Abdullah II bin Al-Hussein (Arabic: عبد الله الثاني بن الحسين, ʿAbdullāh aṯ-ṯānī ibn Al-Ḥusayn, born 30 January 1962) has been King of Jordan since the 1999 death of his father, King Hussein. According to Abdullah, he is a 41st-generation direct descendant of Muhammad as he belongs to the Hashemite family—who have ruled Jordan since 1921.
He was born in Amman as the first child of King Hussein and his second wife, British-born Princess Muna. Shortly after his birth, Abdullah was named the crown prince. King Hussein transferred the title to his brother, Prince Hassan, in 1965 and unexpectedly returned it to Abdullah in early 1999 a few weeks before his death. Abdullah began his schooling in Amman, continuing his education abroad. He assumed command of Jordan's Special Forces in 1994, and became a major general in 1998. In 1993 Abdullah married Rania Al-Yassin (of Palestinian descent), and they have four children: Crown Prince Hussein, Princess Iman, Princess Salma and Prince Hashem.
Abdullah, a constitutional monarch, liberalized the economy when he assumed the throne, and his reforms led to an economic boom which continued until 2008. During the following years Jordan's economy experienced hardship as it dealt with the effects of the Great Recession and spillover from the Arab Spring, including a cut in its petroleum supply and the collapse of trade with neighboring countries. In 2011, large-scale protests demanding reform erupted in the Arab world. Many of the protests led to civil wars in other countries, but Abdullah responded quickly to domestic unrest by replacing the government and introducing reforms to the constitution and laws governing public freedoms and elections. Proportional representation was reintroduced to the Jordanian parliament in the 2016 general election, a move which he said would eventually lead to establishing parliamentary governments. The reforms took place amid unprecedented challenges stemming from regional instability: an influx of 1.4 million Syrian refugees into the natural resources-lacking country and the emergence of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
Abdullah is popular locally and internationally for maintaining Jordanian stability, and is known for promoting interfaith dialogue and a moderate understanding of Islam. The third-longest-serving Arab leader, he was regarded by the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Center as the most influential Muslim in the world in 2016. Abdullah is custodian of the Muslim and Christian sacred sites in Jerusalem, a position held by his dynasty since 1924.