Jassim bin Mohammed Al Thani

Jassim bin Mohammed Al Thani
جاسم بن محمد آل ثاني
Emir of Qatar
Reign 1878–1913
Predecessor Mohammed bin Thani (father)
Successor Mohammed bin Jassim Al Thani (son)
Born c. 1825
Died 17 July 1913
Lusail, Qatar
Burial Lusail Cemetery
House Al Thani
Father Mohammed bin Thani
Religion Sunni Islam
Styles of
The Emir of Qatar
Reference style His Highness
Spoken style Your Highness
Alternative style Sheikh

Sheikh Jassim bin Mohammed Al Thani (Arabic: جاسم بن محمد آل ثاني; c. 1825 – 17 July 1913), also known as "The Founder",[1] was the founder of the State of Qatar.[2] He had a total of 19 children, who were all male.[3][4]

Early life and governance

Although the exact date of his birth is unknown, Jassim bin Mohammed Al Thani was born around 1825.[2][4] Raised in Fuwayrit, Qatar,[1] Jassim descended from the Tamim tribe, as he was the eldest son of Mohammed bin Thani. He acquired full capability in the management of the country's affairs during his youth and guided its policies and steered the country during a period that witnessed major events and changes. Jassim, as a result of engaging in politics while serving as deputy to his father, acquired political experience. He later moved to Al Bidda with his father when he was around twenty-one years old, where he emerged among his mates as a young leader, which he later illustrated as he fended off Qatar's invaders.[1][2]

At the local level, he sought to turn Qatar into a single unified and independent entity. Under his leadership, Qatar emerged as a coherent and stable country whose tribes he assembled to usher its future and thus consolidating its existence and borders. He adopted policies dealing with the two major powers competing to dominate the Persian Gulf and its territories, namely the British Empire, which had started to extend its influence through the Government of India, and the Ottoman Empire, which was seeking to retain its control of the region following the demise of the Portuguese influence in the 16th century.[1]


Jassim bin Mohammed Al Thani was imprisoned by the ruler of Bahrain, Faisal bin Turki, in 1867 when Jassim travelled to Bahrain to discuss the capture of an alleged trespassing Qatari bedouin. His demand for the bedouin's return provoked Bahrain, which was backed by Abu Dhabi, to launch attacks on major Qatari cities, causing significant damage. In retaliation, Qatar attacked Bahrain in 1868, resulting in the deaths of a thousand men and the sinking of sixty ships. Jassim was later released in return for captured Bahrainis.[3]

Conflicts with the Ottoman Empire

In April 1871, the expedition sent by Midhat Pasha, the Ottoman governor of Baghdad, to Eastern Arabia arrived.[1][3] In an attempt to secure a landing for Ottoman troops, the Ottomans sent an envoy bearing an Ottoman flag to Sheikh Jassim. He accepted and flew the flag, and by December of that year had authorized the Ottomans to send military equipment and 100 troops to Al Bidda. In January 1872, Qatar was formally incorporated into the Ottoman Empire as a province in Najd with Sheikh Jassim being appointed its kaymakam (sub-governor).[5]

18 December 1878 was the turning point when Sheikh Jassim took power. It was also the inception of the modern State of Qatar, achieved as a result of Sheikh Jassim's assiduous efforts that led to gaining full recognition by both powers of Qatar's independence.[1][2]

Despite the disapproval of local tribes, Al Thani continued supporting Ottoman rule. However, Qatari-Ottoman relations soon stagnated, and in 1882 they suffered further setbacks when the Ottomans refused to aid Al Thani in his expedition of Abu Dhabi-occupied Al Khor.[6] Al Thani fell out of favor with the Ottomans after they received complaints from Qataris regarding his oppressions from 1885 to 1886.[7] In a further blow to bilateral relations, the Ottomans supported the Ottoman subject Mohammed bin Abdul Wahab who attempted to supplant Al Thani as kaymakam of Qatar in 1888.[8]

Sheikh Jassim soon became a leading figure in the opposition against the Ottoman Empire's attempts to increase its influence in Qatar through its appointing of administrative personnel in Zubarah, Doha, Al Wakrah and Khawr al Udayd, establishing a customs office and reinforcing the Ottoman garrison. In early 1892, he resigned as kaymakam of Qatar and stopped paying taxes to the Ottoman Empire in August of that year.[8]

Opposition against the British Empire

Aside from being opposed against the Ottoman Empire, Sheikh Jassim was also opposed against the attempts at imperialism by the British Empire. In 1882, in addition to closing their shops, he expelled British Indian pearl traders from Doha. He renounced his jurisdiction of Doha the same year, and members of the Bani Hajir tribe attacked the pearl traders shortly after, resulting in the merchants' withdrawal from the country and the forfeiture of their profits during that period.[9]

Battle of Al Wajbah

Main article: Battle of Al Wajbah

In October 1892, an Ottoman army comprising approximately 200 men led by the governor of Basra, Mehmed Hafiz Pasha, was sent to Qatar in response to Sheikh Jassim's transgressions.[10] They arrived in February 1893, with further reinforcements on route from Kuwait. Sheikh Jassim, fearing that he would face death or imprisonment, fled first to Al Daayen,[11] and then to Al Wajbah Fort (10 miles west of Doha) where he was accompanied by several Qatari tribes.[12]

