On 26 May, Emirati intellectuals celebrated the Emirati Writer's Day. It is one of the additions of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, to the map of the UAE cultural movement. As much as it was necessary to celebrate the Emirati writer, which is a celebration of thought and the word in the original and the basis, it is necessary to read the thought of Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi passionately pulsating with love in order to reach its sources and to know his bets in the present and future.
This study is going a step on this road that needs a long and extended journey. However, the journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. Just as Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi greeted Emirati writers on their day, we would like to pay tribute to those who are credited with making this celebration possible.
The writings of Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi need different, renewed and lasting approaches, so that we can know the potential of his multi-purpose and radical writings in their contents and mechanisms.
As we approach the writings of His Highness with study and analysis, a solid approach is needed that is able to identify dimensions and derive meanings. In this regard, we are about a cultural leader whose practice of public affairs is subject to the parameters of the rules and the rules of the imagination to translate his ideas into rich books at times and in initiatives necessary and always striking.
The historical and biblical approaches of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, are particularly relevant. Self means assembly, as in his biography, «My Early Life (Sard Al That)», for example. In his autobiography, language does not get rid of its emotional tendency, but it does not lose rational narrative methods. The historical task does not lose him the intriguing self-propensity of the narrative, the same as his self-propensity does not force him to give up objectivity. Self and subject fall together to capture the historic moment that leads to the future and creates hope.
It is important that we do not forget, as we look at his work and his writings, that it comes from a new school characterized by its privacy without abandoning the originality in the methodology or look familiar in an unfamiliar way.
In his books, there are prominent features that underpin his vision. According to his view, biography means a moment of life that reinforces wisdom, and serves as an unrepeatable treasure. Memory is a world that makes us understand and regain life full of wisdom. He roams in self and memory. The journey here means hope and access to what he wants, as said by al-Rumi: When you decide to start the journey, the way will appear.
The journey of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi in authorship is not intended to see new things because this is normal, but to continue to see with new eyes and a new methodology and a new vision and explore modern writing and contemplate destinies. This is what you find prominent in his books in the diary and his book (Hadeeth Al Thakira). Perhaps the subjective dimension is what is observed in the title structures of Sheikh Sultan's books. Subjectivity is a force in writing. On the horizon, Sheikh Sultan discovers the elements of history and blogging. We find, for example but not limited to, in correspondences, description, memory, diary and documents. There are also things from the self that lead us to the early creation, foundation and transformation from individual to collective, from subjective to objective, and from one to the nation.
Reading the history, as per Sheikh Sultan's vision, who pushes, thanks to Allah Almighty, the gate of eighty, makes us emphasize that despite his superior ability to evoke events in authentic and smooth language, he writes and quotes what benefits the current moment and specifically benefit young people. In his conception, the past is an example that drives the future as a platform for understanding the present. Sharjah, for example, as illustrated in his books, paints its quest to capture its various transformations throughout history, its stability at the moment, and its security, safety and achievements that have been the fruit of challenges. In all of this, the history of the UAE appears as a continuum that is moving towards modernity with an understanding of self-privacy. In general, Sheikh Sultan understands history as illustrated in his books: Power Struggles and Trade in the Gulf, Economy of the Emirates of Arabian Coast in the 19th Century, Under the Flag of Occupation, Al Qwasim and the British Aggression, British Occupation of Aden, The Myth of Arab Piracy in the Gulf, Division of the Omani Empire, Zenobia Queen of Palmyra, A Memorandum for Historians on the innocence of Ibn Majid.
All this is written from a perspective that combines social, economic and political history, and does not overlook the cultural role and the transformations involved.
