Riyadh, Asharq Al-Awsat—Prominent Saudi Arabian scholars, officials and citizens pledged allegiance to King Salman Bin Abdulaziz, Crown Prince Muqrin Bin Abdulaziz and Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Naif at the Governance Palace in Riyadh on Friday evening.
Thousands of Saudis flocked to the palace to express their grief and offer condolences on the death of King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz and pledge allegiance to the Kingdom’s new rulers, in scenes that were repeated in towns and cities across the Kingdom.
The allegiance ceremony, or Bayaa, is a traditional Islamic oath of allegiance that formally marks the start of a new Saudi Arabian monarch’s reign.
Speaking at the ceremony on Friday, Saudi Arabia’s Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdulaziz Al-Sheikh said: “We are gathered here today to offer our pledge of allegiance to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman Bin Abdulaziz, Crown Prince Muqrin Bin Abdulaziz and Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Naif, according to the teachings of the holy Qur’an and the sayings and deeds of the Prophet Muhammad.”
“Dear brothers and sisters, we are blessed with and must maintain security and stability in the Kingdom,” the Grand Mufti added. Al-Sheikh, who is also Chairman of Saudi Arabia’s Council of Senior Scholars, highlighted the historical role that the Bayaa has played in ensuring a smooth and secure transfer of power in the Kingdom.
The Saudi Grand Mufti called on God Almighty to aid King Salman during his reign and ensure Saudi Arabian unity and stability.
Following Al-Sheikh’s speech, the new Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman Bin Abdulaziz received the pledge of allegiance from members of the royal family, the Saudi Royal Court confirmed.
Prominent Muslim world leaders headed to the Kingdom on Friday to attend the funeral of King Abdullah and personally offered their condolences to new King Salman. According to Islamic and Saudi tradition, King Abdullah was buried less than 24 hours after his death.
King Abdullah’s funeral prayers were attended by Bahraini monarch King Hamad Bin Isa Al Khalifa, Kuwait’s Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmed Al-Jabir Al-Sabah, Qatar’s Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, among others.
Russia’s Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron, French President Francois Hollande and Japan’s Crown Prince Naruhito are set to visit Saudi Arabia on Saturday and Sunday to offer condolences. US President Barack Obama is to cut short a visit to India and travel to the Kingdom to offer his condolences to Saudi Arabia’s new leaders.