On King Abdulaziz’s bravery
People tend to glorify characteristics of individual bravery embodied in fighting, carrying a weapons or fencing
People tend to glorify characteristics of individual bravery embodied in fighting, carrying a weapon or fencing. However, what is more important than individual bravery is the depth of the bigger aim that bravery, generosity, hope and determination are employed to achieve.
Those who have big aims never deviate from the right path, and are not distracted by whatever comes their way. Such men are rare. One of the most significant in Arab history is King Abdulaziz bin Abdulrahman al-Faisal, founder of Saudi Arabia.
I will cite the words of he who experienced his characteristics of noble governance: “While talking about Kuwait, Abdulaziz, his family and supporters, King Faisal bin Abdulaziz, may he rest in peace, said: ‘Despite their defeat in several battles, the minute he [Abdulaziz bin Abdulrahman al-Faisal] restored his father’s army, which was small at the time, he’d rise to restore his country, armed by the power of his faith and determined to either die or win in Riyadh.”
The far-sighted ruler’s causes were not personal. There were higher aims from which he did not deviate, and for which he either went to war or achieved peaceMshari al-Thaydi
“For example, I remember when he was in Al-Hariq Battle, soldiers wanted to flee but he stood before them riding his horse and carrying his sword and said: ‘Brothers, he who loves Abdulaziz, step forward. Those who prefer comfort, go home. But I swear I will only leave [this battlefield] either dead or victorious.”
“I remember when a dispute erupted between him and Imam Yahya, the former imam of Yemen, he tried to smoothly resolve the problem to the point where we, his children and statesmen, almost accused him of weakness. However, he did not care about that and did what he had to do, then he had to resort to the power of the sword.
When Arabs intervened, he was quick to stop fighting.” (Egyptian Al-Musawar magazine, 1948, as narrated by Mohammad Mounir al-Badawi in one of his books).
It means the long-sighted ruler’s causes were not personal. There were higher aims from which he did not deviate, and for which he either went to war or achieved peace.
Many stories reflect Abdulaziz’s concessions of his personal rights, and show how when it came to the general interest and the idea of the state itself, he did not manoeuver or make concessions, but stood his ground until the very end.
This is one of the secrets behind his success following a struggle that consumed more than two-thirds of his life.
This article was first published in Asharq al-Awsat on June 29, 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.
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