Saqr bin Mohammed Al Qasimi

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Sheikh Saqr bin Mohammed Al Qasimi
Black-and-white right-facing profile portrait of a man wearing a Van dyke beard and a keffiyeh.
Sheikh Saqr bin Mohammed Al Qasimi
Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah
Reign17 July 1948 – 27 October 2010
PredecessorSultan bin Salim Al Qasimi
SuccessorSaud bin Saqr Al Qasimi
Bornc. 1918–1920 [a]
Ras Al Khaimah,
Died27 October 2010(2010-10-27) (aged 91–92)
Ras Al Khaimah, United Arab Emirates

Sheikh Saqr bin Mohammed Al Qasimi (Arabic: صقر بن محمد القاسمي; c. 1918–1920[a] – 27 October 2010) was the Ruler of Emirate of Ras Al Khaimah from 1948 to 2010. On 10 February 1972, under his leadership, Ras Al Khaimah become the seventh Trucial State to join the United Arab Emirates.

He became the Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah on 17 July 1948, when he overthrew his paternal uncle and father-in-law[b] Sheikh Sultan bin Salim Al Qasimi in a bloodless coup d'etat.[1] Sheikh Saqr exiled Sultan to Sharjah. At the time of his death in 2010, Sheikh Saqr was the world's oldest reigning monarch at age ~90.[1][2]

Early life and education[edit]

Sheikh Saqr was born in the city of Ras Al Khaimah, where he was brought up in the care of his father, Sheikh Mohammed bin Salim, who ruled the emirate as regent for his ailing and paralysed father Salim bin Sultan Al Qasimi between 1917 and 1919. However, upon Mohammed bin Salim's death, his younger brother Sultan bin Salim took power.[3] Sultan bin Salim Al Qasimi was recognised by the British as the Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah in 1921.[4] : (pages 86–88) 

Sheikh Saqr received a religious and primary education. He learned to read from regionally renowned clerics as a youth,[who?] and later joined a semi-regular school in Ras Al Khaimah to further study reading and writing, as well as principles of mathematics. He studied oratory and Arabic arts.[citation needed]

Sheikh Saqr bin Muhammed Al Qasimi became the Ruler of the emirate of Ras Al Khaimah on 17 July 1948, after a bloodless coup against Sultan bin Salim Al Qasimi, who had allegedly neglected his subjects and alienated them by secretly signing oil concessions with British company PCL (Petroleum Concessions Ltd)

His early years in power necessitated meeting the challenge posed by the Shihuh, a tribe affiliated to the Sultan of Muscat, who nevertheless lived and had holdings and customary rights in both the mountainous and coastal areas of Ras Al Khaimah, for instance the previously rebellious village of Sha'am. Both these and the oft-secessionist tribes of Za'ab in Jazirat Al Hamra and the Tanaij of Rams were brought under Ras Al Khaimah or, as in the example of the Za'ab, exiled militarily.[4]: (pages 86–88)  The ruler of the Za'ab (Jazirat Al Hamra) was among the only 4 independent rulers who signed the first treaty with the British in 1820, while Ras Al Khaimah town was burned by the British and the capital was at Khatt. Also, the current state of Ras Al Khaimah was only recognised in 1921. A British general travelling in 1925 also spoke about the Za'ab (Jazirat Al Hamra) as a state independent of any other sheikhdom.[citation needed]

Politics and accession to UAE[edit]

After Sheikh Saqr gained complete control of Ras Al Khaimah, he began to delegate power through tribal leaders in order to avoid further bloodshed and to facilitate cooperation with the tribes. These tribal leaders functioned as middlemen between Sheikh Saqr and the people of Ras Al Khaimah; no tribal member could meet with the Emir without the permission of his respective Wali, or Sheikh.[citation needed]

