House of Sabah

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The House of Sabah (Arabic: آل صباحAl Sabah) is the ruling family of Kuwait. They originate from the Utub federation which migrated to Kuwait in the early 18th century. After reaching Kuwait, they entered in an alliance with the other families such as Al-Khalifa and Al Jalahma.

The Emir of Kuwait is the head of the executive branch. He is nominated by a family council headed by the most senior and prominent members of the Al-Sabah. The leadership is not strictly hereditary and, although some emirs have succeeded their fathers, the family chooses the leader from each succeeding generation. For example, the late Jaber Al-Sabah appointed his cousin, Sheikh Saad, as heir apparent.

The Kuwaiti parliament (per Article 3 of the Constitution) has the constitutional right to approve and disapprove of an emir's appointment, and the authority to remove an Emir from his post. The parliament effectively removed Saad al-Sabah from his post in 2006 due to his illness.

Some but not all members of the monarchy receive a monthly stipend from the Amiri Diwan. The prime minister, who can be any Kuwaiti citizen, is appointed by the Emir of Kuwait.

Kuwait's Rulers[edit]

The governing branches of the Al-Sabah dynasty[edit]

Succession to the throne of Kuwait is limited to the descendants of Mubarak Al-Sabah. The reigning emir must appoint an heir apparent within one year of his accession to the throne; the nomination must be approved by the majority of members of the National Assembly.

The Heir Apparent or Crown Prince has to be a senior member of the Al-Sabah Family. The position of Emir is also traditionally alternated between the two main branches of the Al-Sabah family, the Al-Ahmed and Al-Salem branches. The Prime Minister is appointed by the Emir.

Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah (of the Al-Ahmed branch), emir as of 2014, appointed his half-brother Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah Crown Prince and their half-nephew Nasser Al-Mohammed Al-Ahmed Al-Sabah, in a move which broke the tradition of alternating the throne.

The situation then changed because other offspring were posted to the most important Ministries.

The elder of the three brothers, Abdullah II Al-Sabah the 5th ruler of Kuwait, paralleled descendants that served the Al-Sabah dynasty with high distinction. The son of the 5th Ruler of Kuwait, General Cavalry Commander Sheikh Jaber Al-Abdullah II Al-Sabah (b.1860–d.1920) was killed in the Battle of Jahra. The grand-son of the 5th Ruler of Kuwait, Sheikh Abdullah Al-Jaber Al-Sabah (b.1898–d.1996) is consider a pioneer in the establishment of Kuwait,[3][4] was the first Minister of Education of Kuwait [5] and outlived seven Rulers and Emirs.

Al-Sabah hierarchy and lineage[edit]

Sheikh 1718–64
Sheikh 1764–1814
Sheikh 1814–59
Sheikh 1859–66
Sheikh 1866–92
Sheikh 1892–96
also called
Mubarak The Great
Sheikh 1896–1915
Sheikh 1915–17
Sheikh 1917–21
Sheikh 1921–50
Emir 1950–65
Emir 1965–77
Emir 1977–2006
Emir 2006 – present
Crown Prince
Interior minister
Emir 2006
Muhammad al-Sabah,
Former Foreign Minister
Former Prime Minister

Events since 2006[edit]

Saad Al-Abdullah Al-Salim Al-Sabah was removed by parliamentary action after a prolonged stalemate following the death of the previous Emir, Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, on 15 January 2006. He was earlier offered the chance to abdicate after taking power provisionally as stipulated by the constitution, but his inability to recite the oath of office prevented his ratification by parliament.

Prime Minister Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah was nominated for the post of emir by invoking Article 3 of the Kuwaiti Constitution. He was sworn in on 29 January 2006 and continued to rule as of 2014.

The emir nominated his brother Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah as Crown Prince, and his nephew Sheikh Nasser Al-Mohammed Al-Ahmed Al-Sabah|Nasser Al-Sabah as Prime Minister.

In May 2008 Emir Saad Al-Salim Al-Sabah died at the age of 78 after several years' illness. He was buried the following day in accordance with Muslim tradition.

Titles and official protocol designations[edit]

As of 2014: Emir: Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah

Crown Prince: Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah

Prime Minister: Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah

Notable people[edit]

Mubarak Al-Sabah (b.1837-d. 1915)
  • Mubarak Al-Sabah (b.1837 – d.1915) [1]
    • 7th Monarch Ruler (1896-1915)
  • Salim Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah (b.1864-d.1921)[1]
    • 9th Monarch Ruler (1917-1921)
  • Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah (b.1885–d.1950)
    • 10th Monarch Ruler (1921-1950)
  • Abdullah III Al-Salim Al-Sabah (b.1895-d.1965)
    • 11th Monarch Ruler and 1st Emir (1950-1965) with the independence of Kuwait in 1961
  • Abdullah Al-Jaber Al-Sabah (b.1898-d.1996)[3][6][7]
    • Appointed by Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah as battle Commander General of Defense and Security Forces in desert and metropilitan areas (1928-1938).[6]
    • Founder of the Kuwait Courts Department (1928-1962)[6]
    • Founder of the Kuwait Municipality (1932-1938)[6]
    • Founder of the Department of Education (1937-1962)[5]
    • First Kuwaiti to open school for girls.[6]
    • First Kuwaiti to send woman students to universities abroad.[6]
    • First Minister of Education of Kuwait (1962-1965) [5]
    • Founder of the Orphans Department ( 1949-1962)[6]
    • Minister of Commerce and Industry (1965-1971)[6]
    • Special Advisor to H.H. the Emirs, Sabah Al-Salem Al-Sabah and Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah (1971-d.1996)[3][6]
  • Sabah Al-Salim Al-Sabah (b.1913-d.1977) [1]
    • 12th Monarch Ruler and 2nd Emir (1965-1977)
  • Salem Al-Ali Al-Sabah (b.1926–present)[8]
    • Kuwait National Guard Chief and Commander (1967–present)[8]
    • Dean and eldest member of the House of Sabah[8]
  • Jaber Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah (b.1926–d.2006)[1]
    • 13th Monarch Ruler and 3rd Emir (1977-2006)
Jaber Al-Sabah (b.1926–d.2006)
Saad Al-Abdullah Al-Salim Al-Sabah (right) (b.1930–d.2008)

See also[edit]



  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i [1] Al-Diwan Al-Amiri;Al-Sabah Rulers of Kuwait
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m [2] Al-Diwan Al-Amiri; Al-Sabah Rulers of Kuwait
  3. ^ a b c [3] Sheikh Abdullah Al-Jaber Al-Sabah
  4. ^ [4], Official Documented Biography & Accomplishments of Sheikh Abdullah Al-Jaber Al-Sabah (b.1898-d.1996)( featured at "UNESCO Award Ceremony")
  5. ^ a b c [5],His Highness the Emir sponsors Sheikh Abdullah Al-Jaber Al-Sabah UNESCO ceremony
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p [6], Kuwait History
  7. ^ [7], Official Documented Biography & Accomplishments of Sheikh Abdullah Al-Jaber Al-Sabah (b.1898-d.1996)( featured at "UNESCO Award Ceremony")
  8. ^ a b c [8] Kuwait National Guard, Sheikh Salem Al-Ali Al-Sabah, National Guard Chief and Commander (Section Arabic Read الحرس الوطني)
  9. ^ [9], Kuwaiti Ministry of Defense,(Section Arabic Read الجيش الكويتي)