Shaikh Jassim – The Founder of Qatar

Shaikh Jasim Bin Mohammed Bin Thani
The Founder of Qatar
1242-1331 h, 1826 – 1913 c

On the 18th December every year, we celebrate our National Day to commemorate that historical day in 1878 when Shaikh Jasim, the founder of the state, succeeded his father Sheikh Mohammed Bin Thani in leading the country towards unity and foundation.

Born in 1242 h (1826 c), Sheikh Jasim was raised in Fowayret, north Qatar within the confines of his famous father Shaikh Mohammed Bin Thani. He was educated by religious clerks, learning the Qura’an, Shariaa and jurisprudence, along with equestrian, hunting and literature. Shaikh Jasim also shared his father in ruling the country.

In 1264 h, (1847c), Shaikh Jasim moved with his father to live in Al-Bidaa. He was only 21 when he emerged as a young leader amongst his peers, looking forward to the leadership, which was clearly shown when Qatar was exposed to invasion. Shaikh Jasim was leading the Qatari forces who defended Qatar, facing one of the bravest warriors in the Arab lands at that time and sending him to death after a thrilling battle.

After this battle, Jasim was the natural choice as Qatar’s first knight, a man who other knights supported and who gained the admiration and adoration from all the Qatar people.

The loyalty of Jasim’s comrades was high and it was clearly noticed by the British traveler William Belgrif when he met Shaikh Jasim in Qatar in 1862. Belgrif noted his impressions in his book which included his journey details in the middle and north of the Arab Island.

Belgrif noticed a phenomenon in the men surrounding the 35-year-old Jasim. It was the strong relation and tie which gathers around Jasim the hearts of his comrades who belong to different Qatari tribes. This phenomenon doesn’t only indicate the powerful personality of Jasem, but also the idea of unity in his thinking and attitude. This idea was clearly shown when he faced the various powers who wanted to get rid of Qatar and its people. That’s why the tribes supported him and came together united under his flag; so Qatar arose in the region as an independent entity.

Jasim spent 50 years leading his people in the midst of critical incidents and fierce battles with various powers who wanted to surround and control Qatar and the region. Those events, still well remembered by the people of Qatar, are glorious days in the history of Qatar which history can never forget.

When we remember the founder, we remember his bravery in facing the invaders and fighting them with pride, armed with strong belief in Allah. We also remember his rush to defend the oppressed with his people supporting him in facing injustice.

When Jasim was taken away from his country, his people fought for him and sacrificed their souls for him, and their blood was shed to release him, and we still remember their sufferings for his revenge.

When we remember Sheik Jasim’s invasions for the revenge of his son and the Qatari people, we remember his zeal for the sanctity of home and regaining its dignity, and revenge all who would invade or attack it. When we remember Al Wajba events, we remember the wisdom of the leader and his stability facing the superior numbers of Ottoman Wali because Allah helped him in defeating them while he was in all these incidents, the brave leader and wise negotiator.

When things settled down in the country, Jasim opened the door for it, allowing progress and prosperity. The trade became so prosperous, and Jasim built the mosques and schools, attracted scientists, printed jurisprudence books and distributed them among his people and in the neighboring countries, so he was philanthropist.

Jasim was the helper of the oppressed, releaser of the prisoners, mellower of the slaves. In all these, Jasim only seek the please of God, as he didn’t obey anyone but God in defending his homeland.

“He was one of the honored arabs, diligent to his duties and religious worship and prayer, of the increment people and well knowledge in religion, and he has a lot of charities,” Al-Alossi said about Jasim.

Jasim’s position raised high among people, just like what Sulaiman Al-dakhil said: “His word is well obeyed by the Arabs, well respected by the leaders and princes, he does what he says, always working for reforms, Allah always was with him to finish all his works.”

Qatar National Day is a national event to assure our identity and history, execute the ideals and visions which our nation was built on, to appreciate the men and women who contributed in building its facilities.

On 18th December each year, we commemorate how our national unity was achieved, and how we became a coherent strong country; after we were groups and tribes torn by different loyalties; invaded by different people and its societies always suffered from the lack of security and law.

On the 18th December we all remember the founder Shaikh Jasim Bin Mohammed, and we remember with him all his people who loved and trusted him, who appointed him their leader, promising to extend their obedience, so Jasim granted them loyalty and safety, delivering Qatar and its people to the twentieth century with pride and dignity.