On September 23, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia celebrates its 88th National Day. It marks the day the Kingdom was unified under King Abdul Aziz Bin Abdul Rahman Al Saud in 1932.
The Saudi national anthem as we know it today was first adopted in 1950 by King Abdulaziz without the lyrics, to be the official royal salute. Which was played at Saudi official ceremonies to salute royal families and diplomats.
The piece was a gift from Egypt King Farouq in 1947 when King Abdul Aziz visited Egypt.
The composer Abdul Rahman Khateeb himself played the music on the trumpet at the official welcoming ceremony held for king Abdulaziz at that time.
In the 80’s the Saudi poet Ibrahim Khafaja was ordered to add words to the royal Salute piece so it becomes the official Royal anthem of the Kingdom.
Khafaja in many interviews narrated how King Khalid, reigned from 1975 to 1982, ordered that lyrics should be added to the royal salute, after he heard the Egyptian National Anthem and expressed his fondness.
By the time, Khafaja was chosen by officials to write the lyrics, the king passed away and the project was put on hold.
King Fahid, who succeeded King Khalid, heard of the former king’s wish and ordered Khafaja to finish the National Anthem, and to focus on the Kingdom heritage in his writing.
The poet took up the task with great pride and completed the poem in six months. He gave the poem to Saudi composer Siraj Omar to blend with the music.
The first time Saudi’s heard their national anthem was on the first day of Eid Al Fitr in 1984, as it was played on the national TV and radio.
The National Anthem is commonly known among Saudis as Sari’i, the opening word of the anthem, meaning to Hasten.
To glory and supremacy,
Glorify the Creator of the heavens
And raise the green flag
Which carry the guidance light
Repeat: Allahu Akbar
Live as the pride of all Muslims!
Long live the king
For the flag