Mehmed sent a letter to Sheikh Jassim demanding that he disband his troops and pledge loyalty to the Ottomans. However, Sheikh Jassim remained adamant in his refusal to comply with Ottoman authority, and, additionally, refused to meet with Mehmed himself on the basis of ill health. Instead, he appointed his brother, Ahmed bin Mohammed Al Thani, as his emissary. In March, after a month of back-and-forth parleying, Mehmed lost patience and imprisoned Sheikh Jassim's brother and between 13 and 16 prominent Qatari tribal leaders on the Ottoman corvette Merrikh.[12]

As a result, a military confrontation followed in March 1893 and a crucial battle broke out between the Qataris, led by Sheikh Jassim and the Ottoman soldiers. He and his troops, who were composed of several Qatari tribes, fought a major battle in which they inflicted defeat on the Ottoman troops and achieved victory. The victory was decisive, leaving the Turks no choice but to free the Qatari captives in exchange of Sheikh Jassim permitting the captured Turkish cavalry free passage by land to Hofuf, Saudi Arabia.[1][2][3]

The battle was a turning point in Qatar's history, making it one of the most important and major battles of Qatar's strive for independence and freedom against oppression. The fort that Sheikh Jassim used to fend off the Ottoman soldiers in the main battle of Al Wajbah was the Al Wajbah Fort, found in the municipality of Al Rayyan.[2][3]

Later reign

The British attempted to intervene in the dispute between the Turkish soldiers and the Qatari tribes but found themselves unable to take up Jassim's offer to place Qatar under British protection. The Turks made their peace with Sheikh Jassim though he moved to live peacefully at Lusail, leaving the running of the country to his brother, Sheikh Ahmed bin Muhammed Al Thani. Regrettably, at the end of 1905, Sheikh Ahmad was murdered by one of his fellow soldiers from the Bani Hajir tribe, the murderer being killed in the latter part in Dammam. Sheikh Jassim again took over the running of Qatar.


He died on the afternoon of 17 July 1913 and was buried in Lusail, a village located 24 km north of Doha, which is found in the municipality of Al Daayen.[1][2]


He had a total of 19 children.[4] For more information about his sons, see the table below.

No. Name Position Year of Birth Year of Death
1 Fahad bin Jassim Al Thani I None Unknown Died when he was young
2 Khalifa bin Jassim Al Thani None 1851 1931
3 Thani bin Jassim Al Thani Sheikh of Al Gharafa 1856 1943
4 Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al Thani Sheikh of Al Wakra 1871 1930
5 Abdullah bin Jassim Al Thani Former Sheikh of Al Rayyan, Ruler of Qatar (1914–1940, 1948–1949) 1880 1957
6 Ali bin Jassim Al Thani I None Unknown Died when he was young
7 Mohammed bin Jassim Al Thani Sheikh of Umm Salal Mohammed 1881 1971
8 Ghanim bin Jassim Al Thani Unknown Unknown Unknown
9 Ali bin Jassim Al Thani II Sheikh of Umm Salal Ali 1893 1972
10 Fahad bin Jassim Al Thani II None Unknown Died when he was young
11 Fahad bin Jassim Al Thani III Sheikh of Al Kheesa, Lusail, Rumeilah and Adba 1895 c. 1980
12 Abdulaziz bin Jassim Al Thani Sheikh of Al Markhiya 1896 1985
13 Salman bin Jassim Al Thani None Unknown Died while he was born
14 Idris bin Jassim Al Thani None Unknown Died while he was born
15 Mubarak bin Jassim Al Thani None Unknown Died while he was born
16 Salman bin Jassim Al Thani II Sheikh of Dukhan 1899 1984
17 Nasser bin Jassim Al Thani Sheikh of Nasiriya Unknown 1978
18 Sultan bin Jassim Al Thani Sheikh of Umm Al Amad Unknown 1976
19 Ahmed bin Jassim Al Thani Sheikh of Al Khor Unknown 1995


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 "Qatar National Day: Our History". ndqatar.com. Retrieved 5 August 2012.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 "Shaikh Jassim Bin Mohammed Al Thani :: Amiri Diwan". Diwan.gov.qa. Retrieved 17 November 2012.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 "Background to Qatar in the Gulf". catnaps.org. Retrieved 5 August 2012.
  4. 1 2 3 Buyers, Christopher. "The Al Thani Dynasty". Royalark.net. Retrieved 30 October 2012.
  5. Rahman, Habibur (2006). The Emergence Of Qatar. Routledge. p. 140. ISBN 978-0710312136.
  6. Rahman, Habibur (2006). The Emergence Of Qatar. Routledge. pp. 143–144. ISBN 978-0710312136.
  7. Anscombe, Frederick F. (1997). The Ottoman Gulf: The Creation of Kuwait, Saudia Arabia, and Qatar. Columbia University Press. p. 87. ISBN 978-0231108393.
  8. 1 2 Rahman, Habibur (2006). The Emergence Of Qatar. Routledge. pp. 151–152. ISBN 978-0710312136.
  9. Moorehead, John (1977). In Defiance of The Elements: A Personal View of Qatar. Quartet Books. p. 51. ISBN 9780704321496.
  10. Althani, Mohamed (2013). Jassim the Leader: Founder of Qatar. Profile Books. pp. 101–102. ISBN 978-1781250709.
  11. "Al-Wajba Battle". qatar.qa. Retrieved 11 August 2015.
  12. 1 2 Zahlan, Rosemarie Said (1979). The creation of Qatar (print ed.). Barnes & Noble Books. p. 53. ISBN 978-0064979658.

Further reading

Jassim bin Mohammed Al Thani
Born: c. 1825 Died: 17 July 1913
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Mohammed bin Thani
Emir of Qatar
Succeeded by
Abdullah bin Jassim Al Thani
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