Sheikh Saqr initially did not support Ras Al Khaimah's accession to the UAE when it was formed on 2 December 1971, due to a dispute with Iran over Persian Gulf islands that had prior to British domination of the region been administered by the Rulers of Ras Al Khaimah and Sharjah. Following the evacuation of the British and prior to the establishment of the UAE, an Iranian naval expeditionary force landed on the islands on 30 November 1970.[4]: (pages 366–370)  Sheikh Saqr made his approval of Ras Al Khaimah joining the UAE contingent on the promise by Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan of Abu Dhabi and Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum of Dubai that the new UAE Federal Government would support Ras Al Khaimah's claim to the islands. Having obtained this promise, Ras Al Khaimah joined the UAE on 10 February 1972.[4]: (pages 366–370) 

Sheikh Saqr appointed his oldest son, Khalid bin Saqr Al Qasimi, as the Crown Prince of Ras Al Khaimah in 1974. Sheikh Khalid was replaced by another of Sheikh Saqr's sons, Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi, on 28 April 2003,[5] and Khalid chose the Omani capital Muscat for his unconditional exile. The transfer of power marked the first time in the UAE (there were regicidal coups in Sharjah, however) that a Crown Prince had been removed in such a manner; and, at the time of the decree, UAE Army soldiers and tanks were deployed around sensitive sites in Ras Al Khaimah in case of unrest, though they were not required.[3]

Khalid had a reputation as a supporter of women's rights and a reformer, and his wife, Sheikha Fawqai Al Qasimi, was a playwright and an active campaigner for women's issues. However, he was also an outspoken critic of the United States and he vehemently opposed the American and British invasion of Iraq in 2003 to topple former President Saddam Hussein.[6]

Sheikh Saud was latterly seen by his father as a more appropriate choice as his successor, with one local official saying he was deemed "more suitable to implementing the interests of the UAE and its people", while another said “the country’s leadership supported this transfer (of power) which took place smoothly. There are no problems”.[7]

Sheikh Saud has gone on to prove himself to be a leader with a keen focus on developing the emirate.[8]


In his 62 years as ruler, Sheikh Saqr worked diligently to enhance the lives of the people of Ras Al Khaimah and to sow unity among the various tribes under his rule. He sought to develop his Emirate economically, socially and culturally and knew that education was fundamental to that pursuit. With the goal of increasing literacy and building up his people, Sheikh Saqr promoted education, built modern schools, and made education compulsory for both sexes, while also offering incentives to encourage people to go to school.[9]

Providing reliable healthcare was also chief among his achievements. He oversaw the set-up of the Kuwaiti Hospital and a further three hospitals in his Emirate during his reign.[9]

Sheikh Saqr also built Ras Al Khaimah's organizational, financial and administrative institutions from scratch, for the first time bringing proper government administration to the Emirate.[10]

His vision saw the development of key infrastructure, including Ras Al Khaimah Airport, which opened in 1976 and, in 1977, Saqr Port, which today is the largest bulk-handling port in the Middle East region.[11] In addition, he set up companies such as RAK Rock and Julphar Pharmaceuticals, in the Emirate, many of which went on to become industry leaders.[12][13]

Death and succession[edit]

Sheikh Saqr died on 27 October 2010 after being ill for several months.[14][15] The Crown Prince, Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi, is his successor. Khalid bin Saqr Al Qasimi posted a web video proclaiming himself ruler of Ras Al Khaimah shortly after Sheikh Saqr's death.[16] The video was part of a broader campaign Khalid had launched to gain the support of the U.S. and regional power brokers.[3][17]

Khalid reportedly had little support among the tribes of Ras Al Khaimah or the leaders of the other six emirates. The Federal Supreme Council, made up of the rulers of each of the UAE's seven emirates, quickly declared its support for Sheikh Saud's succession.[18] Sheikh Saud declared 40 days of mourning following his appointment.[2]


a1 2 : A few sources such as The Daily Telegraph[3] and the Khaleej Times[19] gave 9 April 1918 as Sheikh Saqr's birth date at a time when this date was in Wikipedia. However, given the absence of a record-keeping administration in the Trucial States at the time, it is unlikely that his birth can be dated with such precision. For instance, Reuters states that Sheikh Saqr was "believed to be in his late 90s" at the time of his death,[20] while the BBC asserts that he "was in his early 90s" when he died.[18] Many reputable sources (such as the Library of Congress Country Studies,[21] reports from the British Foreign Office,[22] and Burke's Peerage[23]) give 1920 as Sheikh Saqr's year of birth.
b1 He married his paternal first cousin, Sheikha Nora bint Sultan Al Qasimi.[citation needed]


