On 25 June 2013, after ruling Qatar for 18 years, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani handed over power to his son, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani. This is an English translation of his abdication speech.
The honourable Qatari people, my fellow countrymen and women, my beloved citizens, may God’s peace and blessings be upon you,
I address you today, as we are ushering into a new era in the history of our homeland.
I wished to address you first, as you are the owners of this blessed land; its guards; the builders of its prosperity; and the architects of its future.
My fellow countrymen and women, this has always been the faith occupying my heart; filling my thoughts as I grew up on the land of our beloved homeland of Qatar; and since I shouldered my responsibilities serving the homeland and the people.
God Almighty is aware that I had not desired power for the sake of power; nor endeavoured to rule for personal motives; yet it has always been the nation’s interest; and that interest has dictated that we lead through a new chapter.
The time has come to turn a new leaf in the history of our nation, where a new generation steps forward to shoulder the responsibility with their dynamic potential and creative thoughts.
Our young men have proven over the past years that they are a people of resolve and fortitude; capable of accommodating the spirit of their time; realising its necessities fully and profoundly; coping with its newest; and above all contributing by their original thinking and creative initiatives.
Thanks to all this, I recall the words of the fourth Caliph, Ali bin Abi Taleb, May Allah be pleased with him, who said: 'Teach your children other than that what you were taught; as they are created for a time other than yours.'
You, our children, are the munitions of this homeland; builders of its present and bearer of its future torch. We have always thought well of you; pinning hopes on you; and you by virtue of your genuine eagerness and sincere achievements have proven to be deserving to lead and take our confidence.
My fellow Qataris; as I move to another position in serving my homeland and its people, I hope to have faithfully discharged my duties and honestly fulfilled the responsibility in a manner that pleases God first; and to have lived up to the trust and confidence you placed in me.
I acted and all the rightful deeds and achievements were by the grace and guidance of God; any slipup from me; and I hope those who will take the responsibility after me to learn from it.
As I address you today; I declare that I will hand over the reins of power to Shaikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani; and I am fully certain that he is up to the responsibility; deserving the confidence; capable of shouldering the responsibility and fulfilling the mission.
I am fully certain that you will be his support as you has always been mine; simply for the reason that in our nation run deep between the ruler and his people pledges of alliance; deep solidarity; and profound originality, cemented by our deeprooted traditions and glorious history.
The future lies ahead of you, the children of this homeland, as you usher into a new era where young leadership hoists the banner; bearing in mind the aspirations of future generations; working restlessly and relentlessly to achieve them, seeking guidance and support from God first and from the citizens; deriving force from the experience gained in running the country’s affairs; and the profound knowledge of realities in our region, particularly the Arab World.
While I am certain you are up to the responsibility, I urge you, to fear God by seeking knowledge and working hard; let knowledge be the beacon lighting your path; helping you build the future of the nation to its best; by knowledge emerge able generations, capable of shouldering responsibilities and embracing the straight right path.
Let hard work be your habit in serving your country, steering away from complacency or reluctance or acceptance of existing state of affairs.
Great nations cannot be built for current and future generations without the relentless work of their men; and cannot be safeguarded from greediness or threats without their sacrifice.
As I am confidant that you are fully aware of your loyalty and of your Arab and Muslim identity; I urge you to preserve our civilised traditional and cultural values, originating from our religion, Arab identity and above all our humanity; as we believe that the Arab World is one human body; one coherent structure; it prospers if all its parts are prosperous.
I also urge you to hold steadfast to virtues and rightfulness, no matter what or who days bring along; and God Almighty rightly said in His Holy Scripture: 'If they had [only] remained on the [right] path, We should certainly have bestowed on them rain in abundance.'