The Founder Sheikh Jassim Bin Mohammed Bin Thani (May Allah have mercy on him)
Date of birth: 1826 (likely).
Rearing: He grew up in Fuwairat until Sheikh Mohammed Bin Thani – the most prominent leader amongst the tribes by the time – moved to El-Bidda.
The Founder began running regime affairs during the life of his father, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Thani (may Allah have mercy on him), by reason of his illness in 1876. The Founder was 51 years old by then.
Sheikh Mohammed Bin Thani passed away in 1878. The founder immediately took over. He was 53 years old by the time.
Background about the Founder Sheikh Jassim Bin Mohammed Bin Thani (May Allah have mercy on him)
His name and lineage: His name is Jassim Bin Mohammed Bin Thani, a descendant of Midad, Bin (i.e. son of) Rayese, Bin Zakhir, Bin Mohammed Bin Alawi, Bin and Waheeb who descended from Al-Wahebba, from sons of Hanzellah, who descended from Tamim tribe of Mdharia and Adnaniyah roots. Wahebba tribe gave birth to a large number of celebrities in knowledge and courage.
The Founder, may Allah have mercy on him, was born in 1242 H, corresponding to 1826 CE. He grew up in Fuwairat, north-east of Qatar, under the patronage of his father, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Thani, the most prominent leader by the time, where he received his education at the hands of religion scholars who taught him Quran and its sciences, such as Fiqh and Shariah. At the same time, he learned horsemanship, hunting and literature. He was also involved with his father in running the entire country’s affairs.
In 1264 H, corresponding to 1847 CE, he moved with his father to live in El-Bidda, by which time he was about twenty-one years old, where he emerged amongst his mates as a young leader looking forward to leadership. Such qualities were proved true afterward when Qatar encountered invasion, where Jassim emerged at the head of the Qatari troops defending the country and where he had a man-to-man fight against the most courageous Knight of the Arabian Peninsula by then, whom Jassim was able to kill after such a battle that kept everyone out of breath. After this incident, Jassim emerged as Qatar first Knight who attracted the admiration of all other Knights and won love of all the people of Qatar. This was later noted by an eyewitness who met him in 1279 H corresponding to 1862 CE, a British traveler named William Belgrave who visited Qatar in that year. Mr. Belgrave observed the strong ties that connected companions to Jassim Bin Muhammad – who was about thirty fifth years old by the time – though such men would belong to the different unique tribes of Qatar. This would not only indicate the powerful character of Jassim, but also establish that the idea of unity had already been developed in his mind and behavior.
Sheikh Jassim Bin Mohammad Bin Thani is seen as the genuine founder of the State of Qatar. Sheikh Jassim, as a result of engaging as a senior politician who served as deputy to his father (Sheikh Mohammed), acquired great political experience and expertise.
Sheikh Jassim worked to enable Qatar be a unified and independent country. He was the first man under whose leadership Qatar would emerge as a single unified entity. Has was able to adopt such a balanced policy that realized recognition of the independence of Qatar by the two major powers competing to dominate the Arabian Gulf during that period, namely England and Turkey.
By virtue of such qualities of wisdom, prudence, generosity and exercise of sound policy bestowed upon him by Almighty Allah, his prominence and popularity increased, where he was able to unite the Qatari tribes under his leadership by unifying hearts of people upon his love. This was explicitly evident in defiance of the various forces that sought to undermine Qatar or its people, where tribes united under his leadership. Taking advantage of this, he was able to outline their future and defend the borders, by virtue of which Qatar emerged as an independent entity in the region.
He spent nearly fifty years of his life in leading his people amid such difficult times and fierce battles with different forces that surrounded Qatar and the region endeavoring to dominate the country. Such events, which the Qatari people still memorize as glorious days of the history of Qatar, will never be overlooked by history. For, when we remember the Founder, we always recall the courage he demonstrated – armed with unwavering faith in God – in facing and fighting back the aggressor. We also recall his firm stand and uprising, backed by his countrymen, to support the oppressed by standing against injustice. We further recall that when he was deprived from his country, they marched for him, gave their lives in sacrifice of him, and shed their blood in order to set him free. We still remember their suffering and disintegration in order to take revenge for him in order to payback the support he had given to them.
