His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai
His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. Image Credit: Twitter | @HHShkMohd

Dubai: The UAE today celebrates the 74th birthday of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister of the UAE, and Ruler of Dubai.

A wave of well-wishes and tributes has come from national leaders and UAE citizens alike, highlighting his contributions to the UAE, his visionary leadership, and his humble character.

Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of The Executive Council of Dubai, commemorated his father's birthday with a touching tribute.

The Crown Prince shared a video on his Instagram account, featuring a poignant poem that praises Sheikh Mohammed and describes him as the force that truly makes Dubai special.

Man of actions

Dr. Anwar Gargash, diplomatic adviser to the UAE President, also extended his warm wishes on Twitter: "Abu Rashid is a man of actions, with a positive spirit and a vision for the future. Our magnanimous Sheikh, whom we are proud of, we wish you, sir, a good health and long life."

Another congratulatory message was shared from the stars above.

UAE astronaut Sultan Al Neyadi, who is on the longest Arab space mission on the International Space Station (ISS), wished Sheikh Mohammed a happy birthday.

He tweeted: “Today marks the birthday of symbol of pride for Arabs, the leader, teacher, hope-maker and man of the impossible. May you be blessed with long life.”

Lt. Gen Dhahi Khalfan, Deputy Chief of Police and General Security in Dubai and Chairman of the police chief council, added his voice to the celebratory chorus, praising Sheikh Mohammed's leadership and humility: "Happy Birthday, Sir... Your leadership has not only been marked by excellence, but also the standard for it... Your rule has been nothing short of exemplary, your heart expansive, and your determination, boundless.


“Your humility is an inspiration, reaching the level of asceticism. Whenever goodness is mentioned, people think of you. Whenever humility is brought up, your name comes to mind. When the conversation turns to exceptional leadership, it's you who stands at the forefront. Walk with God's blessings, and may He continue to guide your steps."

The birthday of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid is not only being celebrated on the ground and in space but also in the digital realm.

A number of Twitter users initiated the hashtag "Mohammed bin Rashid" to congratulate the Dubai Ruler, sharing their sentiments and rare photos of Sheikh Mohammed.

His daughter, Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, also took to social media to wish her father a happy birthday. Sharing a childhood photo of him on Instagram, she wrote: "My father, my greatest mentor, my source of pride, and my guiding light, happy birthday."

Early childhood

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum was born in 1949 as the third son of Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum. His brothers include Sheikh Maktoum, Sheikh Hamdan, and Sheikh Ahmed.

During his early childhood, Sheikh Mohammed had a joyful upbringing in the Al Maktoum family home in Al Shindagha.

His parents and his grandfather, Sheikh Saeed, the then Ruler of Dubai, showered him with love and affection.

Sheikh Mohammed developed a close bond with his grandfather, often sitting beside him during the daily majlis held near their Shindagha home. These gatherings provided valuable learning opportunities for Sheikh Mohammed.

From a young age, Sheikh Mohammed learned hunting, falconry, and horsemanship, acquiring skills in these noble Arabian traditions from his father.

At the age of four, Sheikh Mohammed began private tutoring in Arabic and Islamic Studies. In 1955, he started formal education at Al Ahmadiya School in Deira, followed by Al Shaab School and Dubai Secondary School.

In October 1958, Sheikh Saeed passed away, and Sheikh Rashid became the Ruler of Dubai. Recognizing Sheikh Mohammed's character and capabilities, Sheikh Rashid prepared his sons for future roles in government, considering Sheikh Mohammed best suited to manage increasing security demands.

In August 1966, Sheikh Mohammed traveled to the UK to study at the Bell School of Languages in Cambridge. There, he gained exposure to different nationalities and cultures, expanding his knowledge and understanding of the world.

Sheikh Mohammed immersed himself in the vibrant student life of Cambridge and further prepared himself for his future role in Dubai by attending Mons Officer Cadet School in Aldershot, now part of the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst.

During his military training, Sheikh Mohammed distinguished himself and was awarded the sword of honor for achieving the highest mark among foreign and commonwealth officer cadets.

Upon returning to Dubai in 1968, Sheikh Mohammed was appointed as the Head of Dubai Police and Public Security, marking his first public position. He also became the Minister of Defense, becoming the world's youngest defense minister at that time.

In October 1968, Sheikh Mohammed accompanied his father to a meeting with Sheikh Zayed, the then Ruler of Abu Dhabi, to discuss the formation of a federation between Abu Dhabi and Dubai. This meeting led to the establishment of the United Arab Emirates on December 2, 1971.

Sheikh Mohammed played a crucial role in managing the UAE's defense and security internally and abroad. Under his leadership, the UAE deployed its forces to Lebanon in 1976 as part of the Arab Deterrent Force for a peacekeeping mission.

Throughout the years, Sheikh Mohammed assumed various responsibilities, including managing Dubai Airport, developing Dubai as an international aviation and tourism hub, and handling Dubai's oil sector. He also took charge of Jebel Ali Free Zone, contributing to Dubai's economic growth.

Sheikh Mohammed continued to support Dubai Government during times of crisis, such as the Invasion of Lebanon, the Iraqi-Iranian War, and the Palestinian Intifada. His leadership extended to international humanitarian efforts, providing aid in countries like Bosnia, Somalia, and Kosovo.

On October 7, 1990, Sheikh Rashid passed away, and Sheikh Mohammed and his brothers had to respond swiftly to the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. The UAE's armed forces played a crucial role in the coalition efforts to liberate Kuwait, and Sheikh Mohammed spearheaded humanitarian aid efforts and medical support.

On January 3, 1995, Sheikh Mohammed was appointed as the Crown Prince of Dubai by Sheikh Maktoum, the then Ruler of Dubai. This appointment marked a turning point, as Sheikh Mohammed launched numerous initiatives and projects to propel Dubai's future.

Under his leadership, infrastructure projects for the digital economy and eGovernment were introduced. The Dubai Shopping Festival was established, and significant developments, such as the Burj Al Arab hotel and the Palm Island project, became a reality.

Innovation, progress

Sheikh Mohammed's commitment to innovation and progress led to initiatives like the Dubai Internet City and Dubai Media City, fostering growth in technology and media sectors.

On January 4, 2006, Sheikh Mohammed became the Ruler of Dubai following the death of his brother Sheikh Maktoum. He was also elected as the Vice-President of the UAE by the Supreme Council on January 5 and nominated as the Prime Minister by Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the then President, on February 11, 2006.

Apart from his political responsibilities, Sheikh Mohammed is renowned as a poet and an equestrian. He began composing Nabati poetry during his school years and continues to express his creativity through his poetry.

As an equestrian, he established Godolphin, a racing stable that gained international recognition, and played a significant role in promoting endurance racing.

Sheikh Mohammed has also founded several philanthropic foundations and launched prestigious awards to uplift communities and recognize excellence in various fields.

Throughout his tenure, Sheikh Mohammed has engaged with the public through online and offline consultative sessions, displaying his commitment to inclusive governance and seeking input from the people. He has initiated numerous programs, strategies, and campaigns to ensure the sustainable development and progress of the UAE.