Muhammad bin Saud Al Muqrin

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Muhammad bin Saud Al Muqrin
Emir of Diriyah
PredecessorSaud bin Muhammad
SuccessorAbdulaziz bin Muhammad
Died1765 (aged 77–78)
SpouseMoudi bint Abi Wahtan Al Kathir
Muhammad bin Saud bin Muhammad Al Muqrin Al Muridi
DynastyHouse of Saud
FatherSaud bin Muhammad Al Muqrin

Muhammad bin Saud Al Muqrin (Arabic: محمد بن سعود آل مقرنMuḥammad bin Suʿūd Āl Muqrin; 1687–1765), also known as Ibn Saud, was the emir of Diriyah and is considered the founder of the First Saudi State and the Saud dynasty, which are named for his father, Saud bin Muhammad Al Muqrin.[1] His reign lasted between 1727 and 1765.


Ibn Saud's family (then known as the Al Muqrin) traced its descent to the tribe of Banu Audi and Hanifa tribes but, despite popular misconceptions, Muhammad bin Saud was neither a nomadic bedouin nor was he a tribal leader. Rather, he was the chief (emir) of an agricultural settlement near modern-day Riyadh, called Diriyah.[2] He had lands there and involved in financing the commercial journeys of merchants.[3] Furthermore, he was a competent and ambitious desert warrior.[2]

Early life[edit]

Muhammad bin Saud was born in Diriyah in 1687.[4] Among his siblings were Mishari, Thunayan and Farhan.[5] The family resided in the citadel of Turaif in Diriyah.[6][7] He defeated all of his siblings to establish his rule in Diriyah.


Muhammad bin Saud became local emir of Diriyah in 1727.[8] The initial power base was the town of Diriyah where he met Muhammad bin Abdul Wahhab, who asked for protection.[2][9] They formed an alliance in 1744 or 1745.[5] Muhammad bin Saud asked Muhammad bin Abdul Wahhab to accept the two conditions: (1) Muhammad bin Abdul Wahhab should settle and stay in Diriyah and (2) he would not oppose to the collection of tax by the ruler, Muhammad bin Saud.[6] Although he accepted the first, he did not accept the second one arguing that he would acquire more through the battles and persuaded him not to collect tax.[6][10] Muhammad bin Saud endorsed his proposal and declared their alliance.[6] Their cooperation was further formalized by the wedding of Muhammad bin Abdul Wahhab's daughter to Abdulaziz bin Muhammad, son and successor of Muhammad bin Saud. Thereafter, the descendants of Muhammad bin Saud and the descendants of Muhammad bin Abdul Wahhab, the Al ash-Sheikh, have remained closely linked. However, the alliance was not totally supported by his family, and one of his brothers, Thunayyan bin Saud, objected to such a cooperation.[11]

Muhammad bin Abdul Wahhab provided Muhammad bin Saud with the military backing for the House of Saud and helped establish the dynasty among other forces in the Arabian peninsula.[12] In addition, following their alliance Muhammad bin Saud began to collect taxes from his subjects, and the first members of the Najdi-Wahhabi elites emerged.[13] Therefore, the significant elements of the Saudi rule which have existed until now in Saudi Arabia were shaped: the royal family, Wahhabi clerics and tribal subjects.[13] Following their cooperation the emirs of Diriyah began to be called as Imam.[7] Abdul Wahhab remained as an adviser to Muhammad bin Saud until the end of the latter's reign.[14]

Muhammad bin Saud initiated attacks against the ruler of Riyadh, Dahham bin Dawwas, in 1747.[15] However, these attacks would last for 28 years, and not Muhammad but his son and successor Abdulaziz would manage to seize Riyadh in 1773.[15] Muhammad sent one of his slaves, Salim bin Belal Al Harik, to Oman, who was accompanied with an armed group of seventy men, to make the tribes loyal to the Saudis.[16] The tribes, namely Bani Yas, al Shamis and al Nuaimi, initially resisted, but then, obeyed the demand and became the followers of the Wahhabism together with the Qawasameh tribe of Sharjah and Ras Al Khaimah.[16] When Muhammad bin Saud himself would attack anywhere, he invited the people three times to adopt his religion, Wahhabism.[17] If his invitation was not accepted, his forces initiated the attack and killed them.[17]

The way he set up his government has served as the model for rulers of the House of Saud to the present day. The government was based on Islamic principles and made use of shura. He ruled the emirate until his death in 1765.[18][19] By the time of his death the majority of the Najdi people were Wahhabi adherents.[20]

Personal life and death[edit]

Ibn Saud's wife was Moudi bint Abi Wahtan Al Kathir who was instrumental in his meeting with Muhammad bin Abdul Wahhab.[5][21] He had five sons: Suud, Faisal, Abdulaziz, Abdullah and Ali.[22] Of them Saud and Faisal died in his lifetime who were both killed in a battle in 1747.[22]

Muhammad bin Saud died in Diriyah in 1765 and was succeeded by his eldest son Abdulaziz.[23][24]


As a forerunner of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the Imam Muhammad ibn Saud Islamic University is named after him.


