The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman bin Abdulaziz, was born in Riyadh city in 1935. He grew up in Riyadh and received his early tutelage at the hands of a number of religious scholars and shaikhs. At the same time, he benefitted from the close attention and guidance his father, King Abdulaziz, the founder of Saudi Arabia, provided to his children by personally monitoring their education.
King Salman received formal education at Riyadh-based Princes’ School, which was established in 1937 by the late King Abdulaziz with the objective of providing education to his children. At the school, he studied religion and modern sciences. He also completed the reading of the holy Qur’an, an achievement celebrated by his school in 1945.
He accompanied his father, the founder of Saudi Arabia, on several missions and occasions, and has been known for his dedication and his passion for books, particularly history, biographies and political books.
As for his official positions, King Salman was appointed in 1954 as Deputy Governor of Riyadh Region when he was just nineteen years of age. In 1955, a Royal Decree was issued appointing him Governor of Riyadh Region. In 2011, he was decreed Minister of Defense; and in 2012, a Royal Decree was issued appointing him Crown Prince, Deputy Premier and Defense Minister.
In 2015, the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman bin Abdulaziz, was proclaimed King of Saudi Arabia.
King Salman bin Abdulaziz accords tremendous consideration to humanitarian and cultural issues. Since 1956, he has held the chairmanship of several major philanthropic associations, commissions and committees, both inside and outside Saudi Arabia, and sponsored numerous cultural projects.
Among the institutions and cultural/social societies which he chairs are the Board of Directors of King Abdulaziz Dara (Foundation for Research and Archives) and King Fahad National Library. He has also chaired the High Commission for Development of Riyadh and the High Executive Committee for the Development of Dir’iya. He is also Honorary President of the Board of Directors of Riyadh Development Company, Founder and Supreme Chairman of King Salman Center for Disability Research, Honorary President of the Charitable Society for Memorization of the Holy Quran in Riyadh Region ,and Chairman of the High Committee and the Preparatory Committee for Celebrating the Centenary of the Kingdom’s foundation.
Besides, King Salman headed several humanitarian societies and commissions whose activities extend beyond Saudi Arabia. These include the Donations Committee for Distressed Inhabitants of Suez in 1956, the Principal Committee for Donations to Algiers in 1956, the Public Donations Committee for Jordanian Martyrs’ Families in 1967, the Public Relief Committee for Pakistani Sufferers during the India-Pakistan war in 1973, the Popular Committee for Supporting the War Effort in Egypt in 1973, and the Popular Committee for Supporting the War Effort in Syria in 1973.
The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques was awarded a number of accolades, namely the King Abdulaziz Cordon of the First Order, the highest honor in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the Intellectual Competence Order from the late King Hassan II of Morocco (1989), the Golden Order of Bosnia-Herzegovina for his support and efforts towards the independence of that country (1997), the United Nations Shield for his participation in efforts to reduce global poverty (1997), the Jerusalem Star in recognition of his exceptional, selfless, and courageous efforts to serve Palestinians (1998), the Sikatuna Order, the highest order in the Philippines, for his effective contributions to humanitarian activities, support of philanthropic institutions and efforts to advance and improve the understanding of Islamic culture (1999).
He was also awarded the Grand Order, the highest order in the Republic of Senegal (1999), as well as an Honorary Doctorate Degree from the Islamic University in Delhi, awarded to him during his official visit to India in 2010, in recognition of his humanitarian efforts and commitment to education and for being an internationally acclaimed statesman. In addition, he received the Kant Medal from Berlin-Brandenberg Academy for Science in Germany, during his official visit to Germany in 2010. In 2016, he received the Republican Order, the highest order in Turkey awarded to leaders and heads of states. In 2016, he was awarded the Nile Order, the highest order in Egypt, in recognition of his efforts and noble stances in the Arab World. In the same year, he also received Zayed Order, the highest order in the United Arab Emirates and was awarded the Shaikh Eisa bin Salman Al-Khalifa Order of Distinguished level from the Kingdom of Bahrain.
The King Faisal International Prize for The Service to Islam 2017 has been awarded to The Custodian of The Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud King of Saudi Arabia In recognition of his outstanding services to Islam and Muslims, namely:
- Unfaltering commitment to serving the two Holy Mosques and their visitors/pilgrims.
- Allegiance to the Prophet’s Sira (i.e. Life of Prophet Mohammed), sponsorship and support of the Historic Atlas of the Prophet’s Sira and its implementation by King Abdulaziz Dara (Foundation for Research and Archives), and founding of King Abdulaziz Complex for Endowment Libraries in Al-Madinah Al-Munawwarah for preserving Arabic and Islamic heritage.
- Dedicated endeavors to unite Arabs and Muslims in the face of daunting challenges currently unfolding in the Arabic and Muslim worlds, including the formation of a Riyadh-based Islamic military alliance to combat terrorism.
- Upholding throughout the decades unwavering Arabic and Islamic stance in support of the Palestinian issue by providing political, moral and humanitarian support to the Palestinians.
- Chairmanship and personal supervision of a number of popular committees and humanitarian societies for the relief of destitute people in several Arab and Muslim countries.
- Establishment of, and generous support for, the King Salman Center for Relief and Humanitarian Aids for the provision of aid to needy Arab and Islamic countries.