Muhammad bin Abdulaziz Al Saud
|Muhammad bin Abdulaziz Al Saud|
|Governor of Al Madinah Province|
|Successor||Abdul Muhsin bin Abdulaziz|
|House||House of Saud|
|Mother||Al Jawhara bint Musaed Al Jiluwi|
|Born||4 March 1910|
|Died||25 November 1988
|Burial||25 November 1988
Al Oud cemetery, Riyad
Briefly Crown Prince from 1964 to 1965, he was among the wealthiest and most powerful members of the Saudi royal family. His advice was sought and deferred to in all matters by his brothers. Until his death in 1988, he was a close and powerful confidant and senior adviser to his younger brothers, King Khalid and King Fahd.
Prince Muhammad was born in 1910 and is the fourth son of the Kingdom's founder, King Abdulaziz. However, his birth date is also given as 1909, and William A. Eddy reports that he is the third son of King Abdulaziz.
His mother was from the important Al Jiluwis, a clan whose members intermarried with the members of Al Saud family, Al Jawhara bint Musaed Al Jiluwi. King Khalid was his full brother. His sister, Al Anoud, married to the sons of Saad bin Abdul Rahman. She first married Saud bin Saad. After Saud died, she married Fahd bin Saad.
Prince Muhammad and Prince Faisal were given the responsibility for the Ikhwan in mid-1920s. Prince Muhammad participated in fights during the formation years of the Kingdom with his older brothers and cousins. In 1934, King Abdulaziz ordered his forces to attack Yemen's forward defences. Then, Faisal bin Sa'd, the son of the Saudi king's brother Saad, advanced to Baqem and the son of his other brother Mohammed, Khaled bin Muhammed, advanced to Najran and Saada. King's son Prince Faisal assumed command of the forces on the coast of Tihama and Mohammed bin Abdulaziz had advanced from Najd at the head of a reserve force to support his brother Saud.
Prince Muhammad together with then Crown Prince Saud represented King Abdulaziz at the coronation of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth in London in 1937. Prince Muhammad and Prince Mansour accompanied King Abdulaziz in the latter's meeting with the then US president Franklin D. Roosevelt on 14 February 1945. They together with their uncle Prince Abdullah also attended the meeting between King Abdulaziz and British premier Winston Churchill in Egypt in February 1945. Prince Muhammed also accompanied King Saud during his visit to the US in January 1962.
Renunciation of the succession
Muhammad bin Abdulaziz was Crown Prince during the first few months (November 1964 – March 1965) of the reign of his elder half-brother King Faisal. He then voluntarily stepped aside from the succession to allow his younger and only full brother, Prince Khalid, to become heir apparent to the Saudi throne. Due to this event, he was called king maker. He is said to have stepped aside in order to comply with a general family agreement. That agreement had been negotiated during the period of internal crisis that saw the abdication, in late 1964, of the profligate King Saud, in favour of another half-brother, King Faisal. Prince Muhammad's renunciation, therefore, helped to defuse that crisis and facilitated the takeover of power by King Faisal.
Muhammad bin Abdulaziz is reputed to have been a powerful personality. He is said to have been of orthodox disposition. However, his rigidity weakened his ability to gain support necessary to have political power in the kingdom. The king of Saudi Arabia is elected by an informal collegium consisting of the sons and senior grandsons of the kingdom's founder, Ibn Saud, and while age and seniority of birth are important considerations, it is also necessary to accommodate and engage amicably with various family and social factions in order to gain power.
He was a key prince in the coalition against King Saud. His nickname, Abu Sharayn or "the father of two evils" (bad temper and drinking), reflects the reasons for not being selected as the king by his brothers.
It is also argued that Prince Muhammad, the oldest surviving son of Ibn Saud after Faisal, either declined the role of crown prince or was passed over because of his close association with King Saud during the latter's reign.
Prince Muhammed's granddaughter, Misha'al bint Fahd, was convicted of adultery in Saudi Arabia. She and her lover were given capital punishment because in Saudi Arabia adultery is a crime which carries a death penalty. Prince Muhammad did not intercede on her behalf to grant her clemency. Western media portrayed the event negatively and claimed it a violation of women's rights though Princess Misha'al's male lover was also executed. A British TV channel presented a fictionalized docudrama, Death of a Princess, which was based on this incident. The telecast of this docudrama hurt Saudi–UK relations significantly.
Prince Muhammed led the conservative members of the royal family. They did not support the fast modernization of the society witnessed at the end of the 1970s and thought that modernization and the presence of too many foreign workers in the country would lead to the erosion of traditional Muslim values.
Prince Mohammad bin Abdulaziz Airport is named after him.
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