Throughout my stay in Sharjah for the past 15 years, I have witnessed the bits and pieces of the cultural happenings taking place in the Arab world. Every civilization has to pass through a series of changes, I agree. Yet, there need to be efforts to revitalize the past culture with the same degree of enthusiasm as to change it.
Today many nations are attempting to bring back their culture in its unblemished form. The Nazis tried it and the result was Second World War. Hitler may have been sincere in his purpose. Yet its cost was too high for humanity. The Zionists too are repeating the same cleansing process in the Holy land. Humanity continues to shed tears in the name of cultural revival.
In midst of this misty moment for humanity, a ray of hope glitters from the sand dunes of Arabia. At every critical situation, Destiny appoints a savior to lit the dark corners of human civilization.
Sometimes it takes the form of scholarship, politics, religion or even revolution… or at times a combination of all.
Destiny has fixed its eyes on emirate of Sharjah to host such a magnificent task. Such a change was initiated at the hands of its magnanimous ruler, H.H. Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qassimi. He is the Cultural Architect of Arabia. No other single individual has been as successful as Dr. Sheikh Sultan in rejuvenating the true Arabian Culture.
He is the architect of a silent cultural revolution with no bloodshed. While others resorted to extremism for reviving their past, Dr. Sheikh Sultan employed no such techniques. Here in Sharjah, it happened in perfect harmony with the modern times.
Very often the revival of past has been a disturbing experience for modern mind. The greatness of the Cultural Architect lies in taming such disturbances and making the transition a harmonious experience.
This is not to say that Sharjah is living in the past. But rather it is progressing ahead in the light of modernity but ever conscious of its past – something which its Architect has always tried to achieve. Sharjah is the preamble for other cultural revolutions taking place elsewhere in the world.
Dr. Sheikh Sultan has unveiled his emirate for history to see.
His directives are clearly visible to any resident of Sharjah – the Gold center, the Cultural Center, the American University of Sharjah- shows the eagerness of its Architect to blend the Arabian and Islamic values with the modern need and aspirations.
This is what every modern man is in need of – ‘a method physically less violent and psychologically more suitable’, to use an Iqbalian metaphor.
The Cultural Architect is also a great historian, author of numerous books in English, French and Arabic, an educationist and a patron of Art.
It was following his efforts that UNESCO declared Sharjah as the Cultural Capital of Arab World.
History is waiting to enroll Sharjah among the cradles of Arabian culture and Islamic glory. Insha Allah.
Let’s hope on with Allama Iqbal when he says:
“To Mumin, again, from the Almighty is going to be granted
The dignity of Turk, the intellect of Indian, the eloquence of Arab.”