King Fahd Bin Abdulaziz

His Childhood (Birth and Upbringing)

When the HRH reached the age of six, his father enrolled him in the palace school. It was a large room, with a ceiling supported by pillars. The utilities were located outside. The room itself it was on the upper floor, close to King Abdulaziz's private offices. It was not the old school, which was built near the Deera Palace on its west side, close to the palace warehouses.

The school was later moved to the ground floor of the palace, when the Deera Palace was built in1328H (i.e., 1910). The first generation of King Abdulaziz's sons, such as Prince Mohammad, King Khalid, Prince Saad, prince Naser, Prince Abdullah and other princes and followers, studied there.

The teachers who taught at this school were Mohammad Bin Auwgaif, Abdurrahman Bin Auwgaif and Nasser Bin Hamdan, who were all reciters of the Holy Qur'an and Islamic education graduates. The school was not restricted to the education of princes. Some good teachers were brought in under the administration of Ahmad Al Arabi, Saleh Khuzami, and later managers like Abdullah Khait, Ahmed Ali Al Kathmi, and Hamed Al Habis.

This was a middle school in which knowledgeable arts teachers taught handwriting and a wide range of art-related subjects. Notable among them were Mohammad Al Hasawi, from Riyadh; he was called Hassawi, due to his numerous trips to Al Hassa and Gulf Countries; Mohammad and Abdurrahman Augaif were also among the teachers of the first school.

Along with boy king, some of his older and young brothers also studied in this school. They were Prince Nasser Bin Abdul-Aziz, Prince Mansour Bin Abdulaziz, Prince Saad Bin Abdulaziz, Prince Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz, Prince Masaed Bin Abdulaziz, Prince Meshal Bin Abdulaziz, Prince Abdulmohsen Bin Abdulaziz, Prince Sultan Bin Abdulaziz, Prince Faisal Bin Turki and other sons of King Abdulaziz's friends and palace officials, such as Sheikh Abdullah Bin Nafeh Bin Fadilah, Sheikh Mohammad Bin Fadilah, uncle Rashed Bin Ruished, Sheikh Abdul-Aziz Bin Shalhoub, Sheikh Suliman Bin Hamed Al Suliman. Mathematics, handwriting and some other subjects were taught by Sheikh Mohammad Bin Abdullah Al Omani. He was called “ Sinari”. He was a great education teacher, well known by many in the field of art education; and he continued offering his classes for long time. The boy king was one of his students.

Despite the Sinari’s severity and sternness, the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques always remembered him with affection; he really liked him and admired the depth of knowledge and proficiency in scientific matters. Sinari Sheikh was the first to teach applied commercial mathematics through fractions. His method was different from modern mathematics in its approach to numbers and decimal fractions. He had invented special terms for quarter, one-third and one-tenth, etc., and that was before the development of mathematics as a subject of study in our country.

This method became well-known throughout in Al Hejaz and some other Gulf Countries that were isolated from the rest of the world in those days. Sheikh Sinari eventually stopped teaching at Deera Palace School. Later King Abdulaziz authorized him to open a special school in Riyadh. This was to be known as Sinari school, the famous Dakhnah school created by Sheikh Nasser Bin Abdullah Bin Mefarij in1354 AH (i.e., 1935)

Since that time, the situation has changed at the princes' school. In 1354 AH (i.e., 1935) King Abdulaziz ordered the reorganization of the princes’ school under the control of Ahmad Al Arabi and Hamed Al Habis. In 1356 AH (i.e., 1937), the administration of the school was entrusted to Sheikh Abdullah Al Khait, who selected a number of teachers, such as Ahmed Ali Al Katheimi and Saleh Khuwzami. They were welcomed by King Abdulaziz himself, when the school was re-opened in its new system. King Abduaziz spoke to them frankly about how he want his children to be educated. Most importantly, he wanted them to learn Holy Quran, writing, and other subjects. Also he expressed his opinion on stressing royal protocol and etiquette, and not to be very harsh and strict on the princes but treat them with kindness and leniency.

