Muhammad bin Abdulaziz (1910 – 25 November 1988) (Arabic: محمد بن عبد العزيز ال سعود‎) was a member of the House of Saud.

Briefly Crown Prince from 1964 to 1965, he was among the wealthiest and most powerful members of the Saudi royal family. His advice was sought and deferred to in all matters by his brothers. Until his death in 1988, he was a close and powerful confidant and senior adviser to his younger full brother, King Khalid (r. 1975–1982), and his younger half-brother, King Fahd (r. 1982–2005).[1]

Early life

Prince Muhammad was born the fourth son of Ibn Saud.[2] His birth date is, according to different sources, either 1909[3] or 1910.[4] Indeed, one source (William A. Eddy) also states that he was the third son (not fourth son) of Ibn Saud.[5]

Prince Muhammad's mother was Al Jawhara bint Musaed Al Jiluwi.[6][7] She had previously been married to Ibn Saud's only full brother, Sa'ad I bin Abdul Rahman bin Faisal Al Saud. She was born into the important Al Jiluwis family,[8][9] which was in fact a cadet branch of the Al Saud family itself. She was a second cousin of her husband (their paternal grandfathers had been brothers). This was in keeping with long-standing traditions in Arabia of marriage within the same lineage, and members of the Al Jiluwi family frequently intermarried with the members of Al Saud family.[10]

Prince Mohammad was one of three children born to his mother and Ibn Saud. King Khalid was his full brother,[4] and he had a full sister, Al Anoud, who married successively two sons of Saad bin Abdul Rahman, who was not only their father's brother but also their mother's first husband. Al Anoud was first given in marriage to Saud bin Saad. After Saud died, she was married to his brother Fahd bin Saad.[11]

Royal duties

Prince Muhammad and Prince Faisal were given the responsibility for the Ikhwan in mid-1920s.[12] Prince Muhammad participated in fights during the formation years of the Kingdom with his older brothers and cousins. In 1934, Ibn Saud ordered his forces to attack Yemen's forward defences.[13] Then, Faisal bin Sa'd, the son of the Saudi king's brother Saad, advanced to Baqem and the son of his other brother Mohammed, Khaled bin Muhammed, advanced to Najran and Saada. King's son Prince Faisal assumed command of the forces on the coast of Tihama and Mohammed bin Abdulaziz had advanced from Najd at the head of a reserve force to support his brother Saud.[13]

Prince Muhammad together with then Crown Prince Saud represented Ibn Saud at the coronation of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth in London in 1937.[14] Prince Muhammad and Prince Mansour accompanied Ibn Saud in the latter's meeting with the then US president Franklin D. Roosevelt on 14 February 1945.[5][15] They together with their uncle Prince Abdullah also attended the meeting between Ibn Saud and British premier Winston Churchill in Egypt in February 1945.[16] Prince Muhammed also accompanied King Saud during his visit to the US in January 1962.[17]

Prince Muhammad was head of royal family council. The council expressed its allegiance to Crown Prince Fahd after the death of King Khalid on 13 June 1982.[18]

Renunciation of the succession

Muhammad bin Abdulaziz was Crown Prince during the first few months (November 1964 – March 1965) of the reign of his elder half-brother King Faisal. He then voluntarily stepped aside from the succession to allow his younger and only full brother, Prince Khalid, to become heir apparent to the Saudi throne. Due to this event, he was called king maker.[1] He is said to have stepped aside in order to comply with a general family agreement. That agreement had been negotiated during the period of internal crisis which saw the abdication, in late 1964, of the profligate King Saud, in favour of another half-brother, King Faisal. Prince Muhammad's renunciation, therefore, helped to defuse that crisis and facilitated the takeover of power by King Faisal.

Muhammad bin Abdulaziz is reputed[who?][citation needed] to have been a powerful personality. However, his rigidity weakened his ability to gain the support necessary to have political power in the kingdom. The king of Saudi Arabia is elected by an informal collegium consisting of the sons and senior grandsons of the kingdom's founder, Ibn Saud, and while age and seniority of birth are important considerations, it is also necessary to accommodate and engage amicably with various family and social factions in order to gain power.

He was a key prince in the coalition against King Saud.[19] His nickname, Abu Sharayn or "the father of two evils" (bad temper and drinking), reflects the reasons for not being selected as the king by his brothers.[20][21]

It is also argued that Prince Muhammad, the oldest surviving son of Ibn Saud after Faisal, either declined the role of crown prince or was passed over because of his close association with King Saud during the latter's reign.[22]


Prince Muhammed's granddaughter, Misha'al bint Fahd, was convicted of adultery in Saudi Arabia; she and her lover were sentenced to death on the explicit instructions of her grandfather, a senior member of the royal family, for the alleged dishonour she brought on her clan and defying a royal order calling for her to marry a man selected by the family, and were subject to public execution. Western media criticized the event as a violation of women's rights. A British TV channel presented a dramatized documentary, Death of a Princess, which was based on this incident. The broadcast hurt Saudi–UK relations significantly.[23]


Prince Muhammad led the conservative members of the royal family.[24] They did not support the fast modernization of the society witnessed at the end of the 1970s and thought that modernization and the presence of too many foreign workers in the country would lead to the erosion of traditional Muslim values.[24]

Death and legacy

Prince Muhammad died and was buried in Riyadh on 25 November 1988,[1][3] at approximately 78 years of age.[25]

Prince Mohammad bin Abdulaziz Airport is named after him.



