On this glorious occasion, the National Day of the State of Qatar, we express our sincere gratitude to our people - the people of Qatar – who joined efforts and demonstrated allegiance and loyalty to their country; and to the founder Sheikh Jassim bin Mohammed Al Thani, as a father, a brother, a leader, and imam. Since the time when he was young, Sheikh Jassim was known for his piety, courage, spirit of sacrifice, wisdom and diligence. The people of Qatar believed in him as a leader who could unify the Qatar peninsula, and look after the interests of its people, in one of the darkest times experienced by this part of the world. It was a time of tribal wars on land and piracy and looting at sea, which witnessed, also, the decline of Ottoman Empire. The celebration of the National Day, on December 18 each year, commemorates the date when the late His Highness Sheikh Jassim bin Mohammed Al Thani, the founder of modern Qatar assumed the rule of the country in 1878.
As evidenced by the events and many documents of that time, Sheikh Jassim, had a deep understanding of noble humanitarian values and a firm conviction of the necessity to achieve justice and provide security, not only to his folks the Qataris, but also to the aggrieved and the oppressed at large. In addition, Sheikh Jassim bin Mohammed was keen, since his youth years, to learn and enhance his knowledge. He considered learning as a fundamental value that should be encouraged and nurtured. The Arab and Islamic history glorifies Sheikh Jassim for deeds that have been achieved by only a few. In his era, Doha became a beacon for learning and knowledge, teaming with crowds of senior jurists and judges from all over the Islamic world. His passion for knowledge and learning was evidenced by the large number of reference books brought in from India and Egypt, or published, at his own expense, to be distributed to teachers and students in Qatar and neighboring countries. Sheikh Jassim believed that he and his country had a mission to maintain the religious and scientific revival of this region, and that the combination of religion and science, is prone to rid communities of evils, injustice and intolerance.
When we recall the founder, we remember his keenness to preserve the sanctity and dignity of homeland, and his solid stand against anyone who would endeavor to attack or dominate homeland. When we recall the events of Alwajba battle, we remember the wise leadership and solid confrontation launched against the Ottoman viceroy. Despite the great power of the latter, Allah helped them to defeat the Ottomans. Throughout these events, Sheikh Jassim was a leading Knight and a wise negotiator. When the Ottomans regime would turn out to be associated with tyranny, he would not keep still to such injustice. Therefore in March 1893, the dignified Sheikh, while approaching his seventies, fought along with his people a decisive battle in the modern history of Qatar against the Ottomans and defeated them, stressing the independence of the Qatari decision-making. One of the results of this battle, the Turks were to surrender to his command.
The reign of Sheikh Jassim was characterized by security, justice and prosperity in social, economic and all other aspects of life. This was evidenced by Qatar becoming one of the largest pearl exporters and traders. Sheikh Jassim died on 17 July 1913, after a life full of achievements, and his son Sheikh Abdullah bin Jassim Al Thani succeeded him as a ruler of Qatar.
Day after day and generation after the other, time passes proving that Qataris are following suit of their ancestors, to complete the process of modernization, development and prosperity, adding laurels to their glorious past, and writing a bright page in the history of humanity as a whole, under the wise leadership of His Highness Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani.
Finally, we must emphasize that our pride in our National Day makes it imperative on us to work diligently to document our history and heritage, which represent the collective memory of this nation. It is also important to take advantage of modern technology to preserve our heritage and make it available to future generations. By doing so, we will be linking the past to the present, and combining authenticity with modernity, thereby gaining more energy and strength to realize our hopes and dreams.
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