'I prayed for him because he kept UAE safe': Expats mourn Sheikh Khalifa

'My father wasn't at home, but I felt like I wanted to go,' says a ten-year-old who attended absentee funeral prayers



by

Nasreen Abdulla

Published: Sun 15 May 2022, 5:58 PM

Last updated: Sun 15 May 2022, 9:43 PM

UAE residents are mourning the passing of the late Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, highlighting how he helped make the UAE one of the safest countries in the world.

Ten-year-old Danyal Juzar attended the funeral prayers at his local mosque in Abu Dhabi.

"My father wasn't at home, but I felt like I wanted to go," he said.

"I had never met Sheikh Khalifa, but I know he was a good leader. I have lived in Abu Dhabi all my life, and I feel very safe here. He was the leader who made it such a safe city. So, I felt I wanted to go and pray for him.

Before going, my mother explained how the funeral prayers are different from normal prayers. It was a bit confusing for me as it was the first time I was attending funeral prayers, but I just followed everyone. I hope Allah grants him Paradise for being a good leader."

Sheikh Khalifa was laid to rest on Friday evening at the Al Bateen cemetery.

The newly-elected President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, led family members and other leaders in prayer. Absentee funeral prayers were held in mosques across the UAE as well as in various countries in the world.

For Muhammed Anshah, who moved to Dubai in 2002, the accession of Sheikh Khalifa in 2004 was a momentous occasion.

"I was new in Dubai, and I remember everyone talking about how great a leader the late Sheikh Zayed was. Eighteen years later, it is safe to say that he brought to realization the vision of his father, not just on an economic or developmental front, but also in turning the country into a melting pot of cultures and nationalities. So many different people from all parts of the world come and live in the UAE and feel so welcomed here.

When I heard of Sheikh Khalifa's death, I rushed to the mosque to attend funeral prayers for him. I sincerely pray that Allah accepts all his good deeds."

Sheikh Khalifa, born in 1948, became the UAE President in 2004. Under his reign, the UAE witnessed accelerated development spanning the economic, social, environmental, cultural, educational, and political sectors.

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"I still remember the day the news came of Sheikh Zayed's death," said Rimna Fathima, a UAE resident who was born and raised in Abu Dhabi.

"I was probably 10 years old. I remember my mom and dad being worried. Sheikh Zayed was the only leader we had known. With his death, there was so much uncertainty. My parents were worried about whether things would change. They were a couple raising three young girls, and living in Abu Dhabi was their hope for a brighter future.

But Sheikh Khalifa proved to be a leader who was a torchbearer for the vision of his late father. I consider myself lucky to have lived in Abu Dhabi. The kind of education we have received and the kind of safety we enjoy here are second to none in the world. Under Sheikh Khalifa's leadership, every sector from tourism to education bloomed. When I heard about his death, I felt a lump in my throat. He was truly a people's leader, and he will be sorely missed."


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