SHARJAH // Mourners packed Al Sahaba Mosque yesterday to offer prayers at the funeral of Hamad Abdulla Al Ali, a six-year-old who died after falling into the Nile River.
Family members yesterday joined mourners to offer a four-salute prayer, known as salat al janaza, at the mosque before the boy's burial at a cemetery in Sharjah's industrial area 3.
He was laid to rest after dhuhr prayers. He had been on a night cruise with his family on Friday when he lost his balance and fell overboard.
A tearful Abdulla Al Ali, Hamad's father, said his son fell into the water so suddenly that no one on the boat, which was carrying several other families, could save him.
"We were desperate to save him, everyone on the cruise wanted to save him, but we couldn't."
Mr Al Ali said it took two hours after the family raised the alarm for rescue teams to arrive.
"I still think if there had been a rescue team to help immediately we would have saved his life. But everything is planned by God. As a believer I have to accept that our living and death is all by God, it's only God that will live forever."
Hamad fell overboard at around 10pm. The river's fast-flowing current washed his body 25km downstream. It was found on Sunday at around 1pm by local fishermen who had joined in the search.
Hamad was a pupil at Al Basateen preschool in Sharjah and was due to join primary school in the new term but, Mr Al Ali said, "fate struck otherwise".
Mr Al Ali had been on holiday in Egypt for 15 days with his wife and three of his five children, Hussam, Hind and Hamad, when the accident happened.
The family's eldest son, Mohammed, 20, said his sibling's death was received with shock but also patience.
"It is in death and only death that a Muslim's patience can be seen, and we have been patient praying to Allah to console our parents through this hard time."
Mohammed, a student at the University of Sharjah, said Hamad, the youngest child, was the "darling of the family" and was loved by everyone who visited their home.
The youngster loved art and would even stage funny plays for the family. "He would draw and paint everyone in the home, he loved drawing and painting," said Mohammed.
The family, who are Emiratis, thanked the UAE government and community for the support shown to them in the days since Hamad died.
"I have got calls of condolences from Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed and Sheikh Tayyeb bin Saqr in Ras Al Khaimah all sharing my pain and praying for me to be strong and accept the will of Allah," Mr Al Ali said.
He said officials from the UAE Embassy in Cairo got in touch with the family as soon as they heard about the accident and remained with them throughout to offer support, including helping with the repatriation of the body.
The family has erected a large tent outside their home in Sharjah's Heera neighbourhood to receive condolences.