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Feature Article
Analysis: Al Rashid Opposition Group (part one) (Page: 2)
Marriage alliances and tribal connections

Their brother Sultan bin Hamud bin Ubayd, the next Amir, led an unsuccessful campaign against the Saudi forces, and within a year was murdered by another brother, Saud bin Hamud (whose own rule lasted only a few months). The Amirate now reverted once more to the senior branch, the descendants of the first Amir Abdallah bin Rashid. The succeeding Amir, Muhammad Saud bin Abd al-Aziz bin Mit'ab, was installed in power in 1908, while still a boy, by his maternal relatives, the Subhan family, after they had killed Saud bin Hamud. He was head of the Rashidi family until 1920, when murdered by his cousin Abdallah bin Talal (brother of the twelfth and last Rashidi Amir Muhammad) in a fit of pique, shot at close range after criticizing Abdallah's marksmanship (Abdallah was himself promptly hacked to pieces by his victim's slaves).

Years of murderous internecine conflict had by now decimated the Rashidi male line. Ibn Saud, campaigning in Najd, seized on the confusion to divert his forces for a final showdown with the Rashidis in Ha'il, where the young Abdallah bin Mit'ab bin Abd al-Aziz had become the eleventh Amir by imprisoning his more popular cousin, Muhammad bin Talal (great-great grandson of the first Amir, Abdallah bin Rashid). But the ineffectual Abdallah was unable to rally support within Ha'il, and he fled, disguised as a woman, to surrender to the Saudis.

As Ha'il lay under siege, Muhammad bin Talal was released from prison by loyal allies, but time had already run out. In November 1921, the gates of the city were opened to the Saudis through bribery and Muhammad was forced to surrender to Ibn Saud. Abd al-Aziz then pardoned the Rashidi Amir and welcomed him into his own family, hoping for reconciliation. He then adopted "en masse" all the orphaned Rashidi children, of whom there were said to be hundreds. Furthermore, numerous marriages were contracted with the Shammar, who had formed the backbone of the principality (though the connection was one-way; Al Saud princesses rarely marry outside the family).

Abd al-Aziz ordered his son Saud (later King) to marry Lulua bint Salih (widow of the tenth Rashidi Amir, Muhammad Saud bin Abd al-Aziz), who been widowed in 1920. Another son of Ibn Saud, Nasir bin Abd al-Aziz, later married Nura (daughter of the eleventh Amir, Abdallah bin Mita'b), by whom he had one son, Abd al-Rahman bin Nasir. Muqrin bin Abd al-Aziz later married Abta bint Hamud bin Ubayd, and Musa'id bin Abd al-Aziz married Watfa bint Muhammad, daughter of the deposed Muhammad bin Talal, by whom he had son Faysal bin Musa'id (the later assassin of King Faysal).

Abd al-Aziz himself later married Watfa's sister Jawahir bint Muhammad. (Watfa and Jawahir were both sisters of Talal bin Muhammad, founder of the Democratic Opposition Front.) There were no children by this marriage.

Most importantly, Abd al-Aziz also married Fahda, who was to become the mother of the present King Abdallah (in addition to daughters Nuf and Sita). Fahda was the daughter of Asi al Shurayim, a shaykh of the Abda section of the Shammar tribe, and another of the widows of the tenth Rashidi Amir Muhammad Saud bin Abd al-Aziz. Fahda had had two sons by this marriage, Abd al-Aziz (born 1916) and Mish'al (born 1918). Ibn Saud took the boys in as foster sons, and raised them with his other children.

Nonetheless, many of the Al Rashid refused to be reconciled, and went into exile in neighboring Iraq. During the early years of the Saudi Kingdom, all members of the Rashid family lived at Abd al-Aziz' expense in Riyadh. But they were kept under close supervision, and were never entirely free from suspicion. Fear that they were intriguing for a return to power was such that the reputations of several Saudi princes, such as Nasir bin Abd al-Aziz, were damaged by their association with the Rashid. More recently, however, most of the Rashid family have returned to their homeland.

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