In these books, we note that Sheikh Sultan does not rely on the information given and prepared in advance, but we find a deep dive to set a qualitative example of history, which does not succumb to fixed types and stereotypes because they are misleading. From his point of view, history is not mistaken and does not come from personal thoughts, nor is it a pure doubt. Perhaps he wants to say otherwise as he writes history that the past is a point of radiation and a glimmer of light that guides the future. In our present, there are many mysteries. Without a deep reading into the heritage, its solutions cannot be sensed. History may repeat itself for the novelists and writers who continue to repeat it. When they do, they repeat the same mistakes and the same hypotheses. At this frontier, the movement of history stops and history becomes futile, but Sheikh Sultan presents a model for historians called 'glorious historians'. This means a historian who does not give in to false visions, but listens well to the novel and re-read and interpret without falling victim to the absolute subordination of the prevailing. This is because those who fall victim to it learn nothing from history. The glorious historian is the one who sees in the past a gold mine full of wisdom that provides paved ways and function keys to know the self and the other, and then to know the present and the future. This glorious historian knows very well that the readings of history are governed by competition and conflict. Thus, the glorious historians, as we can deduce from this context, are those who do not follow the ready and repeated facts, but they should read the novels from the perspective of parity and strength and seek a renewed understanding without prejudice to one novel and another and document only. The writing of history, in the viewpoint of the glorious historians, is not to serve their agendas, but to serve their present, future and nation, which is preserved by preserving its history and re-read not to follow the repeated novels, but through analysis and study. As wisdom says: " Study history, there lies the secrets of wisdom."
The name if glorious historians given by Sheikh Sultan historians is the first use of its kind. Such definition, for Sheikh Sultan, is achieved through practice. It is the glorious historians who make the best choices and offer the best and the finest, they know everything to do the best things.
Reading with a critical eye
Sheikh Sultan Al Qasimi created a cultural climate that attracts creativity and thought. This has been reflected in building a dynamic publishing movement that is capable of absorbing the intellectual changes in the region and the world so that Sharjah has become a global platform for the cultural life industry. Sheikh Sultan does so because he believes that the book is part of his soul, a vital cultural product through which he narrates himself. He goes toward life full of beauty and high values.
When Sheikh Sultan believes in the ability of writers to make a difference, he undoubtedly celebrates it because it is the most important cultural, human and historical invention. Through the book, we can establish a huge intellectual and cultural scene. With regard to the definition of the book, it does not necessarily mean those printed and papers fixated between the covers of the book containing the title, but means a creative addition able to fill the lack of awareness, thought, history and creativity. Therefore, the book is the focal point around which various cultural activities such as translation, investigation, history, library, exhibitions, meetings, seminars and programs are revolving.
Through the book, Sharjah's inspiring project: "Culture without Borders" succeeded. The children became more empowered and aware so that the first Shura Council was achieved. Sharjah became the first child-friendly city, and achievements were even more striking when Sharjah was declared the book capital this year.
Sheikh Sultan's book concept is evident in his speech at the Sharjah Declaration as the World Book Capital 2019. It highlights the tremendous potential of writers in the cultural industry that transcends horizons, which can only be achieved by the relationship between readers and books. It is a relationship based on love and faith in the civilized role. There is a love affair linking Sheikh Sultan with the book, because it expresses the cultural components of society. It is a relationship of love with knowledge, a harvest coming from the ancient Arab ancestors who carried the torch of civilization.
For Sheikh Sultan, the concept of the book is manifested in the fact that it is an instrument of construction, not demolition and an instrument of love and dialogue and not hatred and extremism. This philosophy that Sheikh Sultan adopts is a philosophy that leads to respect. Man gets respect as to the degree of his knowledge. Therefore, this knowledge should be instilled in him since awareness begins to form.
However, do we have to give up? Should reading occur in the process of receiving without using the mind as we read?
In his speech on the occasion of the celebration of Sharjah as the world capital of the book, Sheikh Sultan stressed “reading with a critical eye”.
This eye does not emanate from ideological grounds, but keen on useful knowledge in order to increase self-awareness. It also retains its authenticity and historical, cultural and moral dimension. Sheikh Sultan gave the book its due worth, not only in elitist life, but in everyday life.
The UAE has been present in the major international book events, and Sharjah has become a guest of honor in the most important capitals of the world: Paris - New Delhi - Madrid - Moscow - San Paolo - Turin. It is truly the world capital of the book.
Perhaps Sheikh Sultan's interest in the global dimension of culture and in translation and his attendance at international events and his participation in it stems from his continuous quest to develop authentic approaches to knowledge that we need so much. A person does not know that he is right to be independent from the other; the thing does not introduce itself, but we know and increase awareness of it in relation to the other who resembles or contradicts. From this standpoint, Sheikh Sultan made translation its impact, so that the UAE culture became a global icon, and made the intellectual role of avant-garde and responsible and presented opportunities and fostered the hope of culture and writers.
