The kingdom of Saudi Arabia is almost entirely the creation of King Ibn Saud (1882–1953). A descendant of Wahhabi leaders, he seized Riyadh in 1901 and set himself up as leader of the Arab nationalist movement. By 1906 he had established Wahhabi dominance in Nejd and conquered Hejaz in 1924–1925. The Hejaz and Nejd regions were merged to form the kingdom of Saudi Arabia in 1932, which was an absolute monarchy ruled by sharia. A year later the region of Asir was incorporated into the kingdom.
Saudi Arabia occupies most of the Arabian Peninsula, with the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aqaba to the west and the Persian Gulf to the east. Neighboring countries are Jordan, Iraq, Kuwait, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, the Sultanate of Oman, Yemen, and Bahrain, connected to the Saudi mainland by a causeway. Saudi Arabia contains the world’s largest continuous sand desert, the Rub Al-Khali, or Empty Quarter.
Its oil region lies primarily in the eastern province along the Persian Gulf.
Saudi Arabia was an absolute monarchy until 1992, at which time the Saud royal family introduced the country’s first constitution. The legal system is based on the sharia (Islamic law).
The Islamic calendar begins in 622, the year of the hegira, or Muhammad’s flight from Mecca. A succession of invaders attempted to control the peninsula, but by 1517 the Ottoman Empire dominated, and in the middle of the 18th century, it was divided into separate principalities. In 1745 Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab began calling for the purification and reform of Islam, and the Wahhabi movement swept across Arabia. By 1811, Wahhabi leaders had waged a jihad—a holy war—against other forms of Islam on the peninsula and succeeded in uniting much of it. By 1818, however, the Wahhabis had been driven out of power again by the Ottomans and their Egyptian allies.
19th March 2019
RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel Al-Jubeir said on Monday that the world stands united in solidarity with Muslims after the terror attack in Christchurch, New Zealand last week, which killed 50 people.
Taking to Twitter, Al-Jubeir also said that the incident proved that terrorism had “no religion or race.”
He added: “New Zealand is a safe, peaceful and open country for all, and what the prime minister, the government and the people of New Zealand have done is proof of that.”
His statements follow condemnation of the attacks by King Salman and Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman. The king was praised for his “strong and firm” response to Friday’s terrorist attack by Dr. Yousef Al-Othaimeen, secretary-general of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).
Dr. Al-Othaimeen said: “The words of King Salman come as support for the OIC, its committees, institutions and administrations, to control and combat Islamophobia.”