Abd al-Aziz Ibn Abd Allah Ibn Baz
Abd al-Aziz Ibn Abd Allah Ibn Baz served as the grand mufti of Saudi Arabia from 1993 until his death in 1999. He received a classical Islamic education and served as a judge for 14 years before joining the Saudi ulama. After being appointed grand mufti, Ibn Baz proved to be a close ally of the Saudi ruling family, and he often provided religious justifications for their controversial political positions. During the First Gulf War, Ibn Baz issued a fatwa allowing American troops to use Saudi Arabia as a military base, and he later explicitly endorsed the Oslo Peace Accords between Israel and the Palestinians. Ibn Baz intervened in the public dispute between Osama bin Laden and the Saudi royal family, pronouncing bin Laden’s views illegitimate and outside of the mainstream. Ibn Baz is credited for significantly expanding the Saudi system of Salafi education and training a new generation of Saudi religious scholars.