Al Zaabi is the surname carried by members of the Al Zaab tribe in the United Arab Emirates who originally mostly lived in Al Jazirah Al Hamra in what is today the emirate of Ras al-Khaimah. Some of the tribe migrated to Abu Dhabi after a clash between the tribe and Sheikh Saqr bin Muhammad of Ras Al-Khaimah. Abu Dhabi provided shelter to the major part of the tribe, and its ruler Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan provided them with land, which became the Al Za’ab neighbourhood. In the very tribal political system of the United Arab Emirates, the Za’ab became a powerful force in the federal ministry of foreign affairs, and many members of the tribe were appointed as overseas ambassadors.
Now though, the district is referred to by a string of names by its residents. Some say Manaseer, Al Bateen or Khalidiyah, while others stick to Al Zaab; all of them are the posted names of neighbouring blocks.
A busy shopping precinct sits on the corner of Al Bateen Street and King Khalid bin Abdel Aziz Street, where you’ll find a branch of Abu Dhabi Co-operative Society, as well as the Shaheen supermarket. A variety of small shops, including an ice cream parlour, barber, mobile phone and watch shop, laundry and perfumery, stretch out in a long, single-storey addition from Shaheen. Around the corner on King Khalid bin Abdel Aziz Street a row of shops occupies the landscape, where a high arched veranda gives shade to a mix of local restaurants, refreshment shops and small groceries. The Arabian Pharmacy has occupied one of these outlets for years