Muhammad bin Abdullah Al Rashid

Muhammad bin Abdullah Al Rashid
Emir of Jabal Shammar
PredecessorBandar bin Talal
SuccessorAbdulaziz bin Mutaib
Died28 November 1897
Muhammad bin Abdullah bin Ali Al Rashid
HouseRashidi dynasty
FatherAbdullah bin Ali Al Rashid

Muhammad bin Abdullah Al Rashid (Arabic: محمد بن عبد الله بن علي الرشيد, died 28 November 1897) was one of the Emirs of Jabal Shammar and is known for his defeat of the Saudi State in the battle of Mulayda which ceased to exist for a second time in 1891.[1] His reign lasted from 1869 to 1897, and he was the most influential ruler of the Emirate of Jabal Shammar[2] for which he is called Muhammad the Great.[3]

Early life

Muhammad was the third son of Abdullah bin Rashid, founder of the Emirate, and the brother of the second Emir, Talal bin Abdullah, and the third Emir, Mutaib bin Abdullah.[4][5] During the reign of his brothers, Talal and Mutaib, Muhammad functioned as the caravan leader securing the commercial activities of the Emirate and guiding the hajj.[6] His caravan activities were between Hail and Iraq through which he acquired both wealth and popularity among locals.[7]

When the Emir Mutaib bin Abdullah was killed by his nephew Bandar who became the emir of Jabal Shammar,[8] the older generation of the dynasty, including Muhammad and his uncle Ubayd left Hail for Riyadh.[6] The exile of Muhammad had very undesired effects on the commercial activities, so that Bandar asked his uncle to return to Hail who accepted his offer and continued to assume his previous post.[6] However, following his return to Hail Muhammad killed Bandar bin Talal due to the intrafamilial disputes, and other sons of Talal fled Hail.[6]


In 1891 Muhammad defeated the forces of Abdul Rahman bin Faisal bin Turki Al Saud, bringing an end to the Second Saudi State.

Soon after this incident Muhammad ascended to the throne in 1869.[9] The Emirate of which base was in Hail expanded during his reign, and Muhammad managed to rule nearly two-thirds of Arabia, including Qassim, Unaizah, Buraidah and Riyadh[5] in addition to the regions near to the borders of Aleppo, Damascus, Basra and Oman.[10] Hail became a significant commercial center and had nearly 20,000 population under the rule of Muhammad.[11] His success was partly due to the struggle between the Al Saud members, namely Abdullah bin Faisal and Saud bin Faisal.[12]

Muhammad recaptured Al Jawf region which was seized by Faisal Al Shalaan during the 1860s.[13] However, the people of the region asked for protection from Abdullatif Subhi Pasha, the Ottoman governor of Syria, against the cruel rule of Muhammad in 1872.[14] However, the Ottomans could not gain the full authority over the region, but installed an eighty-soldier troop there in 1873.[14] The failure of the Ottomans was partly due to the fact that Muhammad was supplied military aid by the British and French authorities.[14] In order to avoid any challenge from Muhammad the Ottomans strengthened the alliance with him which in turn was very advantageous for Muhammad.[14]

Muhammad became the single strong figure in Najd by 1884.[15] In 1887 he annexed Najd[16] when Abdullah bin Faisal, Emir of Najd, was imprisoned in Riyadh by his nephews, sons of Saud bin Faisal, Muhammad attacked and captured the city to help Abdullah, but instead of reestablishing Abdullah's rule Muhammad appointed a Rashidi governor to the city.[4] The governor was Salim Al Sibhan who was one of the closest allies of Muhammad.[10] In addition, Muhammad liberated Abdullah bin Faisal, but took him to Hail as a hostage.[10] He also brought three sons of Saud bin Faisal to Hail.[17]

Four years later in 1891 Muhammad defeated the Al Saud forces who were the allies of Abdul Rahman, younger brother of Abdullah and Saud, in the battle of Mulayda which ended the Emirate of Najd and led to the exile of the Al Saud family.[4][18] Following the battle he captured Riyadh and ruled Najd.[19]

Personal life and death

Muhammad married a woman from Aba Al Khail family.[6] He had no child and adopted his nephew, Abdulaziz bin Mutaib.[6][9] In addition to his native Arabic Muhammad had a good command of Persian and Turkish languages which he had learned while acting as a caravan leader.[6]

On 28 November 1897 Muhammad died of natural causes in Hail.[6][20] He was succeeded by his adopted son and nephew Abdulaziz.[21][22]


