Imam Muhammad Bin Saud: Founder of first Saudi State

February 22, 2023

Imam Muhammad Bin Saud Bin Muhammad Bin Muqrin was born in 1090 AH /1679 AD, and he was brought up in Diriyah. In his youth, he was a good observer of the situations in the emirate. He worked alongside his father in putting it in order and he participated in its defense when it was invaded by Saadoun Bin Muhammad, the leader of Bani Khalid tribe. He stood firm and defeated the aggressor.

Imam Muhammad was known for his religiosity, love of goodness, courage, and the ability to influence. Like his predecessors who built the city-state, he wanted to expand his state, and his assumption of power came in exceptional circumstances.

During the period before his accession, Diriyah suffered weakness and division due to the internal conflict between his uncle Muqrin Bin Muhammad and Prince Zaid Bin Markhan, as well as the attack of Diriyah on Al-Uyaynah and the killing of Prince Zaid Bin Markhan. This was in addition to the spread of plague disease in the peninsula. But the imam overcame all these and united Diriyah under his rule, and consolidated stability in the Al-Arid region.

Imam Muhammad was wise. He learned politics and methods of dealing with neighboring emirates and mobile clans. He contributed to bringing into control the situation in the emirate before he came to power. He also had a sagacious vision that enabled him to know the conditions of his emirate and the emirates around it.

Since he came to power, he began planning for a change in the pattern that prevailed at that time, and laid the foundations for a new path in the history of the region, represented by unity, education, spreading culture, enhancing communication between members of society and maintaining security. He had four sons — Abdul Aziz, Abdullah, Saud and Faisal.

Imam Muhammad Bin Saud assumed power after the Al-Uyaynah campaign in the middle of 1139 AH /February 1727 AD. The Emir of Diriyah Zaid Bin Markhan decided to launch a campaign against Al-Uyaynah, but the ruler of Al-Uyaynah Muhammad Bin Hamad Bin Muammar realized that he would not be able to repel the campaign. So he resorted to a trick by sending a message to Zaid that they welcome him as well as the members of the ruling family and the notables of Diriyah and will give them what they wanted.

So Zaid, accompanied by about 40 princes and notables, including Muhammad Bin Saud, headed and entered Al-Uyaynah. But Bin Muammar hatched a plot to kill them. Accordingly, Zaid and most of those who were with him were killed, while Muhammad Bin Saud and some of those with him took refuge in one of the palace towers. Then Imam Muhammad descended from the tower with the security given by Al-Jawhara Bint Abdullah Bin Muammar. He then returned to Diriyah, where he was sworn in as imam of the new state.

The rule of Muhammad Bin Saud at a glance

Imam Muhammad Bin Saud ruled for about 40 years. He died in 1179 AH /1765 AD

His major activities:

• Dealing with leaders of other towns

• Communication with other towns to join the Saudi state

• He built the Diriyah wall to counter external attacks

• Secured the pilgrimage and trade routes

• Started unification campaigns, led the armies himself, and unified most of the Najd region

• He was politically independent and was not endowed with any power

• Expanded independence and prosperity in the country

• He regulated economic resources for the state

• He confronted campaigns to eliminate the state in the very beginning

• The establishment of the first Saudi state in phases

• United the two parts of Diriyah

• Take care of the affairs of Diriyah and the forces of its community and unite its members

• Legalizing access to resources for the state and not being unfair

• He ordered the construction of a new neighborhood in Samhan, which is the terminal neighborhood, and he moved to it after moving the center of government from Ghasaiba.

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