Abdulaziz Nasser Al Obaidan, an award-winning musician who composed Qatar’s national anthem, has died at age 64 after battling a long illness, QNA reports.
His song Al Salam Al-Amiri was adopted as the national anthem in 1996 after Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani overthrew his father to become Emir.
The anthem was first performed on Dec. 7 of that year, during a meeting of the Gulf Cooperation Council.
Al Obaidan was an integral part of Qatar’s music scene, having previously served as the country’s representative on the Executive Council of the Arab Academy of Music, and as a member of the Qatar Music Academy’s board of trustees.
Over the years, the composer has received several accolades for his work, including a state award for music in 2006.
More recently, he was honored for his contributions to Qatar’s musical development with a special award at the fourth edition of the Oscar della Lirica international opera awards in December 2014.
Many fans of Al Obaidan’s patriotic music have been lamenting his passing online under the hashtag عبدالعزيز_ناصر# (Abdul Aziz Nasser):
اللهم ارحم الموسيقار #عبدالعزيز_ناصر وادخله فسيح جناتك pic.twitter.com/XIX6HtkVrB
— علي الخليفي (@ANAlKhelaifi) July 22, 2016
Translation: God bless the musician Abdulaziz Nasser and grant him entry into your heaven.
Many took heart in the fact that Al Obaidan’s music will continue to live on:
#عبدالعزيز_ناصر رحل بجسده وبقي بيننا حيّا بفنه ولحنه، ترك لنا أعذب الألحان في النشيد الوطني، الله يا عمري قطر وغيرها من روائع الغناء الجميل
— آمنه العبيدلي (@amnaalobaidly80) July 22, 2016
Translation: Abdul Aziz Nasser has departed his body and lives on among us with his art and his compositions; he left us the most beautiful of melodies in the national anthem, Allah ya Omri Qatar and other masterpieces of beautiful singing.
كبرنا على اجمل الاغاني الوطنيةواكثرها وصولا للقلب للفنان #عبدالعزيز_ناصر واليوم نودع من زرع فينا رومنسيةالوطن،رحمك الله وكل نبض وطني سيتذكرك
— ﮼عبدالله،علي،المناعي (@abdullaalmannai) July 22, 2016
Translation: We grew up to the most beautiful patriotic songs and most of them came from the heart of the artist Abdul Aziz Nasser. And today we say goodbye to the one who nurtured in us the romance of one’s country. God Bless you and every patriotic heart will remember you.
More about the anthem
Qatar’s anthem was written by Sheikh Mubarak bin Saif Al Thani, who recently donated the poem that inspired the song to Qatar’s upcoming National Museum.
Al Obaidan however is the one who put it to music.
In 2012, I Love Qatar founder Khalifa Saleh Al Haroon challenged his Twitter and Facebook followers to try to find out how many Qatar residents knew the country’s national anthem.
The results of the informal poll found that 87 percent of Qataris knew it by heart, while 51 percent of expats could hum at least a few bars of the tune.
Here are the words, as translated into English by legal portal Meezan:
Swearing by God who erected the sky,
Swearing by God who spread the light,
Qatar will always be free,
Sublimed by the spirit of the sincere,
Proceed thou on the manners of the ascendants,
And advance by the guiding light of the Prophets,
Qatar in my heart is a legacy,
Qatar is an epic of glory and dignity,
Qatar is land of the foremost men,
Who protect us at time of distress,
Doves they can be at times of peace,
Warriors they are at times of sacrifice.