Updated: Nov 9, 2020
"I beg of you, brothers, to look upon me as both brother and servant. 'Majesty' is reserved to God alone and 'the throne' is the throne of the Heavens and Earth."- King Faisal Of Kingdom Of Saudi Arabia
Faisal bin Abdulaziz Al Saud (Arabic: فيصل بن عبدالعزيز آل سعود Fayṣal ibn ‘Abd al-‘Azīz Āl Su‘ūd; 14 April 1906 – 25 March 1975) was King of Saudi Arabia and Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques from 2 November 1964 to 25 March 1975.
He was crown prince after Saud's accession in 1953, and in that position he outlawed slavery in Saudi Arabia.
Faisal implemented a policy of modernization and reform. His main foreign policy themes were pan-Islamism, anti-communism (which he associated with Zionism), and pro-Palestinianism. He attempted to limit the power of Islamic religious officials. Protesting against support that Israel received from the West, he led the oil embargo which caused the 1973 oil crisis. Faisal successfully stabilized the kingdom's bureaucracy, and his reign had significant popularity among Saudi Arabians despite his reforms facing some controversy. In 1975, he was assassinated by his nephew Faisal bin Musaid.
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Slavery did not vanish in Saudi Arabia until King Faisal issued a decree for its total abolition in 1962. BBC presenter Peter Hobday stated that about 1,682 slaves were freed at that time, at a cost to the government of $2,000 each. The political analyst Bruce Riedel argued that the US began to raise the issue of slavery after the meeting between King Abdulaziz and US president Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1945 and that John F. Kennedy finally persuaded the House of Saud to abolish slavery in 1962.
Between 23 and 25 September 1969, King Faisal convened a conference in Rabat, Morocco, to discuss the arson attack on the Al Aqsa Mosque that had occurred a month earlier. The leaders of 25 Muslim states attended and the conference called for Israel to give up territory conquered in 1967. The conference also set up the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation and pledged its support for the Palestinians.
Following the death of Nasser in 1970, King Faisal drew closer to Egypt's new president, Anwar Sadat, who himself was planning a break with the Soviet Union and a move towards the pro-American camp. During the 1973 Arab–Israeli War, launched by Sadat, King Faisal withdrew Saudi oil from world markets, in protest over Western support for Israel during the conflict. This action increased the price of oil and was the primary force behind the 1973 oil crisis. It was to be the defining act of King Faisal's career, and gained him lasting prestige among many Arabs and Muslims worldwide. In 1974 he was named Time magazine's Man of the Year, and the financial windfall generated by the crisis fueled the economic boom that occurred in Saudi Arabia after his death.