O rulers … let people pray for you, not curse you

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AS we enter the last ten days of the blessed month of Ramadan, we commemorate the death of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan by marking the day that the United Arab Emirates declared. This action is of humanitarian nature in a bid to revive the great achievements of the late king, whose career was characterized by generosity and dedication to serving his people and his nation. Because of this reason, he was nicknamed as “Zayed the Good”.

One of the exploits of the late Sheikh was that he used to constantly roam by himself in Abu Dhabi and across the Emirates to see the conditions of people. He often encountered humanitarian situations, which he dealt with appropriately.

His personal aide Saeed Bin Dari Al Falahi revealed an incident that occurred during the opening ceremony of the Marina Mall in Abu Dhabi in April 2001. He said, “While we were walking around the mall with Sheikh Zayed, we saw a woman running towards us. The Sheikh noticed her and ordered us not to get in her way. When she reached him, she grabbed his hand so tight that her ring injured his hand.

Abu Khalifa told her, “Looks like you have wounded my hand”, and the woman said, “My wound is greater than your wound”, after which she began to cry.

She said, “My husband has difficulty with his work. He has been imprisoned for debts on him. I am a mother of three children and we have nothing to live on, as the head of our house is in prison. I do not know what to do. I have nothing but God and you…”.

The Sheikh then said to her, “Return to your home. All will be well”.

He turned to me and said, “Take her phone number and address”.

When we arrived at Al-Bahr Palace, he asked me to call Sheikh Saif bin Zayed. He said to me, “As of sunset today, I do not want any inmate to remain in prison because of their inability to pay off debts”.

When Sheikh Saif bin Zayed arrived, he ordered him to issue an order to all prisons in the country to release those who have been imprisoned for non payment of debts, and leave behind in the prisons only those who were involved in murders. He ordered that every employee must be returned to his job, and the unemployed must be given a job immediately, and the debtors will pay their debts”.

This is one of the stories that are told about the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan. It is an example of the leader’s relationship with his people and how he wants to be among them. The advisors therefore do not hide from him anything that they think would disturb his mind, and they do not leave the affairs of the country and the people to helpless officials who do not realize the nature of their mission, but see the position as an honor and not a mandate to serve the people, which in turn causes internal crises.

Sheikh Zayed was not just a ruler who performed his job from an ivory tower or behind the walls of the palace. Instead, he lived among people, and was thus close to everyone. This made the Emirates distinguished by stability and it urged individual initiative under the roof of the law without feeling like a stranger.

This country thus occupied the current distinguished place in the world because the ruler is a role model, and the state as a whole follows his path. Sheikh Zayed worked so that people would pray for him, and not curse him.

By Ahmed Al-Jarallah

Editor-in-Chief, the Arab Times

This news has been read 26941 times!

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