The man who laid the foundation of Qatar - Sheikh Jassim bin Mohammad Al Thani
Sheikh Jassim bin Mohammad Al Thani, May Allah have mercy on him, the founder of the State of Qatar, was a man with a broad vision and immense wisdom. Due to his proactive approach to life and application of his knowledge and life-skills, he succeeded in establishing the State of Qatar as we know it. Sheikh Jassim had to overcome a lot of hurdles in doing so; there were many conflicts and confrontations that Sheikh Jassim was involved in during his pursuit of establishing the State of Qatar.
Sheikh Jassim was born sometime in 1825, although the exact date remains unknown. Sheikh Jassim was descendent of the noble Tamim tribe and was the first son of Mohammed bin Thani. Sheikh Jassim spent his growing years in Fuwairat. Sheikh Jassim quickly learned the ropes of managing the country's affairs during his youthful years, which prepared him to take on a leadership role and guide the country’s policies and steer it during a period when the nation witnessed significant events and changes.
Sheikh Jassim served as a deputy to his father, and while doing so, he gained invaluable experience in the field of politics and other aspects of successfully running a country. When Sheikh Jassim reached the age of 21, he and his father moved to Al Bidda. At Al-Bidda Sheikh Jassim displayed his courage and prowess as an upcoming leader to his contemporaries, and one and all acknowledged his part in fending off invaders. Sheikh Jassim led the country from the front during the conflicts with Bahrain, the Ottomans as well as the British. Sheikh Jassim was the leader of the famous Al Wajba Battle of 1893, which sealed his position as the leader of the country and the foundations of the modern day State of Qatar were laid down.
Sheikh Jassim took on the leadership role in a very proactive manner and introduced some changes in the governance and policies of the country, and steered the country towards prosperity. At the local level, he strived and succeeded in turning Qatar into a single unified and independent entity. It was under his wise leadership that Qatar was able to emerge as a coherent and stable country after all the tribes were unified into a single force by Sheikh Jassim. Sheikh Jassim devised clear and intelligent policies to deal with Qatar’s adversaries of that time, which were the British and the Ottoman Empires.
Throughout his life, Sheikh Jassim endeavoured to preserve the dignity and sanctity of Qatar as an independent country. Sheikh Jassim’s tireless efforts bore fruit on December 18, 1878, and Qatar was delivered from tyranny and oppression of the foreign yoke.
After that, Sheikh Jassim took control of the country, and the modern state of Qatar was born. All the tribes unanimously agreed to Sheikh Jassim as the leader and united under his leadership and Qatar became an independent stable entity with a secure border.
Under the able leadership of Sheikh Jassim, Qatar flourished and strengthened its strategic location in the Arabian Peninsula by opened up doors to trade and business opportunities. Doing so enabled Qatar to attain new heights in growth and development. One of the major businesses of that time was pearl diving. Qatar not only excelled in this business, but it also became one of the world’s biggest exporters of pearls.
Sheikh Jassim bin Mohamed al-Thani was not only the founding Emir of this country. He was also the country’s Friday preacher, judge, mufti and ruler. His sermons connected with his listeners and captured their hearts. When he gave, his gifts were abundant and plentiful. He is a pillar of this Arabic nation, its defender, and one of Islam’s most significant and bravest men. This is why his standing is still so high among his people.
Sheikh Jassim passed away on while repeating the monotheism phrase (I bear witness that there is no God but Allah, and Muhammad (Peace be upon Him) is the Messenger of Allah) on July 17, 1913, and Qatar lost its founding father. Sheikh Jassim was laid to rest in the Lusail village, which is some 24 kilometres North of Doha.
Sheikh Jassim may not be with us physically, but his legacy remains with us and continues to inspire us even today. Today, Qatar is flourishing and one of the wealthiest countries in the world; we owe it all to Sheikh Jassim (May Allah have mercy on him) and all the leaders that followed.