Saud ibn Faisal

*Muhammad ibn Saud
*Abd al-Aziz
*Sa'd ibn Saud
*Abdallah ibn Saud
*Abd al-Rahman ibn SaudSaud ibn Faisal was the second son of the third Imam of the Second Saudi State, Faisal ibn Turki, who ruled from 1834 to 1838, and 1843 to 1865. Saud's full brother was the much younger Abd al-Rahman, who was to become the last ruler of the Second Saudi State before the dissolution of the family's domains in 1891. Both were born to a woman of the Ujman, a Bedouin tribe inhabiting the desert to the south and east of Riyadh. His two other brothers were the older Abdallah and next youngest Muhammad ibn Faisal, themselves full brothers by a woman of the Saud family. Abdallah, as the oldest son of Faisal, had been made designated heir and chief military commander while Saud was sent to al-Kharj in southern Najd as governor, partly to reduce the developing friction between the two brothers. However, Saud proved outstandingly successful and his reputation soon eclipsed that of his brother, whose claim to the succession was not validated by any great success or ability in politics, whereas Saud had developed a strong power base in the area of al-Kharj and a following among the Ajman tribe of his mother.

After Faisal's death in 1865, Abdallah became Imam, but was immediately challenged by the ambitious Saud. Saud had left Riyadh and gathered supporters among the tribes of al-Hasa in the east. Abdallah and his loyal brother Muhammad at first proved too strong for Saud, but in December 1870, Saud, aided by the rulers of Oman, Abu Dhabi and Bahrain, defeated the forces of Abdallah and captured Muhammad. Abdallah fled Riyadh and Saud proclaimed himself Imam in May 1871. He was forced out, however, by his uncle Abdallah ibn Turki, who revolted and re-took the capital. Saud had also estranged the population by his reliance on tribes from the east.

In the meantime, Abdallah had requested help from Midhat Pasha, the Ottoman governor of Baghdad. Midhat Pasha took advantage of the opportunity to sweep into the province of al-Hasa, where Muhammad ibn Faisal was held prisoner by Saud's son Abd al-Aziz. Muhammad was released, and eventually the two brothers Abdallah and Muhammad were able to make their way back to Riyadh. However, Saud, along with his Ajman followers, retook Riyadh in January 1873 and Abdallah and Muhammad were sent into exile among the Mutayr and Utaiba tribes.

Saud died, either of battle wounds or smallpox, in January 1875, but his sons kept up hostilities against the surviving brothers Muhammad, Abdallah and Abd al-Rahman, who by now had joined forces. Using al-Kharj province as their base of operations, they were finally killed in a surprise raid in 1888. The grandsons of Saud, however, were involved in sporadic fighting against their cousins and not formally reconciled for many years. The descendants of Saud, through his grandson Saud ibn Abd al-Aziz ibn Saud, are still considered the ceremonially senior branch of the family, and known as the Saud al-Kabir branch.


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