Abdullah Harry St John Bridger Philby (1885-1960 CE (ra) was a notable British Muslim. During his varied career he was an explorer, a writer, a businessman, a civil servant and an important British intelligence officer. As an explorer he was awarded the Royal Geographical Society Founders Gold Medal.
Educated at Westminster School and Trinity College, Cambridge, he was interested in the natural world and Philby’s Partridge (Alectoris philbyi) was named after him. He was fluent in Arabic, Persian, Urdu, Punjabi and Baluchi. He was a friend of the al-Saud family and during the Arab revolt had promoted the interests of the Saudis over the Hashemites.
He was also critical of the British betrayal of the Arabs through the Balfour Declaration and the Sykes-Picot Agreement. He had promoted the view that it was in the British and the Arabs interest to unite the Arabian peninsula under one government from the Red Sea to the Persian Gulf, but he was forced to resign in 1924 CE as he was critical of the Jewish colonization of Palestine and would later work against it.
Abdullah supported the Saudis in the formation of their Kingdom and helped them relationships with oil companies that enabled them to exploit their natural oil resources. After his friend Ibn Saud’s died in 1953 Philby had criticized his successor, accusing the Saudi Royal family of having picked up it morals in the gutters of the West.
Thereafter he was exiled to Beirut. There he lived with his unfortunate son Kim (an ideological socialist), who, unknown to Abdullah, had become a British-Soviet double agent. It sadly seems to be the case that initially Kim was treacherously recruited by the Soviets to spy on his own influential father.
Happily Abdullah was eventually able to return to Saudi Arabia in 1955 CE. He passed away whilst visiting Beirut some five years later. He had lived an interesting and influential life.