June 06, 2006

Did I tell you about Adam?


Perhaps one of the most eccentric acquaintances I ever made with anyone was my omni encounter with a young Canadian guy named Adam, our mutual friend (Maher) introduced me to him when he came to reside in Jordan working as a pilot for a newly established charter airliner.

Beyond the hype that surrounded his death, the portraits in glossy English magazines & the instantaneous mourning of the circle of people he was surrounded with (with few exceptions of the sincere few), allow me tell the story of Adam, the one that my humble self was subtly part of, yet its profound effect upon me, still trickles down to the very essence of my consciousness!

The gathering took place at Adam’s home in late spring’04, it was a very interestingly located classic old-Ammani style house opposite the books@cafe, vividly over looking downtown, and because it was a purposely arranged gathering, there was an uncomfortable sense of what’s-next? to it at start, but the easy-going & engaging charisma of Adam overcame this stall.

Wanderer Adam was seeking answers or perhaps directions; he had far too many unanswered (or unsatisfyingly answered) questions about existence, life & so on, the typical set of things you’ll frequently dwell upon if you reflect upon yourself and the life you’re leading (or being dragged all along in it).

We conversed in a very relaxed manner, beyond any characteristics you may attribute to the fact that I’m an adherent of Islam & he was closer to agnosticism at the time.

The discussion was left with loose ends, no prevailing thoughts or opinions, just a civilized exchange of thoughts... EDITED*

Days went by, and I never heard of the guy again, until a couple of months later, when I called my friends back home around Eid-Al-Fitr time the following Ramadan of Autumn'04, when they informed me of his death, which happened when his airplane crashed during an air-show (I think it was a rehearsal) at Wadi Rum the first day of Eid…

That piece of news was momentous on its own, the inevitable reoccurrence of death never fails to overwhelmingly strike me even when I'm not acquainted with the deceased, but that was not the only piece of news I was told, my friends informed me that Adam embraced Islam during Ramadan… May Allah rest him in piece & have mercy upon us!

A Few days later, Maher called me and told me about the encounter he had with the Shiekh who led the funeral prayer at Ibad-Al-Rahman mosque in Sweifieh, who asked about the identity of the deceased, he was told it’s Adam, he was astonished & reiterated that this new convert joined him throughout Ramadan in Taraweeh prayers (the prolonged Ramadan-exclusive optional prayer after Isha)!

Please understand that I’m not trying to promote Islam here blunt manner, despite the fact that the story itself is profoundly influential, yet if one can contemplate the human story line, in which a guy from a distant land, travels halfway across the world to a tiny foreign land, whilst having lived the bulk of his life either adhering to a certain axiom or wondering (for the most part) about his existence & the truth beyond matter & sincerely attempting to give meaning to his livelihood!

And then, far away from where he considered home, he acquaints himself with a new religion, a way of life or a philosophy (whatever floats your boat; “open-minded” claimants) and he embraces & practices it for the rest of the few days remaining in his life!

It was an undisputed manifestation of the prophet Moh’d -pbuh- hadith:

إن أحدكم يُجمع خلقُه في بطن أمه أربعين يوماً نطفة، ثم يكون علقة مثل ذلك، ثم يكون مضغة مثل ذلك، ثم يرسل إليه الملك فينفخ فيه الروح، ويؤمر بأربع كلمات: بكتب رزقه، وأجله، وعمله، وشقي أم سعيد، فو الذي لا إله غيره! إن أحدكم ليعمل بعمل أهل الجنة حتى ما يكون بينه وبينها إلا ذراع، فيسبقُ عليه الكتاب فيعمل بعمل أهل النار فيدخلها، وإن أحدكم ليعمل بعمل أهل النار حتى ما يكون بينه وبينها إلا ذراع فيسبق عليه الكتاب فيعمل بعمل أهل الجنة فيدخلها

Call me mystically emotional, but I shiver when I think of Adam & this hadith at the same time.

I’m not sure if his parents knew of the conviction he carried with him to the afterlife... EDITED*in order to bury him at a Moslem cemetery observing the Islamic rituals as he would’ve deserved after his body was sent back to Canada.

At any measure, this was not the average numb existence of your average person! This was not onw of your average hyped up converts stories that are usually told rhetorically! It was simply the story of Adam… and from my humble perspective, it was The story of Adam: the one day friend, the one month Moslem and the martyr. نحسبه عند الله كذلك

* EDITED : Edited on the 10th of June upon the suggestion of reader Lamer, thank you.

5 comments:

Replica Watch Collection said...
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MaherK said...

I still have his name on my Sim, I often pray for him along with two other deaths I Encountered in my life. What shocked me is the reaction of people after his death; Some were upset he ever prayed, others blamed others for making up the story, others said his intention was only to get married to a Muslim girl, others thought his death came between him and heaven, their argument was that he was not given enough time to practice Islam.