The new school was located on the second floor of Deera Palace, closest to the political section. It comprised a number of rooms and utilities. HRH King Fahd, the student of the previous school, was the ninth son of sixty three male off-springs born to King Abdulaziz. King Abdulaziz used to visit his sons at the school, he observed the progress made by this young man in his studies, and was very proud of his cleverness, awareness and desire to further his education and knowledge. During one of his numerous visits to the school, King Abdulaziz found the boy king reading sayings, wisdoms, literatures quotations, poems, and prose. His father asked him, "Where did you find these and how did you memorize them?” Young boy answered him frankly: "I learned them from my book “The Studies of Politeness” (“Drows Al Tahzeeb”). The subject used to be taught in schools prior to its replacement with a new reading textbook. King Abdulaziz was pleased with his answer, and thanked his teachers for their good care.

After that the boy king was transferred to the Saudi Scientific Institute in Makah. The institute was founded by King Abdulaziz in 1344 AH (i.e., 1925) to fill for qualified primary school teachers. This was after the unification of Hejaz and other parts of the kingdom. It was the first Saudi educational institute to matriculate a large number of teaching staff who will later play a crucial role in the development of the Kingdom education. The opening of the institute was announced in the official government paper in 1345 AH (i.e., 1926). Provisions were made for night-time classes for employees whose work schedules did not allow them to attend day-time classes. The Institute's curriculum included Quran’s studies, its intonation, Islamic ideology, dictation, mathematics, reading, speaking, composition, Arabic grammar, oratory, files keeping, geography, morals, natural sciences, general science and others. Naturally, King Abdulaziz joined his sons on special occasion.

In Makkah, the young man tried to quench his thirst for knowledge under his father's patronage and the tutelage of a carefully selected group of teachers that included jurists, scientists, authors, citizens and others. In the meeting chaired by his fatherd, Fahd's job was to carefully listen to what the latter would say and stay on top of his mission and world events.

King Abdulaziz was proud of his son's progress at the Saudi Scientific institute in Makkah. He was pleased with his teachers' appreciation of his intelligence and strong enthusiasm for learning, acquiring knowledge, his curiosity, religious education, and his sense of the importance of studying. All these things have made a great impact on his future life as a monarch.

The future king accompanied his father in many private meetings, carefully observing his father's style of running the administration, of dealing with people's affairs and settling disputes, and of his father’s way of handling the problems brought to him by his citizens. This gave HRH King Fahd an invaluable experience for his future life. His scientific education was also reflected in his life as a king, especially in his dealings with his own children: the deceased prince Faisal; by whom he gets his nickname of Abu Faisal, Mohammad, Saud, Sultan, Khalid, and Abdulaziz. As an older brother to his siblings, father figure to the young ones and to the Saudi citizens, he had nothing but love for this extended family. They all looked up to him as a leader, a kind father, a source of goodness, a loving custodian to whom they vowed loyalty and sincerity.

In one scientific study, he testified to his father's influence in being deeply generous to his sons, an embodiment of wisdom, and an idealism of good behavior. He never forgot his sons and made sure they didn’t suffer from life's setbacks. He taught them to always be ready when facing life's challenges, and to accept things as they came and never give in. He constantly repeated this to them: “You determine your future in total freedom, but keep in mind that success comes only to the righteous and prepared mind. You cannot achieve your life's goals if you are not properly educated, don't have the right experience, good manners and above all, a strong faith in God, his holy books and prophets".

The future king furthered his education and culture through reading on different sciences, traveling abroad, his love of history; especially Arabic history, his family and customs and above all, through his understanding of the Holy Qur'an. 

Young Fahd was an avid reader. He has always been interested in politics, not just in matters concerning the Kingdom, but in political issues concerning all Arab, Islamic countries, and the rest of the world. He attended his father's meetings with Arab, Muslim and foreigner’s dignitaries. He distinguished himself from his peers by his early strong desire to experience life from a scientific point of view. He had slowly grown into a quiet, thoughtful, open–minded, friendly, and quick-minded adult.

As a young child, he was deeply attached to his father, King Abdulaziz. From early boyhood, HRH was characterized by all those who knew him with two features: firmness without excess or severity, and leniency without slackness or forsaking. From early on, he had shown a sincere keenness to maintain and apply the customs of the royal Saudi family.

