Mohammed bin Awad bin Laden (Arabic: محمد بن عوض بن لادن; 1908 – 3 September 1967) was a multi-millionaire Saudi businessman working primarily in the construction industry. He founded what is today the Saudi Binladin Group and became the wealthiest non-royal Saudi, establishing the wealth and prestige of the Bin Laden family. He was the son of Awad bin Laden and the father of Osama bin Laden.
Mohammed bin Awad bin Laden was born on the Hadhramaut coast of south Yemen in 1908 to Awad bin Aboud bin Laden, a Kindite Hadhrami tribesman from al-Rubat, a village in Wadi Doan; Mohammed's paternal grandfather was Aboud bin Laden, the son of Ali bin Laden, one of four brothers (the others being Ahmed, Mansour, and Zaid) from whom the four bin Laden clans trace their ancestry. His son Osama bin Laden was the notorious founder of al-Qaeda, the Sunni militant Islamist organization.
Poor and uneducated, Mohammed emigrated to Tihamah before World War I, initially working as a porter in Jeddah. In 1930, he started his own construction business and after coming to the attention of Abdul Aziz Ibn Saud, first monarch of Saudi Arabia, he eventually achieved such success that his family became known as "the wealthiest non-royal family in the kingdom."
Mohammed bin Laden's enormous financial success was ascribed to a shrewd business sense, fealty to Saudi Arabia's rulers, reliability and a willingness to offer the lowest bid on construction contracts.
As the "royal builder," Mohammed bin Laden forged close relationships with the royal family, particularly Prince Faisal of Saudi Arabia. In 1964, Prince Faisal deposed his half-brother, King Saud, and began rebuilding the kingdom after the wasteful excesses of the Saud era. King Faisal accepted Mohammed bin Laden's offer of financial assistance to support the national economy and as a reward, King Faisal issued a royal decree awarding all future construction projects to bin Laden's construction company. As a result, bin Laden's company eventually amassed assets in excess of US$5 billion. He made his initial fortune from exclusive rights to all mosque and other religious building construction in Saudi Arabia and several other Arab countries. Until 1967, Mohammed bin Laden held exclusive responsibility for restorations at the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.
Despite his royal associ... ...read more