Abdullah bin Saud Al Saud

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Abdullah bin Saud Al Saud
Portrait in the book History of Egypt under the government of Mohammed Ali (1823) published by Félix Mengin
Emir of Diriyah
ReignMay 1814  – 1818
PredecessorSaud bin Abdulaziz bin Muhammad
SuccessorPost abolished
DiedMay 1819
Constantinople, Ottoman Empire
  • Saud
  • Muhammad
Abdullah bin Saud bin Abdulaziz
HouseAl Saud
FatherSaud bin Abdulaziz bin Muhammad

Abdullah bin Saud Al Saud (Arabic: عبد الله بن سعود آل سعود, romanizedʿAbd Allāh bin Suʿūd Āl Suʿūd; died May 1819) was the ruler of the First Saudi State from 1814 to 1818.[1] He was the last ruler of the First Saudi State and was executed in Constantinople under the Ottoman Empire.[2] Although the Ottomans maintained several garrisons in the Nejd thereafter, they were unable to prevent the rise of the Emirate of Nejd, also known as the Second Saudi State, led by Turki bin Abdullah.

Early life[edit]

Abdullah was the eldest son of Saud bin Abdulaziz who declared him as the heir apparent in 1805.[3] Abdullah's first military command was in 1811.[3] In his second command he fought against the Egyptians in 1812, and was unable to defeat them who ultimately recaptured Hejaz.[3] Upon his inability in the battle Saud bin Abdulaziz retook the command which delayed the capture of the region.[3]


Abdullah succeeded his father, Saud, in May 1814.[3] At the beginning of his reign Abdullah faced intrafamily challenges from his uncle Abdullah bin Muhammad,[3][4] but he managed to settle down these problems.[1]

His father had initiated a war with the Ottoman Empire with the capture of Hejaz which were regained by the Ottomans in 1813.[5] Because of his father's conquest, Abdullah immediately had to face an invasion of his domains by an Ottoman-Egyptian army under the command of Ibrahim Pasha, the son of Muhammad Ali Pasha.[6] The Ottoman forces began their campaign by quickly recapturing Mecca and Medina.[6] Heavily outnumbered and under-equipped, the forces of Diriyah Emirate were defeated in 1815[7] and retreated to their stronghold of Najd.[5] Following the battle Muhammad Ali sent a letter to Abdullah requesting his submission, and in May 1815 an agreement was made which terminated Abdullah's claims over two Islamic holy cities, Mecca and Medina, and the recognition of the supremacy of the Ottoman sultan.[7] Between 1814 and 1816 another event that Abdullah had to deal with was the concerns of the British in regard to the piracy originated from Qasimi region.[8] Abdullah sent several letters to William Bruce who was the British resident in Bushehr to inform him that the Emirate did not involve in any such event.[8]

Rather than engage the Ottomans in open battle, Abdullah decided to attempt to weather the invasion by fortifying his forces in the Najd towns in 1816.[9] As a result, Ibrahim took the villages of Najd one by one, sacking any town that resisted. Ibrahim finally reached the Saudi capital at Diriyah. After a siege that lasted several months, Abdullah finally surrendered on 9 September 1818, marking the end of the Saudi state.[6]

Fall of the Emirate and execution of Abdullah bin Saud[edit]

Ibrahim systematically razed Diriyah to the ground and sent many members of the Al Saud clan into captivity in Egypt and Constantinople, the Ottoman Empire. Three brothers of Abdullah and eighteen Al Saud members were killed.[10] Abdullah, his three sons and two of his supporters were brought to Cairo in November 1818.[3][11]

After six-month stay in Cairo Abdullah was transferred to Constantinople where he and his two supporters were publicly beheaded in May 1819 for their crimes against Islamic holy cities and mosques in the square before Hagia Sophia when he refused to pardon.[6][12][13] Hakan Özoğlu and Altan Tan argue that Abdullah's four sons were also beheaded with him.[14][15] Prior to his execution, Abdullah, who forbade listening to music, was forced to listen to the lute.[16]

Reasons for his execution[edit]

