Arabia Unified A Portrait of Ibn Saud

Amid the plethora of works about Arabia and the Arabs written by European ‘experts’, here at last is a book which gives a Saudi Arabian’s view of his country’s’ recent past. A unique ‘insider’s’ view of Arabia, it is full of humour, anecdote and reminiscence. More
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About Mohammed Al-Mana, Sr

Sheikh Mohammed Abdullah Al-Mana, was a writer, historian and translator, loves reading and poetry. He was one of the men of King Abdulaziz bin Saud, one of those who participated with him in many battles.

He is the author of the book “Unification of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia”. He was one of the founders of the healthcare culture in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. He was also one of the founders of the women’s education as he established the first school for girls in the Eastern province in Khobar. His first project was the establishment of an ice factory in the Eastern Region in the 1940s and 50s which the first of its kind. One of his biggest accomplishments was the establishment of the AlMana General Hospitals that initially was an eye hospital in Khobar.

He worked for the Royal Court for nine years as a translator and then became the chief translator, responsible for the translation of all letters and documents from English and Urdu into Arabic. He then joined the Oil Company, now known as “Saudi Aramco” in the Eastern Region.

Al Mana was born in 1903 in the city of Zubayr, south of Basra between Iraq and Najd. His family originated from the town of Jalajal in the Najd region. Because it of its dry desert climate, with sporadic natural vegetation and lack of rainfall, the family moved with many Najdis to Basra in the pursuit of work. The narratives mention that the migrants established their lives in Zubayr instead of returning to their hometown.

Zubayr was the birthplace of AlMana, a city of great influence on him. Its geographical location influenced his father to move and live in it. Its location separating Iraq from Najd made it a busy city and enjoyed economic prosperity. Perhaps the period of childhood experienced by AlMana in Zubayr remained in the mentality of the child and never left him even after he left it.

He was born in a trade family. His father worked as an Arab horse tradesman, which was popular at the time. Traders carried their horses in sailing vessels to Bombay and from there they were sent around the world. The father of Al Mana did the same; he bought horses from Iraq, Syria and Lebanon and sold them, but he finally decided to live in Bombay and sell horses to his customers, most of whom were British “cavalrymen”, in addition to the elite of the Indian population so-called “Maharajas”.

Through working at Aramco he gained a capital for the establishment of a hospital in the Eastern Region and his first private project the AlMana General Hospital in Khobar.

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