Salim bin Sultan Al Qasimi

Sheikh Salim bin Sultan Al Qasimi was Ruler of Sharjah from 1868–1883. His rule was unusually tumultuous and marked by intrigue, the secession of Sharjah's dependencies and constant conflict. He was also briefly the Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah from 1868–1869 and its wali, or governor, from 1908–1919.

Salim bin Sultan Al Qasimi
Ruler of Sharjah
PredecessorKhalid bin Sultan Al Qasimi
SuccessorSaqr bin Khalid Al Qasimi
HouseAl Qasimi


Salim bin Sultan was the son of the former Ruler of Sharjah, Sultan bin Saqr Al Qasimi and a slave girl. On his accession as Ruler of Sharjah, following the death of Khalid bin Sultan in 1868, his nephew Humaid bin Abdullah assumed the role of wali of Ras Al Khaimah and the following year proclaimed independence from Sultan bin Saqr.[1]

The Saudi agent from Buraimi, who had been actively involved in a number of coastal disputes in the area, managed in April 1869 to organise a dynastic shuffle of remarkable proportions when he had Salim bin Sultan imprisoned, his brother Ibrahim bin Sultan (who had long been wali of Ras Al Khaimah under Sultan bin Saqr[1]) established as Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah and Humaid bin Abdullah of Ras Al Khaimah established as Ruler of Sharjah. This act of political prestidigitation was immediately followed by an outbreak of fighting in Sharjah and the Saudi agent was killed by gunfire. In what has been labelled an attempt to palliate the wrath of the Saudi King, Salim ceded his rule to his brother Ibrahim, but failing any reaction from Riyadh (and the move apparently being in name only), he reasserted his rule a few months later.[2]

Breach of Maritime TruceEdit

In May 1869, Salim and Ibrahim moved together against Humaid bin Abdullah at Ras Al Khaimah, landing 1,500 men from 32 boats. Humaid was supported by a force of some 500 men landed from Umm Al Qawain and fighting took place both at Jazirat Al Hamrah and in Ras Al Khaimah town. The British Resident, Colonel Lewis Pelly, on hearing of this breach of the maritime truce sailed from Lingeh in the Dalhousie with the gunboat Hugh Rose. Arriving at Ras Al Khaimah on the 12th May, Pelly then ordered Salim and Ibrahim to withdraw their forces from Ras Al Khaimah by sunset the next day.[3]

Alliances shifted quickly, however, and in 1871, Salim took advantage of Ibrahim's absence on a journey to Abu Dhabi and, with the support of Humaid bin Abdullah of Ras Al Khaimah together with the Ruler of Umm Al Qawain, he cemented his ascendancy over Ibrahim by retaking total control of Sharjah. At the same time, Humaid bin Abdullah retook the dependencies of Sha'am, Rams and Shimal, which had managed to secede from Ras Al Khaimah.[3]

Sharjah DependenciesEdit

Hamriyah, which had previously rebelled against Sharjah, now did so again and its headman Saif bin Abdulrahman led a confederation of smaller Sheikhs against Sharjah in 1873. By 1875 he had played a role as mediator between the Ruler and the other Sheikhs (likely of Heera, Khan and Abu Hail) and proclaimed the independence of Hamriyah once again.

Salim appointed his younger brother Ahmed as wali of Dibba, on the East coast, in 1871, granting him the revenues from the town which were however eroded by the encroachments of the troublesome Shahiyain tribe.[4]

Salim bin Sultan was deposed in 1883 by his nephew, Saqr bin Khalid Al Qasimi, who moved against him when he was travelling to Ras Al Khaimah (and his brother, Ahmed was on the island of Abu Musa, where he kept horses).[1]

Wali of Ras Al KhaimahEdit

Salim was appointed wali of Ras Al Khaimah in 1908 and, despite suffering from paralysis, consolidated power to the point where the emirate was in all but name independent of Sharjah. His son Muhammad managed his affairs and he renounced his position in July 1919 to allow Salim's other son, Sultan to take power. Two years later, Salim would achieve Salim's long-held dream of independence for Ras Al Khaimah when the British recognised the emirate as a Trucial State in its own right.[5]

Sheikh Salim bin Sultan died in August 1919.


  1. ^ a b c Heard-Bey, Frauke (2005). From Trucial States to United Arab Emirates : a society in transition. London: Motivate. p. 84. ISBN 1860631673. OCLC 64689681.
  2. ^ Lorimer, John (1915). Gazetteer of the Persian Gulf. British Government, Bombay. p. 759.
  3. ^ a b Lorimer, John (1915). Gazetteer of the Persian Gulf. British Government, Bombay. p. 760.
  4. ^ Heard-Bey, Frauke (2005). From Trucial States to United Arab Emirates : a society in transition. London: Motivate. p. 88. ISBN 1860631673. OCLC 64689681.
  5. ^ Said., Zahlan, Rosemarie (2016). The Origins of the United Arab Emirates : a Political and Social History of the Trucial States. Taylor and Francis. p. 50. ISBN 9781317244653. OCLC 945874284.