Sulaiman Al Rajhi, Rp112 T Tycoon Who Chooses to Fall ‘Poor’ For Charity


Enjoy riches of results Work hard in old age maybe it’s everyone’s dream. But that’s not the case with what was done by Sulayman Al Rajhi.

This successful Arab businessman chose to fall into poverty again by donating his wealth, either in the form of money, shares or property to charity.

Then who exactly is Sulaiman Al Rajhi and how did he get rich and donate a lot of his wealth?

Sulaiman Al Rajhi has the full name Sheikh Sulaiman bin Abdulazis Al Rajhi. He was born in Al Bukairiyah, Al Qassim Province, Saudi Arabia on 30 November 1928.

In other words, he is now 94 years old. To quote before success and becoming one of the richest people in Saudi Arabia and the world, Al Rajhi experienced a winding life path.

Understandably, little Al Rajhi did come from a poor family. Due to these circumstances, he had to work as a porter at the Al Khadra Market in Riyadh, even though he was only 9 years old.

At his young age, he had to go back and forth carrying groceries for buyers at the market. Then when he was 12 years old, Al Rajhi had to work as a date collector for no more than 6 rial per month.

Such living conditions make it also not uncommon to have to sleep on pebbles at work. Not only that, because of this condition he often sleeps wearing the clothes he wears when working.

At one point, Al Rajhi also worked as a cook in a hotel in Riyadh and a waiter in a Saudi contracting company for 60 riales a month.

After having savings from his hard work, Al Rajhi swerved to become a wholesaler of imported kerosene. He then opened his own grocery store to launch his business.

However, it didn’t last long. At the age of 15, he decided to sell his shop. This step was taken in relation to his decision to marry. He needed a lot of money for wedding expenses so he had to sell his shop and drain his savings.

After marriage, Sulaiman worked at a money exchange company owned by his brother Saleh Al Rajhi. The collaboration between Al Rajhi and his brother produced brilliant results. Thanks to the cooperation between the two of them, the money exchange service business developed rapidly.

They decided to open a new branch to support the development of the business. However, this development did not necessarily make Al Rajhi complacent.

In 1970, Al Rajhi decided to seek a new challenge; parted ways with his brother and then opened his own money exchange company.

Thanks to his expertise, the business has made his business grow rapidly. In just a short time, he managed to expand his money-changing business into 30 branches spread throughout Saudi Arabia.

In fact, he managed to expand his business to several Arab countries, such as Egypt and Lebanon. After the success of developing the money exchange service, in 1978, Al Rajhi then returned to collaborating with his three brothers; Saleh Al Rajhi, Mohammed Al Rajhi and Abdullah Al Rajhi formed the umbrella Al Rajhi Trading and Exchange Company.

After two years running, the company changed its name to Al Rajhi Banking and Investment, which later became the forerunner to the birth of Al Rajhi Bank, one of the largest Islamic banks in the world.

The bank has grown so large that it has 600 branches spread across Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Jordan to Malaysia and has assets of up to US$88 billion.

The brilliance of the bank’s performance made his wealth skyrocket. Based on Forbes records, Al Rajhi’s wealth in 2011 was US$7.7 billion. If converted to an exchange rate of IDR 14,674 per US dollar, the wealth will reach IDR 112.9 trillion.

However, in 2015 the wealth fell to only US $ 2.1 billion or Rp. 30.8 trillion. The decline in wealth occurred after 2011, Al Rajhi stated his commitment to donate most of his wealth to charity, funding hunger and education efforts in Saudi Arabia.

The culmination of that commitment, he transferred his 20 percent stake in Al-Rajhi Bank in 2013 to a charity.

Because of his charity, Al Rajhi had to be willing to be thrown off the Forbes list of rich people.

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