1999 Speech

King Fahd's speech at Centennial Inauguration
Full text of the speech of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Fahd bin Abdulaziz on the occasion of the inauguration of the centennial celebrations on January 22, 1999 [Shawwal 5, 1419 H]

All praise be to God Almighty, Lord of the Universe: to Him we give thanks, as do all those who are grateful for His favors and who are aware of His grace. May His blessings and peace be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his household and all of his companions.
My respected brothers, may God's mercy and blessings be upon you.
For all Muslims Islam is truly the greatest bounty that God has bestowed upon mankind. Each Muslim, therefore, should recall and appreciate the grace He has bestowed on all human endeavors, and make every effort to defend Islam. Our father, King Abdul Aziz Ibn Abdulrahman Al-Saud, may God bless his soul, fully realized this God-given bounty. He worked hard to assimilate it within himself. Therefore, he put Islam as his guiding light in all his deeds. With his steadfastness, he achieved the following lofty goals: holding fast to the Islamic creed, applying and defending Shariah [Islamic law], spreading safety and security nationwide for his people, and establishing an integrated society that enjoys brotherhood, prosperity, stability and comfort.

My brothers and my sons:
When I address you as brothers and sons, I sincerely mean it and feel it. We all, as citizens of this dear country of ours - men and women, young and old, city dwellers, and those in every corner of this Kingdom - are one single family, with one heart and one soul. As Islam makes us all equal, this country of which we are proud brings us together under the banner of tawhid: "the oneness of God".
King Abdul Aziz reclaimed Riyadh on Shawwal 5, 1319 H [January 15, 1902]; and this is the cornerstone in the foundation of the modern Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The roots of this event, however, go back 162 [Hijrah] years earlier. This was the time of the historic encounter between Imam Muhammad Ibn Saud and Sheikh Muhammad Ibn Abdulwahab, may God bless their souls, which took place in 1157 H [1744]. The First Saudi State was established on the basis of recognizing full commitment to the fundamentals of the Islamic faith. Much later, the Second Saudi State was established with the same tenets.
King Abdul Aziz, may God have mercy on his soul, was a servant of God on whom God bestowed His grace. God led him to promote His religion and the traditions of His Prophet, peace be upon him. His only weapons were his consciousness of God and an excellent reputation, which had been cultivated in him by his forefathers. King Abdul Aziz subsequently instilled these values in his offspring.
My respected brothers:
Any keen observer of the history of the family of Al-Saud comes to the realization that it emerges from the depths of its people. It is not alien or a passing phenomenon on this land. No one can ever, by the grace and help of God, pluck a hair from this entity. The strength of the family of Al-Saud is due to the fact that it forms on indivisible part of its people and will remain so forever.
My respected brothers:
All of us are equal before the court of justice. Every citizen in his office will earn his promotion depending on his loyalty and contribution. His commitment to his religion, to the morals and values on which the Saudi State is founded, past, present and brilliant future, will be highly rewarded.
My brothers and sons:
One hundred years ago, King Abdul Aziz began his historic endeavor with firm belief, unsurpassed courage, and limitless aspirations. With this noble cause in mind, he regained Riyadh with only a handful of brave men, but whose hearts were full of determination. They were moved by a strong will and absolute confidence in God and His promise of victory.
God Himself says:
"And surely God will aid those who aid His (cause), for verily God is full of strength, exalted in might."
He re-established the Saudi State on the principles of promoting the word of God, serving Islam, and protecting the lofty goals of Shariah.
When King Abdul Aziz began his project of building a state strong in culture and civilization, he put before his eyes the guiding platform of his forefathers. In this way he laid down the foundation of a strong and modern state, spreading stability and security to all of its distant boundaries. Moreover, the state protected the rights of all its citizens. This achievement was due to the merit of holding fast to God's Holy Book and to the sayings and practices of His Prophet. The abundance, generosity and charity of this state have extended to many parts of both the Arab and the Islamic worlds. The Saudi state has had far-reaching effects on world politics in general because of its just and consistent positions on global issues and its endeavor to bring about a peace that is based on the achievement of justice among all nations.
King Abdul Aziz faithfully followed the footsteps of his forefathers. A careful observer of the foundation and unification of this state will definitely discover that in his policies and attitudes he neither initiated a dispute nor harbored hostility towards any person. He always preferred not to resort to revenge, retaliation, or rejoicing at the pain of his enemy. Rather, he was a lover of forgiveness and tolerance.
My brothers and my sons:
We, today, commend the efforts of the men who gave support to King Abdul Aziz at the stage of the founding of the Kingdom. They were diligent and persevering in their efforts. They struggled, and they sacrificed, for the service of their faith and country, acceptable and sweet. We would like to stress here that the coming together of people from all walks of life to surround King Abdul Aziz with their support, helped greatly, by the grace of God, in expediting the unification of the state.
