Al-Waleed bin Talal: Learning from the Agony He Never Imagined

People around the world woke up on Sunday morning, 5 November, to the shocking news of the arrest of some prominent Saudi princes in Saudi Arabia. Apparently, the arrest includes the billionaire Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal.

Al-Waleed Bin Talal -

Along with Prince Alwaleed, 10 princes, including Mutaib bin Abdullah and his brother Turki bin Abdullah; sons of the late King Abdullah, Ministers, senior government officers, businessmen and media tycoons were arrested as part of what the Saudi government refers to as an anti-corruption drive. Undeniably, Al-Waleed being among the arrested has drawn more attention from the international media.

Who is Al-Waleed Bin Talal

Al-Waleed bin Talal, 62, is one of the grandsons of Saudi Arabia’s founder, Abdulaziz ibn Saud. This means that although he’s 30 years older, he’s at the same level as Mohammad bin Salman (MBS) in the Al Saud family chain. Al-Waleed is one of the richest men in the world, and reports show that he’s the richest in the Middle East. In the language of material possession, Al-Waleed is worth USD 16.8 billion, as of 17/11/2017, according to Forbes real-time net worth. This has inclined from 18.7 billion at the time of his arrest.

According to the Kingdom Holding Co., 95% of which is owned by Al-Waleed, the man is the single largest foreign investor in the U.S. The Time affirms that he’s a regular guest on U.S. business channels. Al-Waleed bin Talal’s personal websites describes him as a Visionary Investor, Global Philanthropist and Saudi Arabian Royal.

According to the website, Al-Waleed has been a philanthropist for 30 years and has provided over USD2.4 billion of grants and donations to 100s of countries.

Al-Waleed, the investor and philanthropist, is an American-educated who has heavily invested in U.S. corporate giants like Citigroup, Apple, 21st Century Fox, Twitter, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, Hotel George V in Paris and the Savoy Hotel in London, to mention some.

Al-Waleed bin Talal went to the rescue of Donald Trump, whose real estate empire was under strain between 1991 and 1995. He purchased a yacht and invested in Trump’s Plaza Hotel. Nonetheless, times changed and both were seen recently in an open spat on Twitter.

With this brief information about Al-Waleed bin Talal, you can rightly imagine the influence the man can make and why he’s that important to the world of money and business.

What Al-Waleed’s Agony Can Remind Us of

The sudden arrest of Al-Waleed bin Talal reminds me of two people whose fall came as a shock. They are Mohamed Morsi and Muammar Gaddafi. Mohamed Morsi somehow had put his trust in human (his then trusted men which included Al-Sisi). No doubt, Morsi has a greater trust in Allah, perhaps, more than I do. But he, at one time, over trusted his surroundings.

Muammar Gaddafi ruled the Libyan people as though he caused them to come into existence. Until the very last moments of his life, the man couldn’t believe he could be ousted, the way he was ousted from power.

This leads us to the one lesson we can learn from Al-Waleed bin Talal’s agony.

That One Lesson from Al-Waleed Bin Talal’s Agony

Depending on your angle and interest, there’re many lessons you can learn from Al-Waleed Bin Talal’s agony. Regardless; whether you take a stance or make a judgement. In this article, I’m neither taking a stance nor making a judgement. However, there’s one lesson I would like to highlight in the man’s agony.

It’s been almost two weeks. And the richest man in the Middle East is still behind bars. Just like we don’t know the actual reason behind his arrest, we also don’t know how long he’ll remain behind bars. Even though he’s held in a 5-star prison (Ritz-Carlton Riyadh), at the moment, he must be in one of the most uncomfortable situations in his life.

In the end, one can only wonder how he took for granted the rapidly elevating Crown Prince MBS, 32, and hence, allowed himself to fall into his trap. Does he deserve this, or is he been victimized? We don’t know. Anyway, it’s also not a subject of interest in this discussion.

The truth is, no one could ever think that a day will come for someone in the level of Al-Waleed bin Talal to be in such a pathetic situation. Not even Al-Waleed himself could ever imagine that. Especially that he had never explicitly shown interest in power nor has he challenged the rule and the rapid and drastic moves of MBS. This explains why the international media seems to be still in a shock of the evolving event.

One can imagine Al-Waleed assuring himself, that the only thing that could have stopped him is death. But MBS has come to stop Al-Waleed before even death itself arrives.

The Qur’an (7:99) teaches us, that none–no matter how powerful you emerge–should feel secure from the plans of Allah. Especially those who take Him for granted and declare war against Him.

“Did they feel secure from the plan of Allah? But no one feels secure from the plan of Allah except the losing people.”

This means one should definitely plan for the good and the bad that lie ahead. But he should always subject his ability to the will and protection of Allah. At all times.

Thinking that no human can ever overcome you, is not less than taking Allah for granted. This is because power–no matter who possesses it–is granted by the Most-Powerful One, Allah. Perhaps, MBS has arrested Al-Waleed and the “gang”, to secure safety from all possible threats and rivalry. But little does he know that he’s committing the same mistake that Al-Waleed and Gaddafi might have committed.

If what has happened to Al-Waleed could happen to him, no one, especially those with a few hundreds of thousands (of money), can survive it, if it is planned against them. But the only one who can save you from the evil of the seen and unseen is the One Creator. Always seek His Protection.

Allah knows best.

Baba Salam is a lifelong seeker of knowledge, a writer and blogger. He writes here at He's also the man behind GSalam.Net. He's also the founder of TVQ.Academy. You can find him on Twitter @1babasalam, Facebook @1BabaSalam, and Instagram @1BabaSalam.