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King Abdullah receives oaths of loyalty

03 August, 2005

King Abdullah received oaths of loyalty from hundreds of top Muslim clerics, tribal chiefs and other prominent Saudis.
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RIYADH, August 04 (Online): King Abdullah took oath as sixth King of Saudi Arabia after receiving oaths of loyalty from hundreds of top Islamic clerics, tribal chiefs and other prominent Saudis on Wednesday in a traditional Islamic investiture ceremony that bestows his legitimacy.

Members of the Supreme Council of Senior Islamic clerics were the first to file by Abdullah in a Riyadh palace, shake his hand and pronounce their allegiance to him as Saudi Arabia's sixth king.

The House of Saud has depended on the support of clerics from the kingdom's strict Wahhabi version of Islam ever since Abdullah's father, Abdul-Aziz bin Saud, welded the Arabian peninsula tribes into a nation under his name in 1932.

Hundreds of tribal chiefs, religious clerics, government officials and uniformed senior armed forces officers waited in the big hall of the palace, covered with silk carpets, for their turn to honor Abdullah. A palace servant swung an incense burner among them to bless the gathering.

In the ceremony, known as "bayah," each one shakes Abdullah's hand and pronounces, "I express my allegiance to you. I hear and obey, except in what would disobey God." It has its roots in the succession after the death of Islam's prophet Muhammed in the 7th century, when the caliphs that followed him received the support of the Muslim community personally.

Security was tight, with armed agents wandering the hall, wearing traditional white robes and red headdresses, toting automatic weapons and loops of ammunition.

Before the ceremony, Abdullah received Britain's Prince Charles and other Western dignitaries. Abdullah, dressed in white robes and headdress and cream-colored cloak, sat chatting with Charles, who expressed his condolences for the death of King Fahd and his congratulations for Abdullah's ascension to the throne. Prince Bandar, the former Saudi ambassador to Washington, sat nearby translating.

The Saudi monarch also met Sweden's King Carl XVI Gustaf, the Swiss president and other Western dignitaries, who had been unable to attend funeral ceremonies a day earlier for Fahd, which were closed to non-Muslims.

End.

Reader Comments:

Crown Prince Abdullah's Ascension to Kingship

Heartiest welcome to you, King Abdullah! May your ascension to power prove a blessing to you as well as to the Muslim 'Ummah.

The King meeds to bring a great change both to his own person as well as to bring, especiallly the "clerics" in the modern age. There should be more thrust on substance than on rhetoric.
In the domestic field, democracy should be promulgated by giving voting rights to both men and women. The King should leave day to day state matters in the hands of cabinet ministers. He should devote his full time to fixing the "Israeli" menace. I recall the eminent Jewish writer, Chaim Bermant, mentioning in his Book: "The Jews", that "Jews can at times make themselves a nuisance, too." In the first place, he should come out boldly by recognizing the existence of the Jewish people and their continuity "unto the Resurrection Day". Qur'an helps him in reminding the Jews: "O the children of bani Israel, you fulfill your covenant with Me; I will fulfill My covenant with you: and be conscious of Me, of Me alone." He should make an open admission that Jews have lived for the better part of their "exile" under the Muslim regimes. Islam being a beacon of peace and tolerance, provides a window for debate and discussion on legitamising the presence of Judaism in the Holy Land. The King should place a billion dollar at the disposal of the UNO Chief Kofi Annan to promote interaction between the Israelis and the Arabs.

There is also need for great improvement in the attitude of the Saudis towards the pilgrims during Hajj and Umra. The attendants in the Haraman Sharifan should be replace with educated and decent biligual young men and women. Prices of accommodation and food shouild be brought down to suit the low income pilgrims. Huge money was spent on unnecessary and awkward looking 'palaces', especially around the Haram in Mecca. Such income should have been spent on providing facilities to the pilgrims. Most drivers running the transport are rude and exploiters. Services should be opened up to other nationalities too. The Muallamm's role also needs to be streamlined. I saw mine one only once during Hajj and that too in Arafat. They are looked at with disdain. They must change with the times to avoid being dumped. Democracy will ultimately replace the centuries old system that has become a roadblock.

The OICC's name and its present dormant activities should be brought in line with modern times. It must show results and create an effective voice to be respected in the comity of nations.

Propaganda against America and the West should stop immediately. The "clerics" and opinion builder Saudis should be sent abroad to widen their outlook and to interact with foreigners. In short, a real change happening in the country should be visible.

Sher Mohammad.
Email: sher_apr@yahoo.com

Sher Mohammad, Pakistan - 04 August, 2005

assalamualikum,
First of all I would like to give condolences from my behalf to the entire ummah , on the death of Shah fahd, He was a great leader.may allah rest him in peace.
I would like to congratulate King Abdullah on getting this honour, It is great responsibility but with the help of Allah, the responsibilities can be overcome.

Kashif Imam, United Kingdom - 04 August, 2005

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