Tribute to 'Uncle' Mohamad Vayid by Haroon Shirwani (Eton College, UK)

Rédigé le Vendredi 21 Juillet 2017 à 00:45 | Lu 204 fois

"Wa ma jaza’u l-ihsani illa l-ihsan" - ‘What can repay goodness but further goodness?’
Mr Mohamad Vayid, Uncle Mohamad Vayid, taught me about "ihsan".

If hasan means ‘good’ or ‘beautiful’, then ihsan is ‘doing good, ‘being kind’. When a rival company ran out of supplies, rather than triumph at their expense, Mr Vayid would give them access to those his own company was using. ‘We do not seek to outdo our competitors based on whether we are lucky enough to have access to supplies,’ he explained. ‘We compete honestly, based on quality of product and quality of service.’ Whether it was as a teenager after the passing of his father, having to make sure that all of his brothers and sisters were looked after, or his charity work and community service, or even in business – in all of these things, he showed ihsan. Wa ma jaza’u l-ihsani illa l-ihsan.

Ihsan is also making a good thing excellent, making a nice thing beautiful. If a thing is worth doing, it’s worth doing well. Mr Vayid set the highest standards for himself in work, family and public service. His carefully cultivated mastery of the English and French languages  helped him become an asset to his country’s political life, writing speeches for the first Prime Minister of independent Mauritius, publishing opinion pieces under the pen name of David O’Hamamy – an Irish-Lebanese identity formed from an anagram of his name – or exchanging poetical jibes with the editor of Le Mauricien. He was a proud Mauritian. To foreigners (and he hosted many distinguished guests), he would point out, beyond the island’s natural beauty, other features no less remarkable, such as the roads, the infrastructure and efficiency of certain government departments. With his fellow Mauritians, on the other hand, he would ceaselessly highlight ways in which things could be improved. In all this, he embodied ihsan. Wa ma jaza’u l-ihsani illa l-ihsan.

Finally, ihsan is what the Prophet taught us – it is the highest thing that a believer can aspire to: an awareness of the spiritual dimension of everything we do. When I stayed with the Vayid family, back in 1999, I was a teenage puritan who had little time for stories of saints. Mr Vayid explained to me, with a patience and kindness that my manners at the time did not deserve, that religion is not a rigid collection of dry texts and fixed rituals, but a living, loving relationship with the Creator and the Creation. In this, too, he taught ihsan. Wa ma jaza’u l-ihsani illa l-ihsan.

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