Earlier, we dived into Saudi Arabia, we looked at the history and culture of the country, as well as the people, kingdoms, and breeds that lived there. From prehistoric to dawn, history and its achievements, trade, and civilization, as evidenced by the registrations in UNESCO. The mingling of these peoples and civilizations, culture, science, trade, and religions. All of that deepened in the genes of the islanders, making a distinct civilization with its deserts, mountains, seas, cities, and oases.
Previously, we traveled through Islamic adventures and empires to the Hejaz Railway, the beginning of World War I, and the discovery of oil. But we have to stop for a while here, so when we look at the history we've explored, we notice an important point. The Arabian Peninsula had multiple empires scattered in every direction and everywhere, many of which had been at war with each other at some point in the past tens of thousands of years. Before the early Islamic period, the Arabian Peninsula was never united. For example, the Al-Ahsa resident never felt associated with the Najran resident, and the Taif resident had no national relationship and identity with the Hafar Al-Batin resident. Yes, they all indeed shared the same Arab and Islamic identity, but that was no different from the bonds of fraternity between the residents of Diriyah and the people of Damascus. The twentieth century brought a new personality with a new thought.... Abdulaziz bin Abdul Rahman Al Saud!
And there were Saudis.
When we think of Saudi Arabia, three things come to mind: Makkah, oil, and King Abdulaziz Al Saud! There is a good reason for this... He has done what no one has ever done before, namely unify a region that has never been geographically and politically unified as a single entity and identity. He reunited diversity and secession into a modern state. This is a remarkable achievement!
As we celebrate Saudi National Day, we will stop at this point and gain a new perspective on the historical narrative. We will see the story of King Abdul Aziz and the unification of the Kingdom from a different point of view. History books have often neglected this point, and few non-Saudis know about it. We will dive to see Abdelaziz bin Saud's story and the friendly and special relationship that brings him with the residents of the Arabian Peninsula who have become known as "Saudis". Through my research on this, I became fond of King Abdul Aziz and understood why we love him as Saudi. So let me tell you more about this love story, which brought Abdul Aziz to the Saudis.
United together...Founded together... constructed together...
Reflecting on how to write this article, I tried a lot to write from a non-political point of view about the king who has a practical spirit. It always brings me back to the son's view of his father. This is the true feeling that the Saudis have toward the King. Many Saudi tribes have personally contributed to uniting the Kingdom with him. The King has ensured family interaction with every tribe or family that has been the ruler. He married and gave birth from almost all the tribes. Indeed, because of his marriages from all regions of the Kingdom, the Saudis became a single family, as did his children after him. This is why all Saudis feel loyalty, belonging, and ownership of this land. They have united it together, founded it together, built it together, and remained together. Hence, the people of this land have become Saudi, whether in Khamis Mushait, Mecca, or Neom. We are all Saudis...
Here is a brief account of Saudi Arabia's unification:
Unlike the State of Iraq or Egypt, the idea of uniting the Arabian Peninsula within a single state has never existed before. During the early Islamic Empire, the Arab island was part of the Umayyad or Abbasid caliphate as a state. There was a governor in Hijaz, in the south, and Yemen had a ruler, and Al-Ahsa was part of the eastern part of the caliphate. These areas were part of other states or empires. For example, Ahsa's residents did not feel as part of the state itself as other Najran residents. Or perhaps a person in Taif did not feel they belonged to someone in Hafar Al-Batin. Yes, all of these people shared the same Arab heritage and Islamic traditions, but they did not share the same political connection.
As a State
King Abdul Aziz has political wisdom and insight to understand the great powers and power shifts of his time. He recognized the importance of identity, nationality, and the need to create a modern state for the future and to create institutions, ministries, trade, and the economy as well as a political strength. He knew that traditions must go hand in hand with progress and evolution. Just like the father of the nation, he started moving forward with the Saudis towards the future.
Black Gold, and Power Scales
After King Abdulaziz, the son of this land, realized that the unity of the island's inhabitants had been achieved, he had a clear vision of the new state. He was sincere, ambitious, and realized that the world was progressing and the balance of power was changing. King Abdulaziz immediately initiated an advanced political system. At the same time, he took into account prevailing customs, traditions, and society's stage of thought. King Abdulaziz was the first one who established the state as a concern for society's well-being. In a harsh desert environment, of course, the most important source of life was water.