When we recall the Founder, we remember his keenness in preserving the sanctity and dignity of homeland, and his solid stand against anyone who would endeavor to attack or dominate that homeland. When we recall the events of Alwajba battle, we remember the wise leadership and solid confrontation launched against the Ottoman viceroy. Despite the great power of the latter, Allah helped them to defeat the Ottomans. Sheikh Jassim was, through all these events, a leading Knight and a wise negotiator. When the Ottomans regime would turn out to be associated with tyranny, he would not keep still to such injustice. Therefore in March 1893, the dignified Sheikh while approaching his seventies, fought along with his people a decisive battle in the modern history of Qatar against the Ottomans and defeated them stressing and establishing the independence of the Qatari decision-making. One of the results of this battle, the Turks were to surrender to his command.
When affairs stabilized, he developed the country and opened its doors. As result, trade flourished and Qatar gained a higher standing worldwide. Sheikh Jassim built mosques and schools, attracted scholars, and published books of Fiqh “jurisprudence” and ordered to be distributed to the people of his homeland and the rest of the regions. He was such a man of good deeds and a great advocator thereof.
Sheikh Jassim was a helper for the oppressed, a seeker to set free whoever would resort to him, a resolver of difficulties and a freer. By doing so, he would only seek to please God. For, he would never bend his head low to anyone other than Allah. He would defend his religion and his homeland.
Mr. El-Alusi must have stated the truth when said: “He was one of the most distinguished noble Arabs. For, he was strictly adhered to religious beliefs, a persistent worshiper who would always say his prayers, a person of virtue and knowledge of religion and who did so many good deeds to the Muslim community”.
This is why his standing was held high among all people. For, as according to Suleiman: “He was a man of widely acceptable opinion amongst the Arabs. A man whom presidents and princes would fear. A man who would do what he would say. He was entirely devoted to seeking reform, and whatever he sought to accomplish, Allah would help it to be so accomplished. For, his all deeds were solely done for the sake of God”.
He was, may Allah have mercy on him, a purely religious man of great piety and fear of God, and who was famous for issue of fair judgments on the disputes he would hear. He was a man of strict adherence to his religious doctrine who would keep away from fads and introduction of new matters not acknowledged by Islam. He was such devout worshiper who would do all prayers on timely basis and who would sit after dawn prayers in the place where he prayed and would worship Allah using his rosary until sunrise, then he would do two additional prayers. He would lead people in their prayers and deliver speeches on Fridays noon-prayers, of which praying people would be stunned when would listen thereto, with their hearts entirely attracted to him. He was one of the pillars and supporters of Arabic language. He would teach people by himself, and would exercise judiciary and settle disputes arising between citizens. He passed away while repeating the monotheism phrase (I bear witness that there is no God but Allah, and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah).
As far as his attributes were concerned, he was, my God’s mercy be upon him, a tall man that was said to be seen from last rows in the mosque when he would lead people in group prayers including Fridays noon-prayers. He was of light shoulders and solid bones. He was elegant but with simplicity, dignified and of prestige.
With regard to his characteristic qualities, he was a decisive man of solid determination who would stand as one of those men that history may rarely offer. He was characterized by generosity, kindness and charity. He was a generous philanthropist who would love his family and good deeds. He was such a generous man that people would attract to him with love and would always be remembered by good deeds. He passed away on the afternoon of Thursday, the 13th day of the month of Shaban, 1331 H, corresponding to July 17, 1913 and was buried in the village of Lusail, a village located 24 km north of Doha. By his death, Qatar lost one of its most outstanding leaders and a symbol of its unique history, a litterateur, a man of knowledge, virtue and generosity.