From its inception, the governing system of the modern Saudi state has been Islamic: that is, the governing system is based on the two divine sources - the Holy Qur'an and the traditions of His last Prophet. These will never weaken or cease to be. The wise leadership of this state has maintained this, defending it by all possible means.
From this starting point and with these high values, King Abdul Aziz announced the establishment of his state. He declared firmly and clearly:
"Our pride and strength are in upholding the teachings of Islam. My concern is to promote the word of God and to give strength to Muslims. My family and I will remain committed to this plan, and, with God's help and through His might, we shall not deviate from it, seeking guidance and success only from Him."
There were some people who were suspicious of the intentions of the Saudi State, accusing it of inventing a new brand of Islam, called 'wahhabism'. King Abdul Aziz responded to these accusations by saying: "They say that we are 'wahhabis'. But in truth we are Muslims who follow the teachings of the Qur'an and the traditions of the Prophet Muhammad as understood and interpreted by our great forefathers. The criterion between us and our Muslim brothers remains, alone, God's book and the traditions of Muhammad."
My respected brothers:
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia realized right from its inception that it has a special position in the eyes of Muslims. It is the place where the divine revelation was first given to the Prophet Muhammad. It is the place for which the hearts of all Muslims yearn. It is the place of the holy shrines and sites, of Makkah and Madinah where all Muslims meet during pilgrimage.
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia realized that the holy sites and all the routes leading to them had been at the mercy of bandits and outlaws, and that this had made a difficult task of the pilgrims' journey, in spite of its holiness. Pilgrims had been exposed to all kinds of danger and hardships. The government of Saudi Arabia felt the greatness of its responsibility towards all Muslims and the importance of facilitating their passage to these holy lands. All praise to God for his guidance and grateful bounties.
You know well that each state has its own ability, capability and mobility. It also has its limits, difficulties and obstacles. As man tries his ultimate efforts to increase his capabilities and overcome his problems, sincere leaders do their utmost to act similarly to develop their countries and improve the quality of their citizens' lives. The leaders of this state have exerted great efforts to contribute to the national and international arenas during the different eras.
On the national level, the Saudi State began with limited resources, both socially and economically. That was due to the accumulated sufferings of its people from disunity, rivalry, negligence and backwardness. The founder of the Saudi State, King Abdul Aziz, gave his full and diligent attention to bring about progress to his state. He dealt with the situation with wisdom and diplomacy, all the while completing the structure of his state on steady and firm foundations.
One of the fruits of this conscious realization was the King's ability to maintain steadfast his method of governing, based on Islamic principles. He was concerned with steadfastly applying these principles. He provided security by carrying out the divine laws: enjoining the good and forbidding all evil. In this way he guaranteed the safety and security of the souls, wealth, minds, honor, and religion of all of his citizens.
God Himself has said:
"Perform the prescribed prayers, pay regular charity, enjoin the right, and forbid the wrong, and leave to God the outcome of all matters."
In the area of good investment and conservation of national resources, the King acted with similar wisdom, taking into consideration the social structure of his country. He therefore undertook the settlement of the nomads by digging water-wells, constructing villages, establishing schools and small farms - all practical measures that were needed in order to battle ignorance and hunger. This was achieved in a country that is in reality a sub-continent in size, located at the crossroads of three major continents, with rugged roads and a difficult landscape. King Abdul Aziz showed vision by consulting with religious scholars and specialists. He recruited qualified and able men to establish the different institutions and issued the necessary regulations for supervision of their operation. That goal, achieved in full harmony, was due to wise and gradual planning. In all of this, he had in mind the saying of the Prophet: "All of you are guardians and are responsible for your wards".
At the international level, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has kept a steady and balanced foreign policy. It has therefore maintained solidarity with its Arab and Muslim sister states, and has respected its relationships with other friendly states. Consequently, King Abdul Aziz protected his country and people from the woes and repercussions of the worldwide conflict over the period of the two world wars. The King's foreign policy was characterized by full support and assistance for the sovereignty of all Arab and Muslim states.
This foreign policy was continued by the sons who followed him: King Saud, King Faisal and King Khaled. They used their efforts to uplift their country in all fields and they had responded effectively to the needs of the people. They also exerted maximum efforts to unite the Arabs and Muslims and to bring their hearts together. In doing so, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has become a model to others in all realms of development.
My respected brothers:
That we are enjoying today this bounty and abundance, is due alone to the grace of God Almighty. It is the result of committing ourselves to the principles that King Abdul Aziz and his sons have followed. We have worked hard to uplift our country in all fields, and we have exerted strenuous efforts to earn comfort and peace for our dear and deserving people. God Almighty enabled us to devise the Basic System of Governance, whose first article states that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is an Arab and a Muslim state, with absolute sovereignty; that its religion is Islam and its constitution God's Book and the traditions of the Prophet Muhammad.
