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19 June, 2006

Farewell to a Dubai princess

Sad news today, with the death of a lady most people will never have heard of.

So hear it now. Sheikha Sanaa bint Mana bin Rashid Al Maktoum was an amazing woman, one of the greatest Grand Old Dames of Dubai. In keeping with custom here, she lived completely out of the public eye. But she was known to have a powerful influence in the Ruler's Court, and was greatly respected and admired.

Assuming these scant references equate, Sheika Sanaa was the daughter of Shaikh Mani bin Rashid, a former education minister described as a "moderniser" by Lienhardt in Shaikhdoms of Eastern Arabia and an "enlightened philanthropist" by Michael Field in The Merchants: The Big Business Families of Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States. In the 1930s Mani had his young daughter taught to read and write, then an extremely rare thing for women. Lienhardt claims that this accomplishment was "lacked by any of the other shaikhly ladies of Dubai" even in the 1960s.

Sheikha Sanaa married the brother of Dubai's former ruler Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed al Maktoum, according to Adam Smith's Paper Money. The book describes her as a "high-spirited woman who once shot her husband's fourth wife." She also built up a thriving taxi fleet.

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19 Comments:

Blogger Minkey Chief said...

I wish we had more detail on that shooting...

19 June, 2006 22:33  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

do we get a day from work in dubai...

20 June, 2006 00:12  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

day off?

20 June, 2006 00:12  
Anonymous Chillmeister said...

and more on this part of the wikipedia article on Dubai:
(in the ruler's paragraph):
15 April 1929 - 18 April 1929 Sheikh Mani ibn Rashid

It seems that Sheik Mani was ruler for 3 days...
after and before Sheik Saaed, Sheik Rashid's father, is mentioned as the ruler. I wonder what happened.

20 June, 2006 0

20 June, 2006 00:13  
Blogger secretdubai said...

Chillmeister - entries I did on 25 September 2004 and 17 March 2005 have a little more information.

20 June, 2006 00:19  
Anonymous Hennessy said...

Never heard of her until this post. What about the shooting? What taxi fleet?

20 June, 2006 08:41  
Blogger Your Man in Dubai said...

The article in our No 1 Fav news paper. Was a bit brief innit? Doesn't tell you who she was, what she did or anything. You would of thought that our fav news paper could have written a bit more in her obit.

20 June, 2006 08:49  
Blogger CG said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

20 June, 2006 13:11  
Blogger Seabee said...

I'm surprised there was anything in the papers, usually only stories about the men are printed.

Sheikha Sanaa was the local partner of the first company I worked for here, way back, and I met her a number of times. She was a formidable lady.

20 June, 2006 16:06  
Blogger Shaper85 said...

Hey SD your wish came true. http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20060620/wl_mideast_afp/uaeislamjusticebangladesh_060620092856.

20 June, 2006 21:20  
Blogger Shaper85 said...

Eh. Damn links. Anyway, the Bangladeshi guy who was sentenced to stoning for having an affair will now be jailed and deported instead.

20 June, 2006 21:22  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I heard a great story about her. Apparently she had a palace next to Sheikh Mo's, on the beach I think, and every day she got her gardeners to move the fence a little bit and encroach on his garden, eventually he would notice and get mad with her and she would play the "how could you possibly think I would do something dishonorable like that" card. I really hope its a true story!

20 June, 2006 22:14  
Blogger BrainSyke said...

sad to hear about her deminse...although her descriiption far is very amusing :-)

20 June, 2006 22:47  
Anonymous Chillmeister said...

I hereby confess that I don't read SD since so long, therefore I couldn't possibly knew you posted on the subject. But after reading I still have to say that information is fragmented and confused: is Mani the one who got killed in that famous dinner by Rashid and his men? Is Saana the 13 y.o. which then goes to marry Rashid's younger brother?
Was Mani the ruler at that time?

Did you post anything on Usher Bin Jumma Bin Makhtoum Al Makhtoum?

22 June, 2006 00:23  
Blogger secretdubai said...

chillmeister - I truly don't know for certain, it's just stuff I pieced together. I was hoping someone would step in and correct if necessary, but no one seems to know very much.

I haven't heard of Usher Bin Jumma - who is he?

22 June, 2006 00:27  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

chillmeister....wasn't it shk saeed's men that killed the folks at the wedding dinner and not shk rashid's men????

23 June, 2006 00:41  
Anonymous chillmeister said...

Anon: possibly both? And who said: "wedding"? Are we all getting arrested, next?

23 June, 2006 20:32  
Blogger my_opinion_countz said...

She was a great woman, she did many great things in her time. she was as strong as any man at her prime. I dont knot about the taxi-ing but she did a lot of trade businesses back in the day. I heard her talk of an auto biography but i dont know if it ever got published.

You keep referring to sheikh Mani bin Rashid, but his name was sheikh MANA'A bin Rashid.

As for the comment someone posted about Sheikha Sana'a having a palace next to Sheikh Mohammeds' palace and she conned him into moving her land towards his, is not true although, i do know she was upset about the whole madinat jumeirah development being located so close to where she resided.

only good should ever be spoken about her because she was a remarkable woman; the same goes for anyone who has passed as it is wrong to speak evil of the dead.

12 July, 2006 02:18  
Blogger secretdubai said...

Thanks so much for your comments, my_opinion, it is so hard to find people who actually know stuff about this.

12 July, 2006 11:35  

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