The Founding Father
Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan the first President of the UAE and the ruler of Abu Dhabi, was born in 1918 in the city of Al Ain. He was named after his grandfather Sheikh Zayed bin Khalifa Al Nahyan who ruled Abu Dhabi from 1855 to 1909. In his youth, Zayed had a keen interest in the history of the Arabian Peninsula. His interest in Arabic poetry provided him with the spirit of wisdom which was one of his well-known virtues. In the Arabian Desert, Zayed learned courage and chivalry. The experience that Sheikh Zayed had growing up in a harsh desert environment had a tremendous impact on shaping his exceptional personality. He was known for his patience, insightfulness and optimism but the central trait of his personality was wisdom.
As a leading personality, who understands the rules integral to the game of tribal balances, Sheikh Zayed works diligently to settle emerging tribal disputes and differences. Through his insightful vision and wisdom, Zayed realized that conflicting tribes will be held back by the struggle for existence unless the surrounding circumstances are altered. His wisdom was materialized during the talks and negotiations to settle the disputes over the border area of Al Buraimi adjacent to Oman. As a result of his insight and perception, Zayed won the admiration and respect of all parties. When Zayed became the governor of Alain in 1946, he was able to find sophisticated solutions for the scarcity of the water sources confronting the harsh desert environment with relentlessness regardless of lack of financial support. In his endeavors to develop Al Ain, Zayed built the Al Nahyan School in 1959. He also constructed the first commercial market, and the first hospital in Al Ain. He was concerned with road construction and he established the first network of paved roads and streets. The most difficult decision taken by Zayed at that time was a decree aiming to make the water sources available for all the citizens of Alain in order to be used for irrigation and other purposes.
The UAE Federation Maker
Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan is the founder of United Arab Emirates. Initially, he signed an agreement to establish a federation between Abu Dhabi and Dubai. Shortly afterwards a federation of seven Emirates was established.
Sheikh Zayed passed away on the 2nd of November 2004 to be succeeded by his son Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan as the president of the UAE and the ruler of Abu Dhabi. The mausoleum of the late Sheikh Zayed is located beside the mosque on the north side.