In the field of Shura [consultation], God has enabled us develop a solid organization - Majlis Al-Shura [Consultative Council], whose main objective is to benefit from the expertise and skills of our qualified citizens in order to bring about the development and continued progress of our country. We have also issued Systems for the Council of Ministers and for the Provinces. These systems are designed to strengthen the principles on which the government of Saudi Arabia was founded. Again, this is an extension of the application of King Abdul Aziz' principles of government.
It has been our great honor to be of service to the Holy Qur'an. For this reason, we set up a special complex in Madinah to print copies of the Holy Book. We have supplied Muslims, individuals and institutions, all over the world, with copies of the Holy Qur'an so that they can recite it and hopefully apply its teachings. This was done only for the sake of God and as a fulfillment of our duty.
At Makkah and at Madinah, King Abdul Aziz began the expansion of the Two Holy Mosques, and of the holy sites. This project of expansion was continued during the times of King Saud, King Faisal and King Khaled - may God bless their souls. As a continuation of what our father began, God has made it possible for us to complete this project. The Saudi State has spent its wealth in order to facilitate easy passage for all pilgrims. The vast expansion of the Two Holy Mosques, by the grace of God, has been admired and appreciated by Muslims worldwide. This is gratifying to us.
My respected brothers:
Ever since the time of my father, the founder of the modern Saudi State, we have been accessible to all of our Saudi people, and our doors have been wide open to them. Our instructions to all government officials have been made clear and widespread, and that is: to listen attentively to all forms of grievance, to give people their legitimate rights, and to emphasize the strong relationships and bonds between citizens and government officials.
This has made us contemplate the meaning and significance of responsibility and the duty of officials. To us, responsibility is a commitment first towards God, and then towards this country and its citizens. This, my respected brothers and sons, is connected to another important value. It is the value of citizenship and the sense of belonging to this country. It is a God-given honor that this country was chosen to be the land of the last divine revelation. We must therefore promote it by all good and sincere work that is befitting this honor.
On the international level, we have followed in the footsteps of King Abdul Aziz. His foreign policy stressed the commitment of the Saudi State to its Arab and Islamic identity, considering the fact that it is the cradle of Islam. I want to re-emphasize to you that the underlying reason behind the consistency in the King's foreign policy was his commitment to the Islamic method of governing.
He was concerned with establishing strong and brotherly relations with the Arab and the Muslim worlds and establishing mutual respect with all countries of the world. It was a principle of his foreign policy not to interfere in the domestic affairs of other countries.
In our foreign policy, we have maintained a balanced course, a noble cause and a policy of moderation. Our help has been extended to our Arab and Muslim brothers so as to enable them to preserve their religion and their Arab and Islamic cultures. God has blessed us in the construction and support of many mosques and Islamic centers all over the world.
My respected brothers:
When we celebrate this centennial, we are truly giving our thanks to God Almighty for the overt and covert bounties that he has bestowed upon this country and its people. The greatest of all bounties is Islam. Also it is the reminder of the great efforts that King Abdul Aziz, his sons, and his followers, put forth to shower their country with security and true faith. God has promised us that the more we thank him, the more bounties he will give. There is no doubt that loyalty is an expression of thankfulness. Therefore, we gratefully show our loyalty toward King Abdul Aziz and his faithful followers, whom God guided to raise His word and spread His religion. It is a duty upon those who have benefited from these bounties to reveal their appreciation and gratitude for the men who planted the seeds and built this prosperity, by the grace of God. King Abdul Aziz and his loyal men were dedicated to making the laws of God dominant, to promoting and propagating His word, and to observing closely the traditions of the Prophet Muhammad.
The history of King Abdul Aziz has left a brilliant image. Therefore, we would like to stress on this centennial occasion that our review of the inspiring history of this country is meant to familiarize new generations with this thought: that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia could not possibly have emerged had it not been for the guidance of God Almighty, followed by the long struggle of our forefathers. Their lessons, well-established values and morals, are excellent examples to be followed by the young and the elderly alike.
My respected brothers:
I would like to conclude by asserting my full commitment to exert my utmost efforts and energies to continue the dedicated work in the service of Islam and to serve this country of which we are all proud. This will happen only by the grace of God, followed by the help of all committed citizens of this country, who continuously express their learned opinions, sincere consultation and devout prayers.
My brothers:
My family and I - and especially my brother His Royal Highness Crown Prince Abdullah - promise you that we will exert maximum efforts to protect these national achievements and to continue the growth and nourishment of our country to please our citizens. In all of this, we seek help from God Almighty. Moreover, we are confident that the people of this country will, with God's grace, provide the best help for achieving this.
I sincerely hope that this centennial occasion, with all its accompanying intellectual, cultural and scientific activities, will present a true image to Saudi nationals as well as to our guests. That image demonstrates the heroic efforts, sacrifices and offerings made by its leaders and by its sincere citizens for the sovereignty, strength, stability and growth of this state.
I pray to God Almighty to grant you success.
May God's peace and blessings be upon you.