Abdullah bin Faisal Al Saud (1831–1889) Abdullah bin Faisal Al Saud
: عبد الله بن فيصل آل سعود
ʿAbd Allāh bin Fayṣal Āl Suʿūd
; 1831–2 December 1889) was one of the rulers of the Emirate of Najd, also known as Second Saudi State
. His reign witnessed extensive struggle among the members of the Al Saud family which led to turmoil in the region.
In December 1838 his father was surrendered by Egyptian commander Khurshid Pasha
and sent to Egypt.
Abdullah and his brother Mohammad accompanied their father together with their uncle Jiluwi bin Turki
Following his return to Nejd Faisal bin Turki managed to reestablish his rule, and during his reign there occurred a rivalry between his sons, Abdullah and Saud.
In addition, the personality of Abdullah and Saud was very different in that the latter was much more liberal, but the former was a strict religious man.
Another difference between them is that Abdullah was a skilled military leader, but an autocratic administrator, whereas Saud was energetic and extrovert.
In June 1865 Abdullah was made heir apparent by his father, Faisal bin Turki.
He enjoyed great power during this period
and acted as the de facto
ruler of the Emirate.
Abdullah's forces defeated rebellious governor of Buraida
, Abdulaziz Al Ulaiyan, who joined riots in the province of Unaiza
in 1848-1849 which is called the battle of Yalima.
Abdullah was also instrumental in having an agreement with Mohammad Al Khalifa
, ruler of Bahrain, to continue his annual payments to the Emirate of Najd.
Another significant victory of Abdullah was against Rakan bin Hithlain who was the leader of Ajman tribe
They rebelled against Faisal bin Turki in 1854 and again challenged his rule in 1860, but Faisal sent a large force against the Ajman tribe led by Abdullah who defeated them.
Next year the Ajman tribe reattempted to end the rule of Faisal which led to their total destruction.
Faisal died in December 1865 and Abdullah succeeded him.
Following his accession to the throne Abdullah attempted to centralize the power.
He was backed by his uncle, Abdullah bin Turki, whose descendants are known as Al Turki branch,
and the Wahhabi
Sheikh Abdul Rahman (1779–1868) who was the grandson of Sheikh Mohammad ibn Abdul Wahhab and the son of Hasan bin Mohammad publicly announced that people should support Abdullah due to the fact that his succession had been previously established by Imam Faisal bin Turki.
In the first year of his reign Abdullah signed a treaty with the British authorities to get financial assistance and protection.
In 1867 the Ottomans send him a certificate of governance to strengthen his position as a ruler and to support him against the competitors.
Although his succession was not problematic and his brother Saud also declared his allegiance to Abdullah,
Saud attacked Abdullah's rule in 1866-67.
They fought in the battle of Al Mutala, and Saud defeated and escaped to Trucial Oman
The Ajman tribe
supported Saud in his struggle with Abdullah.
Abdullah's tribal major supporters were Subai' and Al Suhul from the Al 'Aridh and the Qahtan of Najd during his struggle with Saud.
Abdullah's another brother, Mohammad, also challenged his rule.
Therefore, Abdullah demanded the assistance of the Ottoman forces
to defeat Saud and others
for which he granted a fatwa from a Wahhabi scholar, Mohammad bin Ibrahim bin Ajlan,
although more conservative ones declined his demand.
The Ottoman official who Abdullah appealed was Midhat Pasha
, governor of Iraq
Abdullah's request was accepted by Midhat Pasha,
but the Ottoman forces gained Al Hasa
which remained under the rule of the Ottoman state until 1913 when Abdullah's nephew, Ibn Saud
or Abdulaziz bin Abdul Rahman, took over the region.
Following his cooperation with Midhat Pasha Abdullah was made qaimmaqam
of Nejd in 1871.
Saud won his struggle against Abdullah in the battle of Juda in December 1871, but at the same time a civil war broke out which lasted for more than a decade.
Abdullah escaped to Al Qasim to take assistance from the Al Rashids.
Instead, he was able to get assistance from the Qahtan tribe
Following a brief rule of Saud Abdullah regained the throne, and Sheikh Abdul Latif, great-grandson of Mohammad bin Abdul Wahab,
announced his support to Abdullah.
The alliance between Abdullah and Ottomans ended in 1872 due to the former's reluctance to continue the cooperation.
In fact, Abdullah was regretful of his decision about formation of an alliance with the Ottomans.
Abdullah's second term lasted one more year and finished in 1873 when Saud again became the ruler. This time the youngest brother, Abdul Rahman, ended the reign of Saud in 1875,
but Abdul Rahman's rule was very brief.
Abdullah regained the power the same year when his rival brother Saud died.
However, Abdullah's reign also lasted again very short.
Reasons for his failure to consolidate power
Years later King Abdulaziz stated three major reasons for the failure of his uncle, Abdullah bin Faisal, as follows: (1) negative propaganda of Abdullah bin Faisal's nephews in Al Kharj
; (2) his support for the Al ‘Ulayyan, the former rulers of Al Qassim
, against the Al Muhanna, the then rulers of the region and (3) the attempts of Mohammad Al Rashid to capture Najd.
Another factor cited by R. Bayly Winder, an expert Arabic, is that Abdullah tended to appoint non-local administrators to the regions and to his government and made them very powerful.
Such practices which caused irritation among the local people had not been followed by the previous Saudi rulers.
In addition to these factors Abdullah bin Faisal did not have any male offsprings who could support him against the contenders such as his half-brother Saud who had six sons.
Therefore, Abdullah could not manage to have a large number of supporters in the family.
Personal life and death
Abdullah had several daughters and had only one son who died young.
His daughter, Noura bint Abdullah, married Talal bin Abdullah
who was the son of Abdullah Al Rashid.
Another, Sara, was one of King Abdulaziz's spouses, and they do not have any child.
Abdullah's another daughter wed Sheikh Abdul Latif Al Sheikh.
Abdullah died in Riyadh on 2 December 1889 shortly after he was brought there by his younger brother, Abdul Rahman, from Hail.
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Last edited on 21 July 2021, at 11:03
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