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, therefore the parliament has 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 (not all) members of the monarchy receive a monthly stipend from the Amiri Diwan. The prime minister is selected by the Emir of Kuwait and he could be any Kuwaiti citizen.

Kuwait's Rulers[edit]

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

Succession to the throne of today's 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 while the nomination must also 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 and in close age range of the Emir. 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 of Kuwait is appointed exclusively by the Emir.

The current Emir Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah (of the Al-Ahmed branch) had 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.

In the meantime the situation has changed because other offsprings have been posted to the most important Ministries leading them to champion the merited leadership of the State of Kuwait.

The elder of the three brothers Abdullah II Al-Sabah; the 5th ruler of Kuwait; paralleled descendants who served the Al-Sabah dynasty and Kuwait with high distinction and made the ultimate sacrifice going above and beyond. Among them is Battle of Jahra's martyred monarch Commander Jaber Al-Abdullah II Al-Sabah (b.1860–d.1920)  and the descendants of Abdullah Jaber Al-Abdullah II Al-Sabah (b.1898–d.1996) (WIA); a contemporary of seven rulers.

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

Recent events[edit]

Saad Al-Abdullah Al-Salim Al-Sabah was removed by parliamentary action after a prolonged stalemate following the death of the previous Emir, H.H.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.

The then 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 is the current ruler.

The emir nominated his brother, Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, as Crown Prince. The emir also nominated his nephew, H.H.Sheikh Nasser Al-Sabah, as Prime Minister.

In May 2008, the former Emir Saad Al-Salim Al-Sabah, died after battling health problems for years. He was buried the following day in accordance with Muslim tradition. He was 78 years old.

Titles and official protocol designations[edit]

The Emir: Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah

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

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

Notable people[edit]

Mubarak Al-Sabah (b.1837-d. 1915)
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 [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] Kuwait National Guard, Sheikh Salem Al-Ali Al-Sabah, National Guard Chief and Commander (Section Arabic Read الحرس الوطني)
  4. ^ a b c d e f g [4], Kuwait History
  5. ^ [5], Kuwaiti Ministry of Defense,(Section Arabic Read الجيش الكويتي)