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To A Man Who Went Peacefully… - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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This is the story of a man that my readers don’t know. All I want is for the readers to know this story of sincerity that I owe to a man who passed away recently. He is a man I have known since I arrived in London and he was in his sixties. I offered him work and he accepted and from that day he was my guide in London, for my children and I, taking and returning the children to school, and [helping me] during my travels, in my work and in everything else.

He was struck by that malignant disease and it took over him quickly. It destroyed his strong build but it did not harm his determination, his sense of humor and faith. He tried to fight the disease but it did not let up. I sat next to him in the hospital last Monday, holding his hand for hours, and his smile did not leave his face, as he spoke with difficulty about his son to whom he dedicated his life. God granted him [the opportunity] to see his son assume a senior position at one of the biggest banks in Britain. He was saying that death was near and all that remained was the mercy of his Lord.

He was discussing his will and what he wanted from his son following his death, and he was smiling as usual…talking about death as if he was talking about leaving [the hospital] peacefully and with his health intact! I choked up and he laughed, saying to his son: “Did you see that? Have you ever seen a man cry over his employee?”

I met him after he had given up a life of fame and noise and left the music and showbiz world after finding fame in the late eighties. He decided to leave all that behind him and to live a quieter life raising his son. I didn’t know that the day I met him. I was always surprised to see many people of his generation who he didn’t know personally greeting him as they passed him on the street. I asked him about it that day and he told me his story and how he decided to leave the world of music because he wanted to be a father and to live a quiet life.

I knew him for six years, and everyday I discovered more and more of his pure and true colors. After his death, I was trying to explain what had happened to him to my children and it came as a big shock to them. I was surprised [to find] he was talking to my son on a regular basis even a day before he went into hospital [even though] he was exhausted and fatigued. I couldn’t believe it. I asked my son Abdul Aziz: “How were you talking to him? The man was exhausted.” He said to me, “We had an agreement, I would talk and he would listen!”

This shows just some of the man’s qualities and good deeds and generosity that you seldom come across in this country. His story with me is a story of sincerity that we hear and read about but rarely see. The man kept a secret and kept his word and he was with me and my children at every moment and in every story and it is as if I knew him my entire life. Six years passed and it was like yesterday.

He has departed our world for the world of the most Forgiving and most Merciful, leaving behind memories of good times full of stories of sincerity, dignity and goodness. The last time I saw him at the hospital he said to me: “I do not want to go through chemotherapy. I always used to pray to God that my life would end in the same way as I lived my life; peacefully.” He slept that day and his soul went to its Creator calmly and peacefully.

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed is the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat. Mr. Alhomyed has been a guest analyst and commentator on numerous news and current affair programs, and during his distinguished career has held numerous positions at Asharq Al-Awsat, amongst other newspapers. Notably, he was the first journalist to interview Osama Bin Ladin's mother. Mr. Alhomayed holds a bachelor's degree in media studies from King Abdul Aziz University in Jeddah. He is based in London.

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