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History of the Ruling Family of Dubai

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  1. 1. IN THE NAME OF ALLAH – THE SOURCE OF MERCY – THE MOST MERCIFUL Sheikh Saeed Bin Maktoum Al Maktoum 1912 – 1958 Sheikh Saeed bin Maktoum Al Maktoum was born in 1878. An unimposing man, Sheikh Saeed began his rule in 1912, a time when the pearling industry was thriving and Dubai was establishing itself as the leading port in the Gulf. He would continue to rule for 46 years until his death in 1958. A deeply religious man, Sheikh Saeed based his decisions on the teachings of Islam. "And he practiced what he preached. An occasion is recalled when he rose early one morning, even before the guards of his modest house in Shindagha, and surprised a foreign craftsman attached to the household in the act of stealing an expensive Persian carpet from the Ruler's majlis. 'Put it back,' Saeed advised the thief. 'The guards will certainly catch you.' The man took Sheikh Saeed's advice, and continued his employment for many years as though nothing had happened." Sheikh Saeed was an uncomplicated man who relished the simple pleasures of life. A favorite pastime was the traditional Arab sport, falconry. He would travel to the outskirts of Dubai to where the houbara, his favorite prey, were abundant. As soon as his sons, Sheikh Rashid and Sheikh Khalifa, were able, they would accompany him on his hunting expeditions. In addition to his hunting trips, Sheikh Saeed and his family would retreat from the hustle and bustle of city life to Ras Al Khaimah, a neighboring sheikhdom where the Al Maktoum family owned several date plantations. Free from the pressures of political life, Sheikh Saeed enjoyed the quiet joys of life as a family man. In the 1930's, the pearling industry went into sharp decline. European and American demand for pearls had decreased due to a depressed economy and the creation of cultured pearls in Japan. The world's leading jewelers turned to the Asian market for cultured pearls because they were cheaper than natural pearls and it was possible to massproduce them. Had it not been for the Ruler's farsightedness in diversifying Dubai's economy and developing the port and the market, Dubai would certainly have suffered greater repercussions. "Both Sheikh Saeed and Sheikh Rashid had long been regarded as the most forward thinking leaders along the Trucial Coast. Dubai was the major trading entrepôt on the Gulf, and despite the recession, its diverse souk retained a level of wealth that was the envy of neighbouring sheikhdoms. Over the course of his lifetime, Sheikh Saeed witnessed remarkable transformations in his city-state in terms of the burgeoning population that trebled during his rule and the emergence of a modern city. In addition, the Al Maktoum family consolidated its THERE IS NO GOD WORTHY OF WORSHIP EXCEPT ALLAH AND MUHAMMED (PBUH) IS THE MESSENGER OF ALLAH
  2. 2. IN THE NAME OF ALLAH – THE SOURCE OF MERCY – THE MOST MERCIFUL position as the ruling family of Dubai. Deeply loved and respected by his fellow men, Sheikh Saeed played an invaluable role in establishing the foundation of Dubai. Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed 1958 – 1990 Sheikh Rashid, ruler of Dubai from 1958 - 1990, was the eighth ruler from the Al Maktoum family. Well loved and greatly respected by the residents of Dubai, Sheikh Rashid ruled the emirate with compassion and with a clear vision of what was required in order to transform Dubai into a modern city. Driven by this vision, Sheikh Rashid accomplished what many believed to be impossible. As the first-born son of Sheikh Saeed, he involved himself at an early age in the politics of the emirate. He frequently attended his father's Majlis; ever curious, he would listen intently to each man's dilemma or opinion. Eager to comprehend the minutiae of governing a state, he would spend long hours questioning his parents about the events of the day. As a child he received the finest education available in the region. Attending the Al Ahmadiyyah School, Sheikh Rashid's studies included Islamic studies, Arabic, and arithmetic. Although he was a good student, the true focus of his enthusiasm was reserved for falconry and hunting. "From an early age, he was an excellent shot with the rifle and, while his mother took a leading role in his upbringing, falconry was a passion which brought together Sheikh Saeed and Sheikh Rashid, father and son, throughout their lives." These hunting expeditions, which were taken twice a year, led the Ruler and his hunting entourage to Iran and later, on occasion, to Pakistan. Providing Sheikh Rashid with a brief, welcome respite from the responsibilities of his position, he was free to be just a normal man. Houbara, gazelle, rabbit, and grouse were the game of choice. Sheikh Rashid's hands-on approach called for a disciplined daily schedule. Twice daily he would tour Dubai to see for himself how the projects were progressing. Sheikh Rashid was never satisfied with a simple explanation; instead he wanted to have a detailed understanding of every project undertaken in Dubai. Furthermore, these inspections provided him with the opportunity to meet with the man on the street. "After returning home in the evening, it was time to take on more official business in the traditional evening Majlis, an occasion where the Ruler gives his people the THERE IS NO GOD WORTHY OF WORSHIP EXCEPT ALLAH AND MUHAMMED (PBUH) IS THE MESSENGER OF ALLAH
