Social media influencer Maria Fernanda del Río dedicated an episode of her show Meet A Qatari Author with Maria to present a profile of Prof. Aisha Al-Mannai and her achievements. The episode is also available on the Qatari Forum for Authors’ YouTube channel and its other social media pages.
Maria started the episode by describing Prof. Al-Mannai as an exceptional individual, who is not only an accomplished author, but also a former member of the Qatari Shura Council. Prof. Al-Mannai is a Qatari professor and researcher. She received her B.A. in Islamic Theology and Philosophy from Qatar University in 1981 and her Ph.D. from Al-Azhar University in 1990. She is the director of the Center for Muslim Contribution to Civilization at Qatar College of Islamic Studies, Hamad Bin Khalifa University. She is the former dean of the College of Sharia and Islamic Studies at Qatar University. She served as a member of the Committee of Trustees overseeing the State Incentive and Appreciation awards between 2004 and 2007 and The National Committee on Human Rights between 2003 and 2007, in addition to her service as a member of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Cultural Working Group (Europe, the Mediterranean, and The Gulf: Dialogue among peoples and civilizations). Prof. Al-Mannai is currently serving as vice chairperson of the Doha International Center for Interfaith Dialogue’s board of directors.
Maria added that Prof. Al-Mannai is the recipient of several awards and accolades, including The Arab republic of Egypt’s First-Class Order of Merit in Sciences and Arts, The Islamic Republic of Iran’s Person of Peace and Reconciliation Award, and the United Arab Emirates’ Community Service Award.
Prof. Al-Mannai is author of numerous books, including Abu Hafs Umar Al-Sahruwardi: His life and mysticism, Islamic Sufism and Ethics (co-authored with Dr. Ahmed Al-Sayeh), and The Foundations of Islamic Theology between Muʿtazilites and Imami Shiʿits. She has also published several research articles, including Family Education between Sharia Regulations and Modern Needs, Muslim Women and the Conditions of Development, and Prophethood and the Importance of Miracles.
The Qatari Forum for Authors has announced a three-month long series of events in celebration of World Arabic Language Day. These events culminate with World Arabic Language Day, which is on the first of March. This announcement came during a Forum session live-streamed on its Instagram’s account as well as it YouTube channel. Among the participants were Ms. Mariam Yassine Al-Hammadi, Director of the Culture and Arts Administration and General Manager of the Qatari Forum for Authors, Mr. Abdullah Al-Kubaissy, Acting Secretary General of the Qatari National Commission for Education, Culture and Science, Dr. Abdul Haq Bilabid, Forum member and events organizer, and Dr. Ahmed Al-Janabi, supervisor at Mirqat Qatar for the Teaching of Arabic Oratory Arts, an event organized by the Forum as part of the Doha Capital of Islamic Culture 2021 celebrations.
The General Manager of the Forum opened the session by emphasizing the importance of celebrating World Arabic Language Day because of its association with Arab identity, Islam, and the Qur’an, which was revealed in Arabic. She commented that “Arabic is the language of science and enlightenment, and it still serves as a foundation for cultural diversity. Arabic is also one of the most commonly used languages in the world. According the UNESCO’s website, it is spoken by more than 400 million people on a daily basis.” The first of March was chosen to mark World Arabic Language Day because on March 1st 1973, the United Nations General Assembly decided to recognize Arabic as a sixth official language of the organization. She added that the Arabic language has always been a source of inspiration with its multitude of forms, oral traditions, styles, dialects, calligraphy, and prose as well as poetic art forms. Arabic has always been a medium of unbridled creativity in diverse fields such as engineering, poetry, philosophy, and performance arts. Arabic is the gateway to a world of diverse cultures, belief systems, and world views. The history of the Arabic language is filled with examples of strong connections with other languages. These connections made it possible to transfer Greek sciences and philosophy to Europe during the Renaissance. She also emphasized that Arabic made it possible to establish intercultural dialogue along the silk road from the Indian coasts to the African Horn.
This year, the world is celebrating the Arabic language under the banner of Arabic as a language of cultural contact. It is a call to reaffirm the invaluable role of Arabic as a means of building bridges among diverse peoples to spread culture, science, and arts.