King Abdul Aziz bin Abdul Rahman Al Saud (known as Ibn Saud) was a tall, imposing figure, a natural leader of men. He knew instinctively how to judge men and, as his rule progressed, how best to exploit the natural resources of his country for the benefit of his people. His achievement, the unification of many warring tribes all proud of their own lineage and traditions, laid the foundations for the modern state of Saudi Arabia. His success derived from his faith in Islam and his determination to maintain and build on the traditions of the region. It is the unique combination of faith and respect for tradition, while adapting to the technological developments of modern world, which characterizes the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia today.
The judgment of Chambers Biographical Dictionary is very much to the point. It simply states that Ibn Saud "was the outstanding Arab ruler of his time."
Abdul Aziz bin Abdul Rahman Al Saud: The Early Years
Abdul Aziz bin Abdul Rahman Al Saud (Ibn Saud) was born in Riyadh in 1880. He was born into the Al Saud family which, in the previous century, had consolidated its authority across much of the Arabian peninsula but, at the time of Ibn Saud’s birth, had seen its power greatly diminished. Indeed, in 1890, under threat from the Al Rashid (a powerful family in the Arabian peninsula and implacable enemy of the Al Saud), Ibn Saud went with his family into exile to Kuwait where he spent his early years.
In Kuwait, as Ibn Saud grew to manhood, his thoughts were focused on reclaiming his family’s domains, now occupied by the Al Rashid. He had spent long enough in exile. He judged that if, with God's help, he could take Riyadh, the people of Nejd would support the Al Saud and help him to oust the Rashid.
When he was twenty-one, Abdul Aziz (Ibn Saud) decided to move on Riyadh.
The difficulties of taking Riyadh with so small a force were obvious and intimidating. Abdul Aziz...