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The Most Famous

POLITICIANS from Saudi Arabia

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This page contains a list of the greatest Saudi Arabian Politicians. The pantheon dataset contains 15,577 Politicians, 63 of which were born in Saudi Arabia. This makes Saudi Arabia the birth place of the 47th most number of Politicians behind Ireland and Vietnam.

Top 10

The following people are considered by Pantheon to be the top 10 most legendary Saudi Arabian Politicians of all time. This list of famous Saudi Arabian Politicians is sorted by HPI (Historical Popularity Index), a metric that aggregates information on a biography’s online popularity. Visit the rankings page to view the entire list of Saudi Arabian Politicians.

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1. Umar (585 - 644)

With an HPI of 84.79, Umar is the most famous Saudi Arabian Politician.  His biography has been translated into 121 different languages on wikipedia.

ʿUmar ibn al-Khaṭṭāb (Arabic: عمر بن خطاب, romanized: ʿUmar bin Khaṭṭāb, also spelled Omar, c. 582/583 – 644) was the second Rashidun caliph, ruling from August 634 until his assassination in 644. He succeeded Abu Bakr (r. 632–634) as the second caliph of the Rashidun Caliphate on 23 August 634. Umar was a senior companion and father-in-law of the Islamic prophet Muhammad. He was also an expert Muslim jurist known for his pious and just nature, which earned him the epithet Al-Fārūq ("the one who distinguishes (between right and wrong)"). Umar initially opposed Muhammad, his distant Qurayshite kinsman and later son-in-law. Following his conversion to Islam in 616, he became the first Muslim to openly pray at the Kaaba. Umar participated in almost all battles and expeditions under Muhammad, who bestowed the title al-Fārūq (the Distinguisher) upon Umar, for his judgements. After Muhammad's death in June 632, Umar pledged allegiance to Abu Bakr (r. 632–634) as the first caliph and served as the closest adviser to the latter until August 634, when the dying Abu Bakr nominated Umar as his successor. Under Umar, the caliphate expanded at an unprecedented rate, ruling the Sasanian Empire and more than two-thirds of the Byzantine Empire. His attacks against the Sasanian Empire resulted in the conquest of Persia in less than two years (642–644). According to Jewish tradition, Umar set aside the Christian ban on Jews and allowed them into Jerusalem and to worship. Umar was assassinated by the Persian slave Abu Lu'lu'a Firuz in 644. Umar is generally viewed by historians to be one of the most powerful and influential Muslim caliphs in history. He is revered in the Sunni Islamic tradition as a great just ruler and paragon of Islamic virtues, and some hadiths identify him as the second greatest of the Sahabah after Abu Bakr. He is viewed negatively in the Twelver Shia tradition.

Photo of Uthman

2. Uthman (574 - 656)

With an HPI of 81.57, Uthman is the 2nd most famous Saudi Arabian Politician.  His biography has been translated into 86 different languages.

Uthman ibn Affan (Arabic: عثمان بن عفان, romanized: ʿUthmān bin ʿAffān; c. 573 or 576 – 17 June 656 CE), also spelled by Colloquial Arabic, Turkish and Persian rendering Osman, was a second cousin, son-in-law and notable companion of the Islamic prophet Muhammad, as well as the third of the Rāshidun, or "Rightly Guided Caliphs". Born into a prominent Meccan clan, Banu Umayya of the Quraysh tribe, he played a major role in early Islamic history, and is known for having ordered the compilation of the standard version of the Quran. When Caliph Umar ibn al-Khattab died in office aged 60/61 years, Uthman, aged 68–71 years, succeeded him and was the oldest to rule as Caliph. Under Uthman's leadership, the Islamic empire expanded into Fars (present-day Iran) in 650, and some areas of Khorāsān (present-day Afghanistan) in 651. The conquest of Armenia had begun by the 640s. His reign also saw widespread protests and unrest that eventually led to armed revolt and his assassination. Uthman was married to Ruqayya, and upon her death, married Umm Kulthum. Both his wives having been elder daughters of Muhammad and Khadija earned him the honorific title Dhū al-Nurayn ("The Possessor of Two Lights"). Thus, he was also brother-in-law of the fourth Rāshidun Caliph Ali whose own wife, Fātimah, was Muhammad's youngest daughter.