A Tolerant Look for Creativity!
Sheikh Sultan Al Qasimi is known for his tolerant approach to art and creative forms. He did not prefer poetry over the narrative or narration and novel over the play, but he looked at it all with a broad horizon. You see him acknowledges its ability to express the components of conscience. There is no distinction between biblical forms except in function and this can be deduced as we look closely at the novels, poems and plays written by Sheikh Sultan.
Perhaps we can point out here that each creative form, for Sheikh Sultan, has a specific function. For example, poetry has its emotional function. Therefore, he prefers, often, not to give poetry the most spacious room because the emotional experience shows an individual in his own view of life and the other, as it reflects his relationship with values and morals, love and emotions.
Sheikh Sultan's poetry is full of lyricism, rhythms and the power of rhyme on the inner music of the poem. It can be noted that his poetry has not yet been published in the Divan, which proves to us that the play writing and narrative has superiority in quantity and quality over poetry writing. He tends to narrativity and play writing more than his tendency to poetry. This is at the level of the product and not at the level of taste because his speeches and words on different occasions show a unique poetic tendency and emphasizes that he is very admired poems of the ancients in its golden ages. He interacts with both the eloquent and the vernacular poem.
In both, we find the subjective characteristics whispering. He is proud of poetry because it is the original art and most important among Arabs. Poetry is the Arab's divan and records, and he prefers poetry based on the disclosure that depicts a moment of confession of love or a moment of angry confession in the defense of culture or homeland in a rhetorical tendency. In his view, poetry has a meaning that lies in the pride of the freshness of the word and the supremacy of morality and its understanding of life and culture. In the poem «Sharjah ... Platforms of Splendor», he expresses his passion for the book and pen and knowledge and pride of ancestors, homeland and culture. What is striking about his poem, written in mid-2012, foretells Sharjah as the world capital of culture and writers. It has been done.
The function of lyric poetry and conscience is evident to Sheikh Sultan, and this is most evident in his most famous lyrics.
O crown on the head, gentlemen!
O soul owner and her patron
The poem depicts the moment of the absence of the beloved, the poet is longing for her. He sits in his room trying to extinguish the longing of waiting with its scent hiding in the pillow. He sees it as a moon that illuminates his haunting night and oscillates between the moral and the material, which reminds the beloved in a beautiful emotional balance as in his singing poem:
Birds delightfully sing
Gardens are a flourishing paradise!
As regards the narrative function, it is reflected in the interpretation of his vision of history in a hermeneutic and his quest for history for oneself and the other. This is reflected in the novel «The White Shaikh» or «Bibi Fatima». The totality of Sheikh Sultan's writings, which are based on the history of a person's daily life in a social context or on a historical narrative or other biography, is usually preferred to reflect it in a narrative or novel form to establish relationships of love, conflict and identity in it and to make it a mixture of reality and imagination.
In the same vein, play writing has a political function aimed at revealing reality and its ideologies symbolically showing the conflicts of power and the conflicting trends in a historical formula. We find this in the plays, such as: Nimrod, Holako's Return, the Black Stone, Alexander the Great and others. Theater remains the most present type in Sheikh Sultan's creative writings because he takes it as a message from which he presents contemporary human issues.
Galaxy of aesthetics
Overall, the culture, as per the viewpoint of Sheikh Sultan, is an endless galaxy of aesthetics that needs constant support and care that never runs out. The authorship, the history, and the book are nothing but milestones in a beautiful mosaic where all the creative shapes enter in order to make the painting brighter. The play remains vibrant in its sense as it is the most important supporter of the movement of the play, as a writer, financier, sponsor and follower. Speaking of his appreciation of art, he witnessed an evolution in his reign through the Sharjah Art Foundation. The Sharjah International Book Fair remains an inspiration and appreciation for all elements of a cultural painting that honors creators, authors and artists. It is evidence that culture, art and literature that complement each other.
Culture thus needs an inspiring leader to become a civilized project.
Source: Al Ittihad Newspaper - Dr. Ali Ibn Tamim