  1. ^ a b c "Prince Mohammed of Saudi Arabia". The Palm Beach Post. AP. 26 November 1988. Retrieved 5 August 2012. 
  2. ^ Mouline, Nabil (April–June 2012). "Power and generational transition in Saudi Arabia" (PDF). Critique internationale. 46: 1–22. Retrieved 24 April 2012. 
  3. ^ a b "Reigning Royal Families". World Who's Who. Retrieved 4 March 2013. 
  4. ^ a b Winberg Chai (22 September 2005). Saudi Arabia: A Modern Reader. University Press. p. 193. ISBN 978-0-88093-859-4. Retrieved 26 February 2013. 
  5. ^ a b Eddy, William A. (2005). FDR meets Ibn Saud (PDF). Vista: Selwa Press. 
  6. ^ "Personal trips". King Khalid Exhibition. Archived from the original on 22 October 2012. Retrieved 7 May 2012. 
  7. ^ "Al Saud Family (Saudi Arabia)". European Institute for Research on Euro-Arab Cooperation. Retrieved 29 April 2012. 
  8. ^ Chapin Metz, Helen (1992). "Saudi Arabia: A Country Study". Retrieved 9 May 2012. 
  9. ^ "The New Succession Law Preserves The Monarchy While Reducing The King's Prerogatives". Wikileaks. 22 November 2006. Archived from the original on 19 November 2013. Retrieved 2 April 2013. 
  10. ^ Teitelbaum, Joshua (1 November 2011). "Saudi Succession and Stability" (PDF). BESA Center Perspectives. Retrieved 24 April 2012. 
  11. ^ "Family Tree of Al Anud bint Abdulaziz bin Abdul Rahman Al Saud". Datarabia. Retrieved 10 August 2012. 
  12. ^ Jennifer Reed (1 January 2009). The Saudi Royal Family. Infobase Publishing. p. 40. ISBN 978-1-4381-0476-8. Retrieved 2 April 2013. 
  13. ^ a b Rizk, Yunan Labib (2004). "Monarchs in war". Al Ahram Weekly. Archived from the original on 28 February 2012. Retrieved 23 April 2012. 
  14. ^ "Saudi Foreign Policy". Saudi Embassy Magazine. Fall 2001. Archived from the original on 7 August 2013. Retrieved 18 July 2013. 
  15. ^ Lippman, Thomas W. (April–May 2005). "The Day FDR Met Saudi Arabia's Ibn Saud" (PDF). The Link. 38 (2): 1–12. Retrieved 5 August 2012. 
  16. ^ "Riyadh. The capital of monotheism" (PDF). Business and Finance Group. Retrieved 22 July 2013. 
  17. ^ Ralls, Charles (25 January 1962). "King Saud arrives here for convelescence stay". Palm Beach Daily News. Retrieved 9 February 2013. 
  18. ^ "Crown Prince Fahd takes control of largest oil-exporting nation". Herald Journal. 14 June 1982. Retrieved 28 July 2012. 
  19. ^ Quandt, William B. (1981). Saudi Arabia in the 1980s: Foreign Policy, Security, and Oil. Washington DC: The Brookings Institution. p. 79. 
  20. ^ Herb, Michael (1999). All in the family. Albany: State University of New York Press. p. 102. ISBN 0-7914-4168-7. 
  21. ^ AbuKhalil, As'ad (2004). The Battle for Saudi Arabia. Royalty, fundamentalism and global power. New York City: Seven Stories Press. ISBN 1-58322-610-9. 
  22. ^ Kelidar, A. R. (1978). "The problem of succession in Saudi Arabia,". Asian Affairs. 9 (1): 23–30. doi:10.1080/03068377808729875. 
  23. ^ Henderson, Simon (August 2009). "After King Abdullah: Succession in Saudi Arabia". The Washington Institute. Retrieved 27 May 2012. 
  24. ^ a b Andrew J. Pierre (Summer 1978). "Beyond the "Plane Package": Arms and Politics in the Middle East". International Security. 3 (1): 148–161. doi:10.2307/2626647. JSTOR 2626647. 
  25. ^ Henderson, Simon (1994). "After King Fahd" (Policy Paper). Washington Institute. Retrieved 2 February 2013. 
Saudi Arabian royalty
Preceded by
Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia
2 November 1964 – 29 March 1965
Succeeded by
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