It is known that Abdelaziz had a famous prayer which was "May God open the hidden treasures of the earth for us". King Abdul Aziz realized that water can be discovered in modern ways, so he invited international companies to search for water. In response to his sincere prayer, God gifted him oil instead of water. He was aware of the importance of oil in the future as an alternative to coal, so he decided to proceed with its exploration. He was clever; he gave privileges to those who paid in gold instead of coins and money. As a result, the treasury is filled with gold.
Evolution in full swing. As Saudi Arabia has historically been characterized by conservative customs and traditions, it has been a pioneer in various areas such as infrastructure, health and education, economy, and building solid relations in the international community. In fact, as Saudis who lived on this diverse island, we knew when to adapt to our reality and time. King Abdul Aziz understood this by knowing his community. He balanced the forces of society's customs with progress and civilization until Saudi Arabia became one of the world's leading countries.
Today, we experience that the Kingdom's development is moving forward. King Abdul Aziz's belief in progress sometimes forced him to persuade opponents of methods that suited them. One popular story is that when he entered the Kingdom's radio, some people came to dissuade him. He brought the radio and told them, "Did you see or hear it? They said no. He explained that technology was a double-edged weapon, good and bad, but it was down to how it was used.
Abdelaziz has realized through his deep understanding of his community and people that rapid change may sometimes not be beneficial. To sustain, society's conviction and readiness must be a fundamental pillar of progress so that it is not the opposite if it comes with coercion. There are many examples of this, from television to women's driving.
A brief account of this development is as follows:
Saudi Development & Pride:
I was surprised when I saw prince Sultan bin Salman on the Space Shuttle in 1985. He was the first Arab Muslim astronaut. I didn't know how important this event was and how proud it was for us as Saudis.
When oil revenues began to come to Saudi Arabia, one of the first things the state spent on was educational scholarships. This idea was not easy for the new society that was building itself. It is known that the youth are the ones who will build the country and provide an income for the family, not the ones who will study for more than 10 years. So, the state had made sources of income, such as land valuation, development funds, etc., to develop the country and let the next generation learn from the experience of other states. The first scholarships were to Egypt and Lebanon, and then to Western countries.
Educated generations match the global economy.
The Kingdom's perspective on development has always been sustainable and long-term. For example, in the 1980s, the beginning of the agricultural renaissance was not focused on a region in itself. It was distributed all over the kingdom. For example, to encourage production and development, citizens were given: all the requirements for land, equipment, fertilizer, water delivery, and crop control were guaranteed until harvest, and the state's crop was purchased at a subsidized price. From this example, we see that farmers have acquired land and work that is a source of income for them and their families and have reached out to infrastructure of roads, water, electricity, education, and health services to contribute to the progress of the country and to inherit educated generations. Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day, just as the Chinese proverb points out. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.
This is a reality in society and those who see it from the outside. Saudi Arabia has found the right way and logical acceleration to achieve its goals, whether economic, cultural, or technical.
I'm Noura's brother
King Abdul Aziz's most famous title is that of Noura's brother.
These words were like an oath, pretty much used when he wanted to be serious or to confirm something. King Abdul Aziz took great pride in his sister, Noura, who helped him, and in the famous story of open Riyadh. This demonstrates the honor and status of Saudi women. Queen Iffat bint Mohammad Al Thunayan, who played a great and effective role in embracing women's education and leadership. We also see that embrace when the Kingdom's largest university was established, it was named after Princess Nourah Bint Abdul Rahman University. This demonstrates Saudi women's place in King Abdul Aziz's thinking and Saudi society. Women's roles are present in the Kingdom's future.
Under King Abdullah, the Covenant began with the first issuance of a status card for Saudi women and ended with the women's entry as a member of the Shura Council. It is imperative to look at the acceleration of the pace. In one generation, we may see the mother as illiterate and the daughter as a scientist or a surgeon. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has worked for decades to provide what other countries have needed for hundreds of years. The role of women today under King Salman became ambassadors, undersecretaries, and deputy ministers, and the present is undoubtedly more.
The Future and 2030 Vision
The Kingdom has always found a distinctive line for itself, suited to its global and Islamic status. the dream of King Abdulaziz reflected in his grandson, Prince Mohammed bin Salman. King Salman's leadership proved Abdulaziz's vision for the country, which he united, is itself focused on developing and building humans. The Kingdom's ambition now goes beyond the limits of time and place, in the steps of social, scientific, economic, artistic, and cultural revolution.
Soon we will see his future city Neom, and what we have recently seen from the design of The Line city, the world's newest city to express mankind's way of life for the twentieth century.
We congratulate the Saudi people and our beloved King Salman, may God grant him a long life, and the leader, Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia and the owner of Vision 2030. May you and Saudi Arabia be well every year! in good, love, and peace.