  3. 3. IN THE NAME OF ALLAH – THE SOURCE OF MERCY – THE MOST MERCIFUL opportunity to meet him and share problems or grievances. This duty was one which Sheikh Rashid took very seriously." Sheikh Rashid was famed and admired for his patience on these occasions; he thoughtfully considered each man's complaint or opinion, ensuring that proper assistance was given to each individual. The Majlis, a mix of nationals, also provided a vibrant stage for debate. Surrounded by men whose opinions he valued, projects were dissected, moulded together, and often implemented by members of the Majlis. Determined in his unfaltering belief that a modernized Dubai could be achieved, Sheikh Rashid initiated numerous remarkable developments in his city-state. Projects viewed as impossible by many members of society (including foreign nationals), were seen as challenges by the Ruler. Examples of such projects include the Al Maktoum Hospital, the first modern hospital in what was then the Trucial States; the Al Maktoum Bridge, which spanned the Creek, joining Dubai with Deira and eliminating the long trip around the head of the Creek; and Dubai Airport, which bore immediate reward as demand for seats grew much faster than anticipated. "Both these projects, the airport and the bridge, showed clearly that Dubai infrastructure planning was hardly ever just a response to the immediate needs of the community: it was clearly linked to the ambitious ideas about the future development of Dubai." On October 7, 1990, Sheikh Rashid died. He left behind a legacy visible in the town planning of Dubai. News of his death travelled far and wide. Heads of States throughout the world sent their condolences. "Most extraordinarily, however, was the reaction across the Atlantic in New York, at the United Nations. The General Assembly was debating a motion on Palestine when invited to mark the passing of Dubai's leader. Both General Assembly and Security Council observed a minute's silence, after which representatives of Kuwait, Poland and the US paid tribute to Sheikh Rashid. Though scarcely a whisper marked his birth in 1912 in a place which few outsiders at the time had even heard of, Sheikh Rashid had laboured to develop Dubai and later the United Arab Emirates into a lasting and sustainable entity. Seventy-eight years later, his death drew the world community to its feet in the UN General Assembly, a remarkable tribute to a remarkable man and his undoubtedly remarkable achievements. • • The discovery of oil After World War II, Dubai resumed oil excavation operations. Sheikh Rashid, negotiating on behalf of his father, managed to raise the share split between the government and oil exploration companies from 20% to 50%. THERE IS NO GOD WORTHY OF WORSHIP EXCEPT ALLAH AND MUHAMMED (PBUH) IS THE MESSENGER OF ALLAH
  4. 4. IN THE NAME OF ALLAH – THE SOURCE OF MERCY – THE MOST MERCIFUL Federal Union between Dubai and Abu Dhabi 1966 After the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan became the Ruler of Abu Dhabi in 1966, he had a vision of creating a union to catalyse development just as the other developing nations. Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed in Dubai, who was Ruler since 1958, had a similar vision. A shared vision between the two leaders translated into a federal union between Dubai and Abu Dhabi after the historical meeting in Samha – located on the border area between the sister emirates – on 18th February 1968. Sheikh Maktoum bin Rashid 1990 - 2006 • The achievements of the UAE in the past three decades are evidence of the abilities of the people who worked selflessly alongside the first UAE President, His Highness Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. The achievements of the late Sheikh Maktoum bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, marked him as a leader who enjoyed a close bond with his people and shared their dreams. Sheikh Maktoum ruled Dubai between November 1990 and January 2006. • Formative Years • His Highness Sheikh Maktoum bin Rashid Al Maktoum was born in 1943, at the large Al Maktoum family home in the Shindagha area of Dubai, which is close to THERE IS NO GOD WORTHY OF WORSHIP EXCEPT ALLAH AND MUHAMMED (PBUH) IS THE MESSENGER OF ALLAH
