Saleh Abdul Aziz Al Rajhi

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Sheikh Saleh Abdulaziz Al Rajhi
Saleh Abdulaziz Al Rajhi.jpg
Born1921 (1921)
DiedFebruary 12, 2011(2011-02-12) (aged 89–90)
OccupationBusinessman, investor, philanthropist
Known forFounding Al Rajhi Bank

Sheikh Saleh Abdul Aziz Al Rajhi (1921 – February 12, 2011) (Arabic: الشيخ صالح بن عبد العزيز الراجحي)[2][3] was a businessman and philanthropist from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. He was the founder of Al-Rajhi Bank, the largest Islamic banking institution.

The eldest of the Al Rajhi family, he was engaged in other successful industries such as construction, real estate and agriculture. Aside from being a prominent Saudi businessman, he was also a philanthropist known for significant contributions in the field of agriculture, education and health. During his later years, Al Rajhi established instructions for the establishment of a foundation to manage continuous endowments towards the charities which he had constantly supported in life.[4][5][6]

Early life[edit]

Saleh bin Abdul-Aziz bin Saleh ibn Suleiman ibn Mohammed ibn Suleiman ibn Nasser Al Rajhi was born 1921 in Bakriyyah, Qassim, KSA. His father, Sheikh Abdul-Aziz Al-Rajhi was a farmer and trader of lesser means. After his father's move Riyadh to seek better business prospects, Saleh started his education under Sheikh Muhammad Ibn Ibrahim. He completed the Quran and other studies by the age of 13 years old.[7]

Early business enterprise[edit]

In the early 1930s, Al Rajhi worked odd jobs at the local marketplace to earn money. Initially, he worked as a porter. Upon saving some money, Al Rajhi used it as capital to trade scrap items. He bought and sold keys, locks and haberdashery items, hawking the items in public places, particularly in the busy areas adjacent to the markets and mosques.

In 1937, as Al Rajhi turned 16 years old, he managed to occupy a space among the vendors and set up a bastah (a small trading place on the ground demarcated by a sheet or cloth spread upon which items are placed). He was first located in Safat, in front of the Grand Mosque in Riyadh. This involved breaking down Riyals into change – gursh and halalahs. For this he earned a commission of 5%.

As his business grew, he changed his bastah for a chest. This had kept his money in different denominations safe. Gradually, his customers started to bring in different currencies for him to change. Businessmen, pilgrims and travelers would exchange different monies from Indian Rupees to gold.[8]

Currency exchange business[edit]

In 1947, Al Rajhi opened a formal currency shop in Riyadh. He sent for his brothers, Mohammed and Sulaiman, to be a part of the business. Sulaiman, who later succeeded his brother as head of the family conglomerate, was a teenager then, hired for a salary of $10 to do exchange delivery and messenger jobs for the shop. The older Al Rajhi developed the systems and methods by which they recorded, traded and handled the money they received.

Toward the 1950s, Al Rajhi sent his brother Sulaiman to Mecca to conduct the exchange business for pilgrims and business people who had frequented the area. Sulaiman, with the blessing of his older brother remained in Mecca and further expanded to Jeddah which was growing economically at the time as well. The brothers conducted their currency business between the three branches for the next 25 years, which marked the beginnings of Al-Rajhi Bank.

Al Rajhi Bank[edit]

In 1957, the brothers formally established the beginnings of Al-Rajhi Bank, with Al Rajhi travelling to other countries in the region to initiate relationships with various banking institutions. He had also engaged in the first gold trade with Kuwait. Aside from this, Al Rajhi also established a unique system of drafts and money transfers. Eventually, he was able to connect to the United States banks through his established reputation in the Middle East. By the 1960s, the Al Rajhis were banking in most of the major financial sectors across Europe and Asia.


Al Batin Project[edit]

In 1993, Al Rajhi established an agricultural plantation in Buraydah City, Qassim region. It concentrated on the production of wheat, barley, watermelon, and an assortment of vegetable with an intercropping of date palms over 5,466 hectares of farmland.

