The National Archives launches the book: “Unravelling the Unknown in the Biography of Sheikh Tahnoon” at a signing ceremony at Abu Dhabi International Book Fair 2018

The National Archives launches the book: “Unravelling the Unknown in the Biography of Sheikh Tahnoon” at a signing ceremony at Abu Dhabi International Book Fair 2018

The book sheds light on the biography of Tahnoon Bin Shakhbout, the fourth Ruler of Al Bu Falah
The National Archives launches the book: “Unravelling the Unknown in the Biography of Sheikh Tahnoon” at a signing ceremony at Abu Dhabi International Book Fair 2018.


The National Archives of the United Arab Emirates launched the book: “Unravelling the Unknown in the Biography of Sheikh Tahnoon Bin Shakhbut Al Nahyan” at a signing ceremony at Abu Dhabi International Book Fair 2018.
Author Abdulla Bin Mohammed Al Muhairi, in the presence of HE Dr. Abdulla Mohammed Alraisi, Director General of the National Archives, and a large number of audience - signed copies of the book “Unravelling the Unknown in the Biography of Sheikh Tahnoon”.
The book is one of the most important recent publications of the National Archives. It documents the biography of the fourth Ruler of Al Bu Falah family, Sheikh Tahnoon Bin Shakhbout Al Nahyan (1818-1833), his great role in the history of the Bani Yas tribe in particular and the history of the UAE in general, and the events during his reign as he was the most important Sheikh of Al Nahyan in the first half of the 19th century. During his reign, the Bani Yas tribe reached its zenith, and its influence extended over Abu Dhabi, Dubai, parts of Qatar Peninsula, Liwa, Al Dhafra and the outskirts of Al Ain and its Oases.
The introduction of the book indicates that Sheikh Tahnoon was a powerful character, with courage, generosity, vision and wisdom. He was a distinguished leader, known for his insight, and his diplomatic and military capabilities to manage crises and fight battles. He was a just ruler, whose system of governance was based on justice and principles of consultation and equality among all members of his tribe. During his rule, the Bani Yas tribe had never been subjugated by any of its adversaries and had always acted as a balancing power among the rival local forces: the Omanis, the Qawasim, and the Saudis.
By reviving the biography of Sheikh Tahnoon, the book aims to highlight the achievements and good remembrance of this Falahi prince during his rule of Bani Yas Emirate: Abu Dhabi and Dubai.
The first chapter of the book is entitled “Al Bu Falah, the Hilalis, and the emergence of their Emirate.” Here the book traces the lineages of Al Nahyan Sheikhs of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi to Al Bu Falah Al Hilal clan of the Bani Yas tribe, which is an Arab tribe attributed to the tribe of Abdul Qais, Al Rab’iyah Al Adnaniya. All genealogists, poets and narrators unanimously agree that Al Bu Falah descend from their common ancestor Hilal. There were ancient historical references that attribute Al Bu Falah to Hilal.
The book indicates that the name of the Al Nahyan family was associated closely with the history of the Bani Yas tribe since the first prince of the family was known in the first half of the 17th century. This high reputed family is considered one of the oldest ruling families along the coast of the Arabian Gulf.
The second chapter deals with the aspects of Sheikh Tahnoon’s life, starting with his name, birth, family, tribe, upbringing, age, personal qualities, achievements, and his death after he ruled the sheikhdom of Bani Yas for 15 years.
This chapter reviews his great achievements, which he started by strengthening his Emirate, then by supporting the economic process. He had clear imprints on humanitarian aspects, as well as on social relations and on friendly tribal relations.
The third chapter entitled “Sheikh Tahnoon in the Eyes of British Politicians and Officers”.  All who worked in the Arabian Gulf agreed that Sheikh Tahnoon was a leading figure, duly respected by his neighbors and feared by his enemies. He had great ability to manage crises and deal with disturbances, and they had praised his noble morals and values.
Sheikh Tahnoon enjoyed a prominent position among the Sheikhs of the Emirates and other regional powers, therefore Mullah Hussein, the British local agent in the Emirates, had once expressed his fear of an outburst of internal unrest after the death of Sheikh Tahnoon, which could lead to imbalance among the political powers in the region.
Sheikh Tahnoon Bin Shakhbout was one of the prominent figures who was the contemporary of the poet Ali Bin Mohammed (Muhain) Al Shamsi. It was possible that the poet had praised him and his father Sheikh Shakhbout in his poetry.
Sheikh Tahnoun took power after the death of his brother Mohammed Bin Shakhbout, and worked with his father in the administration of government with the support of the Bani Yas tribe and loyal Manaseer tribe. He demonstrated good skills in leadership by addressing many major issues at that time such as: the Deira issue, the relations with Bahrain, and his mediation to implement peace among the conflicting parties in Buraimi. Poet Muhain Al Shamsi had pointed to that reconciliation in one of his poems in which he praised Sheikh Tahnoon Al Nahyan and his Hilali ancestors.
The book highlights the Issue of Dubai and Al Hazza Bin Za'al, Suhar revolution in 1830, up to April 1833, when Sheikh Tahnoon passed away. His death was a great loss not only for Bani Yas but also for his Omani allies.
The book ends with a conclusion that focuses on leadership qualities that Sheikh Tahnoon inherited from his father Sheikh Shakhbout, along with the military and economic powers. All these advantages enabled him to rule a vast emirate. He also achieved a great success in concluding the treaty of perpetual peace in 1820 with the British. During his rule, the Emirate of Abu Dhabi witnessed an increasing economic growth, and Bani Yas tribe had never been subjugated by any of its adversaries.
 It is noteworthy that the book is properly supplemented with documents and illustrations. Dr. Falih Handhal pointed out in the introduction that the author followed a proper historical methodology, by relying on primary sources, stating the causes and explaining the events. Although he relied on British documents, he compared them with Emirates and Gulf sources, in order to obtain a wealth of material necessary to give a good picture of the past and has succeeded in this regard. He distinguished himself from other historians who wrote about the history of the UAE relying on foreign sources only. The author therefore boldly presented to us pivotal issues such as the causes of historical internal conflicts that are found in any society, comparing that with the security, peace, prosperity and glory the UAE society enjoys today.
 
 
 
The Book: Unravelling the Unknown in the Biography of Sheikh Tahnoon.
Author: Abdulla Bin Mohammed Al Muhairi.
Publisher: the National Archives, Abu Dhabi, first edition, 2017, 229 pages.