With the pledge of allegiance this week, King Salman became the third Saudi monarch to take up the title of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques after King Fahd and King Abdullah.
Historian Hassan Al-Basha says in his book, Positions and Titles, that Saladin was the first king to take up the title as a means to attain closeness to Allah when he was fighting the Crusaders.
The second to take up the title was Mamluk Sultan Al-Ashraf Abu Nasr Barsbay in the Mamluk era, the historian said. The first Ottoman sultan to use the title was Salim I. King Faisal was the person who first introduced the title Khadim Al-Haramain Al-Sharifain in Saudi Arabia. When the kiswa, or covering, of the Kaaba was made during his reign, King Faisal said that he did not want his name on it. He preferred to say that the kiswa was made “during the reign of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques.” After King Faisal’s death, King Khaled did not use the title. However, King Fahd took up the title when he became monarch in 1982.
After the death of King Fahd, King Abdullah ascended the throne in August 2005 and asked the people not to refer to him as “King of Hearts” or “King of Humanity” because Allah is the true king and humans are His slaves.