Fahd bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud Biography
Claim to Fame: King of Saudi Arabia from 1982-2005
DOB: March 16, 1921
Date of Death: August 1, 2005
Diabetes Type: 2
Fahd Bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud is one of the forty-five sons of Saudi Arabia's founder Ibn Saud, as well as the country's fifth King. He is remembered for his 1992 "Basic Law of Saudi Arabia," a constitution that advocates Islamic religious codes of conduct, his excessive spending, and his lifestyle. A controversial figure both within his own country and abroad, Fadh remained an ally to the United States despite his support of Palestine in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and Iraq, ruled by Saddam Hussein, in 1982 against Iran.
Fahd's political education began in 1932 when his father, Abdul-Aziz bin Saud, founded the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia with the Treaty of Jeddah. Though only 11-years-old at the time, Fahd witnessed the tribes within the area unite under the House of Saud to create the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, becoming the largest state in the Middle East. His education continued when his father created the Prince's School in the city of Riyadh. The Prince's School is an institution specifically established to provide members of the House of Saud with higher education and religious edification, ensuring that each successor to the throne is equipped with the necessary knowledge and training to rule the kingdom successfully.
Outside of his father and the school, Fahd grew up learning how to rule the kingdom by watching his predecessors. Prior to his leadership, Fahd witnessed the reign of three of his brothers: Saud bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud, who served as successor to Ibn Saud; Faisal bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud, who was assassinated by his nephew, Prince Faisal bin Musaid bin Abdul-Aziz; and Khalid bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud, who succeeded King Faisal after his assassination. In 1982, upon the death of King Khalid, Fahd inherited the throne.
In 1979, prior to Fahd's ascension, Iran struggled with revolution and its current government was abandoned in favor of an Islamic republic. In 1982, having been criticized for their lack of religious commitment and fearing an overthrow similar to the Iran's, King Fahd and the House of Saud attempted to restore Islam to the throne, thereby appeasing the population. Fadh went so far as to change the royal title from "His Majesty" to "Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques," acknowledging the King's responsibility to protect the two holiest mosques in Islam, the Masjid al-Haram in Mecca and the Al-Masjid al-Nabawi in Medina.
In 1992, following the Iraqi Invasion of Kuwait and the resulting First Gulf War, King Fahd proposed "The Basic Law of Saudi Arabia" which attempted to restore the tenants of the Islamic social code, the Quran and the teachings of the prophet Muhammad to the leadership and organization of the country, while also providing an understanding of the rights of the Saudi people. However, despite the popular reception of his proposal, Fahd remained intolerant of reformists and many criticize him for his unfair treatment of certain Saudi people.
In 1995, after suffering from arthritis and overall poor health, Fahd was diagnosed with diabetes. He also suffered a debilitating stroke which prevented him from being able to carry out official duties. Though much of his responsibilities fell to advisors, he still attended meetings and received visitors. In 2005, however, Fahd succumbed to pneumonia and fever. He was succeeded by Abdul-Azeez ibn Abdullaah Aal ash-Shaikh.
- USA Today. Saudi King Fahd dies in Riyadh hospital. http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/2005-08-01-saudi-king-dies_x.htm (Accessed 10/21/11)
- Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia. The Basic Law of Governance. http://www.saudiembassy.net/about/country-information/laws/The_Basic_Law_Of_Governance.aspx (Accessed 10/21/11)
- BBC News. Saudi King Fahd is laid to rest. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/4736935.stm (Accessed 10/21/11)
- BBC News. Obituary: King Fahd. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/255097.stm (Accessed 10/21/11)
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