King Faisal International Prize (KFIP) recognizes excellence in 5 categories: Service to Islam, Islamic Studies, Arabic Language & Literature, Medicine, and Science, since 1979

Shaikh Sulaiman Abd Al-Aziz Al-Rajhi

Winner of the  
2012
KFIP Prize for  
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Biography

Nationality: Saudi Arabia

2012-Sulaiman-Al-Rajhi-(SI)Shaikh Sulaiman bin Abd Al Aziz Al-Rajhi was born in 1920 to a poor family living in Bukairyiah in Qassim Region, Central Saudi Arabia. He moved to Riyadh as a child with his father and started working at the age of nine. After a few years of undertaking peripheral jobs, he joined his elder brother’s business in changing money for pilgrims taking camel caravans across the desert to Makkah to perform Hajj. In the mid 1950’s he moved to Jeddah where he started his own business in currency exchange with pilgrims. He met with unprecedented success in his business and his wealth and investments grew and expanded vastly through the years. He is currently the principal stake holder and Chairman of Al-Rajhi bank, a mammoth Saudi company and the largest Islamic bank in the world. Besides, he owns large corporations investing in agriculture, animal production, industry and construction. Today, his wealth is estimated at 7.7 billion dollars (8.8 billion dollars in some estimates), making him the 120th richest person in the world according to Forbes magazine.

Shaikh Al-Rajhi is renowned for his strict adherence to Islamic principles in all his dealings and business activities, as well his personal life. Despite his vast wealth, he leads a simple life. He is one of the world’s leading philanthropists, building mosques and homes for the poor, and supporting local and international charitable organizations. In 2011, he endowed more than 50% of his entire wealth for humanitarian purposes (and the rest for his family), and established a special foundation to monitor this endowment, maintain it and ensure that it is spent on its intended purposes. Apart from his leading role in establishing the world’s largest and most venerable Islamic banking institution operating in accordance with Islamic teachings, Shaikh Al-Rajhi continues to contribute to humanitarian efforts to fight poverty. His humanitarian foundation is also building non-profit colleges in his hometown, Bukairyiah, as a nucleus for a university soon to be announced. There are currently three health sciences colleges as well as other academic institutions for developing Arabic and Islamic studies curricula in different languages and for teaching Arabic language to non-Arabic speakers, in addition to a charity hospital and a center for learning financial skills. Plans are currently underway to build a College of Economics and the Al-Rajhi Financial Center Bukairyiah, as well as three large mosques in Hail, Makkah and Al-Madinah which, like his mosque in Riyadh, are built to accommodate thousands of worshippers and provide them with places for prayers, education and seclusion. Shaikh Al-Rajhi hopes that these mosques will eventually be converted into universities. Through investment in major projects, Shaikh Sulaiman Al-Rajhi aims at providing food security and services to industry, construction and other sectors in his country. He also nurtures Quranic studies and provides Quranic memorization groups with financial support and prizes, in addition to printing hundreds of thousands of copies of the Holy Quran for free distribution worldwide, particularly in Africa. Shaikh Al-Rajhi also contributes to the development of Muslim communities through investment in those communities and strengthening of commercial relations with the Islamic world. Al-Rajhi Foundation will also pay attention to the development of high way services such as gas stations and rest areas. Despite his age and extensive responsibilities, Shaikh Al-Rajhi remains devotes some of his time for holding lectures and meetings with Saudi Muslim youth, explaining to them his remarkable personal experience, and urging them to indulge in private business.

In 2000, Shaikh Abd Al Aziz Al-Rajhi was awarded King Abd Al-Aziz medal.

Shaikh Sulaiman Abd Al-Aziz Al-Rajhi has been awarded the prize for:

  1. Endowing more than 50% of his wealth for humanitarian purposes, and establishing a special foundation to monitor this endowment, maintain it and ensure that it is spent on its intended recipients.
  2. Participating in establishing the world’s largest and most venerable Islamic banking institution operating in concordance with Islamic Shari’ah teachings.
  3. Contributing regularly towards humanitarian efforts to fight poverty. This is accomplished by providing national and international humanitarian societies with material support and training.3- Contributing regularly towards humanitarian efforts to fight poverty. This is accomplished by providing national and international humanitarian societies with material support and training.
  4. Encouraging Quranic memorization groups and providing them with financial support and prizes, in addition to printing hundreds of thousands of copies of the Holy Quran and distributing them free of charge worldwide, particularly in Africa.
  5. Establishing non-profit colleges as a nucleus for a university soon to be announced. There are currently three health sciences colleges as well as other academic institutions for developing Arabic and Islamic studies curricula in different languages and for teaching Arabic language to non-Arabic speakers.
  6. Building large mosques with places for prayers, education and seclusion, such as Al-Rajhi mosque in Riyadh and his mosque in Ha’il, each of which accommodates thousands of worshippers.
  7. Investing in major projects aimed at providing food security and serving industry, construction and other sectors.
  8. Contributing to the development of Muslim communities through investment and strengthening of commercial relations with the Islamic world.
  9. Encouraging Muslim youth, through his talks and personal experience, to indulge in private business.

More about Awarding this Winner

Al Rajhi Attributes His Success to the Blessing of Allah Katerina Nikolas 16 May 2011
Sulaiman Al-Rajhi’s Life a Rags to Riches Story Arab News 30 May 2012
Read the Press Release Read the Acceptance Speech View the Honorary’s Certificate