On Sunday, Saudi Arabia marked it's 88th National Day, the day the Kingdom was officially unified under the leadership of King Abdulaziz Al Saud (Ibn Saud) in 1932.

This year's celebration, which included street parades and other festivities, reflects the developments that have enabled Saudi Arabia to maintain its leading role in the Arab world.

To mark this historic day - which occurs annually on September 23 - we bring you five facts about the country's national anthem you should know.

1. The national anthem was first adopted without the lyrics by King Abdulaziz in 1950

The initial national anthem without lyrics was created and became the official royal salute. It was played at official ceremonies to salute members of the royal family and high-ranking diplomats.

2. The melody was a gift from Egypt's King Farouk to King Abdulaziz when he visited in 1947

At that time of King Abdulaziz' visit, the composer of the melody, Abdul Rahman Khateeb, played the music on the trumpet himself at the official welcoming ceremony.

3. In the 1980s, Saudi poet Ibrahim Khafaji was asked to add words to the melody of the royal salute

Born in Mecca in 1926, Khafaji kicked off his long poetry career at a young age, leaving behind a legacy for generations to come. He was asked by then-King Khalid to add words to the melody of the royal salute so it becomes the official royal anthem of the kingdom. 

By the time Khafaji was chosen by officials to write the lyrics, King Khalid had passed away and the project was put on hold. Subsequently, King Fahd took over as ruler of the country and asked Khafaji to finish the national anthem with a  focus on the kingdom's heritage in his writing. 

The national hero and renowned Arab poet passed away in November 2017 at the age of 91.

4. Saudi hero Ibrahim Khafaji completed the poem in six months

The poem was then given to Saudi composer Siraj Omar to blend with the music. The first time Saudi's heard their national anthem was on the first day of Eid Al Fitr in 1984 when it was played on the national TV and radio.

5. The national anthem is commonly known among Saudis as Sari'i

The opening word of the anthem is the Arabic word 'Sari'i', which translates into 'Hasten'. Here are the full English lyrics of Saudi Arabia's official national anthem:


To glory and supremacy

Glorify the Creator of the heavens

And raise the green flag

Which carry the guidance light

Repeat: Allahu Akbar

My country,

Live as the pride of all Muslims!

Long live the king

For the flag

And homeland