Friday, July 11, 2008

Man with searching mind had a knack for inspiring others

Man with searching mind had a knack for inspiring others

I remember first meeting Omer at my nikah -- he was a very quiet, reserved brother. The next day as Salik and I sat looking through our gifts we came across a card with $300 in it, but no name. We began making a list to see who was at the wedding, but had not given a card and I remember Salik saying "wait a minute, Omer!". We checked and couldn't find anything with his name on it, so Salik was sure it was him. When Salik called to ask him, he started laughing and finally admitted to it upon Salik's insistance to know. This is how kareem a man he was. May both he and Allah forgive our shortcomings towards such a pure person. Ameen.

At the janazah today, his body did not reflect the means of its death. Masha'Allah, his skin was still radiant.

May Allah have mercy on him, forgive his shortcomings, and multiply his many good deeds. May Allah grant him a high station in Jannah with our beloved Messenger (Allah bless him and give peace). Ameen.

And may Allah make this difficult time easier for his wife, parents, siblings, and loved ones. Ameen.

Fatiha/Ya Sin.

Article about Omer:

Omer had a restless mind.

He devoured books. He challenged the norm.

He pushed himself and those around him to test the waters outside of their comfort zone, say friends.

So it came as little surprise to those close to him that Omer's last moments were spent enveloped in a book, gleaning wisdom from the written word.

He died Tuesday while seeking shelter from a rainstorm under a large tree in Toronto's Christie Pits Park. Lightning struck the tree and travelled down the trunk to his body, Toronto Police said. He was declared dead in hospital.

The 28-year-old Waterloo man leaves behind a wife, two younger siblings and his parents.

Omer recently moved to Toronto from his family's home in Waterloo to cut down on the commute to his job at a construction company, where he worked as a civil engineer.

His responsibilities with the company had grown quickly -- he was handling major projects usually given more to senior engineers, said longtime friend Firas Mansour.

Spirituality mattered a lot to Omer, who absorbed religious literature and became a mentor for other youth, he said. But his interests were broader, stretching from outdoor pursuits and world travel to the study of philosophy and economics.

"He was 10 years ahead of his time," Mansour said.

Abdul Mannan Syed, imam at the Waterloo mosque which Omer attended, remembers a man who would give him lifts around town, dispensing advice on how to speak to Muslim youth.

Many within the local community simply can't believe he's gone, especially through such a strange accident, said the imam.

"Everyone is in a state of shock. They can't understand how this happened," Syed said.
Omer lived in Waterloo Region for much of his life, moving to the Canada from Kuwait with his mother, brother and sister in his youth.

Many considered him a "brother" and a "soulmate," his sister Maryam said in a statement.
"His memory will never leave us," she said.

Omar Nafees met him while both were undergraduates at the University of Waterloo.
There, they were work-out buddies, challenging each other in the gym to reach new milestones. Omer became a "spring board" for his friend, a motivating reminder to keep striving for improvement.

Omer also had a knack for pushing people just outside the familiar and gravitated toward ideas that were outside the mainstream.

"It was like having the feeling that, 'I'm going to come out a better person because of this encounter,' " Nafees said. "That was one of the things I felt with Omer. It's very tough to find people like that."

Prayers will be held today at the Waterloo Mosque on Erb Street, after the jummah prayer. A burial will follow at Parkview Cemetery at 2:15 p.m.

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