Sheikh Khalifa passes away: Mood sombre across UAE as residents mourn

Several closed shops, cancelled cultural programmes to stand with the nation in its sorrow


Nasreen Abdulla

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Published: Sat 14 May 2022, 10:55 PM

Last updated: Sun 15 May 2022, 8:04 AM

With flags at half-mast, several cultural and entertainment programs postponed, and the radio off air, the mood was sombre across the UAE.

"The general feeling I have been having is of somberness," said Munezza Siddiqui, who has lived in the UAE all her life.

"Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan has been at the helm for so many years now, and the country has seen so much progress under him, including the Mars probe, the numerous real estate developments all across UAE and the way the country dealt with Covid pandemic, just to mention a few."

"It's a reminder to be grateful for every single minute of every single day. I hope that people will take time to reflect on these things and remember what a great leader he was."

Sheikh Khalifa was laid to rest on Friday evening at the Al Bateen cemetery. The new President of the UAE and Ruler of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, led family members and other leaders in prayer. Absentee funeral prayers were held in mosques across the UAE and in various countries worldwide.

Condolence messages were displayed on electronic signboards across the country. The iconic Museum of the Future switched off its lights. The UAE Ministry of Presidential Affairs announced a 40-day mourning period across the country with all federal and local government departments, ministries, and private firms suspending operations for three days.

Several shops across the country remained shut. The shops that were open said the day felt very different.

"We are some of the only shops open here," said Suresh Babu, manager at Zaiba Jewelers in Dubai Gold Souq.

"The Dubai Jewellery Group didn't make any recommendations for retail stores, so we opened. The mood is all around sombre in an otherwise bustling area. We all mourn the loss of a great leader."

Sharjah Municipality earlier today announced the closure of all its public and neighbourhood parks for three days. Schools across the country will also remain closed and resume on Tuesday, May 17.


The Dubai Economy and Tourism (DET) issued a circular announcing a halt on all entertainment that features musical performances and dance until Tuesday, May 17.

Basheer Thikkodi cancelled a scheduled stage program today.

"As soon we heard the tragic news, I began arranging to cancel the program," he said.

"The DET directive came much later. Even if it hadn't, I could not imagine going ahead with the program at such a time. Sheikh Khalifa was a great leader who was revered and respected throughout the world. We consider ourselves lucky to have lived under his leadership."

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