  1. ^ a b Fryer, Jonathon (1 November 2010). "Sheikh Saqr bin Mohammed Al Qasimi". The Guardian. Retrieved 30 November 2014.
  2. ^ a b "AFP: UAE recognises new ruler of strategic northern emirate". 24 January 2013. Archived from the original on 24 January 2013.
  3. ^ a b c d "Sheikh Saqr bin Mohammad al Qasimi". The Daily Telegraph. 27 October 2010. Retrieved 28 October 2010.
  4. ^ a b c d Heard-Bey, Frauke (1996). From Trucial States to United Arab Emirates. London: Longman. ISBN 0582277280.
  5. ^ "Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah dies". Retrieved 12 July 2016.
  6. ^ "Succession Politics in the Conservative Arab Gulf States". The Washington Institute.
  7. ^ Habboush, Mahmoud. "Ruler of UAE's Ras al-Khaimah emirate dies". U.S. Retrieved 24 June 2018.
  8. ^ "OBG talks to Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi, Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah". Oxford Business Group. 22 October 2013. Retrieved 24 June 2018.
  9. ^ a b "Sheikh Saqr Bin Mohammed Bin Salem Bin Sultan Al Qasimi". The National Archive.
  10. ^ "Sheikh Saqr Bin Mohammed Bin Salem Bin Sultan Al Qasimi". The National Archives.
  11. ^ "SAQR PORT EXPANSION GETS UNDERWAY". The Maritime Standard.
  12. ^ "About Us". Julphar Pharmaceuticals.
  13. ^ "History". Stevin Rock.
  14. ^ (WAM). "Mourning across UAE after RAK ruler dies - Khaleej Times". Retrieved 12 July 2016.
  15. ^ "Sheikh Saqr bin Mohammad al Qasimi". The Daily Telegraph. London. ISSN 0307-1235. OCLC 49632006. Retrieved 26 June 2012.
  16. ^ "Sheikh Khalid bin Saqr al Qasimi, Ras al Khaimah – People's Blog". Archived from the original on 26 January 2010. Retrieved 4 February 2010.
  17. ^ Schult, Christoph; Smoltczyk, Alexander (5 July 2010). "Vereinigte Arabische Emirate: Ein Prinz zu viel" – via Spiegel Online.
  18. ^ a b "Ruler of UAE emirate of Ras al-Khaimah dies". BBC News. 27 October 2010. Retrieved 28 October 2010.
  19. ^ "A national loss". Khaleej Times. 28 October 2010. Retrieved 28 October 2010.
  20. ^ "Ruler of UAE's Ras Al Khaimah emirate dies". Reuters. 27 October 2010. Retrieved 28 October 2010.
  21. ^ Eric Hooglund; Anthony Toth (December 1992). Helen Chapin Metz (ed.). United Arab Emirates: A Country Study. Federal Research Division. Ruling Families.{{cite encyclopedia}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  22. ^ Preston, Paul; Partridge, Michael, eds. (2005). British Documents on Foreign Affairs: Reports and Papers from the Foreign Office Confidential Print. Vol. Part V, From 1951 through 1956. Series B, Near and Middle East, 1951. Bethesda, MD: LexisNexis. p. 140. ISBN 978-0-88692-720-2.
  23. ^ Montgomery-Massingberd, Hugh, ed. (1980). "United Arab Emirates". Burke's Royal Families of the World. Vol. II: Africa & the Middle East. London: Burke's Peerage. p. 116. ISBN 978-0-85011-029-6.

External links[edit]

Media related to Saqr bin Mohammad al-Qassimi at Wikimedia Commons