UAE: First recipients of Hamdan Family Award say award won't be the same for them

Saman Haziq/Dubai
Filed on April 2, 2021
Supplied photo

Muzammils the first Indian family to take home the Hamdan Distinguished Family Award in 2013.

A father figure, a source of inspiration, a legend with a lasting legacy, this is how the first recipients of the Hamdan Distinguished Family Award, described the late Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum who passed away last week.

The Muzammil family made headlines after all their three daughters received the Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Award for Distinguished Academic Performance, the country’s top award for academic performance, even as the Muzammils became the first Indian family to take home the Hamdan Distinguished Family Award in 2013.

“People began to call us the Hamdan family in our circle due to this honour and we truly felt associated with the late Sheikh Hamdan, as he taught us the meaning and importance of excellence and how one needs to sustain those standards. We were greatly pained at the news of his demise and felt we lost a member of our family.. the award will never be the same for us as we will miss seeing the late deputy ruler,” she told Khaleej Times.

Calling the late Sheikh the guiding light and motivation for the family that has made excellence their goal, Dr Shabana Muzzamil, said the award was the “start line” for them as a family to begin their journey towards working for the larger good of humanity as well as excelling in their respective fields – healthcare.

“The Hamdan award propagates the idea of being human first and teaches us to become all-rounders. For me and my husband, it served as a mentoring tool as to how to guide our children to attain excellence; how we should identify our children’s talent and hobbies and develop them into ability and skills. It was his efforts that provided people with a platform to showcase their talents, abilities and skills. He has played a role in shaping the youth to work towards academic excellence and develop themselves in extra curricular activities. My daughters are a testament to how the award has inspired them to become high-achievers. My eldest daughter Dr Faatimah Irfaanah Muzammil, received the award in 2012 and 2017; Faatimah Maryam Muzammil, received it in 2013, and Hurairah Faatimah Muzammil, won the Hamdan award twice too in 2012 and 2015.”

One cannot apply for the Hamdan distinguished student award every year, it is only once in three years that a person can even apply for it, regardless of his or her credentials. Another requirement of the award is that a student has to secure 90 per cent and above every year so that “excellence is maintained” explained Dr Muzammil.

Shabana said her daughters have also honed their skills in the field of public speaking, dancing, singing, poetry, stamp collection, environmental activities, innovation, sports.

“And I give credit for all their achievements to the late Sheikh Hamdan for keeping the fire ignited in their hearts and bringing out the best in them by constantly striving hard and high to reach for the stars. My children worked not only for themselves but are also into social work on their own level. Their motto in life is to benefit and touch as many lives as possible, which is exactly what the late Sheikh Hamdan did himself and propagated,” Dr Shabana added.

Dr Muzammil said she and her husband had seen the late Sheikh Hamdan recite the Holy Quran during the holy month of Ramadan at a Quran competition for students.

“The audience was left spellbound at seeing a Royal recite so beautifully.. this is how he instilled values in children, and they aspired to emulate their leader…children learn more by seeing and he would walk the talk and inspire the younger generations to continue their journey of learning, which is a lifelong journey…”

The Muzammils now teach their children is to carry forward the legacy of the late Sheikh Hamdan. “We always look at legends, but we must remember that it is their legacy that should be carried forward. Each of us may want to be a legend, but few of us can leave a legacy, and the late Sheikh Hamdan has left a lasting legacy of perfection and excellence for us to emulate. This legacy is important and we have to carry on…and this is what I tell my children that when you leave the world, you must leave something that world remembers and benefits from you,” Dr Muzammil concluded.

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