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Shaikha Fatima named Islamic Personality of the Year

Shaikha Fatima named Islamic Personality of the Year

Shaikha Fatima is the first woman to win the annual Dubai International Holy Quran Award's Islamic Personality of the Year honour.

By Ahmed Shaaban/senior Reporter

Published: Mon 15 Jun 2015, 2:01 AM

Last updated: Wed 8 Jul 2015, 3:09 PM

Ibrahim Mohammed Bu Melha announcing the award in Dubai. -Supplied photo

Dubai – The Dubai International Holy Quran Award (DIHQA) on Sunday announced that Shaikha Fatima bint Mubarak, Supreme Chairwoman of the Family Development Foundation, Chairwoman of the General Women’s Union and President of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood, has been named Islamic Personality of the Year.

The story of an exemplary woman

Shaikha Fatima was born in Al Hayer in Al Ain, Abu Dhabi. She was raised by a religious and conservative Bedouin family. From this family and her local environment, she learned the values of generosity, solidarity and social coherence, and leading a simple life.

She married the late Shaikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan in 1960 when he was the Ruler of the Eastern Region (Al Ain and surrounding areas).

Shaikha Fatima has eight children, including His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.

She was named ‘Mother of the Shaikhs’ in recognition of her role as a mother to all UAE citizens, and later on was named ‘Mother of the Emirates’ on International Women’s Day on March 21, 2005.

She established the Abu Dhabi Women Development Association — the first women’s society in Abu Dhabi — in 1973, which marked the beginning of a new era for women under the federation government.  After Shaikh Zayed became President, Shaikha Fatima became an ambassador of all Emirati women.

 The UAE signed many international and Arab accords that protect women and children and maintain their rights, which was one of the main concern areas of Shaikha Fatima, along with charity works. This ultimately resulted in the issuance of Decree No. 6 for 1974, which set the national mechanism for developing women’s role in the UAE and enabling them to achieve leadership.

In 1975, the establishment of the Women’s Union was announced to be the official representative of women in the UAE and the umbrella supporting women’s movements in the country. — ahmedshaaban@khaleejtimes.com

Shaikha Fatima is the first woman to win the annual prestigious award which has been given to 18 different personalities and institutions from around the world in appreciation to their outstanding role in the service of Islam and the Holy Quran since 1997.

Ibrahim Mohammed Bu Melha, head of the award organising committee, said Shaikha Fatima had dedicated herself for the service of her society.

Shaikha Fatima sought, since the foundation of the Federation State, to support all its social and ideological classes and arrays, he added. “That sublimity covers the entire country in different fields,” he said, noting that honouring Shaikha Fatima is actually an honour for all Emirati women.

Bu Melha said modesty, tolerance and openness to others discern the personality of Shaikha Fatima beside her determination and infinite passion about charitable work inside and outside the UAE.

“She dedicates her time for women, whether they are mothers, workers, students or housewives and children. It proves that she has not been merely witnessing the country’s establishment and development, but she is an active partner in building it as well.”

He said members of the DIHQA organising committee unanimously agreed on the choice of Shaikha Fatima as the Islamic Personality of the Year; a decision approved by His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

Shaikha Fatima thanks Mohammed

Abu Dhabi - Shaikha Fatima bint Mubarak expressed heartfelt thanks and appreciation for His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, the patron of the Dubai International Holy Quran Award (DIHQA) which named her the Islamic personality of the year.

Shaikha Fatima emphasised that she is delighted at receiving the honour. She also stressed that she will continue the efforts she started decades ago to back all philanthropic efforts and human development inside the UAE and abroad, based on the values of moderate Islam and the ideals promoted by this upright religion.

She told the officials of the DIHQA: “Being honoured by you today clearly shows the high status given by Islam to women and offers us great encouragement that would help us continue to give to our citizens and all humanity.”

Shaikha Fatima emphasised that hosting this Holy Quran award annually in the UAE sends a message to the world that our country nurtures moderate Islam and sponsors the Holy Quran and the Sunna of Prophet Muhammad (the way of life prescribed for Muslims on the basis of his teachings and practices).

Shaikha Fatima congratulated all other individuals who were honoured by the award.

She commended the achievements the Dubai International Holy Quran Award has made in the past 19 years in the service of Islam and Muslims. She said the Award has a high international status and that competitors hail from more than 80 countries, thanks to the UAE’s ability to organise important events in all fields.

She added that the ideas and proposals put forth by the Award, as well as its way of addressing Islamic issues, represent an “enlightened language” that is the basic means of communicating with people.


Bu Melha added that the selection, to have a positive impact on the UAE people, has so many reasons. “She is the mother of all Emiratis, the wife of the late Shaikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, whom she always supported in his responsibilities, let alone her relentless effort and charitable activities locally and abroad, and over 500 merits, awards and appreciation certificates she obtained.” 

Dr Saeed Hareb, Deputy Chairman of the DIHQA organising committee, said the honouring reflects the leading role of Shaikha Fatima and boosts the position of women locally, and in the Islamic and Arab countries.

 “The selection also shows how Islam honours and respects women and appreciates their role in the service of the Holy Quran that she stands on equal footing with men.”

 Sami Gargash, head of the PR unit, said the Award has had the honour of choosing Shaikha Fatima as the Islamic Personality of the Year. “Naming a woman for the award for the first time is because of her achievements locally and abroad.”

Ahmed Al Zahid, head of media unit, said Shaikha Fatima deserve the honouring because of her tireless effort for the service of the nationals and citizens in the country. 

Her charitable projects, spanning the construction of mosques, schools, hospitals, houses for the elderly and orphanages speak volumes, he added. -ahmedshaaban@khaleejtimes.com

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