Courtesy Reuters

THE death of King 'Abdul-'Aziz ibn Sa'ud on November 9, 1953, just a fortnight before his seventy-third birthday, closed a great chapter in the history of the Arabian peninsula: certainly its greatest since the days when the Prophet Mohammed and his successors spread the fame of Arabia through the world with the book and sword of Islam, and created an empire of which the desert homeland of the Arabs soon became an insignificant province. Such it remained for a millennium until the Islamic renaissance of Shaikh Muhammad ibn 'Abdul-Wahhab in the middle of the eighteenth century laid the foundation of a new

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