Libmonster ID: UK-1279
Author(s) of the publication: A. M. VASILIEV


Academician of the Russian Academy of Sciences

King Abdulaziz Keywords:Muhammad ibn Abdel WahhabSherif of Makkah Husayn ibn Ali (Sherif Husayn). Percy CoxHarry St. John Philby

Abdel Aziz only metered out his diplomacy to his subjects, ulema, and even the closest associates, realizing that their reaction may not always meet the requirements of political expediency.


The lessons he learned in Kuwait, at the court of the virtuoso of Arabian diplomacy Mubarak, were not in vain. First of all, he realized that independence from the Porte could be achieved by alternating between military confrontation - preferably not with the Turks themselves, but with their vassals - and political means-declarative recognition of the sultan's suzerainty, acceptance of Ottoman titles, and the display of Ottoman flags. But to consolidate his gains, he needed to ensure mutual understanding with another great power - the British Empire. A British protectorate was preferable to the heavy hand of the Turks. The British initially avoided direct contact with him, not wanting to interfere in the affairs of Central Arabia, and after his conquest of Al-Hasa, they did not want to turn their contacts into concrete obligations.

Europe was heading for the First World War. London was trying to dislodge the Ottoman Empire from a possible hostile coalition and was not going to quarrel with Istanbul over a distant, impoverished, third-rate Arabian principality. Therefore, the British were avoiding the conclusion of a formal treaty with Abdel Aziz, which he sought. Under the 1913 agreement between London and Istanbul (which was not ratified), most of the Emirate of Abdel Aziz remained under the suzerainty of the Ottoman Empire, since it was located north of the straight "green line" laid between the Aden protectorates and Qatar, which delimited the British and Ottoman possessions.

Knowing nothing of the conspiracy behind his back, Abdel Aziz came up with an ingenious solution - in May 1914, he signed a treaty with the Turks that recognized him as the hereditary ruler (wali) The Sultan's firman (decree) was issued on July 8, 1914, and imposed on him formal obligations of military assistance to the Ottomans in the event of their war with other countries. The British only found out about this agreement when they occupied Basra in 1914 and dismantled the Ottoman archives there.

With the start of military operations against the Ottoman Empire, Britain's first priority was to maintain control of Egypt, the Suez Canal, and the Red Sea, as well as to seize a foothold in the lower Tigris and Euphrates rivers to guarantee the oil fields in Iran from a possible Turkish-German invasion. The first was achieved by the presence of British troops in Egypt and their control over the approaches to the canal from Sinai, and the second-with the help of an expeditionary force in Mesopotamia.

British troops landed in Basra and began advancing towards Baghdad. The territory of the Hejaz up to Yemen was rather tightly controlled by the Turks. Jebel Shammar was their ally. Naturally, the British tried to enlist the support of Abdel Aziz. Both on the eve and after the outbreak of the war, Turkish and German emissaries came to him, persuading him to take the side of the Porte. At the same time, he maintained a good relationship with Shakespeare, an English political agent in Kuwait.

The war dramatically changed Saudi-Ottoman relations-

Ending. For the beginning, see: Asia and Africa Today, 2012, No. 11.

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North Kazakhstan-British triangle. The task of covering the flank of their Mesopotamian army, shackling some part of the Turkish troops with active actions of the Nejdians, neutralizing Jabal Shammar armed by the Turks, interrupting the supply of Turkish garrisons in the Hejaz-all this prompted the British to formalize relations with Abdel Aziz. An English political agent in Kuwait, Captain Shakespeare, who had previously established friendly personal relations with Abdel Aziz, insisted that he speak out against the Turkish Shammar vassals.

The battle with the Shammars at Jirab lasted for several days in late January 1915. According to some sources, only Captain W. Shakespeare himself was killed, according to other sources, the parties lost hundreds of people each. The Ajmans, who performed together with Abdel Aziz, changed at the crucial moment, and he failed. The soldiers of Abdel Aziz, who were strongly influenced by Ikhwan sentiments, went into battle with their war cries. The Shammars, who formed the main body of the Ha'il ruler's army, cheered themselves on with the battle cries of their tribe, shouted by beautiful girls sitting on camels with their hair down.

