Abdul Aziz (Ibn Saud) retakes Riyadh (1)

When he was twenty-one, Abdul Aziz (Ibn Saud) decided to move on Riyadh.

The difficulties of taking Riyadh with so small a force were obvious and intimidating. Abdul Aziz asked for volunteers to accompany him in the execution of a plan which seemed to have only its boldness to recommend it.

With forty of his devoted friends, he left Kuwait in December 1901 (1318/19 AH) and reached Riyadh in January. The account of Abdul Aziz (Ibn Saud)'s assault on the Masmak fort and his retaking of Riyadh from the Rashid is perhaps the most dramatic of all the stories of modern Arabia. In its daring and determination, it was a sure indication of the true character of the man who was to found the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Under cover of night, together with his cousin (Abdullah bin Jelawi) and several other volunteers, Abdul Aziz stealthily made his way to a part of the city wall which he knew they could easily scale, with the help of grappling irons, unobserved. The wall he chose was adjacent to the house of a man who had served Abdul Rahman, Abdul Aziz' father, some years before when the Al Saud had still ruled in Riyadh. When the wife of this man realized that the son of Abdul Rahman had come to reclaim his birthright, she vouchsafed some useful information about Ajlan, the Amir of Riyadh, the man Abdul Aziz would have to oust.

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