Photo of Salman of Saudi Arabia

3. Salman of Saudi Arabia (1935 - )

With an HPI of 78.13, Salman of Saudi Arabia is the 3rd most famous Saudi Arabian Politician.  His biography has been translated into 88 different languages.

Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud (Arabic: سلمان بن عبد العزیز آل سعود, Salmān ibn ‘Abd al-‘Azīz Āl Su‘ūd, [salˈmaːn ben ˈʕabd alʕaˈziːz ʔaːl saˈʕuːd]; born 31 December 1935) is King of Saudi Arabia, reigning since 2015, and served as Prime Minister of Saudi Arabia. The 25th son of King Abdulaziz, the founder of Saudi Arabia, he assumed the throne on 23 January 2015. Prior to his accession, he was Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia from 16 June 2012 to 23 January 2015. Salman is the 3rd oldest living head of state and the oldest living monarch. Salman is a son of King Abdulaziz and Hassa bint Ahmed Al Sudairi, making him one of the Sudairi Seven. He was the deputy governor of Riyadh and later the governor of Riyadh for 48 years from 1963 to 2011. He was then appointed minister of defense. He was named crown prince in 2012. Salman became king in 2015 upon the death of his half-brother, King Abdullah. Since December 2019, he is the oldest surviving son of King Abdulaziz. Salman's major initiatives as king include the Saudi intervention in the Yemeni Civil War, Saudi Vision 2030, and a 2017 decree allowing Saudi women to drive. His son, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, is considered the de facto ruler of Saudi Arabia, due to the King's poor health and his own political maneuvering. Salman is regarded by the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre as the most influential Muslim in the world in 2023.

Photo of Muawiyah I

4. Muawiyah I (603 - 680)

With an HPI of 75.97, Muawiyah I is the 4th most famous Saudi Arabian Politician.  His biography has been translated into 73 different languages.

Mu'awiya I (Arabic: معاوية بن أبي سفيان, romanized: Muʿāwiya ibn Abī Sufyān; c. 597, 603 or 605–April 680) was the founder and first caliph of the Umayyad Caliphate, ruling from 661 until his death. He became caliph less than thirty years after the death of the Islamic prophet Muhammad and immediately after the four Rashidun ('rightly-guided') caliphs. Unlike his predecessors, who had been close, early companions of Muhammad, Mu'awiya was a relatively late follower of the Islamic prophet. Mu'awiya and his father Abu Sufyan had opposed Muhammad, their distant Qurayshite kinsman and later Mu'awiya's brother-in-law, until Muhammad captured Mecca in 630. Afterward, Mu'awiya became one of Muhammad's scribes. He was appointed by Caliph Abu Bakr (r. 632–634) as a deputy commander in the conquest of Syria. He moved up the ranks through Umar's caliphate (r. 634–644) until becoming governor of Syria during the reign of his Umayyad kinsman, Caliph Uthman (r. 644–656). He allied with the province's powerful Banu Kalb tribe, developed the defenses of its coastal cities, and directed the war effort against the Byzantine Empire, including the first Muslim naval campaigns. In response to Uthman's assassination in 656, Mu'awiya took up the cause of avenging the murdered caliph and opposed the election of Ali. During the First Muslim Civil War, the two led their armies to a stalemate at the Battle of Siffin in 657, prompting an abortive series of arbitration talks to settle the dispute. Afterward, Mu'awiya gained recognition as caliph by his Syrian supporters and his ally Amr ibn al-As, who conquered Egypt from Ali's governor in 658. Following the assassination of Ali in 661, Mu'awiya compelled Ali's son and successor Hasan to abdicate and Mu'awiya's suzerainty was acknowledged throughout the Caliphate. Domestically, Mu'awiya relied on loyalist Syrian Arab tribes and Syria's Christian-dominated bureaucracy. He is credited with establishing government departments responsible for the postal route, correspondence, and chancellery. He was the first caliph whose name appeared on coins, inscriptions, or documents of the nascent Islamic empire. Externally, he engaged his troops in almost yearly land and sea raids against the Byzantines, including a failed siege of Constantinople. In Iraq and the eastern provinces, he delegated authority to the powerful governors al-Mughira and Ziyad ibn Abi Sufyan, the latter of whom he controversially adopted as his brother. Under Mu'awiya's direction, the Muslim conquest of Ifriqiya (central North Africa) was launched by the commander Uqba ibn Nafi in 670, while the conquests in Khurasan and Sijistan on the eastern frontier were resumed. Although Mu'awiya confined the influence of his Umayyad clan to the governorship of Medina, he nominated his own son, Yazid I, as his successor. It was an unprecedented move in Islamic politics and opposition to it by prominent Muslim leaders, including Ali's son Husayn, and Abd Allah ibn al-Zubayr, persisted after Mu'awiya's death, culminating with the outbreak of the Second Muslim Civil War. While there is considerable admiration for Mu'awiya in the contemporary sources, he has been criticized for lacking the justice and piety of the Rashidun and transforming the office of the caliphate into a kingship. Besides these criticisms, Sunni Muslim tradition honors him as a companion of Muhammad and a scribe of Qur'anic revelation. In Shia Islam, Mu'awiya is reviled for opposing Ali, accused of poisoning his son Hasan, and held to have accepted Islam without conviction.

