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KING FAISAL FOUNDATION. A philanthropic organization established in 1976 by the eight sons of King Faysal ibn `Abd al-`Aziz Al Sa’ud (1906-1975), who play a major role in the civic and cultural life of Saudi Arabia, the King Faisal Foundation is intended to promote within Saudi Arabia and abroad all charitable endeavors that the late king strove to accomplish, namely, helping fellow Muslims, expanding Islamic da,wah (missionary activity), and fostering solidarity among Muslim states. The foundation is comprised of three distinct entities: The King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies, the King Faisal International Prize, and the King Faisal Foundation General Secretariat. The director general of the foundation is Prince Khalid al-Faysal, emir of ‘Asir Province, and most of the high-ranking posts of the foundation, particularly in the finance and investment section, are held by Saudis. In I99I, the research center’s library held some 63,000 books and 2,000 periodicals in sixteen languages as well as 10,300 manuscripts. The children’s library attached to the center provides a reading space for eighty children, and it holds 15,000 children’s books and serials in Arabic, English, and French. The computer search services of the center provide college students and researchers, free of charge, with full bibliographies on any topic related to the Arab world and Islam.

king faisal foundation

The King Faisal International Prize, valued at 350,000 Saudi riyals (approximately US$93,000), is awarded annually to outstanding international figures whose contributions are universally recognized in five major fields: service to Islam, Islamic studies, Arabic literature, medicine, and science. Since the inception of the prize in 1979, an average of six scholars per year, from twenty-six countries, have won this award.

In financing philanthropic projects in Islamic states, the foundation oversees a multitude of programs directed to nongovernmental institutions, particularly schools, orphanages, and hospitals. This aid is independent of any assistance programs provided to these countries by the Saudi Government. The only requirement is that such bodies must conform to the sunnah (authentic teachings) of the Prophet and be run on sound business principles.

The foundation also encourages young students and scholars from the Muslim world to pursue medical and engineering studies in advanced industrial countries. Open to both men and women, most scholarships have gone to Muslim students from countries other than Saudi Arabia. In I99I, forty students received full scholarships; another twenty-two had already graduated and returned to their home countries.

Structurally, the foundation’s secretariat is divided into two main divisions: the investment section and the programs and research section. A steering committee coordinates the work of the two divisions. The foundation’s assets amounted to $332 million in 1991. Its holdings include a large shopping mall in Riyadh, one residential building, two high-rise office buildings, a fivestar international hotel, a supermarket, and a modern boarding school. The foundation is also developing two more shopping centers in the southern Saudi cities of Abha and Khamis Mushayt. In addition, the investment section actively deals in shares, stocks, and bonds, and it holds partnerships in some business and touristic ventures in eastern Saudi Arabia. Earnings from these investments in the past fourteen years were directed toward financing some ninety-nine projects in twentyseven countries. In 1991, total earnings amounted to $18 million, half of which was spent on programs and projects and one-fourth on administration; the remaining quarter was kept as a reserve and for the upkeep and maintenance of existing facilities.

[See also Da`wah, article on Institutionalization; Saudi Arabia.]

BIBLIOGRAPHY

The foundation publishes a multitude of pamphlets, a newsletter, and an annual report, mostly in Arabic. It also publishes a monthly Arabic cultural journal, Al -faysal, with a circulation of twenty-two thousand. The foundation commemorated its tenth anniversary by the publication of two books in Arabic reviewing its accomplishments. Few articles about the foundation’s work are available in English.

SALEH ABDUL-REHMAN AL-MANI`

Azhar Niaz Article's Source: http://islamicus.org/king-faisal-foundation/
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  • writerPosted On: July 26, 2014
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