I had to go to the hospital and take the last look upon his beautiful smiling face; he was wearing a blue boxer. I don’t know who I was in the middle of all this, I felt responsible.

On his funeral his friends from both genders were awkwardly kissing on cheeks giving condolences to each other in front of the mosque.

Some fell down crying. Others have never prayed; amazingly they learned how to and did it on this very day.

On the day before the incident I was on a family dinner when they refused I idea of me going to Wadi Rum(weird  for no reason- I mean they never minded), my ant was shooting don’t go you will die with this airplane. I did not care I was going anyway; until I woke up in the morning paralyzed, I gave up the idea though there were a nice girl on the crew.

After prayers I went home asked mom to prepare coffee for the consolation which was thrown @ a friend’s house. It was a mixed gathering of people who wear colorful clothes. Today everybody showed up; strangely for the first time there was no party though the alcohol bottles were around, but this time untouched!!

Peace be upon his soul

3arnoos said...

I want to thank you for sharing your fond memories of my good friend

Adam. I was one of the party of four who went to see him on that

fateful day in Rum, his 3aza was held in my apartment. and I carried

his body to his funeral prayer.

But I have a bone or two to pick with you.

In your previous post you put up a strong argument against people

prejudging and reducing you to a stereotype. Yet, you fell all too

easily into that trap in your depiction of Adam's Fiancee, Dalia. You

depicted her asa total air-head without an original idea in her head,

who was desperately trying to impress YOU. Everybody who knows Dalia

knows that she is a smart, creative person who has made quite a name

for herself as an independent documentary film maker. Hardly the work

of an annoying brat with nothing but copy-pasted ideas to grab the

attention of real thinkers, like yourself.

Your judgement was based on one meeting, and more probably on one look.

Please, take this as a chance to catch yourself "in the act" of

prejudgement. This might give you a fresh outlook on the nature

thereof.

And sex and religion are quite related in case you didn't know...

The other issue is your depiction of Heaven as a members only club. Pre

and post-Islam Adam were the same respectful, good-natured guy who

instilled love in the hearts of all who knew him. I think it would be

absurd for an omniscient, omnibenevolent God to send one to heaven and

the other to hell, simply because he didn't know the secret hand shake.

To put your mind at ease, Adam's parents know of their son's religion.

Where he was buried and according to which dogma is unknown to me. It

suffices that two parents buried their beloved son in the manner they

saw fit. Can YOU respect THAT?

Peace Out!

Basem said...

Ammar, no merit from escaping it, you’ve caught me red-handed with what you accused me of! Regardless of what I had in mind, I acknowledge that I misrepresented myself by being harsh & disrespectful; I guess I lured myself onto an egoistic ill-judgment in the midst of the story telling, and for that please accept my apology & pass another to Adam’s “girlfriend”, I should’ve been more considerate when I wrote the piece.

What I would like to point out however, is that no where in the above essay did I imply Adam’s inevitable fate, nor the adherents of other faiths! You drew such conclusions from the Hadith I righteously stated, I didn’t point fingers! Yet the resemblance between Adam’s life & the narrated Hadith is simply astonishing.

You can only choose to dismiss it as a mere dogmatic wishful mysticism within the context of the non-omni-benevolent & non-omniscient conceptualization of God (that doesn’t seem to mind the erratic mixing of things) that you seem to sport…

But crude facts stand un-refuted, a solidly chain-narrated Hadith of the prophet –pbuh- generically describing a reoccurring scenario (whether you acknowledge the authenticity, factuality & certainty of it or not) that Adam was luckly & graciously fit to! I can only ask for the Almighty’s mercy that I’ll stay steadfast to my deen and not fit to the other scenario!

It brings Adam no harm how he was buried or in what ceremonial proceedings for that matter! If anything, it showed how much respect the ones arranging it had to his beliefs (selflessly).

On a final note, Adam’s legacy will perpetuate beyond his death (this discussion being part of it) whether he died as a Moslem or not, what counts is life after death! What level of awareness & certainty you choose to have with this regard will intrinsically influence the way you perceive Adam & the significance of the decision he made & the axioms he embraced consensually!

lamer said...

I read this post a couple of hours ago and the only thing I can think of is how angry it made me feel to read the bit about Adam's girlfriend. Like you Bassem, I only met Adam once and I have to admit that he did get to me as well. He was definitely a special person. But I think the thing that impressed me most about him was how much he loved and respected Dalia. In fact, she was the reason he came to Jordan in the first place, depsite what you want to believe about his religious transformation. And so, I think that if you really wanted to honour Adam in your blog (whose loss, shockingly enough, was mostly felt by Dalia), you would, first, edit your entry and remove that harsh judgement of a girl who was probably only trying to be friendly and get your attention. Second, I think it would only be fair that you try to know more about her and maybe then you can dispell what negative impression you had of her on your first encounter. I think Adam would appreciate that.