Shahd, Shamma and Sheikha, daughters of Martyr Rashid Nasser Al Zuabi at their residence in Kalba. Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News

Sharjah: “The night before he died, my brother called me and said that the family will soon hear good news on the television. I realise now that he was referring to his martyrdom,” said Abdullah Nasser Saif Al Zaabi, brother of martyr Rashid Nasser Saif Al Zaabi.

Rashid became a martyr on September 4 in Yemen during Operation Restoring Hope. Rashid, who is from Sharjah, is survived by his wife and three daughters, Shaikha, 8, Shamma, 7, and Shahd, 5.

At their home, during the conversation, Shaikha runs to a photograph on a coffee table and, pointing to the members of the family in it, names them one by one. She leaves her father’s name to the last.

Pointing to Rashid in the photograph her younger sister, Shahd, says, “That’s baba and that’s me sitting next to him.”

The three young girls have been told about their father’s martyrdom and valour. “When you ask them now [about their father] they will proudly tell you that he is in heaven because he died raising the flag of victory in Yemen,” said Abdullah. The girls are now the responsibility of Abdullah and his brothers. “My brothers and I will always attend to their needs as though Rashid is still among us,” he said.

Rashid served for 15 years in the UAE Armed Forces and was always prepared to take on a new mission, said Abdullah. Committed as he was to his duty, Rashid also deeply valued the time he spent with his family. Every Friday, the entire family would be together after the Friday prayers.

“We would not celebrate an occasion if one of us couldn’t make it. We postponed many celebrations and occasions for Rashid to return from his mission,” said Ebrahim, Rashid’s second brother.

Ebrahim, who was closest to Rashid, said that many of his late brother’s hobbies had to do with being near the sea.

“He loved everything about the sea. Fishing, diving, even rowing. He participated in several rowing competitions,” he said.

Even the food his brother liked the most came from the sea. The one request Rashid had when he returned from every mission was to indulge in Wajbet Maleh, a salty seafood dish his mother prepared for him.

Hassan, Rashid’s third brother, spoke of the sparkle in Rashid’s eyes every time they embarked on their fishing trips. He recalled how on their last trip, Rashid had caught a cuttlefish.

“He was so happy ... but the minute he grabbed it from the net, it sprayed ink all over his face and clothes,” said Hassan.

“He was a simple man with simple interests but what made him shine was his smile,” he said. “He always smiled at family, friends. He even had a smile for strangers. His smile spread positivity.”

Adventurous as he was, Rashid was also heroic, said Hassan. He recalled his brother’s selfless act of saving a little boy’s life.

“One day while driving, Rashid suddenly found a little boy come in front of his car [outside our house]. He immediately swerved and drove the vehicle into our house’s wall in order to save the boy’s life,” said Hassan.

Rashid’s parents were invited to attend the grand celebrations organised in Abu Dhabi for the arrival of the first batch of UAE soldiers on November 7, which they participated in with fervour as they believe that when sons of the nation return home safe, it is a moment of great happiness and a cause for celebrations.


Name: Rashid Nasser Saif Hassan Al Zaabi

Place of Martyrdom: Yemen

Emirate: Sharjah

Place of Birth: Fujairah

Date of Birth: 07.10.1981

Date of Martyrdom: 04.09.2015