OMAN AT GLANCE
Oman’s history tells stories of heroism, courage, wisdom, patriotism, love and devotion to homeland. This brings us closer to understanding the richness of the Omani cultural experience which has contributed to the building of modern Oman.
Oman’s strategic location has played a major role in many campaigns and regional conflicts in this region. Oman overlooks the Arabian Sea, the Sea of Oman and the Arabian Gulf. It also controls the Strait of Hormuz, which is one of the most important facilities in the region, linking the Sea of Oman with the Arabian Gulf. The Strait of Hormuz is a gateway to all ships coming from the Indian Ocean and Arabian Sea.
Al Wattih in Muscat Governorate is one of the first inhabited cities. Modern archaeological discoveries suggest that humans settled in it during the Stone Age, i.e. more than 10,000 years ago.
The Babylonians and the Assyrians settled in Oman because they wanted to control the trade route that linked Asia to the shores of the Mediterranean Sea.
With the spread of Islam, and Mazin Bin Gadhubah joining Islam as the first person in Oman and his emigration to Medina to meet the Prophet, Peace be upon Him, the first mosque was built in Oman. This is Al Midhmar Mosque that still stands to this day in Wilayt Samail . These events paved the way for the two kings of Oman at that time, Jua’fer and Abd Ibni Al Jalandi, to enter Islam wholeheartedly and with utter conviction after receiving a letter from the Prophet, Peace be upon Him. A Hadith mentions that the Prophet, Peace be upon Him, said “God’s mercy be on the people of Al Ghubaira” (i.e. the people of Oman). “They have believed in me although they had not seen me”. Also stated in the sermon our Master Abu Bakr Al-Sidiq, the caliph of the Prophet, Peace be upon Him, to the people of Oman: “People of Oman you, you have entered Islam voluntarily although the Prophet has not come to your land on foot or on horse. You have not opposed him as other Arabs opposed him, and you have not called for separation or dispersion. May God unite you in benevolence.”
With the election of Ibn Masood, the first imam, in 751 AD, the Imamate era began in Oman and lasted four centuries until 1154. Several attempts were made to restore the rule of the Imamate in Oman in the mid-fifteenth century, but did not succeed.
During the period 1498-1507 AD, the Portuguese tried to control Oman. Omani history tells the story of the Omani people who expelled the Portuguese with their struggle and heroism. Nasser bin Murshid was elected Imam in 1624.
Because of the coastal location of Oman, the Omani navy occupied a leading position regionally. This sparked the ire of the Portuguese, who did not forget their devastating defeat. Fierce battles erupted between the Portuguese Navy (which had made India its base after the liberation of Oman) and the strong Omani navy. After a fierce battle, the Omani fleet was able to defeat the Portuguese fleet.
In 1698, the Omani Empire then expanded to include the cities of the African east coast, stretching from Mombasa to Kila, Zanzibar, Pemba and Bata. Mozambique remained under Portuguese rule until the twentieth century.
Oman had been the target of a number of attempts by the Persians to invade its territory, but the steadfastness and heroism of the Omanis were successfully combined to defeat the occupier. The invaders were defeated, underscoring the exploits of Omani heroes in defending their lands. This great victory was achieved at the hands of Imam Ahmed bin Saeed Al Busaidi, who defeated the Persians and was elected imam.
With the advent of 1970 came the dawn of a modern renaissance in the Sultanate, with the beginning of the prosperous era of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said, may God protect him.