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 15,710 Politicians, 56 of which were born in Saudi Arabia. This makes Saudi Arabia the birth place of the 44th most number of Politicians behind Canada 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 89.18, Umar is the most famous Saudi Arabian Politician.  His biography has been translated into 119 different languages on wikipedia.

ʿUmar ibn al-Khaṭṭāb (Arabic: عمر بن الخطاب, also spelled Omar, c. 583/584 – 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-Farooq ("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-Faruq ('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.

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2. Uthman (574 - 656)

With an HPI of 84.97, Uthman is the 2nd most famous Saudi Arabian Politician.  His biography has been translated into 86 different languages.

Uthman (Arabic: عثمان ابن عفان ابن أبي العاص, romanized: ʿUthmān ibn ʿAffān ibn Abī al-'Ās; c. 576 or 579 – June 656), also spelled Osman, was the third Rashidun caliph, ruling from November 644 until his assassination. He ruled for twelve years, the longest of all Rashidun caliphs, and during his reign, the Rashidun Caliphate reached its greatest extent. He is known for having ordered the compilation of the first standard version of the Quran. Belonging to the Quraysh's aristocratic Umayyad clan, Uthman was an affluent merchant of Taif. Following his conversion to Islam in 611, he became a prominent companion of the Islamic prophet Muhammad. In 615, Uthman married Muhammad's daughter Ruqayya and following her death, to another of Muhammad's daughter Umm Kulthum. His wives having been daughters of Muhammad earned him the honorific title Dhū al-Nurayn ('Possessor of the Two Lights'). Though Uthman didn't participate in the early Muslim battles, he extensively contributed his wealth in support of the Muslims. After Muhammad's death in 632, Uthman served as a close aide to the first and second caliphs Abu Bakr (r. 632–634) and Umar (r. 634–644) respectively. On his deathbed, Umar formed a six-member committee, including Uthman, to chose the next caliph amongst themselves which eventually elected Uthman. Uthman continued his predecessor's policies of centralization and expansion, but notably initiated a relatively new tax policy, and also assigned his Umayyad kinsman to prominent roles. Under Uthman, the caliphate concluded its conquest of Persia, and also continued successful expansions into Byzantine territories. He was the first caliph to institute an integrated Muslim navy. Though Uthman was highly successful in expanding the caliphate, his nepotistic policies received him vehement opposition from numerous Muslims. In June 656, a group of Egyptian rebels besieged Uthman's house, and assassinated the caliph. The caliph was buried at a local Jewish cemetery, which was later extended to al-Baqi. His assassination marked the start of the First Muslim Civil War, as Uthman's brother-in-law Ali (r. 656–661) was elected the fourth caliph. Uthman is viewed by historians to be one of the most successful caliphs. From an expansionist perspective, he is regarded as skilled in conflict management, as is evident from how he dealt with the heated and troubled early Muslim conquered territories. In Sunni Islam, Uthman is considered a devout and pious caliph, and also viewed as the third most righteous companion of Muhammad.

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3. Muawiyah I (603 - 680)

With an HPI of 82.97, Muawiyah I is the 3rd most famous Saudi Arabian Politician.  His biography has been translated into 68 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 caliph and opposed his successor, 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, though the tide turned against the Arabs toward the end of his reign and he sued for a truce. 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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4. Salman of Saudi Arabia (1935 - )

With an HPI of 82.55, Salman of Saudi Arabia is the 4th most famous Saudi Arabian Politician.  His biography has been translated into 83 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 23 January 2015. Prior to his accession, he was Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia from 16 June 2012 to 23 January 2015. He is the 25th son of King Abdulaziz and the sixth of his sons who have reigned as kings (the others were Saud, Faisal, Khalid, Fahd, and Abdullah). 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.

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5. Abdullah of Saudi Arabia (1924 - 2015)

With an HPI of 80.87, Abdullah of Saudi Arabia is the 5th most famous Saudi Arabian Politician.  His biography has been translated into 91 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 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. (The others were Saud, Faisal, Khalid, Fahd and Salman.) 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 Abd al-Malik ibn Marwan

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

With an HPI of 79.33, Abd al-Malik ibn Marwan is the 6th most famous Saudi Arabian Politician.  His biography has been translated into 60 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 until his death. 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 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.