These facts are interesting not only as an exotic episode of the First World War, which was fought in Europe with the use of artillery, poison gases, aircraft, and then tanks. In Arabia, the very selection of battle cries showed the different base of the two emirates: tribal-for Jebel Shammar and pan-Arabian, based on the monotheism adopted by the poles - for the Nejdi Emirate.

Abdel Aziz had little money and few people. The tribes recognized only a strong and successful ruler. At the first sign of weakness, they were ready to betray him. Turkish money, which was distributed to the tribes, worked against him. The Ajmans, led by Sheikh Zaydan ibn Hislain, have already risen up against him. But he didn't show any signs of weakness. He exuded optimism and self-confidence, and in public he beat anyone who brought him bad news with a stick. Although in private, he listened carefully to all the messages to calculate his actions. He announced that he would attack Jabal Shammar. It was a bluff, but it worked.

It was necessary to negotiate with the British.

Not knowing what the outcome of the war would be, but being aware of the defeats of British forces in Mesopotamia during the first year and a half of the war, Abdel Aziz never spoke directly against the Turks. Who could have predicted the outcome of the war? Had it remained under Turkish rule, their vengeance would have been terrible.

The ruler of Najd realized that the British needed him more than he needed them in a war, so he was able to negotiate the best terms for the long-desired treaty. Finally, on December 26, 1915, in the village of Darius, he signed it with the British political adviser to the British troops in Mesopotamia, an old acquaintance of his, Percy Cox. A study of the documents shows how carefully and expertly Abdel Aziz approached each point of the treaty and how skillfully he defended his positions, not allowing language that would give the British free hands.

Cox and Abdel Aziz signed a treaty in which the British government recognized him and his heirs as "the rulers of Najd, Al-Hasa, Qatif and Jubail and the cities and ports belonging to them", as well as the tribes. The Treaty was ratified by the Viceroy of India on 18 July 1916. Two of Abdel Aziz's old long-term goals were fulfilled: recognition of him as the hereditary ruler of Najd and a commitment to British aid. He ceded the right to international relations to the British and pledged not to grant concessions on his territory to anyone other than the British. Back then, both of these points didn't matter to him. The treaty was the first legal document confirming the new international status of the Saudi state.

On the eve of the conclusion of the treaty, the British gave the Emir of Riyadh a gift - a thousand rifles and 20 thousand pounds sterling-and allowed him to buy military equipment in Bahrain.


Meanwhile, secret negotiations between the British and the Sherif of Mecca, Hussein, led to the Arab uprising against the Turks, which began on June 5, 1916. The international weight of Sherif, a descendant of the Prophet, and his connections with Arab nationalists, and the possibility of shackling four Turkish divisions from Ma'an to Sanaa in an uprising, all predetermined the choice of Hussein as the main British ally in Arabia.

Abdel Aziz found himself surrounded by enemies on three sides: from the west - the sherif allied with the British, from the north-the Ottoman vassal Jebel Shammar, from the east and north-the warlike Ajman tribe that rebelled against him.

Abdel Aziz has not forgotten the treacherous behavior of the Ajmans at the Battle of Jirab.

In the summer of 1915, before signing an agreement with the British, Abdel Aziz went with a small army to Al-Hasa, where he was joined by a local militia. He overtook the Ajmans in May-June 1915 at Jebel Kanzan, but the Ajmans put up a stubborn resistance. The Nejdians lost about 300 men, including the Emir's brother, Saad, and Abdel Aziz himself was wounded.

The bullet hit the bandolier on his chest. This saved him, but the bandolier exploded, injuring his ribs. His men fled, and with them, as Bedouin tactics dictated, he fled. But he didn't lose heart.

After this failure, Abdel Aziz was forced to hide behind the walls of the citadel of Kut in the city of Khufuf. The Ajmans began looting neighboring oases and besieged Abdel Aziz for about six months - until September and October 1915. Some local emirs also helped them. They also received aid from Hail. To Abdel Aziz, his father sent reinforcements under the command of his second son, Mohammed.