  1. ^ James Wynbrandt (2010). A Brief History of Saudi Arabia (PDF). New York: Infobase Publishing. p. 161. ISBN 978-0-8160-7876-9. Archived from the original (PDF) on 26 May 2021.
  2. ^ Abdulaziz Al Fahd. "The Imama vs. the Iqal: Hadari-Bedouin Conflict and the Formation of Saudi State" (Working Paper). EUI Working Paper. European University Institute: 17. hdl:1814/1769. ISSN 1028-3625.
  3. ^ Joseph A. Kechichian (2001). Succession in Saudi Arabia. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. p. 14. ISBN 978-0-3122-3880-3.
  4. ^ a b c Bilal Ahmad Kutty (1993). Political and religious origins of Saudi Arabia (PDF) (MA thesis). Aligarh Muslim University. pp. 83–85. Archived from the original (PDF) on 5 June 2021.
  5. ^ a b Henry Rosenfeld (July–December 1965). "The Social Composition of the Military in the Process of State Formation in the Arabian Desert". The Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland. 95 (2): 175, 183. doi:10.2307/2844424. JSTOR 2844424.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h Michael John Baran (1992). The Rashidi Amirate of Hayl: The rise, development and decline of a premodern Arabian principality (PhD thesis). University of Michigan. pp. 81–83, 96, 118, 136. ISBN 979-8-207-23915-6. ProQuest 303993600.
  7. ^ Eveline J. van der Steen (2009). "Tribal States in History: The Emirate of Ibn Rashid as a Case Study". Al Rafidan. 30: 120.
  8. ^ Muhammad Suwaed (2015). Historical Dictionary of the Bedouins. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield. p. 20. ISBN 978-1-4422-5451-0.
  9. ^ a b Jeff Eden (2019). "Did Ibn Saud's militants cause 400,000 casualties? Myths and evidence about the Wahhabi conquests, 1902–1925". British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies. 46 (4): 525. doi:10.1080/13530194.2018.1434612. S2CID 149088619.
  10. ^ a b c Madawi Al Rasheed (2002). A History of Saudi Arabia. Cambridge University Press. pp. 25–26. ISBN 978-0-521-64412-9.
  11. ^ Guido Walter Steinberg (2002). "Material Conditions, Knowledge and Trade in Central Arabia During the 19th and Early 20th Centuries" (Working Paper). EUI Working Paper. European University Institute. hdl:1814/1774. ISSN 1028-3625.
  12. ^ Hassan S. Abedin (2002). Abdulaziz Al Saud and the Great Game in Arabia, 1896-1946 (PhD thesis). King's College London. p. 43. OCLC 59173487.
  13. ^ H. St. J. B. Philby (October 1923). "Jauf and the North Arabian Desert". The Geographical Journal. 62 (4): 243. doi:10.2307/1781017. JSTOR 1781017.
  14. ^ a b c d Talha Çiçek (May 2017). "The tribal partners of empire in Arabia: the Ottomans and the Rashidis of Najd, 1880–1918". New Perspectives on Turkey. 56: 109–110, 114. doi:10.1017/npt.2017.7.
  15. ^ Frederick Fallowfield Anscombe (1994). The Ottoman Gulf and the Creation of Kuwayt, Sa'udi Arabia and Qatar, 1871-1914 (PhD thesis). Princeton University. p. 90. ProQuest 304117067.
  16. ^ Naila Al Sowayel (1990). An historical analysis of Saudi Arabia's foreign policy in time of crisis: The October 1973 War and the Arab Oil Embargo (PhD thesis). Georgetown University. p. 25. ProQuest 303848353.
  17. ^ Lawrence Paul Goldrup (1971). Saudi Arabia 1902–1932: The Development of a Wahhabi Society (PhD thesis). University of California, Los Angeles. p. 112. ProQuest 302463650.
  18. ^ George Ogden Linabury (1970). British-Saudi Arab Relations, 1902-1927: A Revisionist Interpretation (PhD thesis). Columbia University. p. 17. ProQuest 302503094.
  19. ^ Abdulmuhsin Rajallah Al Ruwaithy (1990). American and British aid to Saudi Arabia, 1928-1945 (PhD thesis). University of Texas at Austin. p. 7. ProQuest 303920456.
  20. ^ Bakor Omar Kashmeeri (1973). Ibn Saud: The Arabian Nation Builder (PhD thesis). Howard University. p. 97. ProQuest 302645613.
  21. ^ Roby C. Barrett (June 2015). "Saudi Arabia: Modernity, Stability, and the Twenty-First Century Monarchy" (Report). Joint Special Operations University. p. 30. Retrieved 5 June 2021.
  22. ^ Peter Sluglett (December 2002). "The Resilience of a Frontier: Ottoman and Iraqi Claims to Kuwait, 1871-1990". The International History Review. 24 (4): 790. doi:10.1080/07075332.2002.9640981. S2CID 153471013.

External links

  • Media related to Muhammad bin Abdullah Al Rashid at Wikimedia Commons
Muhammad bin Abdullah Al Rashid
Regnal titles
Preceded by Emir of the House of Rashid
Succeeded by
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