A conversation with a friend today really resonated with me. She said, “Death is invisible in big cities.”
She then went on to describe how life was like when she lived in a small village in Cyprus. When someone died, the whole village knew that person, and they all attended the funeral to pay their respects. If a death occurred in a neighbouring village, they would hear about it too. In big cities, death has little impact on people, unless it directly involves them or someone they know. You hear about people dying everyday, you read about them in newspapers, you listen to the news and you feel a tinge of sadness, before it quickly goes away.
The American University of Sharjah regrets to announce the passing of Dr. Ibrahim Sadek, Associate Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and Professor of Maths, due to a heart attack. He will be greatly missed.
The news came as a shock to me.
Yes, I realize death is a natural part of life, but it still affected me. Sometimes, when a person becomes such an integral part of a place, you forget that they are also susceptible to death. You forget that their time is temporary. And so when they leave us, the impact is that much greater.
What makes him a remarkable man is the way he has touched every individual at the university on a personal level. He had the uncanny ability to remember our names amongst the hundreds of other students that he met everyday. He always had a bright smile on his face as he sat in his office for hours, while hundreds of students lined up at his door to seek guidance and solutions to their problems. When we had no hope of ever getting into a class, Dr. Sadek would magically click a few keys on his computer and just like that, our problems would dissolve. The going phrase was, “Go to Ibrahim Sadek, he’ll sort you out,” and students went to him knowing that everything would be okay in the end. His compassion was infinite, and with every encounter, he could make you feel like you were one of his favorite people in the world.
Today, thousands of AUS Alumni and students lost a father figure, and throughout the day, they all rose to the occasion as they paid their respects through social media channels. At around 14.00 hours, UAE time, Dr. Ibrahim Sadek was trending on Twitter, proving what a wonderful human being he was. That is the kind of person we should all aspire to become. It is what I one day hope to achieve when I am gone from this world.
You need moments like these to bring you back to reality. To wake you up from your reverie. We need an occasion on which one is reminded of the state of things in the real world. We are so caught up with our lives and all the trivial nonsense that we forget what’s happening around us, we forget about our own mortality. We forget that, when all is said and done, life is temporary.
We must also learn from our experiences and from our losses, and remember all the good that he taught us. We have very few inspirational figures in this day and age, but Dr. Ibrahim Sadek is definitely an inspiration to all that knew him. The love people have for him is the strongest testament of how good of a man he was.
The world lost a gem of a person today, the least we can do is pray two rounds of prayers (raka’ah) and recite Qur’an for him. Everything belongs to Allah and must return to Him – إنا لله و إنا إليه راجعون
And now, I will leave you with a clip (skip to minute 6:03) to better portray the love of the students for this man.
The funeral prayer will be held at Al Sahabah Mosque in Halwan Area, Sharjah, tomorrow at noon after the Duhur prayer. Condolences will be accepted in the main building at the AUS campus, from 16.00-21.00 on Monday, 2nd July, 2012 and from 9.00-21.00 on Tuesday, 3rd July, 2012.