Saudi Arabia: We are all brothers and Muslims

There is a story about the Muslim Brotherhood and Saudi Arabia that has been told often since the founding of the country by King Abdulaziz and a number of statesmen. The story has been mentioned in articles and books, but its original source has never been cited. It says the king refused Brotherhood founder Hassan al-Banna’s request to open a branch for the movement in Saudi Arabia, prudently saying: “We’re all brothers and we’re all Muslims.”

The most important reference is the story of Prince Fahd bin Mohammad bin Abdulaziz, one of the late king’s grandsons. He was very close to the king, and narrated a lot of his grandfather’s news as he was often with him.

Prince Fahd said he had heard of the meeting and Banna’s request, to which the king replied: “Who will you appoint in this office?” Banna suggested two men from the Brotherhood, to which the king replied: “You forgot someone.” Banna asked who, and the king replied: “Me. Aren’t we Muslims [too]? We are all Muslim brothers.” (Saudi Al-Jazirah daily, issue #14969, Sunday Sept. 22, 2013)

‘No place here’

During one of his lessons at the Prophet’s Mosque, the late Sheikh Mohammad Aman al-Jami said: “It has been said that while Banna [was in Saudi Arabia] for hajj, he asked King Abdulaziz - may he rest in peace - to open [a branch] for the Brotherhood. King Abdulaziz then said: ‘My people are all Muslims. Where will you put your group? They have no place here; keep them there, in Egypt’.”

There is a story about the Muslim Brotherhood and Saudi Arabia that has been told often since the founding of the country by King Abdulaziz

Mshari Al Thaydi

In an interview with Saudi magazine Al-Yamamah - quoted by Elaph - Dr Mohammad al-Hoshan, one of the first students to benefit from Saudi scholarships, said Banna’s aim for going to Saudi Arabia for hajj that year “was to ask King Abdulaziz to allow him to establish a branch for the Brotherhood in the kingdom.

“The shrewd king told him: ‘Didn’t you know that I and my entire people are from the Muslim Brotherhood, and that the entire kingdom is a Brotherhood branch? Will you approve of me as head of this branch?” Hoshan added: “This is how the king’s shrewdness defeated the ambitions of the Brotherhood’s founder.”

This is an overview of the mentality during the foundation period.

This article was first published in Asharq al-Awsat on June 15, 2016.

Saudi journalist Mshari Al Thaydi presents Al Arabiya News Channel’s “views on the news” daily show “Maraya.” He has previously held the position of a managing senior editor for Saudi Arabia & Gulf region at pan-Arab newspaper Asharq al-Awsat. Al Thaydi has published several papers on political Islam and social history of Saudi Arabia. He appears as a guest on several radio and television programs to discuss the ideologies of extremist groups and terrorists.


Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:47 - GMT 06:47
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