Qasimi Family of Sharjah, al-

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Ruling family of Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates.

During the seventeenth century the Qawasim tribe possessed the most powerful maritime forces in the waters of the lower Persian Gulf, asserting control even in the face of encroachments by the British. Sharjah and Raʾs al-Khayma were the most prominent regional ports. The most notable ruler of the region from 1727 to 1777 was Rashid ibn Mattar bin Rahman al-Qasimi, who claimed descent from the prophet Muhammad. The patriarch of the current rulers of Sharjah is Sultan bin Saqr bin Rashid alQasimi, who ruled for fifty years starting in 1804. Sharjah is notable for the political turbulence in modern times among the members of the ruling family. Saqr bin Sultan al-Qasimi ruled from 1951 to 1965. However, he was arrested after attempting to overthrow his successor and nephew, Khalid ibn Muhammad al-Qasimi (r. 19651972), who was killed in the process. The current ruler is Sultan bin Muhammad al-Qasimi, who has been in power since 1972. He was born in 1939 and was educated at Cairo University, the University of Exeter, and the University of Durham. He received a doctorate in history and has published several books on the history of the lower Persian Gulf, including The Myth of Arab Piracy in the Gulf.

see also sharjah; united arab emirates.


Anthony, John Duke. Arab States of the Lower Gulf: People, Politics, Petroleum. Washington, DC: Middle East Institute, 1975.

Peck, Malcolm C. Historical Dictionary of the Arab Gulf States. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press, 1997.

Al-Qāsimī, Sultān Muhammad. The Myth of Arab Piracy in the Gulf. Dover, NH; London: Croom Helm, 1986.

anthony b. toth