Saud bin Faisal bin Turki

Saud bin Faisal bin Turki Al Saud (Arabic: سعود بن فيصل بن تركي آل سعود), also known as Imam Saud (Arabic: إمام الدولة السعودية الثانية), (died 1875) was a ruler of the Second Saudi State in 1871 and 1873–75.[1] He joined alliances with foreign tribes and revolted against his half-brother Abdullah. His rule was short-lived and he was overthrown by Abdullah bin Turki. He gained power again in 1873 but died two years later. His reign was notable for the infighting in the House of Saud which he initiated.

Saud bin Faisal bin Turki Al Saud
Saud bin Faisal bin Turki bin Abdallah bin Muhammad Al Saud
Noble familyHouse of Saud
  • Muhammad
  • Abdul-Aziz
  • Sad
  • Abdallah
  • Abdul-Rahman


The mother of Saud and his much younger full-brother Abdul-Rahman were part of the Ujman, a Bedouin tribe inhabiting the desert to the southeast of Riyadh. Saud had half-brothers - Abdullah and Muhammad. The mother of Abdallah and Muhammad came from the Saud family.


Abdallah, as the oldest son of Faisal, had been made designated heir and chief military commander while Saud was sent to al-Kharj in southern Najd as governor, partly to reduce the developing friction between the two brothers.

However, Saud proved outstandingly successful and his reputation soon eclipsed that of his brother, whose claim to the succession was not validated by any great success or ability in politics, whereas Saud had developed a strong power base in the area of al-Kharj and a following among the Ajman tribe of his mother.

After Faisal's death in 1865, Abdallah became Imam, but was immediately challenged by the ambitious Saud. Saud had left Riyadh and gathered supporters among the tribes of al-Hasa in the east. Abdullah and his loyal brother Muhammad at first proved too strong for Saud, but in December 1870, Saud, aided by the rulers of Oman, Abu Dhabi and Bahrain, defeated the forces of Abdallah and captured Muhammad.

Abdallah fled Riyadh and Saud proclaimed himself Imam in May 1871.

Failed Kingship

Soon after, another rebellion shook the kingdom. Saud was forced out by his uncle Abdullah bin Turki. Abdullah bin Turki took the capital. Saud had also estranged the population by his reliance on tribes from the east.

Return of Abdullah bin Faisal

In the meantime, Abdullah had requested help from Midhat Pasha, the Ottoman governor of Baghdad. Midhat Pasha took advantage of the opportunity to sweep into the province of al-Hasa, where Muhammad bin Faisal was held prisoner by Saud's son, Abdul-Aziz. Muhammad was released, and eventually the two brothers Abdullah and Muhammad were able to make their way back to Riyadh. However, Saud, along with his Ajman followers, retook Riyadh in January 1873 and Abdallah and Muhammad were sent into exile among the Mutayr and Utaiba tribes. In January 1875, Saud died, either of battle wounds or smallpox.

Saud's Sons

Muhammad, Abdullah, and Abdul-Rahman then formed an alliance. But Saud's sons kept up hostilities against the surviving brothers. Saud's sons used al-Kharj province as their base of operations. They were finally killed in a surprise raid in 1888.

However, the grandsons of Saud were involved in sporadic fighting against their cousins and not formally reconciled for many years. The descendants of Saud, through his grandson Saud bin Abdul-Aziz bin Saud, are still considered the ceremonially senior branch of the family, and known as the Saud al-Kabir branch.


  1. Quandt, William B. (1981). Saudi Arabia in the 1980s: Foreign Policy, Security, and Oil. Washington DC: The Brookings Institution. p. 79.
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