Mubarak needed Abdel Aziz weakened but not defeated by the Ajmans. Fearing their success, he sent his son Salim to help him.

There was another battle against the Ajmans. Abdel Aziz participated in it, towering over everyone. The bullet hit him in the thigh and he fell. Taking advantage of the confusion, the Ajmans fled. And then, at some point in the battle, Mubarak's son Salim joined them. His father gave him instructions: if the Ajmans win, help the Emir of Nejd, and if the Emir of Nejd wins, help the Emir of Nejd.-

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he promises to support the Ajmans.

Despondency spread in Abdel Aziz's camp. The Emir was wounded, so he could no longer command. Then, to prove that he was fit, that he was a strong man, he called the sheikh of a neighboring oasis and demanded to find him a girl to marry immediately. The wedding ceremony was held that night, and he could prove his manhood even though he was badly injured. The whole camp rejoiced at his victory. He was admired. The depression of spirit had passed. They were led by a giant who proved to be a real man with a young wife, even when he was injured. More fights with Ajmans followed.

Salim migrated to Kuwait after learning of the death of his father Sheikh Mubarak in January 1916.Jabir ibn Mubarak, a friend of Abdel Aziz, became the Sheikh of Kuwait.

Throughout 1916, Abdel Aziz fought against the Ajmans. The ancient rules of war in the desert were forgotten, wells were destroyed, palm trees were cut down. The hatred was such that women also took part in the war, who finished off the wounded men of the enemy. Abdel Aziz could move faster than his enemies. He was a better warlord, a more farsighted leader. He dealt mercilessly with the Ajmans until Zaydan ibn Hislain fled from Al-Hasa to Kuwait.

Abdel Aziz maintained contacts with the Ottoman governor and the commander-in-chief of the Turkish forces operating in the vicinity of Medina. He supplied the Turks with camels for hard currency.

On November 20, 1916, Percy Cox organized the so - called "great durbar" in Kuwait-a council at which Abdel Aziz, Sheikh Jabir of Kuwait and Sheikh of the village of Mohammary Hazal met.

It was then that Abdel Aziz made his theatrical gesture, handing over to the British the 700 camels he had confiscated, intended for the Turks.

After the Great Durbar, Abdelaziz visited Basra, where the British showed him modern weapons and where he first saw airplanes. The emir, who was reserved in his words, did not express his admiration, but we must assume that the military equipment made an impression on him.

The only thing Abdel Aziz couldn't understand was how the woman who accompanied him, Gertrude Bell, could represent the British Army.

By the end of 1917, he had regained control of Nejd and Al-Hasa and was able to look around.

The British army marching on Baghdad was surrounded near Kut and completely captured. But the British moved reinforcements, and the new British army captured Baghdad and began to move on Mosul. From Egypt, another British army repulsed the Turkish advance on the Suez Canal and, under the command of General Allenby, began to move north into Palestine.

The British began to give Sherif Hussein 20 thousand gold pounds a month as a subsidy, as well as weapons and ammunition. However, it was not so easy to deal with the Turks, and along the entire line from Ma'an through Medina and to Yemen, they held out for the entire war, although the Arab uprising tied down their four divisions for two years.

Even the pro-British neutrality of Abdel Aziz, in the absence of his active actions, was in line with British interests. In any case, he was drawing back some of Jebel Shammar's forces. Therefore, from January 1, 1917, he began to receive a monthly subsidy of 5 thousand pounds sterling on a permanent basis. Continuing to rely on Sherif Hussein, the British began to understand that the responsibility for aggravating the Hejaz-Najdi differences lies with the ruler of the Hejaz. They recognized him as the King of the Hejaz, but not the "king of the Arab countries", and gave him a copy of the British-Saudi treaty, which he had to respect. This did not prevent Hussein, using British subsidies, to buy the loyalty of the tribes living between the Najd and the Hejaz.