He loved horses, and set world-class stables filled with horses of proven pedigrees. His love for horses was such that he would try to acquire any top-ranking pure-bred horse that he would hear about. He started riding horses at a very early age, and, along with his brothers and uncles, he participated in several races. Once in a while, horse races were organized under his father's supervision at the old racetrack located directly behind Riyadh's eastern gate. The track extended from the Shamsiah orchard building in north Riyadh, (now in the middle of shamsiah markets) to the end of Al Butiaha Orchards in the south of old Riyadh. Al Batiha is a large date plantation owned by the sons of Saad Bin Abdurrahman. King Abdulaziz's brother owned another orchard nearby, next to the Girls' college, south of Batha.

As a young child, King Fahd participated in these races with his oldest brothers, nieces, and a number of young jockeys. Princes and jockeys used to race together in the same races. Young Fahd was fascinated by their racing skills, especially at the start of the race, when they would throw their spears and guns in the air, catch them before they hit the ground, and all this while they are on their horses and the audience and supporters shouting.

Young Fahd and his brother Prince Abdullah Bin Mohammad Bin Abdurrahman eventually built world-class stables in South Riyadh, near the stable owned by Prince Mohammad Bin Abdulaziz. Both stables are located on what is now known as Al Aead Mosque, in South Riyadh.

At one big horserace organized by King Abdulaziz, one of his star horses beat several competing famous horses and came first. The horse was ridden that day by Al Helm, a member of Ajman Al Safran Jockey Club. Al Helm is still alive; Fahd received his trophy from the hands of King Abdulaziz, who also gave the jockey a generous gift and a distinction for excellence; Fahd donated the trophy to the jockey. The jockey was showered with gifts and awards from fans and supporters who sincerely admired his horse-riding skills.

In 1356 AH (i.e., 1937), at the age of sixteen, his father chose him a wife; Princess Jowzah, a cousin of his and the daughter of his uncle Prince Abdullah Bin Abdurrahman. The marriage didn't last very long. Subsequently, he married a daughter to his uncle Turki Bin Abdullah Bin Saud Al Faisal. He did re-marry another cousin from his uncles Al Al Sedairi; Al Anoud Bint Abdulaziz Bin Massad Bin Jalawi, with whom he had a number of sons and daughters: Prince Faisal; the previous General President of Youth welfare, Prince Mohammad; former Governor of the Eastern Province, Prince Saud Bin Fahd; the president of Dawwa Charity and the vice-president of Princess Al-Anoud Council, Prince Sultan Bin Fahd; the former General President of Youth Welfare, and Prince Khalid Bin Fahd; a businessman. Fahd's youngest son is Prince Abdulaziz Bin Fahd; son of Princess Jawaher; daughter of Prince Ibrahim Bin Abdulaziz Al Ibrahim. Prince Abdulaziz Bin Fahad was in charge of Council of Ministers' Divan and, as such, is a member of the Council of Ministers.

When talking about King Fahd's early life, one has to mention about the brothers who preceded him on his father's throne, namely Kings Saud, Faisal, and Khalid under whom he held important and sensitive government positions, and further training him and paving the way for his future responsibilities as king of Saudi Arabia.

In his youth, Fahd also had a chance to familiarize himself with Bedouin customs and rural affairs. This was an invaluable experience for him later in life when he became king.

In 1945, at the age of not more than 14, his father instructed him to accompany his brother, Prince Faisal to the constitutional meeting of United Nations in San Francisco, United States. This was the 16th of Rajab 1364 AH (i.e., the 26th of June 1945). Later his father sent him to England to represent the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia at the crowning ceremony of Queen Elizabeth II. When King Abdullah Bin Al Hussein was treacherously killed in Jerusalem in 1367 AH (i.e., 1948), Fahd was also sent in to attend his funerals and present the Kingdom's condolences to the heads of Arab delegations and to his family and relatives. He was also tasked with a similar mission on the death of Sheikh Ahmad Al Jaber Al Sabah. He was also tasked with officially congratulating the new ruler.