Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

In Commemoration of Sheikh Abdulaziz al Tuwaijri | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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He spent his life serving his nation and became a statesman of whom his country was proud. Sheikh Abdulaziz al Tuwaijri is a man who has left good memories behind for everyone who met him. He had the radiant features of Najd. Approximately nine years ago, I went to see him at the Islamic Saudi Academy in Washington D.C.

I introduced myself by my first name. “Introduce yourself by your full name,” he said quietly. I stated my full name. He smiled and said, “The grandson of Abdullah is in Washington!” in reference to my late grandfather. May God have mercy on both of their souls.

He took me by the hand and asked why I was in Washington. He asked about the smallest details regarding my family and I was stunned. I admired the Sheikh’s keen memory, his soft tone and his ever-lasting smile.

About a year and a half ago, I found out from my colleague Mshari al Zaydi that the Sheikh was in London. I went to visit him immediately at the Four Seasons Hotel. Once I entered the lobby where the Sheikh and a large number of people were sitting around a table, I saw the Sheikh begin to stand up so that he could receive me. I hastened towards him, thinking to myself how kind and noble this man is.

As I traveled to the hotel, I recalled the history of Sheikh Abdulaziz al Tuwaijri and thought what a history and what a man!

After we shook hands, he asked me to sit down beside him. He proceeded to explain the history of Al Ghat [a region in Saudi Arabia] to his audience, talking about his friendship with my grandfather, whom I had never seen, as if he was accounting for the warm welcome he gave me. However, I was sure that this was out of his kindness and modesty, which were apparent to everyone who came in contact with him.

Elaborating on some chapters of history, he sounded like a man who knew the four corners of my country. As he talked about journalism, I listened attentively to the wise man. I felt that I was in the presence of a father due to his kindness.

Today we console ourselves for the death of a man whom history will never forget for his dedicated service to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. With his cultural open-mindedness and political rationality, he was the perfect example of a statesman. From the harsh desert of Najd, he acquired patience, and from its gentle breeze he acquired sensitivity and became a distinguished man of letters. By virtue of the cultural and geographical diversity of Saudi Arabia, he became a man who believed in the importance of diversity and acceptance of the other and who was open to the issues of women, modern development and the various cultural trends throughout the Arab world. May God have mercy on Sheikh Abdulaziz al Tuwaijri, in whom one could see the open-minded, kind-hearted elders of Najd.

The Sheikh had documented the history of the founder of Saudi Arabia, the late King Abdulaziz bin Abdul Rahman Al Saud and has been buried with his secrets despite, as customary of statesmen, being close to the founding king of Saudi Arabia and to his lifelong companion, the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Abdulaziz.

Sheikh al Tuwaijri spent his life devoted to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia during its founding and throughout its existence.