Among those sent by the British from Cairo to communicate with Hussein was Captain Thomas Edward Lawrence, who hardly stood out from other communications and intelligence officers. But, having great literary abilities, after the war he wrote the book "The Seven Pillars of Wisdom", became famous and became a national hero of England.

Because of his personality, interest in the Arab revolt against the Turks is disproportionately high in Western European and American literature, both historical and artistic.

Lawrence went to the Sherif of Mecca in October 1916, met with his son Abdallah, then with another son, Faisal. After taking small towns on the Red Sea coast from the Turks, Bedouin detachments headed north of the Hejaz to capture the port of Aqaba. In an important battle against the Turks on the outskirts of Aqaba, when the matter was decided by a brave and capable Bedouin leader, T. Lawrence himself was in a state of insanity, fired randomly, shot his own camel in the head and fell unconscious. Then act-

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the actions of Arab troops were limited to operations against the Turks east of the Jordan River and sabotage on the railway, in which T. Lawrence actively participated. The Arab revolt contributed to the Allied success and saved the lives of many British soldiers. But the Arabs actually died so that the colonialists would then divide their countries among themselves.

T. Lawrence knew about it. "Since I was not a complete fool, I understood that if we won the war, then promises to the Arabs would become just a piece of paper," he wrote. "If I were honest, I should send my men home and not let them risk their lives for such promises. But Arab inspiration was our main weapon to win the war in the East. So I assured them that England would keep both the letter and spirit of her word... But of course... I was constantly experiencing bitterness and shame. " 1

Among the Arabs, Lawrence was not respected. Here's how they rated it: "With English gold, he bought Arab blood, and then made up a story that is a lie."

"The Arabs didn't think much of Poseur Lawrence," wrote Dutch Arabist and diplomat Daniel van der Meulen. "Lawrence was naive. He was a very capable person, but not quite a mature person. For him, Arabia was an adventure. Arabia, the Bedouins, desert guerrilla warfare on a camel-it was a sport for him, a test of endurance. He had the inspiration of an artist, the courage of a true leader. But it didn't have the sober conviction of a mature mind behind it. He wanted to shake the dust of Arabia from his feet forever, but the dust of Arabia stuck to him, to his soul forever. He was trying to get rid of her so that he could forget and be forgotten.

He gave up his name, gave up his fame, and disappeared into the RAF under a different name. He returned his awards to the government. He sought oblivion in the noise of the engines and in the intoxication of speed. He ended up dying while riding his motorcycle. He tried to forget Arabia, but he couldn't. He was the victim of his own frustration. " 2

In 1918, the war was still raging in Europe and the Middle East. The British needed all the allies they could muster, because Russia had pulled out of the war after two revolutions. Although the American Expeditionary Force arrived at the front in early 1918, the situation of the Entente was difficult until its counteroffensive in July 1918. The British decided to push Abdel Aziz to more active actions. A delegation from Baghdad, headed by John Philby, was sent to meet with him.

John Philby (full name Harry St. John Bridger Philby) was born in Ceylon, then a British colony, the son of a tea planter. He studied at Cambridge, served in Punjab and Kashmir, provinces of British India, was a representative of the original culture of the British Empire of the XIX-early XX centuries. An ambitious official and at the same time a scientist, an expert in Asian and European languages, a sociable fellow, but with a special dissident attitude. Over time, he became famous among Arabists and those interested in the Middle East, and after his death - as the father of Kim Philby, who rose to great heights in the British secret service and at the same time was the "superagent" of Soviet foreign intelligence in England and in the United States during and after World War II.

Philby's mission in Arabia was to persuade Abdel Aziz not to attack his enemy Hussein, the Sherif of Mecca, using English weapons and gold, but to push him to take military action against Jabal Shammar.

When Philby met Abdel Aziz, he was so captivated by his personality that he befriended him and remained loyal to him for the next 35 years.

A lifelong dissident, he strongly condemned England's colonial policies, retired after the war, and then chose to work for an American oil company. But about this-a special conversation.

