x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

Islamic scholars gather at Abu Dhabi Grand Mosque in tribute to Sheikh Zayed

Remembering Zayed: Sons of the late founding leader of the UAE were among those who paid tribute to Sheikh Zayed, nine years after his passing.

ABU DHABI // In commemoration of Founding President Sheikh Zayed's humanitarian legacy across the world on the ninth anniversary of his death, a series of Islamic scholars from Mauritania, Egypt and the UAE recalled the statesman's philanthropic work at Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque on Sunday night after Taraweeh prayers.

Alongside thousands of Emirati lovers of the Father of Nation, his sons also made their way to the Grand Mosque to pay their glowing tributes to their father.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister, Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, Foreign Minister, and Sheikh Saif bin Zayed, Interior Minister, were all present.

On the anniversary of his passing, the General Authority of Islamic Affairs and Endowment (Awqaf) organised a number of lectures at the mosque to commemorate the philanthropic and humanitarian works of late Sheikh Zayed.

The 77-year-old Sheikh Abdullah bin Bayyah, vice president of the International Union of Muslim Scholars, Mauritania, who accompanied Sheikh Zayed in his noble cause for helping the poor, said: "Sheikh Zayed's humanitarian works for orphans, widows, poor are well-known but I feel fortunate that I accompanied with him and witnessed his noble works for the destitute."

He was a far-sighted and visionary person, he added, and humble. "Sheikh Zayed cared for all communities without differentiating in colour, cast or creed," Sheikh Abdullah said.

Zayed Day for Humanitarian Work, originally Emirati Humanitarian Work Day, was conceived by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to coincide with the anniversary of the founding president's death.

"I accompanied Sheikh Zayed when he visited Mauritania. He used to support Islamic activities and used to invite scholars from the country to the Emirates, too," Sheikh Abdullah said.

"I feel pride that I was with him and his humanitarian works continued throughout his life and it was for all. And I am happy to see that the sons of Sheikh Zayed continued his father's similar message of humanitarian works across the world."

He praised Sheikh Zayed's sons, particularly for their work Africa, setting up Islamic institutions.

Under the patronage of Sheikh Mansour, a total of 33 scholars arrived in the UAE to take part in the Programme of Scholars, Guests of Sheikh Khalifa, the President, in Ramadan. They will take part in 984 events across Ramadan.

Dr Mohammed Ibrahim Al Hafnawi, head of Islamic Jurisprudence at the Faculty of Sharia at Azhar University in Cairo, said: "Sheikh Zayed was one of the prominent Islamic personalities.

"We can never forget the UAE's helping hand to its sister countries' different communities.

"I personally have seen these beautiful qualities in Sheikh Zayed, who always thought for others and not even supported people with commodities to lead a good life but imparted them with good education, too."

Each Ramadan, the UAE receives distinguished scholars who deliver lectures in mosques, various community institutions and majlises, as well as to take part in religious and social programmes on local television and radio channels, Dr Al Hafnawi said, adding that the aim is to promote religious awareness and increase spirituality.

In his address, Hamdan Musallam Maktoum Al Mazrouei, Awqaf's chairman, said: "This is the day to remember the humanitarian work of our Father Sheikh Zayed and continue his efforts in the philanthropic activities over the world."

Sheikh Zayed cared for people utmost and built schools, mosques, institutions for them. He will remain in our hearts forever, he added.

Another way of continuing Sheikh Zayed's good work is the annual iftar programme at the Grand Mosque, where thousands of Muslims break the fast at the mosque every day throughout Ramadan.