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7. Umar II (682 - 720)

With an HPI of 79.24, Umar II is the 7th most famous Saudi Arabian Politician.  His biography has been translated into 45 different languages.

Umar ibn Abd al-Aziz (Arabic: عمر بن عبد العزيز, romanized: ʿUmar ibn ʿAbd al-ʿAzīz; 2 November 682 – 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 "the most pious and devout" of the Umayyad rulers and was often called the first Mujaddid and sixth 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 Spain.

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8. Ibn Saud (1875 - 1953)

With an HPI of 78.82, Ibn Saud is the 8th most famous Saudi Arabian Politician.  His biography has been translated into 75 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. He reigned as the first king of Saudi Arabia from 23 September 1932 to 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. 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.

Photo of Marwan I

9. Marwan I (623 - 685)

With an HPI of 78.00, Marwan I is the 9th most famous Saudi Arabian Politician.  His biography has been translated into 49 different languages.

Marwan ibn al-Hakam ibn Abi al-As ibn Umayya (Arabic: مروان بن الحكم بن أبي العاص بن أمية, romanized: Marwān ibn al-Ḥakam ibn Abī al-ʿĀs ibn Umayya), commonly known as Marwan I (623 or 626 – April/May 685), was the fourth Umayyad caliph, ruling for less than a year in 684–685. He founded the Marwanid ruling house of the Umayyad dynasty, which replaced the Sufyanid house after its collapse in the Second Muslim Civil War and remained in power until 750. During the reign of his cousin Uthman (r. 644–656), Marwan took part in a military campaign against the Byzantines of the Exarchate of Africa (in central North Africa), where he acquired significant war spoils. He also served as Uthman's governor in Fars (southwestern Iran) before becoming the caliph's katib (secretary or scribe). He was wounded fighting the rebel siege of Uthman's house, in which the caliph was slain. In the ensuing civil war between Ali (r. 656–661) and the largely Qurayshite partisans of A'isha, Marwan sided with the latter at the Battle of the Camel. Marwan later served as governor of Medina under his distant kinsman Caliph Mu'awiya I (r. 661–680), founder of the Umayyad Caliphate. During the reign of Mu'awiya's son and successor Yazid I (r. 680–683), Marwan organized the defense of the Umayyad realm in the Hejaz (western Arabia) against the local opposition. After Yazid died in November 683, the Mecca-based rebel Abd Allah ibn al-Zubayr declared himself caliph and expelled Marwan, who took refuge in Syria, the center of Umayyad rule. With the death of the last Sufyanid caliph Mu'awiya II in 684, Marwan, encouraged by the ex-governor of Iraq Ubayd Allah ibn Ziyad, volunteered his candidacy for the caliphate during a summit of pro-Umayyad tribes in Jabiya. The tribal nobility, led by Ibn Bahdal of the Banu Kalb, elected Marwan and together they defeated the pro-Zubayrid Qays tribes at the Battle of Marj Rahit in August of that year. In the months that followed, Marwan reasserted Umayyad rule over Egypt, Palestine, and northern Syria, whose governors had defected to Ibn al-Zubayr's cause, while keeping the Qays in check in the Jazira (Upper Mesopotamia). He dispatched an expedition led by Ibn Ziyad to reconquer Zubayrid Iraq, but died while it was underway in the spring of 685. Before his death, Marwan firmly established his sons in positions of power: Abd al-Malik was designated his successor, Abd al-Aziz was made governor of Egypt, and Muhammad oversaw military command in Upper Mesopotamia. Although Marwan was stigmatized as an outlaw and a father of tyrants in later anti-Umayyad tradition, the historian Clifford E. Bosworth asserts that the caliph was a shrewd, capable, and decisive military leader and statesman who laid the foundations of continued Umayyad rule for a further sixty-five years.

Photo of Abu Sufyan ibn Harb

10. Abu Sufyan ibn Harb (580 - 641)

With an HPI of 77.97, Abu Sufyan ibn Harb is the 10th most famous Saudi Arabian Politician.  His biography has been translated into 38 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.

Pantheon has 56 people classified as politicians born between 200 and 1985. Of these 56, 12 (21.43%) 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 October 2020, 2 new politicians have been added to Pantheon including Al-Mughira and Ali Al-Naimi.

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