The Care for the Holy Places

Date: 1955

Road Construction in and Inter-linking the Holy Cities and Sites:

It was also during the reign of King Saud that the Mayoralty of the Holy Capital (Makkah) decided to devote its attention towards the improvement  of roads and streets in the Holly City and the other Hajj related sites. In  order to organize open spaces and widen the roads in Mina, a number of  old buildings were demolished and several hilly projections that were an obstruction to the mobility of motor traffic during the Hajj season, were also leveled, while a number of existing roads and their off-shoots in  both, 'Arafat and Mina were improved and asphalted.

In addition, the Department responsible for Roads and Bridges in the Ministry of Communications paved and asphalted the highway leading  from Al- Taif Airport into the inner parts of the town, repaired and improved the Makkah - Jeddah highway and also paved the one from Jeddah to al-Madinah, alongside the road network that inter-linked Makkah, Mina, al-Muzdalifah and 'Arafat. All these improvements were primarily to ensure the provision of a suitable system of roads for the Hajj traffic and to help organize and regulate its flow. Construction work was also started on a number of other major modern asphalted highways, such as between al- Taif and Makkah and al-Riyadh and al- Taif alongside some others.

A Terminal for the Pilgrims at Jeddah Airport:

Amongst the other important projects implemented by King Saud out of consideration for the comfort and facility of the all important Pilgrims - to this Holy Land was the construction of a Pilgrims' Terminal at Jeddah Airport. This was built in accordance with the most modern, utilitarian planning and building concepts in response to the pilgrims envisaged  needs and equipped with all the facilities considered to add to their convenience and comfort. The offices of the Passports and Immigration department and the Customs Authorities were located there and so were  those of the various Airlines and Pilgrims Guides, in addition to shops purveying all kinds of goods. The existence of all these facilities in the precincts or the vicinity of the complex had tended to save the Pilgrims the bother of having to travel distances in order to accomplish their purposes. The halls at the Terminal were air-conditioned and also provided with other sanitary and health and hygienic facilities. (111).  though of invaluable utility and significance for many years, once the International Airport was shifted from its site then, they fall into disuse.

This then in an outline of some of the achievements of this King in  relative to the Holy Land and the Pilgrimage. After an eleven year reign, he abdicated in favor of his next brother and heir, Faisal, in 1384H (1964 AD) and left for abroad. He sincerely and logically believed that, while the dynamics of marketing may regulate the size of production, with major oil reserves to guarantee his country sizeable revenues for the foreseeable future, which more or less could be taken to imply that, oil underground it almost as good as bullion in his treasury, national income  was there to be spent and unsparingly if necessary, for the welfare and happiness of his fellow countrymen, as per perceptions known to him to be common then amongst their vast majority, just as he had seen his great father and role-model do and he did, often having recourse to borrowing.  He passed away abroad in Athens in 1389H (1969AD) and after the funerary prayers had been offered over his body in the Masjid al -Haraam, for the expansion and refurbishment of which he had attempted to so much and succeeded, he was laid to rest in an unmarked grave by his fathers side in the grave-yard of al-'And in Al-Riyadh.

The Qur'an in a Verse addresses parents thus: "Beautified for mankind  is love of things they covet" women and offspring and stored up heaps of gold and silver and horses branded (with their mark and for excellence),  and cattle and land. Such are the possessions (and comfort) of the life of the world. Allah! With Him is a more excellent abode." (Q3: v 14).  King Saud left behind a hundred and seven surviving children at the time of his death, too many to have known well and enjoyed even if he had wanted to, with the cases responsibilities and ceremonies pertaining to his office and especially as observed at his court, taking up most of his time.  Yes, he, as the patriarch of his family and the realm loved his children dearly and it is also true that he could or would rarely refuse them a request, but, his real children were always his people and his truest  affections were for these unknown numbers, towards whom he would display his feelings in the manner that he had been brought up to, by his cultural environment and training. Yes, if he ever did covet wealth in any guise, it was only to have more to give away and spend on these "children" of his.
Bowing before circumstances, a rapidly changing international and regional political environment, and the desire of a number of his family members, he had agreed to art with the cares of government to another  great son of 'Abdul' Aziz, who was the end product of a different Environment and experiences and hence, perhaps better equipped in some ways to face the cut and thrust of modern politics and the pyrrhic nature of "fraternal" political and ideological rivalry primarily in the guise of so called Nasserism Arab "socialism" and "nationalism", all of which almost pretended as if social justice and belief in patriotic values and nationalistic concepts did not exist before and were new phenomena - not mention the vitriol of its dialectics and the vile tactics of propaganda warfare! .