Dr. Sheikh Sultan wins King Faisal Award

The honour of King Faisal Award bestowed on Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah His Highness Dr Sheikh Sultan Al Qassimi is an honour for the emirate, the country and the Arab scholars the world over.

The Award

The 2001 King Faisal Award was given in recognition of Dr Sheikh Sultan’s services to Islam. Prince Sultan Bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud, made the announcement on Sunday in Riyadh, the Chairman of the Award Committee who is also the Second Deputy Prime Minister, Defence and Aviation minister and Inspector General of Saudi Arabia.

Why Cultural Architect…?

It was with a lot of pride that the people, who read studied the contributions of Dr Sheikh Sultan, received the news. The committee selected the Sharjah Ruler because he was eminently suitable to receive the honour. He has made tremendous contribution to the understanding of Islam in all its aspects.

Prince Sultan said the award committee decided to present the honour in recognition to Dr Sheikh Sultan’s tireless services to Islam. It also recognized his services to education and culture in and out side the United Arab Emirates. His profound contributions to the under standing and propagations of the philosophy of Islam are immeasurable. His intellectual brilliance and scholarly disposition helped in depicting the true image of Islam worldwide, particularly in Arab countries.

The Architect behind the ‘Bride of Arabia’

Dr Sheikh Sultan’s single- minded devotion and perseverance have turned Sharjah into the cultural capital of the Arab World. The Emirate received encomium from international organizations such as the Paris-based United Nations Educational, Social and Cultural organization. He has placed Sharjah on the world cultural map. Today Sharjah has emerged as an intellectual and scholarly center of the world. Internationally renowned scholars and academicians have made Sharjah their second home by their regular visits and interaction with UAE nationals. The exchange of ideas and scholarship contributed to the richness of the country.

Pride for Arabia

The Arab society is proud to have such a stature to lead in the fields of culture, philosophy, education and arts. It was, therefore, but natural for scholars and cultural administrators to respond warmly to the news of the award to Dr Sheikh Sultan. Social and cultural circles and directors of various organizations in the UAE, particularly Sharjah were enthralled. They highlighted and lauded the service rendered by Dr Sheikh Sultan to Islam, education and culture.

Intellectual Pursuit

The Sharjah ruler holds a doctorate in history from Exeter University in the United Kingdom. He received his PhD in 1985. He was so brilliant and scholarly that four years later he was awarded a second PhD, this time in political Geography from Durham University in the UK. His intellectual repertoire and keen sense of history and philosophy took him to the highest level of academia in the West and the Arab World. His fame spread following these research works that he had published.

Dr. Sheikh Sultan received a number of honorary PhDs.

He was awarded an honorary doctorate in Law by Khartoum University in 1986,
a PhD in Education by the International Islamic University of Malaysia in 2000 and
a PhD in the Arts and humanities by Edinburgh University in 2001.

Dr. Sheikh Sultan also won an honorary degree in preservation of Islamic heritage from the Institute of Historical research, Arts and Islamic Culture in Istanbul run by the Organization of Islamic Conference.

Major works

Dr. Sheikh Sultan is also an eminent writer of international repute. He is the author of 18 scholarly works, among them are two definitive volumes titled Historic Maps of the Gulf and the myth of Arabian Piracy in the Gulf. His other works such as power struggles and Trade in the Gulf are reference work for any scholar or historian interested in the region. He has written on Arab documents in the French archives. His other works Division of Omani Empire, The British Invasion of Aden have made him one of the most profound of Arab scholars.

His scholarship and intellectual capabilities have also seeped into his novel and play. His novel The White Sheikh and the play The Return of Halague are masterpieces in Arab writing. The fluency of his thoughts and the quality of his prose are received with admiration by Arab scholars.

Established in 1977, the King Faisal prize awards $I million covering five categories such as service to Islam, Islamic studies, Arabic Literature, Medicine and Science. Some winners of the King Faisal International Award have won the Nobel Prize.

Source : The Editorial of panorama (The Gulf Today) published on 30 Nov 2001.