King Fahd bin Abdul Aziz Al-Saud (1921-2005)

Published August 1st, 2005 - 06:42 GMT

King Fahd bin Abdul Aziz Al-Saud (1921-2005), the fifth King of Saudi Arabia, was born in Riyadh in 1921. Fahd was the son of King Abdulaziz bin Abdulrahman Al-Saud, who was the first monarch and founder of modern Saudi Arabia. At the age of 11, in 1932, Fahd watched his father officially founding the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia by signing the Treaty of Jeddah.


Fahd's education took place at the Princes' School in Riyadh, a school established by Ibn Saud specifically for the education of members of the House of Saud (the royal family of Saudi Arabia). While studying at the Princes' School, Fahd studied under well-known tutors including Sheikh Abdul-Ghani Khayat. Following his education at the Princes' School, Fahd moved on to the Religious Knowledge Institute in Mecca, where he studied Wahhabi Islam.


In 1945, Fahd travelled to New York, on his first  trip to the United States, to attend the opening session of the General Assembly of the United Nations. On this trip, Fahd served under his brother, King Faisal who was at the time Saudi Arabia's foreign minister.


In 1953, at the age of 32, Fahd was appointed as the Education Minister by his father. At the same year, Fahd led his first official state visit, attending the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II on behalf of the House of Saud. Later, Fahd would lead the Saudi delegation to the League of Arab States in 1959, signifying his growing importance in the House of Saud.


In 1962, Fahd was appointed as the Interior Minister. Five years later, in 1967, Fahd would be appointed as Second Deputy Prime Minister, which is a significant post in the House of Saud.


On March 25, 1975, King Faisal was assassinated by his nephew and King Khalid assumed power. Fahd, as next in the line of succession, became Crown Prince and First Deputy Prime Minister. Especially in the later years of King Khalid's reign, Fahd was viewed as the de facto prime minister. Finally, in June 13 1982 Fahd succeeded to the throne when King Khalid passed away.


Of all the projects undertaken by Saudi Arabia during the reign of King Fahd, the expansion of the Holy Mosques in the Holy Cities of Makkah and Madinah stands apart as central to the King's and the Kingdom's purpose. As "Custodian of the two Holy Mosques" in Mecca and Madinah, Fahd completed the expansion projects of the Holy Mosques in 1994.


Fahd suffered a major stroke in 1995 and after this he was mostly inactive though he still attended meetings and received selected visitors. However, after his stroke he was unable to perform his official duties and his half-brother, Crown Prince Abdullah, had been serving as de facto regent of the kingdom.


On 27 May 2005, the Saudi government announced that King Fahd had been hospitalized. Saudi official sources conveyed that the monarch had been running a fever and had water in his lungs which required hospitalisation. Medical sources said the King had a lung infection and that he would stay in hospital for one or two days. However, Fahd remained in hospital longer than that and on August 1 2005 he passed away at the age of 84.

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