The First Saudi State
In the early 18th century, a Muslim scholar and reformer named Shaikh Muhammad bin Abdul Wahhab began advocating a return to the original form of Islam. Abdul Wahhab was initially persecuted by local religious scholars and leaders who viewed his teachings as a threat to their power bases. He sought protection in the town of Diriyah, which was ruled by Muhammad bin Saud.
Muhammad bin Abdul Wahhab and Muhammad bin Saud formed an agreement to dedicate themselves to restoring the pure teachings of Islam to the Muslim community. In that spirit, bin Saud established the First Saudi State, which prospered under the spiritual guidance of bin Abdul Wahhab, known simply as the Shaikh.
By 1788, the Saudi State ruled over the entire central plateau known as the Najd. By the early 19th century, its rule extended to most of the Arabian Peninsula, including Makkah and Madinah.
The popularity and success of the Al-Saud rulers aroused the suspicion of the Ottoman Empire, the dominant power in the Middle East and North Africa at the time. In 1818, the Ottomans dispatched a large expeditionary force armed with modern artillery to the western region of Arabia. The Ottoman army besieged Diriyah, which by now had grown into one of the largest cities in the peninsula. Ottoman forces leveled the city with field guns and made it permanently uninhabitable by ruining the wells and uprooting date palms.
The Second Saudi State
By 1824, the Al-Saud family had regained political control of central Arabia. The Saudi ruler Turki bin Abdullah Al-Saud transferred his capital to Riyadh, some 20 miles south of Diriyah, and established the Second Saudi State. During his 11-year rule, Turki succeeded in retaking most of the lands lost to the Ottomans. As he expanded his rule, he took steps to ensure that his people enjoyed rights, and he saw to their well-being.
Under Turki and his son, Faisal, the Second Saudi State enjoyed a period of peace and prosperity, and trade and agriculture flourished. The calm was shattered in 1865 by a renewed Ottoman campaign to extend its Middle Eastern empire into the Arabian Peninsula. Ottoman armies captured parts of the Saudi State, which was ruled at the time by Faisal’s son, Abdulrahman. With the support of the Ottomans, the Al-Rashid family of Hail made a concerted effort to overthrow the Saudi State.
Faced with a much larger and better equipped army, Abdulrahman bin Faisal Al-Saud was forced to abandon his struggle in 1891. He sought refuge with the Bedouin tribes in the vast sand desert of eastern Arabia known as the Rub’ Al-Khali, or ‘Empty Quarter.’ From there, Abdulrahman and his family traveled to Kuwait, where they stayed until 1902. With him was his young son Abdulaziz, who was already making his mark as a natural leader and a fierce warrior for the cause of Islam.
The Modern Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
The young Abdulaziz was determined to regain his patrimony from the Al-Rashid family, which had taken over Riyadh and established a governor and garrison there. In 1902, Abdulaziz, – accompanied by only 40 followers – staged a daring night march into Riyadh to retake the city garrison, known as the Masmak Fortress. This legendary event marks the beginning of the formation of the modern Saudi state.
After establishing Riyadh as his headquarters, Abdulaziz captured all of the Hijaz, including Makkah and Madinah, in 1924 to 1925. In the process, he united warring tribes into one nation.
On September 23, 1932, the country was named the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, an Islamic state with Arabic as its national language and the Holy Qur’an as its constitution.
Let this be a reminder to those who say what occurs now in Dammaj is a punishment from Allah. Rather it’s a struggle to establish the religion of Allah.
Their cities were leveled, they were forced to take exile in another country and furthermore even the author of Tayseer Azeezil Hameed was executed by the Ottomans. Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, nothing good is established without struggle, effort and tests from Allah.