All you need to know about the pledge of allegiance and the allegiance council
The pledging of allegiance to Mohammed bin Salman, who has been promoted as Crown Prince, will be held on Wednesday evening after the Tarawih prayers at Al-Safa Castle in Mecca.
According to traditions, the King and his deputy will receive princes, the kingdom’s general mufti, ministers, high-ranking military and civil officials and large crowds of citizens to pledge allegiance on the Quran to the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz.
Pledging allegiance to the king is according to Article 6 of Saudi Arabia’s basic law of governance.
The Article stipulates: “Citizens are to pledge allegiance to the King in accordance with the book of Allah and the tradition of his prophet and are to obey in times of ease and difficulty, fortune and misfortune.”
Article 7 of the law says: “Governance in the Saudi kingdom derives power from the book of Allah and the tradition of his prophet which govern this system and all of the state laws.”
A pact of loyalty
The citizens’ pledge of allegiance to the king and to the crown prince is thus according to the political system of the kingdom which is based on sharia.
Allegiance in Islam is a pact of loyalty to the Islamic political system, a commitment to Muslims and obedience to their imam.
The allegiance also represents a pact between two parties who are the candidate for rule and the people. The former vows to govern according to the Quran and Sunnah and to advise Muslims, while the latter must be obedient within the limits of obeying God and his prophet.
Late King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz established the Allegiance Council, tasked with choosing a crown prince, in 2006.
The majority of the Allegiance Council chose Mohammed bin Salman as the kingdom’s crown prince. The council said: “31 out of 34 voted in favor of choosing Prince Mohammed bin Salman as crown prince. This is the highest percentage ever.”
The council includes 35 princes of King Abdulaziz’s sons and grandsons. Their task is to secure the transition of governance within Al Saud, particularly by participating in choosing the crown prince.
The council is made up of the sons of the founder king, the grandsons whose fathers are deceased, incapacitated or ill, and two sons of the founder King’s sons who should be appointed by the king and the crown prince.
The members serve four non-renewable years unless the brothers of the member who finished serving his term agree otherwise and the king agrees.
The king nominates up to three candidates for the crown prince position to the Allegiance Council. The latter can reject these candidates and nominate its own.
If the council’s candidate is not approved by the king, the council casts a vote to choose between the king’s nominee and its own. The one who wins the majority of votes is named crown prince. This must be finalized within a month.
The headquarters of the council is in Riyadh, and it is headed by the oldest royal family member.
It holds its ordinary meetings in the presence of two- thirds of the members, and it operates based on the majority rule and via secret vote.
The council's task is represented in “maintaining the entity of the state and the unity and cooperation of the royal family and maintaining national unity and the people’s interests.”