Simimol Raijo with her family-1606886623931
Simimol Raijo, 34, a computer teacher from India, joined in the UAE anthem-singing with her two children and husband.

Abu Dhabi: “Eshy bilady”, go the words of the UAE national anthem in Arabic. In English, this translates into “Long live our country”, and expatriates across the nation have been finding an even stronger connection with these words in a year that has seen the world grapple with COVID-19.

The tune for the anthem was composed by Egyptian composer Mohammed Abdel Wahab, and the words were set by Dr Aref Al Sheikh, an Emirati poet, scholar and imam from Dubai.

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The uplifting tune and inspirational lyrics have lent strength to residents and many have been humming the anthem while staying at home with their family members. Earlier in the year, when sanitisation teams fanned out across Abu Dhabi, Dubai and the northern Emirates, residents would even crack open their windows or stand out on their balconies to chant the anthem, in the hope that it would further encourage the frontline workers.

Deepening bond

Ahad Khalifa

“We would open the window, turn on the subwoofers with the tune and sing the anthem. It heightened the sense of service to the UAE community and deepened our bond with this country that we call home,” Ahad Khalifa, 46, a media professional from Syria, told Gulf News. Khalifa has been in the UAE since 1996, and his teenage children know well the words of the UAE national anthem.

“My children were born here and so they have a strong link with the UAE. We are happy to be residents and have only felt even more a part of the community as we get through this pandemic,” he said.

Encouraging frontliners

Simimol Raijo, 34, a computer teacher from India, similarly joined in the anthem-singing with her two children and husband. “All four of us know the anthem very well as the UAE is our home in a way. So we stood on our balcony during the sanitisation drives and sang the anthem and it helped promote a sense of togetherness,” she said.

Eroding boundaries

Just as COVID-19 knows no bars, the anthem helped erode the bars of race.

“We need to unite to fight this pandemic and the national anthem anthem has been just the force that we needed. My 12-year-old daughter, a singer, would take special pleasure in joining in and singing every day,” Raijo said.

Tanvir Ahmed

Tanvir Ahmed, 42, a senior administrator from India, said this was also one of the times when expat families sang the UAE national anthem in their homes. “Of course, our children sing the anthem in school, but with distance learning, the anthem has literally been brought home so that families of all nationalities can join in,” he said.


As a part of the celebrations for the 49th National Day, residents were invited to sing the anthem and upload it to a dedicated website and a set of social media channels. Many residents said they were happy to contribute to the effort, which will be broadcast as part of the Seeds of the Union show on December 2.

Knowing the words

‘Ishhi biladi, asha tihaadu imaaratinah (Long live our country, the unity of our Emirates lives)

Ishti lishabin (Your have lived for a people)

Dinu hul Islamu, hadhyu Ul Qura’anu (Whose religion is Islam and whose guide is the Quran)

Hassanthuk Bismillah ya watan (We fortify you with the name of Allah, oh my homeland)

Biladi, biladi, biladi biladi (My country, my country, my country, my country_

Hamakil Ilahu shuroorazaman (Allah has protected you from evils through the ages)

Aqsamna an, nabani anaamal (We have sworn to build and work)

Naamal nukhlis, naamal nukhlis (Work sincerely, work sincerely)

Mahima ashna nukhlis nukhlis (As long as we live, we will be sincere)

Daamal amaanu, wa aashal alam—ya imaaratinah (The safety has lasted and the flag has lived — oh, our Emirates!

Ramzul Arooba (The symbol of Arabia)

Kullu na nafdeeqi, biddi manarweeqi (We all sacrifice for you and give you our blood)

Nafdeeqa bil arwah, ya watan! (We sacrifice for you with our souls — oh homeland!)’