Yet Sulaiman bin Abdul Aziz Al Rajhi revealed in an interview that he’s no stranger to poverty, having been penniless on two separate occasions in his life.
Sulaiman Al Rajhi started working when he was a nine as a porter, carrying shopping luggage for shoppers at Riyadh;s Al Khadra market. At 12, he started collecting palm dates for a job that paid him no more than six Saudi Riyals per month. He used to sleep on gravel at the same workplace wearing the same outfit he wears during his hard work.
He appreciates his wealth and knows others will benefit too. ‘In the past, I never gave money to my children when they were young in return for nothing. When one of them approached me to give them cash, I asked them to do some work in exchange for it,’ he said.
In 1957, Sulaiman bin Abdul Aziz Al Rajhi cofounded Al Rajhi Bank with his three brothers. It grew into one of the world’s largest Islamic banks and earned Al Rajhi a 10-digit net worth.
The Rajhi family is considered to be Saudi Arabia’s wealthiest non-royals and one of the world’s leading philanthropists, whose wealth was built from scratch.
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As part of his philanthropy, he established the Sulaiman Al Rajhi University, a non-profit university that focuses mainly on health and Islamic banking.
In 2012, Rajhi received the King Faisal International Prize for dedicating half his fortune to charity as well as starting an Islamic bank that supports charity work and implements effective national projects.
Apart from that, Rajhi has dedicated his bank shares (worth $3.7 billion, according to Forbes Middle East), his poultry farm and other assets to a charitable endowment that funds anti-hunger efforts and education in the kingdom.
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This Saudi businessman has just taken Snap Chat to a whole new level bly revealing the extent of his charity efforts through the social media platform, Sheikh Suleiman al-Rajhi got thousands to tune into the Snap Chat interview, conducted by social media star Mansour al-Reqeiba
$16 billion (60 billion riyals) is the amount of money he has donated throughout his lifetime, he said – an amount that is considered one of the largest endowments made in the Islamic world and which has yet to be matched.
He has given away two-thirds of his entire wealth to charity in the form of waqf –an Islamic endowment- and the remaining one-third to his family.
The 95-year-old is the founder of Sulaiman Bin Abdul Aziz Rajhi Charitable Foundation, which supports educational, religious, health, and social causes. The foundation has donated to the Arab Institute for Arabic Language, National Guard Health Affairs, and the Sheikh Sulaiman bin Abdul Aziz Al Rajhi Mosque in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
Now let me tell you what Waqf is. “Waqf,” refers to the donation of valuable goods including money, buildings, land or other assets to the public – with no intention of reclaiming them back.
The donated assets are no longer owned by anybody and cannot be bought or sold, nor can they be used for generating profit.