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Oral narratives … Memory of places and their people – our life – culture


Academics and heritage specialists demanded the necessity of documenting oral heritage narratives and making use of all segments of society in collecting and archiving them, noting that it represents the memory of places and their inhabitants, and losing them is a loss of the identity of societies and a loss of the spirit of their culture.

In a session entitled “The Importance of Documentation in the Recording and Study of Heritage,” organized by the Sharjah Heritage Institute, as part of the activities of the 18th session of Sharjah Heritage Days, the participants called for the use of all modern means to document the oral narration in the UAE.

During the session moderated by Dr. Mona Bounama, Dr. Najeeb bin Khaira, Associate Professor in the Department of History and Islamic Civilization at the University of Sharjah, said, “The interest in oral history is at the core of our Arab and Islamic heritage and civilization, which can be considered the civilization of the novel. Speech, not the one who makes mistakes in writing and recording, ”adding,“ Our history was written by informants and narrators, after I set standards for writing these novels. ”

He emphasized that the UAE society has many stories that have not yet been documented, “Oral history is a haven for writing the history of a nation that has many civilizational achievements that future generations should know about.” He called for everyone to participate in documenting oral history, and to exploit all modern means to accomplish this matter.

Bin Khaira continued: “To accomplish this task, we must start with the elderly, whose memory is a historical reference, and also pay attention to the countryside, villages and regions far from the heart of cities, which usually have a high repertoire of narratives that must be documented”.

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For his part, Assistant Professor in the Department of History and Islamic Civilization at the University of Sharjah, Dr. Saleh Al-Lahibi, shed light on manuscripts and their importance in the documentation process, indicating that manuscripts are considered as the next stage for oral narration. It represents a case of cognitive transformation from oral fiction to writing. ”

He pointed out that there are between three million to five million manuscripts around the world, stressing that the manuscript is an important impact that embodies the souls of those who worked on it. Turning to how to determine its value in material terms, “as every historical touch increases the value of the manuscript.”

As for the Emirati researcher, Abdullah Abdul Rahman, in his intervention on the importance of the oral narration, he said: “The oral novel has become the basic document in the process of codifying the folklore in the Emirates.” He added: “The UAE has taken care of this aspect for many years, dating back to before the Union, due to the interest of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, may God rest his soul, in this heritage, as he was keen to facilitate the task of documenting folklore by establishing the Center for Documentation and Research In Qasr Al Hosn, which was supervised by a group of researchers, and with the passage of time, the work of the center expanded and was able to collect many documents related to the Emirates.

He added, “During the establishment of the center, the Heritage and History Committee was formed, which expanded to include all parts of the Emirates, and its mission was to research and document the folklore.”

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Important source

Researcher Abdullah Abdul-Rahman asserted that “press publishing was, for him, an outlet for presenting and evaluating the stories that he used to collect and document,” noting that the media is an important source in the process of documenting heritage and oral narration, reviewing the experiences of many Emirati personalities and their contributions to the local and Arab press.


Najeeb bin Khaira:

“The UAE society has many stories that have not yet been documented.”

Saleh Al-Lahibi:

“The manuscripts are the next stage for the oral narration.”

Abdullah Abdulrahman:

“The oral narration is the main document in the codification of the Emirati folklore.”

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