  1. ^ John Pike. "King Abdul Aziz Bin Abdul Rahman Al-Saud". Global Security. Archived from the original on 26 December 2018. Retrieved 12 July 2016.
  2. ^ a b c T. R. McHale (Autumn 1980). "A Prospect of Saudi Arabia". International Affairs. 56 (4): 622–647. doi:10.2307/2618170. JSTOR 2618170.
  3. ^ Madawi Al Rasheed (2010). A History of Saudi Arabia (Second ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 14. doi:10.1017/CBO9780511993510. ISBN 978-0-5217-4754-7.
  4. ^ Said Mahmud Najm AI Amiri. "The Emergence of Al Wahhabiyyah Movement and its Historical Roots" (PDF). Federation of American Scientists. Archived from the original (PDF) on 11 February 2021. Retrieved 29 April 2021. Translated version of a secret document presented to the Iraqi General Military Intelligence Directorate.
  5. ^ a b c Parvaiz Ahmad Khanday (2009). A Critical Analysis of the Religio-Political Conditions of Modern Saudi Arabia (PDF) (PhD thesis). Aligarh Muslim University. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2 November 2018.
  6. ^ a b c d James Wynbrandt (2010). A Brief History of Saudi Arabia (PDF). Infobase Publishing. pp. 117–118. ISBN 978-0-8160-7876-9. Archived from the original (PDF) on 26 May 2021.
  7. ^ a b Sabra Naji Alshahrani (2015). Saudi Women's Role in Development of Society (PDF) (MA thesis). Charles University in Prague. p. 36. Archived from the original (PDF) on 3 July 2021.
  8. ^ Adil Rasheed (2018). "Wahhabism and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia: An Evolving Symbiosis". In Sanjay Singh (ed.). West Asia in Transition (PDF). New Delhi: Pentagon Press. p. 91. ISBN 978-93-86618-17-7. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2 September 2020.
  9. ^ Joel Carmichael (July 1942). "Prince of Arabs". Foreign Affairs. Archived from the original on 28 November 2018.
  10. ^ Anthony B. Toth (2012). "Control and Allegiance at the Dawn of the Oil Age: Bedouin, Zakat and Struggles for Sovereignty in Arabia, 1916–1955". Middle East Critique. 21 (1): 61. doi:10.1080/19436149.2012.658667. S2CID 144536155.
  11. ^ Hassan S. Abedin (2002). Abdul Aziz Al Saud and the Great Game in Arabia, 1896-1946 (PhD thesis). King's College London. p. 40. Archived from the original on 26 May 2021.
  12. ^ Historical Memorandum on the Relations of the Wahhabi Amirs and Ibn Saud with Eastern Arabia and the British Government, 1800-1934. British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers. 1934. p. 2.
  13. ^ a b Abdullah F. Alrebh (2017). "A Wahhabi Ethic in Saudi Arabia". Sociology of Islam. 5 (4): 283. doi:10.1163/22131418-00504001.
  14. ^ Alejandra Galindo Marines (2001). The relationship between the ulama and the government in the contemporary Saudi Arabian Kingdom: an interdependent relationship? (PDF) (PhD thesis). Durham University.
  15. ^ a b Muinuddin Ahmad Khan; Harford Jones (March 1968). "A Diplomat's Report on Wahhabism of Arabia". Islamic Studies. 7 (1): 38. JSTOR 20832903.
  16. ^ a b Noura Saber Mohammed Saeed Al Mazrouei (October 2013). UAE-Saudi Arabia Border Dispute: The Case of the 1974 Treaty of Jeddah (PDF) (PhD thesis). University of Exeter. p. 30.
  17. ^ a b Cameron Zargar (2017). "Origins of Wahhabism from Hanbali Fiqh" (PDF). Journal of Islamic and Near Eastern Law. 16 (1): 74. doi:10.5070/N4161038736. Archived from the original (PDF) on 12 December 2020.
  18. ^ Gábor Ágoston; Bruce Alan Masters (2009). Encyclopedia of the Ottoman Empire. Infobase Publishing. p. 261. ISBN 978-0-8160-6259-1. Archived from the original on 11 November 2015.
  19. ^ Saudi Arabia A Country Study. Kessinger Publishing. 2004. ISBN 978-1-4191-4621-3. Archived from the original on 7 July 2014.
  20. ^ Mohamed Mohsen Ali Asaad (1981). Saudi Arabia's National Security: A Perspective Derived from Political, Economic, and Defense Policies (PhD thesis). The Claremont Graduate University. p. 9. ProQuest 303087629. Retrieved 5 July 2021.
  21. ^ "Interview. Prince Amr bin Mohammed". PBS. Frontline. 2003. Archived from the original on 9 July 2017. Retrieved 16 October 2020.
  22. ^ a b Gary Samuel Samore (1984). Royal Family Politics in Saudi Arabia (1953-1982) (PhD thesis). Harvard University. p. 18. ProQuest 303295482. Retrieved 20 May 2021.
  23. ^ Bilal Ahmad Kutty (1997). Saudi Arabia under King Faisal (PhD) (Thesis). Aligarh Muslim University. p. 27.
  24. ^ Samiah Baroni. Saudi Arabia and Expansionist Wahhabism (PDF) (MA thesis). University of Central Florida. p. 36.

Further reading[edit]

S. R. Valentine. (2015). Force & Fanaticism: Wahhabism in Saudi Arabia and Beyond, Hurst & Co, London/New York.

Regnal titles
Preceded by
Zaid bin Markhan
Emir of Diriyah
Title next held by
as Imam of First Saudi State
Preceded by
Office established
Imam of First Saudi State
Succeeded by
Abdulaziz bin Muhammad bin Saud