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5. Abdullah of Saudi Arabia (1924 - 2015)

With an HPI of 74.39, Abdullah of Saudi Arabia is the 5th most famous Saudi Arabian Politician.  His biography has been translated into 94 different languages.

Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud (Arabic: عبدالله بن عبدالعزيز آل سعود ʿAbd Allāh ibn ʿAbd al ʿAzīz Āl Saʿūd, Najdi Arabic pronunciation: [ʢæbˈdɑɫ.ɫɐ ben ˈʢæbdæl ʢæˈziːz ʔæːl sæˈʢuːd]; 1 August 1924 – 23 January 2015) was King and Prime Minister of Saudi Arabia from 1 August 2005 until his death in 2015. Prior to his ascension, he was Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia since 13 June 1982. He was the tenth son of King Abdulaziz, the founder of Saudi Arabia, and the fifth of Abdulaziz's six sons who were kings. Abdullah was the son of King Abdulaziz and Fahda bint Asi Al Shuraim. His mother was a member of the Al Rashid dynasty, historical rivals of the Al Saud dynasty. Abdullah held important political posts throughout most of his adult life. In 1961 he became mayor of Mecca, his first public office. The following year, he was appointed commander of the Saudi Arabian National Guard, a post he was still holding when he became king. He also served as deputy defense minister and was named crown prince when his half-brother Fahd took the throne in 1982. After King Fahd suffered a serious stroke in 1995, Abdullah became the de facto ruler of Saudi Arabia until ascending the throne a decade later. During his reign, Abdullah maintained close relations with the United States and the United Kingdom and bought billions of dollars worth of defense equipment from both states. He also gave women the right to vote for municipal councils and to compete in the Olympics. Abdullah maintained the status quo when there were waves of protest in the kingdom during the Arab Spring. According to a 2013 BBC report, Saudi Arabia could obtain nuclear weapons at will from Pakistan during Abdullah's reign due to the close relations between the two countries. The King had a longstanding relationship with Pakistan, and brokered a compromise between General Pervez Musharraf and ousted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, whom he had requested to be exiled to Saudi Arabia for a 10-year exile, following his ouster in the 1999 Pakistani coup d'état.The three crown princes during Abdullah's reign were among the full brothers of King Fahd. Upon becoming king in 2005, Abdullah appointed his half-brother Sultan bin Abdulaziz as crown prince. When Sultan died in 2011, Sultan's full brother Nayef was named heir to the throne, but Nayef himself died the next year. Abdullah then named Salman bin Abdulaziz as crown prince. According to various reports, the King married up to 30 times and had more than 35 children. He was among the wealthiest royals in the world. Upon his death in 2015 at age 90, Abdullah was succeeded by his half-brother Salman.

