Riyadh, Asharq Al-Awsat—Saudi nationals across the Kingdom are mourning the passing of King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz following his death in the early hours of Friday morning. He is succeeded by King Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, who in his first statement as Saudi Arabia’s new monarch pledged to continue the wise course chartered by King Abdullah.
Heads of state and senior Saudi officials gathered in Riyadh for King Abdullah’s funeral at the Prince Turki Bin Abdullah Mosque in Riyadh.
The funeral was attended by Bahraini monarch King Hamad Bin Isa Al Khalifa, Kuwait’s Emir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmed Al-Jabir Al-Sabah, Qatar’s Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan among others.
Funeral prayers were led by Saudi Arabia’s Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdulaziz Al Al-Sheikh and attended by Muslim world leaders, members of the Saudi royal family and senior civil and military officials, as well as ordinary Saudi citizens.
New Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman Bin Abdulaziz, received condolences from world leaders and heads of delegations following the prayers.
The Saudi King’s body, clothed in plain white cloth, was carried on a stretcher by relatives to rest in a mosque before being taken for burial.
In a statement carried by the state-owned Saudi Press Agency (SPA) on Friday, King Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud extended his condolences to the loyal people of Saudi Arabia and the Arab and Islamic nation on the death of King Abdullah.
King Salman called on God Almighty to bestow his mercy and peace on the late king and reward him for his outstanding work in service to his nation and religion, the SPA statement said.
The new Saudi monarch’s statement began and concluded with Qu’ranic verses. “In the name of Allah, the Merciful, and praise be to Allah who says ‘Everyone upon the earth will perish. And there will remain the Face of your Lord, Owner of Majesty and Honor.’ [Surat Al-Rahman],” the statement began.
Addressing the Saudi people, the statement read: “With hearts believing in Allah’s predestination, and filled with sadness and grief, I extend condolences to the loyal Saudi people and the Arab and Islamic nation on the death of the late dear King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud.”
King Salman said that King Abdullah had spent his life “in obedience to God, bolstering his religion, serving his nation and people and defending the causes of the Arab and Islamic nations.”
“We ask Allah to bestow His mercy and peace on him and reward him with the best rewards for his outstanding work in the service of his religion and homeland,” the statement added.
The new Saudi monarch’s statement concluded with a Qu’ranic verse that is often repeated by Muslims on the death of loved ones. “We also ask Allah to bestow on us patience and reward us and we only say in this calamity what we are ordered by Allah to say: ‘Indeed we belong to Allah, and indeed to Him we will return.’ [Surat Al-Baqarah].”