He was born into the Utayba, a Saudi tribe that had tumultuous relationship with the ruling Al Saud family since the early days of the Kingdom. In the 1960s Juhayman founded a group of young bedouins, who used religion not only as an antidote to foreign influences in the oil-booming kingdom, but also against "the usurpation of Islam" by the royal family. Radically questioning the very principles of power in the kingdom, Juhayman declared the Al Saud were no longer legitimate Islamic rulers. His takeover of the Mecca mosque therefore needed a religious reason, and Juhayman found it in the figure of the Mahdi, "the savior who comes in times of great unrest in Islam" to lead the Muslims toward an all-cleansing apocalypse.