Photo of Ibn Saud

6. Ibn Saud (1875 - 1953)

With an HPI of 73.57, Ibn Saud is the 6th most famous Saudi Arabian Politician.  His biography has been translated into 78 different languages.

Abdulaziz bin Abdul Rahman Al Saud (Arabic: عبد العزيز بن عبد الرحمن آل سعود, romanized: ʿAbd al ʿAzīz bin ʿAbd ar Raḥman Āl Suʿūd; 15 January 1875 – 9 November 1953), known in the West as Ibn Saud (Arabic: ابن سعود; Ibn Suʿūd), was an Arab tribal, political, and religious leader who founded Saudi Arabia – the third Saudi state – and reigned as its first king from 23 September 1932 until his death in 1953. He had ruled parts of the kingdom since 1902, having previously been Emir, Sultan, and King of Nejd, and King of Hejaz.Ibn Saud was the son of Abdul Rahman bin Faisal, Emir of Nejd, and Sara bint Ahmed Al Sudairi. The family were exiled from their residence in the city of Riyadh in 1890. Ibn Saud reconquered Riyadh in 1902, starting three decades of conquests that made him the ruler of nearly all of central and north Arabia. He consolidated his control over the Nejd in 1922, then conquered the Hejaz in 1925. He extended his dominions into what later became the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in 1932. Ibn Saud's victory and his support for Islamic revivalists would greatly bolster pan-Islamism across the Islamic world. Concording with Wahhabi beliefs, he ordered the demolition of some of the holiest sites of Islam, the Al-Baqi Cemetery and the Jannat al-Mu'alla. As King, he presided over the discovery of petroleum in Saudi Arabia in 1938 and the beginning of large-scale oil production after World War II. He fathered many children, including 45 sons, and all of the subsequent kings of Saudi Arabia as of 2023.

Photo of Abd al-Malik ibn Marwan

7. Abd al-Malik ibn Marwan (646 - 705)

With an HPI of 72.47, Abd al-Malik ibn Marwan is the 7th most famous Saudi Arabian Politician.  His biography has been translated into 61 different languages.

