20200113_sheikh Mohammad bin zayed with Sultan Haitham
Screen grab from video of Sheikh Mohammad bin Zayed with Oman Sultan Haitham Image Credit: Screengrab

Dubai: A video circulating on social media showing Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed trying to stop Sultan Haitham of Oman and shaking his hand raised questions.

His Highness Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, met Sultan Haitham Bin Tariq Al Said at the royal palace on Sunday to offer his deepest condolences on the demise of the late Sultan Qaboos.

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When Sheikh Mohamed was about to leave, Sultan Haitham refused to shake his hand. That's when he was pulled by Sheikh Mohamed and forced him to shake his hand.

Why did Sultan Haitham refuse to shake Sheikh Mohamed's hand?

This scenario raised a lot of questions, especially among haters of GCC unity.

The Gulf region is steeped in tradition. And there's one thing those haters don't know: Omani custom implies that the host honouring his guest puts his hand back as a sign that he refuses to shake his hand — until he sees him to the door.

That's what Sultan Haitham did with Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed, when the latter bid goodbye following a visit on Sunday.

In turn, Sheikh Mohamed declined the Sultan's polite gesture to leave his other guests behind and accompany him out. Instead, Sheikh Mohamed asked Sultan Haitham to stay back with his other guests — as he offered that he and his delegation will leave on their own.

Numerous world leaders and heads of state descended upon Muscat, Oman's capital, on Sunday, following the death of the well-respected Sultan Qaboos on Friday night.

Another video

Another video went out showing the late Sultan Qaboos refusing to shake the late Sheikh Zayed's hand until he showed him off to the plane — a proof of generational Omani hospitality when honoring their guests.