Abdullah Suleiman (1)
Abdullah Suleiman (1)

Perhaps the most important of Ibn Saud’s advisers was Sheikh Abdullah Suleiman, the Finance Minister. Abdullah Suleiman was from Unaizah in Nejd. As a youth he travelled to Bombay in search of adventure and fortune. After Bombay he headed for Bahrain, where he set up a small business of his own. (The business was not a great success.) Looking for more secure employment, he sought a position in Ibn Saud’s Domestic Court - as an assistant to his uncle, a finance clerk.

He showed immediate flair for financial administration, and on his uncle’s death, took over the post. Ibn Saud recognized Abdullah Suleiman’s abilities and appointed him Finance Minister, wholly responsible for the state treasury.

When Ibn Saud conquered the Hijaz in 1926, Abdullah Suleiman travelled with him to organize the financial repercussions of this extension of Ibn Saud’s domain. He was confronted by an established bureaucracy of much greater sophistication than the one used in Nejd. It is a tribute to his ability and hard work that the finances of the Hijaz and Nejd were linked together with so little trouble. From 1926, Abdullah Suleiman was based permanently in the Hijaz, while Ibn Saud’s Court remained in Riyadh.

Abdullah Suleiman. Click to view high resolution version

Abdullah Suleiman