabia: Regime Evolution in the Saudi Monarchy" (PDF). Naval Postgraduate School. p. 16. Retrieved 2 February 2021.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Nawaf bin Ayyaf Almogren. Diriyah Narrated by Its Built Environment: The Story of the First Saudi State (1744-1818) (MS thesis). MIT. Retrieved 28 January 2021.
  7. Abdullah Hazaa Othman; Oleg Evgenievich Grishin; Bakil Hasan Nasser Ali (2020). "The Conflict Wings in the Saudi Political System" (PDF). Journal of Politics and Law. 13 (3): 65.
  8. Turki bin Khalid bin Saad bin Abdulaziz Al Saud (2015). Saudi Arabia-Iran relations 1929-2013 (PDF) (PhD thesis). King's College London. Retrieved 29 January 2021.
  9. Abdulaziz Mohamed Hasan Ali Al Khalifa (April 2013). Relentless Warrior and Shrewd Tactician: Shaikh Abdullah bin Ahmad of Bahrain 1795-1849 A Case Study of Shaikhly Statecraft in the Nineteenth Century Gulf (PDF) (PhD thesis). University of Exeter. p. 73. Retrieved 2 February 2021.
  10. Nadav Safran (2018). "The Rise and Fall of the First Two Realms". Saudi Arabia: The Ceaseless Quest for Security. Cornell University Press. p. 10.
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 Nadav Safran (2018). "The Rise and Fall of the First Two Realms". Saudi Arabia: The Ceaseless Quest for Security. Cornell University Press. p. 12.
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 Hassan S. Abedin (2002). Abdul Aziz Al Saud and the Great Game in Arabia, 1896-1946 (PDF) (PhD thesis). King's College London. Retrieved 4 December 2020.
  13. Sayed Khatab (2011). Understanding Islamic Fundamentalism: The Theological and Ideological Basis of Al-Qa'ida's Political Tactics. Oxford University Press. ISBN 9789774164996.
  14. Jerald L. Thompson (December 1981). H. St. John Philby, Ibn Saud and Palestine (PDF) (MA Thesis thesis). University of Kansas. Retrieved 4 October 2020.
  15. Emine Ö. Evered (2012). "Rereading Ottoman Accounts of Wahhabism as Alternative Narratives: Ahmed Cevdet Paşa's Historical Survey of the Movement". Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East. 32 (3).

External linksEdit

Preceded by
Muhammad bin Saud
Imam of First Saudi State
Succeeded by
Saud bin Abdulaziz

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