Philby, of course , is not an artist and has never tried to be one, Van der Melen noted. But he sensed the possibility of realizing his ambitions in Arabia. He made a choice, he decided to devote himself to this land. Arabia was supposed to satisfy his ambition, and Abdel Aziz was the man who was supposed to open the path to glory for him.

He wanted to live not like others, but according to his own tastes and ideas. Arabia provided him with these opportunities. In the middle of the desert, he met a man who became great because he decided to be himself, to fight alone, to challenge fate, believing in his calling and that he was led from above. Philby was hardly a deep believer, although he later converted to Islam and became Abdullah Philby. He was consumed by ambition. And he was willing to sacrifice everything so that his name would be inextricably linked to Arabia. Philby was a man of contradictions, which made it difficult to assess him. He didn't have any real friends, but he had a lot of enemies. There were few who understood that this was a man who could not find peace with himself. He was devoted to Arabia, but he was too European, too English, to be a pure Arabian.

Abdel Aziz received the British in Riyadh, despite the grumbling of the Ikhwans and Ulema, who were dissatisfied with the appearance of" infidels " in their capital. The British pushed him to take military action against Jabal Shammar. But the Turks no longer threatened him. Helping the British meant helping his enemy Hussein. Throughout the war, he avoided military action by selling camels and horses to both.


In 1917, Abdel Aziz was in the prime of life. I will use here a portrait made by H. Armstrong. Abdel Aziz was a giant with a beautiful head that sat on broad shoulders. He behaved with calm dignity, like a man who was used to being obeyed, and who had the right to demand submission. His eyes were brown and full of light. Although he often hid his feelings, his eyes gave away his mood. They were insightful and intelligent when he delved into something and looked closely at the person, they were polite and smiling when he was pleased. They were fierce when he was angry.

His forehead was high and broad, his features were firmly defined, and his nose was so large that in profile he looked like a nervous, energetic eagle. Short mustache and close-cropped beard. He went shiro-

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kim step. Large and heavy for an Arab horse, he was nevertheless a superb horseman.

He wore perfume and didn't like dirt. He was particularly fond of rose perfume. But he was very sensitive to unpleasant odors. One hot day, he was sitting with the Turkish pasha, discussing important matters. And his guest before that ate garlic and onions and smoked. The Emir could not stand it, called the servants to remove the unpleasant smell in the room with incense. When the guest left, Abdel Aziz exploded: "Pasha!.. This is not a pasha, but a janitor who takes out the slop!" he exclaimed as he sprayed himself with perfume 3.

The English Arabist Gertrude Bell in her book" The Arab War "left a literary portrait of Abdel Aziz:" He had thin hands with delicate fingers-a trait common among tribes of purely Arab blood. Despite his tall stature and broad shoulders, he gave the impression of a tired man, but this was not a business-related fatigue, not a personal one, but a characteristic of an ancient people who had little contact with others, who spent so much of their vital energy and drew so little energy beyond their impassable borders. His slow movements, his slow, pleasant smile, and his heavy-lidded, thoughtful eyes all added to his dignity and charm, but they did not fit in with the Western concept of an active person. However, the stories about him speak of his physical stamina, which is rare even in Arabia with its harsh conditions. " 4

His food was simple. In the morning he ate a few small cakes with sour milk, for lunch - rice and meat, bread and some dates, and the same for dinner. He drank coffee and tea all day. And nothing else but water.

Although the nights in Saudi Arabia are very cold, he did not have heating in his room, and he never took a brazier to his tent.

It worked very fast. He had an excellent memory and the ability to focus his attention on a particular topic. He could dictate different messages to two secretaries at once, interrupting sentences, turning from one to the other, sometimes being distracted by conversations with guests. Then he continued to dictate the interrupted sentence.

He, of course, took care of housing worthy of the emir. In Riyadh, he rebuilt the palace, expanding it and surrounding it with a wall. There was a square in front of the palace where up to 3 thousand people could gather.

