King Abdulaziz and the battle of Al-Sabla
One of the most difficult battles that Saudi Arabia’s founder and King Abdulaziz al-Saud fought was Al-Sabla
One of the most difficult battles that Saudi Arabia’s founder and King Abdulaziz al-Saud fought was al-Sabla on March 30, 1929. The difficulty was not military, as he was victorious. The difficulty lay in the existential threat that the Muslim Brotherhood posed in Saudi Arabia, particularly in the center and north.
On the surface, the movement’s proposals were political, but deep within they were religious as they bid over religion on the basis of ignorance, thus threatening people’s interests and affecting the state. The Sabla brothers are different from Hassan al-Banna’s Brotherhood, though they are both equally a threat to religion and life. King Abdulaziz overcame the threat.
One of the king’s deepest remarks following the confrontations of Al-Sabla and the arrest of Brotherhood leaders in 1930 was: “As of today, we will live a new life.” His consultant Hafez Wahbi mentioned this statement in his book “The Arabian Peninsula in the 20th century.” It was also mentioned by Saudi researcher Qassem al-Roueis. Wahbi described Al-Sabla battle as separating “chaos and order.”
Al-Sabla battle was one of the approaches during the foundation of Saudi ArabiaMshari al-Thaydi
Youssef Yassine, the king’s political consultant who was by his side during the battle and those that followed near the country’s northern border to pursue the Brotherhood, described these developments in an article he wrote under the name of “an expert writer,” Roueis said.
Yassine wrote in Umm al-Qura daily: “This year… and the year that preceded it… were historical years, during which the heart of the Arabian Peninsula came a long way in life.” He added: “The evil support [the Brotherhood] received from neighboring countries… was alarming.”
King Abdulaziz held popular conferences during that difficult phase. The most famous was al-Riyadh conference, followed by the Dawadmi conference and Al-Shoaraa conference. During the Dawadmi conference on July 20, 1929, he vowed to end the strife caused by the Brotherhood, saying the group “affected God’s religion, obstructed [the right] path and divided Muslims.”
Al-Sabla battle was one of the approaches during the foundation of Saudi Arabia. These are not insignificant battles in history. Right approaches neither wear out nor get old.
This article was first published in Asharq al-Awsat on June 27, 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.