100-year-old Emirati who dedicated his life to treating patients dies

Aqeeda Ali Al Muhairi was presented with an Abu Dhabi Award for devoting decades of his life helping others – without charge

Aqeeda Ali Al Muhairi, an Emirati man who spent most of his life treating people using traditional medicine, died on Saturday. He was 100.

His death was announced by his son, Abdullah, on Twitter, where tributes soon followed.

"Aqeeda Ali Al Muhairi was a loyal and honourable son of the UAE, who served his country with distinction for decades. My heartfelt condolences go to his family and relatives. May God have mercy on him," said Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces.

Sheikh Hazza bin Zayed, deputy chairman of Abu Dhabi Executive Council, also offered his condolences to the family and the "esteemed Bumuhair tribe".

He described Al Muhairi as "one of the elders of the Emirates, who worked hard and was sincere. People loved him and learnt about his life and good deeds."

Emirati writer Sultan Al Ameemi said: “Mr Aqeeda Ali Al Muhairi worked in the field of traditional medicine and was known for his great experience. His fame went beyond the city of Al Ain, in which he was born and lived, to go beyond the Emirates. He was the younger brother of the great Al Ain poet, Moza Al Muhairi.”

Mr Al Ameemi offered his condolences to the family and Bumuhair tribe.

Al Muhairi was born in about 1920 in Al Ain, more than 50 years before the unification of the Emirates. His parents died from a young age, forcing him to quickly learn to be independent.

He took on numerous jobs in his youth, including stints as a pearl diver and farmer. But at age 20, he learnt the art of traditional medicine from his grandmother.

He spent the following 70 years healing people from across the community. His work began at a time before there were hospitals and general health care, when even the simplest diseases could destroy people’s lives.

At that time, the need for traditional folk medicine was vital.

Al Muhairi offered his services free of charge, only ever accepting donations from those who could afford to do so.

Over the years, he became an expert on the treatment of more than 50, and he cared for thousands of patients in that time.

Al Muhairi was also considered to have a wide knowledge of the sciences, culture and society. He was well recognised for his intimate knowledge of the familial and tribal roots of the UAE and the geography of the land of Abu Dhabi, Al Ain and Dubai.

Prior to his death, he continued to treat people and share his experience with researchers and doctors of mainstream modern medicine. He even taught his grandson, Essa, who would use what he learnt to treat his own patients.

Al Muhairi received the 2011 Abu Dhabi Award in honour of his decades of dedication to helping people. It was presented to him by Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed in January, 2012.

In 2016, Sheikh Mohamed visited Al Muhairi in his home in Al Bateen, Al Ain.