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39. A Quran belonging to Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan

To mark the nation's 40th anniversary, we feature 40 historic objects.

According to Juma Salim Al Darmki, the head of the museums and collections unit at the Sheikh Zayed Centre, this copy of the Holy Quran was "acquired by Sheikh Zayed in 1973. He used to read from it on a continuous basis. It stayed with the late Sheikh Zayed until he passed away on November 2, 2004."

In his childhood and youth, Sheikh Zayed was taught the Quran by traditional educators known as mutawaa, or a pious man. "This was reflected in many aspects in the life of the late Sheikh Zayed," Al Darmki says.

" He grew up to be a man who had learnt the Quran by heart at a young age, a man who applied Quranic teachings, and Quran became the reference Sheikh Zayed followed in his life and behaviour."

Sheikh Zayed often spoke of the importance of the Quran and the teachings of the Prophet Mohammed in the conduct of his own life and those of others.

He once said: "" We must trust that the Islamic religion is the foundation ... When Islam came to us Arabs, we had our own set of traditions and customs that came down to us from Al Jahiliya (the Period of Ignorance).

"Islam rectified many of them. I thank God that the Prophet, peace be upon him, came to raise Islam and Muslims to such an elevated position and we must uphold position. I hereby bid you to adhere to religion and education."


Appointments can be made to visit the Sheikh Zayed Centre in Abu Dhabi, which includes a large collection of artefacts from the former President's life. To book a tour and for directions, call 02 665 9555.

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