Abd al-Malik ibn Marwan ibn al-Hakam (Arabic: عبد الملك ابن مروان ابن الحكم, romanized: ʿAbd al-Malik ibn Marwān ibn al-Ḥakam; July/August 644 or June/July 647 – 9 October 705) was the fifth Umayyad caliph, ruling from April 685 (Sha'ban 65 in the Hijri calendar) until his death in October 705 (Shawwal 86 in the Hijri calendar). A member of the first generation of born Muslims, his early life in Medina was occupied with pious pursuits. He held administrative and military posts under Caliph Mu'awiya I (r. 661–680), founder of the Umayyad Caliphate, and his own father, Caliph Marwan I (r. 684–685). By the time of Abd al-Malik's accession, Umayyad authority had collapsed across the Caliphate as a result of the Second Muslim Civil War and had been reconstituted in Syria and Egypt during his father's reign. Following a failed invasion of Iraq in 686, Abd al-Malik focused on securing Syria before making further attempts to conquer the greater part of the Caliphate from his principal rival, the Mecca-based caliph Abd Allah ibn al-Zubayr. To that end, he concluded an unfavorable truce with the reinvigorated Byzantine Empire in 689, quashed a coup attempt in Damascus by his kinsman, al-Ashdaq, the following year, and reincorporated into the army the rebellious Qaysi tribes of the Jazira (Upper Mesopotamia) in 691. He then conquered Zubayrid Iraq and dispatched his general, al-Hajjaj ibn Yusuf, to Mecca where he killed Ibn al-Zubayr in late 692, thereby reuniting the Caliphate under Abd al-Malik's rule. The war with Byzantium resumed, resulting in Umayyad advances into Anatolia and Armenia, the destruction of Carthage and the recapture of Kairouan, the launchpad for the later conquests of western North Africa and the Iberian Peninsula, in 698. In the east, Abd al-Malik's viceroy, al-Hajjaj, firmly established the caliph's authority in Iraq and Khurasan, stamping out opposition by the Kharijites and the Arab tribal nobility by 702. Abd al-Malik's final years were marked by a domestically peaceful and prosperous consolidation of power. In a significant departure from his predecessors, rule over the Caliphate's provinces was centralized under Abd al-Malik, following the elimination of his rivals. Gradually, loyalist Arab troops from Syria were tasked with maintaining order in the provinces as dependence on less reliable, local Arab garrisons was reduced. Tax surpluses from the provinces were forwarded to Damascus and the traditional stipends to veterans of the early Muslim conquests and their descendants were abolished, salaries being restricted to those in active service. The most consequential of Abd al-Malik's reforms were the introduction of a single Islamic currency in place of Byzantine and Sasanian coinage and the establishment of Arabic as the language of the bureaucracy in place of Greek and Persian in Syria and Iraq, respectively. His Muslim upbringing, the conflicts with external and local Christian forces and rival claimants to Islamic leadership all influenced Abd al-Malik's efforts to prescribe a distinctly Islamic character to the Umayyad state. Another manifestation of this initiative was his founding of the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem, the earliest archaeologically attested religious monument built by a Muslim ruler and the possessor of the earliest epigraphic proclamations of Islam and the Islamic prophet Muhammad. The foundations established by Abd al-Malik enabled his son and successor, al-Walid I (r. 705–715), who largely maintained his father's policies, to oversee the Umayyad Caliphate's territorial and economic zenith. Abd al-Malik's centralized government became the prototype of later medieval Muslim states.

Photo of Umar II

8. Umar II (682 - 720)

With an HPI of 72.08, Umar II is the 8th most famous Saudi Arabian Politician.  His biography has been translated into 50 different languages.

Umar ibn Abd al-Aziz (Arabic: عمر بن عبد العزيز, romanized: ʿUmar ibn ʿAbd al-ʿAzīz; 2 November 680 – c. 5 February 720), commonly known as Umar II (عمر الثاني), was the eighth Umayyad caliph. He made various significant contributions and reforms to the society, and he has been described as and was often called the first Mujaddid and fifth th righteous caliph of Islam.He was also a cousin of the former caliph, being the son of Abd al-Malik's younger brother, Abd al-Aziz. He was also a matrilineal great-grandson of the second caliph, Umar ibn Al-Khattab. Surrounded with great scholars, he is credited with having ordered the first official collection of Hadiths and encouraged education to everyone. He also sent out emissaries to China and Tibet, inviting their rulers to accept Islam. At the same time, he remained tolerant with non-Muslim citizens. According to Nazeer Ahmed, it was during the time of Umar ibn Abd al-Aziz that the Islamic faith took roots and was accepted by huge segments of the population of Persia and Egypt. Militarily, Umar is sometimes deemed a pacifist, since he ordered the withdrawal of the Muslim army in places such as Constantinople, Central Asia and Septimania despite being a good military leader. However, under his rule the Umayyads conquered many territories from the Christian kingdoms in the Iberian Peninsula.

Photo of Abu Sufyan ibn Harb

9. Abu Sufyan ibn Harb (580 - 641)

With an HPI of 71.72, Abu Sufyan ibn Harb is the 9th most famous Saudi Arabian Politician.  His biography has been translated into 40 different languages.