Hospitality and generosity were part of Abdel Aziz's nature and part of big politics. Every day he fed at least a thousand people, constantly steaming cauldrons of rice and mutton, heaped mountains of tortillas and stood bowls of sour milk. From his warehouses, he distributed clothes to guests according to their ranks. He was infinitely generous. "Neither I nor any of my ancestors ever kept a chest to fill with money," he said... In times of peace, I give everything, even this cloak, to those who need it. But in war, I demand that my men give me everything they have. " 5

He was emotional and gave free rein to his feelings. When he exploded, his anger was terrible, engulfing him all over, he shuddered with anger. But the emotional outburst passed quickly. If he made mistakes in anger, he would admit them later. If he committed any injustice, he tried to correct it immediately.

Sometimes, however, his outbursts of anger were calculated. One day, Fahd al-Jiluvi hit one of his bodyguards. Fahd was a proud young man, the son of a beloved cousin who was genuinely devoted to Abdel Aziz. The emir summoned the young man, and when he appeared, he seized a camel-driving stick and beat his cousin severely, teaching him to respect the ruler's bodyguards. A moment later he was sitting quietly, talking to the English guests.

Abdel Aziz had been wounded many times in battle, and the wounds were still there. He ate irregularly, ate quickly, and was in a hurry to get back to work. He drove himself to work, constant stress, lack of sleep. He never really rested. In order to always be in working shape, he abused drugs, but did not want to be seriously treated, his whole nature protested against diseases and treatment. And, of course, he drank too much coffee.

But in times of joy and grief, outbursts of anger, illnesses, he always kept a cool head. He calculated his steps, especially in matters of national importance, to make the right decision. He was a true political leader, and his political instincts never failed him.

When the Emir was in Riyadh, after evening prayers, he sometimes gathered the Majlis to exchange views with his entourage. After that, he visited the harem and then invited his friends back to his private apartments. There he could talk about people, horses, camels, falconry, war, women, past battles, religious issues. He enjoyed listening to the stories of foreigners who visited Riyadh and liked to talk to them about international politics.

By the spring of 1918, Abdel Aziz was firmly in control of Nejd. But it took a lot of skill to avoid collisions with the enemies around him.

Meanwhile, Sherif Hussein proclaimed himself king of the Arab countries and sent a letter to Abdel Aziz, demanding to recognize his new title and give up suzerainty over the Atayba tribe, which lived between Nejd and the Hejaz. The Emir of Riyadh protested and demanded to define the borders between Nejd and Hijaz and agree on who will be subordinate to the border nomadic tribes. Hussein, according to a Nejdi chronicler, allegedly replied to him: "What boundaries do you demand? You're either crazy or drunk. " 6

The Emir of Najd has never forgotten this insult. He warned the British that he would be forced to fight against Hussein.

A clash was brewing with Hussein. The ruler of the border oasis of Hurma, Khalid ibn Luwai, who is close to the family of Sherif Husayn ibn Ali, joined the Ikhwans, expelled the representatives of the Sherif of Mecca, refused to pay him taxes and put himself under the protection of Abdel Aziz. It was an important trade center on the way between Najd and Hijaz. Residents of Persimmon repulsed the attack of a small detachment sent by

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By Hussein. The Ikhwans and Ulama demanded military action against Hussein, but the pragmatist Abdel Aziz waited, knowing that everything was not so simple. Next to him was an English mission led by Philby, who demanded that he remain faithful to the treaty with England and not attack English allies, and Hussein was an ally of England.

All through the summer of 1918, Abdel Aziz waited. His agents reported that the Turkish armies were on the verge of collapse. Mass desertions, semi-starvation, disease, lack of weapons and ammunition-all this was corrupting the Ottoman armed forces. The British were winning the war.

Still, Abdelaziz found it difficult to understand British politics. He didn't attack their allies. But they defended the Sheikh of Kuwait Salim, who supported the Ajman tribe against him. They asked him to attack Jabal Shammar, but turned a blind eye to the sale of Kuwaiti weapons to this emirate. They did not allow him to attack Hussein, but they gave him money and weapons, and with this money he bought the loyalty of the border tribes and incited them against the Emir of Najd.

