PART I: Opposition Movement during the Reign of Abdul-Aziz Al-Saud: The Najd Brothers and Abdul-Aziz

1- Between 1902 and 1932, Abdul-Aziz managed to establish the third current Saudi state, giving it the name of his family, the KSA, and this new monarchy was put to a hard test; those who helped it its establishment with their swords became later on a powerful opposition movement against the founder of the KSA, their former leader Abdul-Aziz Al-Saud, or rather Abdul-Aziz Ibn Saud, as he was called formerly at the time. It was he who turned them from merely fighting Bedouins and desert-Arabs, who would launch raids on one another for food, into a creed-based strong military organization, named the Najd Brothers.

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2- What happened between Abdul-Aziz and the Najd Brothers is not something novel in the course of history; usually, disputes and conflicts arise between the founder of any new kingdom or state and the military leader(s) of his armies. This pattern was repeated, for instance, between Abou Jaffer Al-Mansour, the real founder of the Abbasid Caliphate and his ally, the Persian military leader, Abou Moslem Al-Khorasany. This pattern occurred between the Fatimid Shiite leader Al-Mahdi and his ally the Shiite clergyman Abou Abdullah. This pattern occurred as well within the Mameluke Era in Egypt, between Queen Shagaret Al-Dor and her military leader, named Aqtay, on the one hand, and between her and her husband, a sultan named Aybak, on the other hand. Numerous instances of this pattern occurred within the Umayyad caliphate in Spain (Andalusia) and within the 20th century Arab world: like the conflict between the Egyptian President Gamal Abdel-Nasser and his minister of defense, Abdel-Hakeem Amer.


3- Within the political aspect, the Saudi case has its own uniqueness, embodied by the features and traits of the Najd Brothers and the nature of the character and personality of Abdul-Aziz.

3/1: The features and traits of the Najd Brothers represented a culture that was looking forward to re-create the past: this past is filled with events like revolts and temporary desert states that would continuously raid the neighboring countries to invade and conquer them eventually, with every possible acts of bloodshed rechristened as jihad (e.g., the Zanj rebellion and the Qarmatians). Despite the fact that this was the dominant pattern in the Middle Ages, the desert men of Arabia never managed before to create a stable state within the whole of Arabia at the time. Hence, to re-create this mentality of jihad, conquests, and bloodshed in the 20th century was sheer madness within our modern times. At the time, the Ottoman Empire, sick man of Europe, grew weaker and its past culture began to fade away, and this encouraged Abdul-Aziz to revive the KSA that was militarily defeated and crushed twice before. At the time, the West countries controlled affairs in the Middle East at the time, especially GB, when Abdul-Aziz established the KSA. Thus, GB allowed and directly aided Abdul-Aziz and it remained silent and overlooked many deeds he committed.         

3/2: Accordingly, the unique character and personality of Abdul-Aziz differed a great deal from both the belligerent nature of the Najd Brothers and the political mentality of the Middle Ages, as he manipulated the exceptional conditions at the time in the 20th century to serve his purposes: internally in the Najd region and other regions in Arabia and the Gulf, especially Kuwait, Yemen, and Hejaz, regionally within the relations with the Ottoman Empire, Iraq, and Egypt, and internationally within close relations with GB and its stance against the Ottoman Empire and its allegiance with Al-Sharif Hussein in Hejaz, within the events of WWI. Within gaps inside this intricate, complicated network of regional and international relations, Abdul-Aziz managed to establish the kingdom of Al-Saud, expanding its territories in Arabia as much as he could without engaging in needless battles that would have led to the loss of his army and his dream. Thus, he was not forced to face powerful entities that would have defeated him; he needed not to use mottoes or promises that he would not be able to apply and keep. The one who fell into this trap was Al-Sharif Hussein of Hejaz; he was powerful and more well-known on the international level than Abdul-Aziz at the time. Al-Sharif Hussein lost his throne by his folly, and his throne was consequently appropriated by Abdul-Aziz. Those who failed the test as well are those whose expansionist ambitions led them to try to change the map of their region to establish a new empire: like the European leaders Hitler and Mussolini and the Arab leaders Abdel-Nasser, Saddam Hussein, and Kaddafi, as such leaders wasted efforts and wealth of their respective nations in trying to achieve the impossible within the modern age. Yet, Abdul-Aziz managed to establish his kingdom and fulfilling his ambitious dreams of conquering and ruling Arabia. Of course, we say this within a political perspective, not an Islamic/Quranist one. If it had not been for the political acumen and shrewdness of Abdul-Aziz, the KSA would have ended soon enough like the first and second Saudi states established before, as the first one was destroyed by the army of the Egyptian Sultan Muhammad Ali Pacha, and the second one by internal strife and conflicts.            