  5. 5. IN THE NAME OF ALLAH – THE SOURCE OF MERCY – THE MOST MERCIFUL the mouth of Dubai Creek. He was the first son of Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum. His early education consisted of private tuition in mathematics, English, Arabic and Islamic studies, to prepare him for the important role that awaited him. On the 4th of October 1958 a ceremony to mark the formal accession of Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum as Ruler of Dubai was held. Sheikh Maktoum addressed the people of Dubai on behalf of his father, a clear sign of Sheikh Rashid's faith in his eldest son. Throughout the late 1950s and the beginning of the 1960s, Sheikh Rashid and Sheikh Maktoum worked around the clock to realise the dream of developing the emirate. Their projects included Dubai Airport and the construction of Dubai's first hotel, numerous schools and modern residential districts. During the early 1960s, Sheikh Maktoum completed his domestic schooling and his father sent him to pursue his education at one of Britain's leading universities. There, he mixed with boys from different nationalities, many the children of world leaders and politicians. • His role in establishing the UAE • British records show that, from the early sixties, Sheikh Maktoum regularly accompanied his father to meetings of the Trucial States Council, a body comprising the Rulers of all seven sheikhdoms. In 1966, Sheikh Zayed became leader of Abu Dhabi; and began to enter into serious negotiations as to the long-term future of the Trucial States. On 16th of January 1968, Britain announced that by 1971 it would withdraw completely from the Gulf, so the governments of Dubai and Abu Dhabi decided to press ahead with the proposed union. Over the six weeks following Britain's announcement, the two sheikhdoms worked on solving outstanding issues between them to reach the basis of the union. This was a time in which Sheikh Rashid relied heavily on his eldest son. The 25-year-old Sheikh Maktoum became one of the leading political figures on the Trucial Coast, travelling repeatedly to Abu Dhabi for consultations with Sheikh Zayed and senior officials of his government. The fact that so much was achieved in just six weeks stands as testimony to the abilities of Sheikh Maktoum. On February 18, 1968, he travelled with his father to a desert site on the Abu Dhabi- Dubai border to witness one of the most remarkable events in the history of the coast, the signing of the union accord THERE IS NO GOD WORTHY OF WORSHIP EXCEPT ALLAH AND MUHAMMED (PBUH) IS THE MESSENGER OF ALLAH
  6. 6. IN THE NAME OF ALLAH – THE SOURCE OF MERCY – THE MOST MERCIFUL between Sheikh Zayed and Sheikh Rashid. This accord formed the nucleus of the future federation. On July 10, 1971, Sheikh Rashid and Sheikh Maktoum received delegations from the six other sheikhdoms at the Trucial States Council. The mediation role Sheikh Maktoum played was, without doubt, a significant factor in the development of the federation. On December 2, 1971, the UAE was formally established. The federation process had seen Sheikh Maktoum emerge as a leader of high standing, and this was reflected by subsequent events. Mohammed bin Rashid; Ruler of Dubai On 4th January 1995, Dubai and the UAE awoke to groundbreaking news splashed in banner headlines in Arabic and English that the newspapers. The previous day the Dubai Ruler, Sheikh Maktoum, had signed two decrees that would have dramatic effect on the future of the emirate. One appointed Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid as Crown Prince of Dubai. The second recognised Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid as Deputy Ruler of the emirate. Sheikh Mohammed later commented: "I do not know if I am a good leader, but I am a leader. And I have a vision. I look to the future, 20, 30 years. I learned that from my father, Sheikh Rashid. He was the true father of Dubai. I follow his example. He would rise early and go alone to watch what was happening on each of his projects. I do the same. I watch. I read faces. I take decisions and I move fast; full throttle." Mohammed bin Rashid; Ruler of Dubai 2006 THERE IS NO GOD WORTHY OF WORSHIP EXCEPT ALLAH AND MUHAMMED (PBUH) IS THE MESSENGER OF ALLAH
  7. 7. IN THE NAME OF ALLAH – THE SOURCE OF MERCY – THE MOST MERCIFUL • On 4th January 2006, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum became the Ruler of Dubai following the death of Sheikh Maktoum bin Rashid Al Maktoum during a visit to Australia. On 5th January the members of the UAE Supreme Council elected Sheikh Mohammed the UAE Vice-President. • • • Mohammed bin Rashid; UAE Prime Minister On 11th February, 2006 UAE President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan nominated Sheikh Mohammed for the position of UAE Prime Minister; the Supreme Council approved this nomination. Sheikh Mohammed and the members of his Cabinet took their oaths in front of Sheikh Khalifa at Al Bateen Palace in Abu Dhabi. • Hamdan bin Mohammed, Chairman of the Dubai Executive Council On 8th September 2006, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum issued a decree in his capacity as the Ruler of Dubai, appointing Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum as Chairman of the Dubai Executive Council. Hamdan bin Mohammed; Crown Prince of Dubai On Friday, 1st February 2008, the Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE, in his capacity as Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, issued a decree appointing his son Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, as Crown Prince of Dubai. The decree was effective from the date of issuance. Sheikh Mohammed also issued a decree, naming his brother Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum and his son Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum as Deputy Rulers of Dubai. Sheikh Hamdan is Sheikh Mohammed’s second son, and he is well known as ‘Fazza’. THERE IS NO GOD WORTHY OF WORSHIP EXCEPT ALLAH AND MUHAMMED (PBUH) IS THE MESSENGER OF ALLAH