Philby could not explain to him that during the war, the various British departments - the Indian Office, the War Office, the Foreign Office, the Arab Bureau in Egypt-had been uncoordinated and sometimes hostile to each other. The Indian office focused on the ruler of Nejd. The Arab Bureau in Egypt supported Sherif Hussein and fed him vague promises. The Foreign Office's policy was based on the agreement with the French (the"Sykes-Picot Treaty"), which provided for the division of Arab countries and crossed out all previous British promises to Hussein and Arab nationalists.

But by April 1918, when Jerusalem had already been taken, the British no longer needed to eliminate the Jebel Shammar Emirate and now even refused to deliver what J. Philby had promised in December 1917.

However, Philby offered from a fund at his personal disposal, 20 thousand pounds, if the Emir of Riyadh immediately makes a campaign to Hail. On August 5, 1918, the campaign against Jabal Shammar began, about which J. Philby left a detailed report.

Abdel Aziz had great difficulty in persuading the Ikhwans and Ulama to support his march on Hail. Faisal Aal Dawish advocated war against Hussein. The Ikhwans were gaining strength, and their favor had to be won again and again. Abdel Aziz was an excellent speaker and was able to convince the audience that it was necessary to make an expedition against the Ibn Rashids.

The Emir of Najd again defeated the Shammars, but could not take Hail, their capital. He had good loot - cattle, weapons, and even a gold treasury that they were able to intercept. The Ikhwans, his army, and the Bedouin militia were all happy.

The war was followed by a pandemic of "Spanish flu" - a terrible flu.

In the winter of 1918 - 1919, the Spaniard claimed more lives than were lost in the battles of the First World War. After the death of tens of millions of people, it was as if nature itself or the forces of Allah were taking revenge on the foolish peoples for this massacre and adding new victims. The pandemic was so dangerous and led to such rapid deaths that many people thought the world was ending. After the first signs of the disease appeared, the victim died in just a few hours. The lungs filled with blood, and the person suffocated. Now it is assumed that this was a variant of the very "bird flu" that still terrifies entire continents in our time. The "Spaniard" chose victims in a strange way: it killed young, healthy people, and not the elderly or children who had a weakened immune system.

In 1918-1919, 675,000 Americans died from the pandemic. Of these, 200 thousand - only in October 1918, when the war was not yet over. And worldwide, "Spanish flu" claimed from 30 to 40 million lives. In India alone, more than 10 million people died.

Then in Nejd only in goro-

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About 25,000 settled people and countless Bedouins died in Dah and oases. Almost every house has been hit by death. In the family of the emir, she took the life of his heir, the handsome and heroic Turki, of whom he was proud, and his two other sons-Fahd and five-year-old Saad. In the harem, a "Spanish woman" killed his beloved wife Jauhara.

Abdel Aziz had married many times by then, but Jawhara was the only wife he truly loved. She was his first cousin, and their marriage was arranged by his mother and Jauhara's mother. A beautiful and talented girl got married when she was 17 years old. The husband and wife often quarreled and even separated for a while, but then Abdel Aziz restored the marriage with her. She was the mother of two of his sons.

Abdel Aziz has enjoyed women all his life. As wives and friends, and as mothers of his children.

He had many wives. He was proud of it because he didn't break any rules prescribed by Islam. "I follow the Prophet, may peace be upon him. What he approves, I do. May I always have as many wives as he allows, " he said. Once, in a conversation with an Englishman, Robert Belhaven, he expressed surprise that in enlightened England, extramarital affairs and debauchery are allowed, and people are not punished for it. In the desert, adultery is punishable by death by stoning. But in England, no one is punished for this, but even praised in books and poems. "How many women have you had?" The Englishman asked. "I have always had four wives, so the Prophet allowed," Abdel Aziz replied. "But how many did you have, and how many did you divorce?" "I have married and divorced many times, but if Allah wills, I will marry and divorce many more times."

