Sir Reader Bullard on Ibn Saud
Sir Reader Bullard on Ibn Saud
"Ibn Saud’s most remarkable quality was his political wisdom. Used at first in dealing with self-willed, hasty Arab tribesmen, it had grown with the extension of his responsibilities until it was equal to any situation. He followed international relations closely. In the 1930s he paid particular attention to the Arabic broadcasts from London, Cairo, Italy and Germany. These were taken down verbatim and read out to him after the sunset prayer. He called this his Times, and by this and other means, especially the cuttings he received from his representatives abroad, he managed to be better informed on international affairs than many educated Europeans."

"Besides being King of Saudi Arabia, Ibn Saud was the Imam of his followers in religion. As Imam he was entitled to lead them in their prayers. He claimed no higher title, and at the time when King Farouk of Egypt was believed to be aiming at the Caliphate, Ibn Saud declared that he himself did not covet that position though he was not prepared to concede it to anyone else. His rule was a theocracy: he governed, he said, by the Holy Qur'an, and in the interpretation of the Holy Qur'an he was prepared to listen to advice from the learned men of his faith."

"Ibn Saud could countenance extravagance in his family but he himself retained the simplicity of what he regarded as the best time of his life - the early years of ‘danger and distress’ spent mainly in the desert, and he still drank camel’s milk and ate sparingly of plain food."

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