A Personal Memoire – In Memoriam! Late Sheikh Khalfan Al Esry!
I was not feeling that well that night and had gone to bed early! I heard the continuous chimes of the Mobile GSM set – but just chose to ignore! In my mind I was asking myself who sane person sends messages well past midnight? If you do not sleep, some others do! You could well send the messages next day – if you must – but disturbing people well past night on mainly ‘trifle messages’ was just not on! At least to yours truly ranking, evaluation and assertion! Even if you have kept the notifications at the lowest ebb and level!
When the call of Fajr (early morning) prayers came on – both in the phone and from the nearby Masjid – and there is always a minute or two in difference – the phone one going off earlier! I then looked at the messages – and could not stop crying! Feeling very guilty because I was planning to visit my good friend – but now lost the chance forever! Feeling more guilty because of not reading my messages as they were coming – more from stubbornness and resistance than anything else!
It hit me more because I had a chance and opportunity to make amends with the great personality – because he being that friend and close to me – ventured to advise me to cool down and take things easy! He told me – I came into the paper well after you left – yet I was able to build more stronger friendships and more cordial relationships with them despite the fact that you were far longer with them than me!
He said to me – There is no point in going for grudges and revenges – as the Great Gandhi had said – an eye for an eye makes everyone blind! Or words to that affect! Besides – he went on – we should learn from The Hadith and Sunnah of Our Great Prophet – PBUH – on how benevolent and merciful he was with defeating The Meccans in war – and from those who threw stones at him till his skin was bleeding!
Then he rated me about Good Karma – about not going for revenge – because God Will allow you to see those that did bad things to you screw up in front of your very eyes as they came down! He narrated to me about Religious Principles – that no one can take your due Haqq (Right) because if you do not get it back to you in this short material world – then you will surely get it in The Hereafter – where you will need it the most!
That was late Sheikh Khalfan Al Esry – he could narrate to you the simplest facts and issues with both Religious Zeal – coupled with Life’s Modernity outlooks – as he was very flexible and moderate in his views! He was a Great Focuser on Family Values, Ethics, Upbringing, Family ties and relationships, Principles and Outlooks! A Live Let Live Person! Moderate and compassionate always!
We used to share great secrets and our personalities were intertwined! You can always be sure he will not let the cat out of the bag! Once I tested him on a certain strong rumour circulating in town about a great personality – he would not be drawn in – and refused to join in and participate! His great words always for those going astray – Like in The Holy Quran Suras – May God direct him to the Right Way and Path – Ameen He would add – This is what you too should do – instead of participating in rumour mongering and backbiting – which are great sins in Islam – and come on Majid – you know well about these things – please don’t disappoint me (again?)!
When we were working in PDO we used to share lunch together from ordered outside lunch packages! Sometimes because of a busy work schedule, he would not turn up – so we used to keep his portion for him. At the end of the day, he would still not turn up – so we used to throw the food away in a dustbin!
When he came to know of this he was irritably visible angry that we are throwing away perfectly good food! You could have given it to The Cleaners he said! So I told him – some of the cleaners are Veggies, so what then? He said to me still undefeated – How heavy is the parcel? Could you not take it home for later use? Then he would lecture us – about how the rest of the world are going hungry – whilst here we are throwing away perfectly good food! It is forbidden – Haram – he would add!
Yes another thing – some of us skeptical cynics! After the food he would make Dua (Prayers) for the food – for the people who cooked the food – those who brought in the food – and for us our gratitude to The Lord for the food! In the beginning we used to find it satirical funny – until he started explaining and lecturing to us – and typical his sense of humour – and modernity! He would add The Conservative Christians say Grace before partaking the food – we Muslims not to be left behind – do it after eating the food! Same thing – same message to The Lord! You needed a sense of humour to get to his jokes – he would say them without any funny face or smirk!
When he left PDO to do his own businesses – he was one of The Few who was assured that his job) or another) was always waiting for him – if he did not make it in life! That was how much he was liked and esteemed – not like some of us there was no such offer! I wished there was – when my business failed! He Never Burnt his bridges behind him!
A car that he really liked was Mercedes Benz – which he bought in full on cash! The surprised Salesman was telling him – we are used to receive LPOs – or people coming in to beg and beg for discounted prices – he proved the maxim of Mercedes Benz – only those who can afford it – buy one!
A few months later his new car got a bad accident – and he was driving a corolla! Ugly envious me used to mock him – from a Mercedes Benz to a Corolla (Office)? Yet he would not be drawn in – he smiled back painfully – and amicably! When I wanted to be on his good side now (after losing!) – saying it is The Red Eye (Arabic) Green Eye (English) and The Haassiyds and The Jealous and Envious – he said believing in such things was getting out of The Religion! Not that these things are not there – but we should put our faith and trust in Allah God only – because He will Protect us from all things – evil heinous or not – so long as we ourselves were clean – in the first instance!
I used to tease him that after September 11, was he not worried travelling around the world – as his business required – and with his long beard? With all the stereotyping and suspicious outlooks? He joked to me – he used to wear a T Shirt – written on it – The Sheik is Shaking! The Immigration Officers at The Counters used to find it very funny – and let him through quickly – even faster than those clean shaved! Now if it was someone else – he would get angry for asking such an intrusive penetrating private personal question – but not him!
I must admit I have never seen him angry at one! He had a patience of Prophet Ayub (Jacob) RA – unbelievable. I will not forget him giving me HR jobs to do – though he himself (or his partner) could have done the jobs by themselves! That so I could earn some money too – he knew I was proud and would not accept charity (then!) … and this was his way of helping an old friend out whilst he still could – when I was at the lowest ebb and level in my life then with bankruptcy and losing all my monies – including my Pension Payments!
Unalike him – I did not have an offer for a job back in PDO!
He contributed many articles in my Road Safety Book – Behind The Wheel! www.createspace.com/4655681 And Arabic – Behind The Wheel! www.createspace.com/4875352 When I told him I will pay you when I get in sales – he joked – I don’t understand that word (pay!) J J !
There are far more things I could write – but I think for today I have said my bit! Anyway others have said already so many things in The Social Media already!
A Great Man Came – and now He Is Gone! May Allah God Rest his soul in eternal peace in this world and The Next – and open The Highest Doors for him in Heavens Ameen Amen!
This article is dedicated to you – Late Sheikh Khalfan Al Esry! PBUH!
By Majid Al Suleimany
May 14, 2015
Muscat – Sultanate of Oman