Sakhr ibn Harb ibn Umayya ibn Abd Shams (Arabic: صخر بن حرب بن أمية بن عبد شمس, romanized: Ṣakhr ibn Ḥarb ibn Umayya ibn ʿAbd Shams; c. 565—653), better known by his kunya Abu Sufyan (Arabic: أبو سفيان, romanized: Abū Sufyān), was a prominent opponent turned companion of the Islamic prophet Muhammad. He was the father of Mu'awiya I and thus the forefather of all the Ummayid Caliphs. One of Abu Sufyan's daughters, Ramlah, was married to Muhammad, but this happened before Abu Sufyan's conversion and without his consent. Abu Sufyan was a leader and merchant from the Quraysh tribe of Mecca. During his early career, he often led trade caravans to Syria. He had been among the main leaders of Meccan opposition to Muhammad, the prophet of Islam and member of the Quraysh, commanding the Meccans at the battles of Uhud and the Trench in 625 and 627 CE. However, when Muhammad entered Mecca in 630, he was among the first to submit and was given a stake in the nascent Muslim state, playing a role at the Battle of Hunayn and the subsequent destruction of the polytheistic sanctuary of al-Lat in Ta'if. After Muhammad's death, he may have been appointed as the governor of Najran by Caliph Abu Bakr (r. 632–634) for an unspecified period. Abu Sufyan later played a supporting role in the Muslim army at the Battle of Yarmouk against the Byzantines in Syria. His sons Yazid and later Mu'awiya were given command roles in that province and the latter went on to establish the Umayyad Caliphate in 661.

Photo of Zubayr ibn al-Awam

10. Zubayr ibn al-Awam (594 - 656)

With an HPI of 70.88, Zubayr ibn al-Awam is the 10th most famous Saudi Arabian Politician.  His biography has been translated into 39 different languages.

Zubayr ibn al-ʿAwwām (Arabic: زبير ابن العوام;‎ 594–656) was an Arab Muslim commander in the service of the Islamic prophet Muhammad and the caliphs Abu Bakr (r. 632–634) and Umar (r. 634–644) who played a leading role in the Ridda Wars against rebel tribes in Arabia in 632–633 and later participated in early Muslim conquests of Sasanian Iraq in 633–634, Byzantine Syria in 634–638, and the Exarchate of Africa in 639–643. An early convert to Islam, Zubayr was made the commander by Muhammad for the Battle of Badr in 624, in which Zubayr was instrumental in defeating the opponent forces of the Quraysh. He participated in almost all of the early Muslim battles and expeditions under Muhammad. In the Battle of the Trench, due to his military service, Muhammad bestowed the title Hawari Rasul Allah ('Disciple of Messenger of God') upon him. After Muhammad's demise, Zubayr was appointed as a commander, in the Ridda Wars, by caliph Abu Bakr. He was involved in the defense of Medina and Battle of Yamama. During Umar's caliphate, Zubayr served in the Muslim conquests of Egypt, Levant, Persia, Sudan, and Tripolitania. After Umar's assassination, Zubayr became an important political figure of the caliphate, being the chief advisor of the Shura that elected the third caliph Uthman. During the latter's caliphate, Zubayr advised the caliph in political and religious issues. After Uthman was assassinated, Zubayr pledged allegiance to the fourth caliph Ali, though later withdrew allegiance, after Ali refused to avenge Uthman's death. Zubayr's forces engaged with Ali's forces in the Battle of the Camel in December 656. In the aftermath, while Zubayr was prostrating in prayer, he was killed by Amr ibn Jurmuz. Zubayr is generally considered by historians to be one of early Islam's most accomplished commanders. The Sunni Islamic tradition credits Zubayr as being promised paradise. The Shia Islamic tradition views Zubayr negatively. The general's descendants, known as the Zubayrids, are found worldwide.

Pantheon has 63 people classified as politicians born between 200 and 1985. Of these 63, 13 (20.63%) of them are still alive today. The most famous living politicians include Salman of Saudi Arabia, Muqrin bin Abdulaziz, and Abdul-Aziz ibn Abdullah Al ash-Sheikh. The most famous deceased politicians include Umar, Uthman, and Muawiyah I. As of April 2022, 6 new politicians have been added to Pantheon including Abdul Rahman bin Faisal Al Saud, Faisal bin Musaid Al Saud, and Abdulaziz bin Muhammad Al Saud.

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