Dubai: Ninety-year-old Ali Manea Mufreh Al Ahbabi living in Al Ain had the privilege of attend the wedding of late Shaikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum in 1989. The renowned Emirati poet said: “I have known him to be a humble man. He was a generous human being who loved to contribute to the welfare of the UAE, its citizens and expatriates. I have received the news of his death with great sorrow and sadness. He was a brother and friend to me.”

His residence in Al Ain has a number of photographs with Sheikh Hamdan framed on the wall. One of the picture shows Al Ahbabi with the late Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the UAE’s founding father, and the late Shaikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

“In this picture, I was reciting a poem for the late Shaikh Hamdan on the occasion of his wedding,” said the poet.

Al Ahbabi, sporting a traditional Khanjar — or the Emirati dagger for the special occasion — is seen reciting the poem for Sheikh Hamdan.

Sharing parts of the poem with Gulf News, he said: ‘Mabrook Ya Shaikh la Al Majd Nomas …’ The translation reads ‘Congratulations, Sheikh, who’s glory is well reputed’.

Another line from the poem reads: ‘Nasal Al Shayook Ahla Al Karam wa al farasa …’ Translated into English, it means: ‘The descendants of the elders, the people of the generosity and foresight and wisdom in planning’.

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