3/3: It is noteworthy that there is a vast contradiction between the culture of Wahabism (a religious corrupt culture related to the Middle Ages and whose roots harken back to the theological school of thoughts of both Ibn Taymiyya in the Mameluke Era in Egypt and Ibn Hanbal in the Abbasid Era) and the culture of the 20th century of secularity and opposes theocracies, and hence categorically rejects Wahabism altogether. This vast contradiction appeared as early as the 19th century between Wahabism, as a creed in Arabia, and the modernization processes and movements (in Egypt and elsewhere) that became outspoken and vociferous in calling for the secular model of the West. Such movements began in Egypt after the French occupation (a.k.a.: L'Expédition d'Égypte) ended and during the reign of the Sultan Muhammad Ali Pacha, the one who crushed the very first Saudi monarchy. Here, the two opposite poles collided: the modern Egyptian state of Muhammad Ali Pacha and the first Wahabi KSA of the 19th century, and of course, the Egyptian army defeated the Wahabis as Muhammad Ali Pacha was compatible with the age, whereas the Wahabis at the time danced to a rhythm of an era that no longer exists. Even the Ottoman Empire that clung to the past had to modernize some of its aspects when Muhammad Ali Pacha engaged in a war against it, but the pace and tempo of the Ottomans were not fast enough, and the Ottoman caliphate was dwarfed and then collapsed eventually. When Abdul-Aziz emerged in the 20th century, the modernization in Europe and the USA grew faster in pace, and even in Egypt, modernization went further with reforms of Khedive Ismail in the next half of the 19 century. The 20th century modernization became more contradictory than ever with Middle-Ages Wahabism, the tool by which Abdul-Aziz established his KSA and brainwashed his soldiers and allies: the Najd Brothers. Despite the discrepancy between Wahabism and the modern age in the 20th century, Abdul-Aziz managed to manipulate a certain policy that suited his age in Arabia to establish a monarchy that ran contrary to the modern era, and he later on succeeded in militarily defeating the Najd Brothers when they revolted against him, thus establishing his kingdom on the basis of his assumed right to retrieve the monarchy of his forefathers, not just on the basis of the creed of Wahabism.                 


4- As for our topic here about Abdul-Aziz and the Najd Brothers, it is the unique character and personality of Abdul-Aziz that was the decisive factor in his using the Najd Brothers in establishing his Wahabism-based and traditional Najd-culture-based kingdom, and once the Najd Brothers posed a threat to Abdul-Aziz and the burgeoning, nascent KSA, he summarily got rid of them with the least possible amount of damages and losses, because he made use of their incompatibility with the modern era in the 20th century, though he was the one who trained and brainwashed them using this backward culture and mentality. When the Najd Brothers were annihilated physically, politically, and militarily, as their very existence came to an end, Abdul-Aziz dressed all left wounds that emerged as a consequence, urging all parties involved who remained alive to forget the past, confining it to lines of history for drawing useful lessons. Thus, the real political success of any leader is to make very good use of the conditions and circumstances of his era and what factors elements to change and the ones unchangeable, so that he would be compatible with the culture of his age as well as future elements and factors; otherwise, all would be lost in the abyss of the past.     


5- Within this PART I of our book, in which we tackle the Saudi opposition movement during the reign of the founder of the third current KSA, Abdul-Aziz Ibn Abdul-Rahman Al-Feisal Ibn Saud, we discuss the following topics within the coming five chapters:

- CHAPTER I: The Formation of the Najd Brothers and their Role in the Establishment of the Monarchy of Abdul-Aziz

- CHAPTER II: Historical Account of the Najd Brother Opposition Movement

- CHAPTER III: The Ideological Formation of the Najd Brothers Is the Basis of the Saudi Opposition Movement during the Reign of Abdul-Aziz

- CHAPTER IV: Features of the Ideological Formation within the Behavior of the Najd Brothers Opposition Movement

- CHAPTER V: Analysis of the politics of Abdul-Aziz in his Dealing with the Najd Brothers Opposition Movement

The Wahabi Opposition Movements in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in the Twentieth Century
The Wahabi Opposition Movements in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in the Twentieth Century

Authored by: Dr. Ahmed Subhy Mansour
26th of June, 2001
Cairo, Egypt
Translated by: Ahmed Fathy


We publish here the complete book titled "The Wahabi Opposition Movements in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in the Twentieth Century", after writing it previously in a series of successive articles before on our website. We authored this book in 2001, and it is published here online after omitting an introductory chapter about Wahabism and its origins and roots; we have omitted this chapter because it repeats what we have written in hundreds of articles about Wahabism, Salafism, and the Sunnite Ibn Hanbal doctrine. We have decided to confine this book to the rest of this research, whose details are summarized in the new introduction, and we consider this research or book as adopting a neutral historical viewpoint of events. Parts of this book have been published before separate