His Highness the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan was the founding father of the UAE and served as the President of the UAE since the formation of the Federation in 1971. Also the former ruler of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, UAE’s founding father left behind a legacy of noble values like charity, equality, generosity and tolerance. A man of unmatched vision who contributed extensively to the history of Abu Dhabi, the former ruler’s values are celebrated to this day. Here is a list of famous quotes by His Highness Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan on women, innovation, religion, industry and tolerance. These Sheikh Zayed quotes are a source of inspiration and often referenced by other leaders in and around the UAE.
Sheikh Zayed Quotes: The Role of Women
Through the quotes of Sheikh Zayed, it’s evident that the founding father had a deep respect for the role played by women in society. He saw their potential, encouraged them to take up leadership roles and stressed on the importance of treating women with dignity. On that note, here are some Sheikh Zayed quotes about women:
1.“The endeavours undertaken by women in the Emirates are important and honourable endeavours that are worthy of esteem.”
2. “I encourage women to work in positions that maintain respect and dignity as mothers and makers of generations.”
3.“The woman is half of the society; any country which pursues development should not leave her in poverty or illiteracy.”
4.“Islam affords women their rightful status and encourages them to work in all sectors, as long as they are afforded appropriate respect.”
5.“I hope that the women in my country will follow their sisters in those countries which have previously made the adjustment to the procession of progress and development.”
Quotes on Unity, Human Spirit and Innovation
A true believer in solidarity, brotherhood and unity, these Sheikh Zayed quotes showcase the leader’s commitment to fostering an environment of oneness in the UAE. Here are some quotes Sheikh Zayed quotes on innovation, unity and the human spirit.
6. “Our experiment in federation, in the first instance, arose from a desire to increase the ties that bind us, as well as from the conviction of everyone that they were a part of one family, and they must gather under one leadership.”
7. “Past years have emphasized on the importance of unity as a vital necessity for providing a better life to the people, for ensuring stability in the country and for realizing the hopes and aspirations of our people.”
8. “They used to say that agriculture has no future [in the UAE] but with Gold’s blessing and our determination, we have succeeded in transforming this desert into a green land.”
9. “Thirty years ago, we had no buildings, and when we saw buildings in other countries we used to envy them and wonder how we could convince our people to be satisfied with what they had.”
10. “History is a continuous chain of events. The present is only an extension of the past.”
11. “He who does not know his past cannot make the best of his present and future, for it is from the past that we learn.”
12. “We are like those who had climbed a mountain and reached the top. When we looked down we still wanted to go higher to realise our goals. Despite all the achievements, we still have an ambition for more. That is my way of looking at things.”
13. “Future generations will be living in a world that is very different from that to which we are accustomed. It is essential that we prepare ourselves and our children for that new world.”
14. “No matter how many buildings, foundations, schools and hospitals we raise, all these are material entities. The real spirit behind the progress is the human spirit, the able man with his intellect and capabilities.”
15. “We must not rely on oil alone as the main source of our national income. We have to diversify the sources of our revenue and construct economic projects that will ensure a free, stable and dignified life for the people.”
16. “Wealth is not in money. Wealth lies in men. This is where true power lies, the power we value. This is what has convinced us to direct all our resources to build the individual, and to use the wealth which God has provided us in the service of the nation.”
Sheikh Zayed’s Quotes on Patriotism
A patriotic leader, the founding father had a lot of love for his country and the citizens. Here are some famous Sheikh Zayed quotes on patriotism.
17. “A nation without a past is a nation without a present or a future. Thanks to God, our nation has a flourishing civilization, deep-rooted in this land for many centuries. These roots will always flourish and bloom in the glorious present of our nation in its anticipated future.”
18. “There is no glory without the glory of the country and its citizens. We have to be proud of our forefathers, who were able to face the harshness of life with a strong will and dedication to shape a better collective future”
19. “Arab oil can never be dearer than Arab blood.”
20. “The success of the greater Arab nation in making itself known to the world and in supporting our solidarity does not depend on the Arab nation alone. Our solidarity also requires that the entire Islamic community works for the good of the Arab nation as the Arab nation works for the good of the Islamic community.”
On the nation and governance
An astute governor, Sheikh Zayed often shared his insightful thoughts on the most optimum and productive means of governance. Here are some famous quotes of Sheikh Zayed regarding governance and its impact on the nation of the UAE.
21. “The Ruler should not have any barrier which separates him from his people.”
22. “The real asset of any advanced nation is its people, especially the educated ones, and the prosperity and success of the people are measured by the standard of their education.”
23. “Every individual has to perform his duty. Man is mortal, but his work is not. Therefore, work is greater than wealth.”
24. “The ruler, any ruler, is only there to serve his people and secure for them prosperity and progress. To achieve this, he should live among his people to feel their wishes and know their problems, and this cannot be achieved if he isolates himself from them.”
25. “It is my duty as the leader of the young people of this country to encourage them to work and to exert themselves in order to raise their own standards and to be of service to the country. The individual who is healthy and of a sound mind and body but who does not work commits a crime against himself and society.”
26. “Our system of government is based on our religion and this is what our people want. Should they seek alternatives, we are ready to listen to them. We are all in the same boat, and they are both captain and crew.”
Sheikh Zayed Quotes on Tolerance
This year the UAE is celebrating the ‘Year of Tolerance‘ to salute the founding father’s benevolent spirit. He was a true believer in inclusion and acceptance. He invited expats and treated them with respect earning their loyalty and commitment. With that in mind, here are some quotes from Sheikh Zayed that promote tolerance.
27. “It is our duty, and the duty of the whole of society, to forgive the sinner and help him return to the right path. Allah, the Almighty, is forgiving, so can we not forgive?”
28. “It is the scholars’ duty to explain to people the essence and great message of Islam, which calls for tolerance, wisdom and fairness, so that people reject terrorism and killing in the name of religion.”
29. “To treat every person, no matter what his creed or race, as a special soul, is a mark of Islam”
30. “I am not imposing change on anyone. That is tyranny. All of us have our opinions, and these opinions can change. Sometimes we put all opinions together and then extract from them a single point of view. This is our democracy.”
31. “Situations change from time to time. A friend may become an enemy and an enemy a friend. Life is inconsistent and ever changing. So are health and weather. We must, therefore, be prepared for the unexpected changes coming our way.”
Other notable Sheikh Zayed quotes:
32. “The Press has the duty as well as the right to criticize. We welcome constructive criticism”
33. “It is my duty as the leader of the young people of this country to encourage them to work and to exert themselves in order to raise their own standards and to be of service to the country. The individual who is healthy and of a sound mind and body but who does not work commits a crime against himself and society.”
That’s all for our look at some famous quotes by His Highness (the late) Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan al Nahyan.
Looking forward to National Day Celebrations in the country? National holidays in the UAE have been declared to celebrate the cultural significance of this momentous occasion. Learn more about the union of the Trucial States with our detailed facts on the history of Dubai. For a better idea of the country’s ruling families, check out our overview of the royal lineage of the UAE.
To make the most of the holidays, check out things to do at UAE National Day in Abu Dhabi. Our list of UAE National Day offers in Dubai will also help you make the most of the festivities in the emirate.