Kuwait's Sheikh Nawaf laid to rest

Forty days of mourning declared to honour the late Emir, who died on Saturday

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A funeral was held on Sunday for Kuwait's Sheikh Nawaf Al Ahmad Al Sabah, who died on Saturday at the age of 86.

Only relatives were in attendance, Kuwait's state news agency said.

Funeral prayers took take place at the Bilal bin Rabah mosque on Sunday morning and were broadcast on Kuwaiti TV.

“You have built a house of God, and made sure to perform your prayers on time in it … our beloved Emir,” state broadcaster Kuwait TV said.

Shrouded in Kuwait's flag, Sheikh Nawaf's body arrived in a hearse belonging to the Amiri Diwan. He was carried into the mosque in a ceremony attended by members of the military, Amiri Diwan and relatives.

Mourners attend funeral of Kuwait's Emir Sheikh Nawaf

Mourners attend funeral of Kuwait's Emir Sheikh Nawaf

“Oh Allah has been kind to us; so be kind to him,” a newscaster on Kuwait TV said.

“You have ruled and you have been fair.”

Kuwait's new Emir and former Crown Prince Meshal Al Ahmad Al Sabah stood behind the imam leading prayers.

“We have loved you genuinely from our heart – you’ve ruled and have been just. We ask God to place you with his other loyal, good followers,” the newscaster said.

“Our hearts are broken – we’ve seen in you a merciful father, a generous Sheikh, a sensitive heart … and a pure soul.”

“We ask God to help us tolerate the pain.”

Sheikh Nawaf's body was laid to rest at the Sulaibikhat Cemetery, where servicemen, high-ranking officials and cemetery workers helped to bury him.

“Goodbye Nawaf Al Ahmad, may God have mercy on you,” the newscaster said.

“Goodbye my leader.”

Kuwait announced a 40-day mourning period.

Absentee prayers will be held across Kuwait's mosques at noon prayers, Kuwait's Ministry of Endowments said.

Condolences came in from around the world after word of Sheikh Nawaf's death.

He was admitted to hospital last month for an emergency and had been in poor health.

The UAE and Oman announced a three-day mourning period. Saudi Arabia was among the first to issue condolences and will also be holding absentee funeral prayers in the Grand mosque in Makkah and the Prophet's mosque in Madinah.

The UAE will hold prayers for Sheikh Nawaf across all mosques in the country at noon.

Leaders and officials from across the world travelled to Kuwait to pay their respects.

Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman offered his condolences to the new Emir in Kuwait, reported the Saudi Press Agency.

Jordan's King Abdullah II, Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, and Bahrain's King Hamad were among the other leaders to travel to Kuwait.

Egypt's President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas also visited the OPEC oil producer.

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian, and US Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin also travelled to Kuwait.

Mr Austin praised Sheikh Nawaf's “courage and leadership”.

“I extend my deepest condolences to the people of Kuwait and Sheikh Nawaf's family,” he wrote on social media platform X.

UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak was among the European leaders to pay tribute to Sheikh Nawaf.

“His Highness was a great friend of the UK, and we will remember fondly all he did for our bilateral relationship and his work to promote stability in the Middle East,” Mr Sunak said.

EU ambassador in Kuwait Anne Koistinen also shared her condolences.

“I’m deeply saddened by the passing of His Highness the late Emir of Kuwait Sheikh Nawaf Al Ahmad Al Sabah,” she wrote on X.

Cristian Tudor, the EU ambassador to Qatar, said he was “deeply saddened” to hear of Sheikh Nawaf's death.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy sent his condolences to Kuwait and said Ukraine would always be grateful for Sheikh Nawaf's support.

“Sending my deepest condolences to the Kuwaiti people on HH Sheikh Nawaf Al Ahmad Al Jaber Al Sabah’s passing,” he wrote on X.

Updated: December 18, 2023, 6:11 AM