In 1995, upon the instructions of Al Rajhi, the plantation diverted its direction and focused mainly on palm dates, planting 63,000 seedlings of 45 palm date varieties with the goal of reaching 200,000 trees. This project was supervised by the Ministry of Agriculture which approved of the installation of specialized irrigation systems.[9]

In 2006, the Al Batin Palm Project was recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records (General Information and Standard Achievements) as the largest palm tree project in the world.[10]

Durma Project[edit]

In 1994-1996, Al Rajhi started the Durma Project. With a land area of 760 hectares, specialized tissue palms were planted. The area had a unique characteristic which included high arability of the soil, availability of natural deep wells and low water tables. As with the Al Batin project, the farms were initially planted with wheat and barley and subsequently transitioned the crop to palm dates. The three-tiered project spearheaded by Al Rajhi spanning 1994-1996 aimed to plant 50,000 palm seedlings of different types.

Other Projects[edit]

In the 1990s Al-Rajhi turned over the reins of the heading the Al Rajhi Bank to focus on real estate and agriculture. His ventures in these two sectors eventually became some of the most successful in KSA. Aside from these, Al Rajhi held stakes in another financial of import Al Baraka Banking Group and shares in cement and construction ventures.

Aside from the main business of currency exchange and banking, Saleh Al Rajhi held various positions in other companies with the following designations:

Year Established Position Company
N/A Managing Director Central Electricity Company

Member, Founder and Chairman Saudi Cement Company
1959 Member, Founder and Chairman National Gypsum Company
1961 Member, Founder and Chairman Yamama Cement Company
1961 Member and founder Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Riyadh
1977 Member, Founder and Chairman Saudi Ceramic Company
1977 Member and founder Saudi Lime Sand Bricks Company
1978 Member, Founder and Chairman Southern Cement Company
1978 Founder Saleh Abdul Aziz Al-Rajhi & Co. Ltd.
1981 Member, Founder and Chairman Nadec Agricultural Development Company
1982 Member, Founder and Chairman Hail Agricultural Development Company
1983 Founder Tabuk Company for Agricultural Development
1987 Member, Founder and Chairman Al Rajhi Banking and Investment Company
N/A Member and founder Light Buildings Company (SIBOREX) and Saudi Serpo Company Limited.

N/A Member of the Board of Directors National Company for Operation and Industrial Services

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Saleh Bin Abdul Aziz Al Rajhi, The World's Richest People -". Retrieved 2019-10-31.
  2. ^ Saleh Abdul Aziz Al Rajhi's obituary Archived 2011-02-15 at the Wayback Machine (in Arabic)
  3. ^ "Founder of Al Rajhi Bank Sheikh Saleh passes away". The Saudi Gazette. 13 February 2011. Retrieved 9 March 2011.
  4. ^ "شركة صالح عبد العزيز الراجحي وشركاه المحدودة". Retrieved 2019-10-28.
  5. ^ "الشيخ صالح بن عبدالعزيز الراجحي.. صاحب أكبر وقف خيري في السعودية | المركز الدولي للأبحاث والدراسات (مداد) | مختصون في العمل الخيري". Retrieved 2019-10-28.
  6. ^ "The richest man in the world". Euromoney. Retrieved 2019-10-28.
  7. ^ د. سليمان, الميمان (2008). صالح عبدالعزيز الراجحي، مسيرة حياة. Riyadh, Saudi Arabia: الميمان للنشر والتوزيع. pp. 36–43. ISBN 978-9960-686-22-6.
  8. ^ "About Sheikh Saleh Alrajhi". Retrieved 2019-10-28.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  9. ^ "Location of Agricultural Department and Projects Belong to it". Retrieved 2019-11-03.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  10. ^ "الفدا: مزرعة الشيخ صالح الراجحي تعدت أدوارها لخدمة المجتمع | الاخبارية". Retrieved 2019-11-03.