In 1802, during the Wahhabi sack of Karbala, the mausoleum of Husayn ibn Ali was desecrated by the army of Abdullah bin Saud, causing anger and shock among entire Muslim world.[12] As a result, the Ottoman authorities found themselves in a situation that they had to punish the Saudis for their crimes. The guardian of Islam's religious places was the Turkish-Ottoman Caliph in Constantinople, Mahmud II, who ordered that an Egyptian force be sent to the Arabian Peninsula to defeat Abdullah bin Saud and his allies. In 1818, an Egyptian army led by Ibrahim Pasha completely destroyed Abdullah's forces and took their capital, Diriyah, in Najd.[17] Abdullah bin Saud was captured along with two of his supporters who were then sent to Cairo and then to Constantinople.[17]


  1. ^ a b Parvaiz Ahmad Khanday (2009). A Critical Analysis of the Religio-Political Conditions of Modern Saudi Arabia (PDF) (PhD thesis). Aligarh Muslim University.
  2. ^ Jorg Matthias Determann (2012). Globalization, the state, and narrative plurality: historiography in Saudi Arabia (PhD thesis). SOAS, University of London.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Gary Samuel Samore (1984). Royal Family Politics in Saudi Arabia (1953-1982) (PhD thesis). Harvard University. p. 20. ProQuest 303295482.
  4. ^ Bilal Ahmad Kutty (1997). Saudi Arabia under King Faisal (PDF) (PhD thesis). Aligarh Muslim University. p. 32.
  5. ^ a b Shazia Farhat (2018). Exploring the Perspectives of the Saudi State's Destruction of Holy Sites: Justifications and Motivations (Master of Liberal Arts thesis). Harvard Extension School.
  6. ^ a b c d R. Bayly Winder (1950). A history of the Su'udi state from 1233/1818 until 1308/1891 (PhD thesis). Princeton University. ProQuest 304402090.
  7. ^ a b Jacob Goldberg (1986). The Foreign Policy of Saudi Arabia. The Formative Years. Cambridge, MA; London: Harvard University Press. p. 14. doi:10.4159/harvard.9780674281844.c1. ISBN 9780674281844.
  8. ^ a b Patricia Risso (Fall 2001). "Cross-Cultural Perceptions of Piracy: Maritime Violence in the Western Indian Ocean and Persian Gulf Region during a Long Eighteenth Century". Journal of World History. 12 (2): 312–313. doi:10.1353/jwh.2001.0039. JSTOR 20078911. S2CID 162191347.
  9. ^ Abdulkarim Mohamed Hamadi (1981). Saudi Arabia' Territorial Limits: A Study in Law and Politics (PhD thesis). Indiana University. p. 9. ProQuest 303155302.
  10. ^ Mashaal Abdullah Turki Al Saud (1982). Permanence and Change: An Analysis of the Islamic Political Culture of Saudi Arabia with Special Reference to the Royal Family (PhD thesis). The Claremont Graduate University. p. 58. ProQuest 303215917.
  11. ^ R. Bayly Winder (1965). Saudi Arabia in the Nineteenth Century. New York: St. Martin's Press. p. 19. doi:10.1007/978-1-349-81723-8. ISBN 9780333055410.
  12. ^ a b Abdullah Mohammad Sindi. "The Direct Instruments of Western Control over the Arabs: The Shining Example of the House of Saud". Social sciences and humanities. Retrieved 4 June 2012.
  13. ^ Yaroslav Trofimov. (26 October 2018). The Long Struggle for Supremacy in the Muslim World The Wall Street Journal
  14. ^ Hakan Özoğlu (2019). "Heirs of the Empire: Turkey's diplomatic ties with Egypt and Saudi Arabia until the mid-20th century". In Gönül Tol; David Dumke (eds.). Aspiring Powers, Regional Rivals. Washington, DC: Middle East Institute. p. 11. ISBN 9798612846444.
  15. ^ Altan Tan (17 January 2020). "Ortadoğu notları (5): İstanbul'da kesik bir Suudi başı". Independent Turkish (in Turkish). Retrieved 26 June 2021.
  16. ^ Selim Koru. (24 July 2015). Turkey's 200-Year War against 'ISIS' The National Interest
  17. ^ a b Roby C. Barrett (June 2015). "Saudi Arabia: Modernity, Stability, and the Twenty-First Century Monarchy" (Report). Joint Special Operations University. Retrieved 8 February 2021.

External links[edit]

Preceded by Imam of First Saudi State
Title next held by
Turki bin Abdullah
Next known title holder:
Imam of Second Saudi State