Muhammad ibn al- Saud


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(r. 1746–65)

Founder of the first Saudi dynasty in Arabia. Formed a politico-religious pact with Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab in 1744 to found the country based on purification of Islamic practices from popular religion and an emphasis on strict monotheism. Ibn al-Saud was responsible for political and economic affairs; Ibn Abd al-Wahhab provided religious guidance. Used a combination of religious ideology and lineage to unite disparate tribes in the first political expression of eighteenth-century Islamic reform. The Saud family has maintained its role of political and military leadership in the modern-day kingdom of Saudi Arabia, with the descendants of Ibn Abd al-Wahhab continuing to serve as religious advisers.

Subjects: Islam.

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