He once told J. Philby, " I have had many wives in my life, and by the grace of Allah, I continue to marry. I'm still young and strong. And now, because of the loss of men in your war (it was about the First World War - A.V.), the time will surely come when the people of Europe will be so wise that they will allow men to take more than one wife. " 7

He couldn't understand a man who only had one wife. It was something unnatural. This man was despicable. He should have been pitied. He had to go to the doctors and get cured.

Abdel Aziz lived strictly according to the commandments set forth by the Prophet. Christ did not give any instructions about the number of wives for Christian men, and Muhammad, the seal of the prophets, reported the words of Allah:"...Marry those who please you, women of two, three, and four. " 8

Abdel Aziz usually kept three wives, leaving the fourth spot free to fill whenever he wanted, especially when hiking or even hunting. If there was no job available and he had to get married, then he divorced one of the four wives.

Almost every evening, after prayers, after finishing the day's work, at about 9 pm, he would go to the harem for a while, and none of the wives ever complained that he did not pay attention to her. Even in his old age, he remained a strong man and an attentive lover. One day, one of his grandsons was surprised to see his grandfather, who always liked cleanliness and rose-scented perfume, trim his mustache and beard and put on a lot of perfume before going to see one of his wives.

He got married for many reasons. Often this was political, as marriages strengthened his alliance with important, influential Arabian clans. He, for example, married girls from the family of descendants of the teacher of the faith Muhammad ibn Abdel Wahhab (Aal al-Sheikh), from the noble clan of Aal Sudeiri, from the aristocracy of the Mutayr, Anaza, and Dawasir tribes. He established family ties with all the noble clans of Nejd. No one objected to divorce, because it did not bring shame to the woman and did not cause condemnation. For a woman, it was considered an honor to be the wife of the ruler of a country for a while. If she gave birth to children, then even stronger blood ties were established between the families.

Abdel Aziz always took care of the wives he divorced, gave them money for maintenance and allowed them to remarry. If any of them had children, he gave her slaves and female slaves, and gave her a house in which she could raise her children. Sometimes he would marry a girl from a tribe he had just conquered, to strengthen his ties with its nobles and make up for a long time. He also married because he was a healthy man who always wanted a woman. He loved a good fight, a good song, and was a great lover.

Whatever the twists and turns of his life, no matter how many women he had, but Jauhara was a truly beloved wife, she was his queen. The death of Turki and Jauhara's son broke his heart. Throughout the late winter and early spring of 1919, when the desert rains came and the grass and flowers grew, Abdel Aziz mourned for his wife. He locked himself in the palace and didn't want to see anyone. He forbade touching the chambers in which Jauhara lived, allowing only his sister Nura to enter, and kept her slaves and servants with him. And on Fridays, after morning prayers, he would visit her grave in the grand cemetery of Riyadh.

There was a big life ahead, full of defeats and outstanding successes. With his talent as a leader and diplomat, his sword, will, faith, and a combination of flexibility and rigidity, Abdel Aziz created a vast state that covered most of Arabia.

He was a unique person in unique circumstances.


Lawrence Thomas E. 1 Seven Pillars of Wisdom. London: Jonathan Cape. 1942, p. 283.

Meulen Daniel van der. 2 The Wells of Ibn Sa'ud. London: John Murray, 1957, p. 82 - 83.

Armstrong Harold C. 3 Lord of Arabia: Ibn Saud. An Intimate Study of a King. London: Arthur Bakker Ltd. First published 1934, p. 150.

Bell Gertrude. 4 The Arab War. Confidential Information for General Headquarters from Gertrude Bell being Despatches Reprinted from the Secret Arab Bulletin. London: Golden Cockerell Press, 1940. Chapter IV -

Armstrong Harold With 5 Op. cit., p. 151.

6 Tarikh muluk aal Saud (History of the kings of the Aal Saud dynasty). Riyadh, 1961, pp. 109-110.

Armstrong Harold p . 7 Op. cit., p. 174.

8 The Koran, Sura 4 "Women", verse 3 (translated by I. Y. Krachkovsky).


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