Ahmed Al-Falahi, the Omani resident among the books – Saudi News

battalion of hair

Nizar Qabbani said about him in a letter he sent to the poet Saif Al-Rahbi: “He was a battalion of poetry, circumstance, novel, and culture that brought us all to the ground… He is one of the witty Arabs who have escaped from this modern cultural era, which is unparalleled in its harshness.” Jamal said about him Al-Ghitani: One of his characteristics is “self-denial, humility, gentleness, and eagerness to present others, the hobby of those who take the road in its beginnings.” Many young writers from his country consider him the father of their literary experiences and the master of their country’s heritage. worth it.

That is the adviser to the Omani Ministry of Education and founder of the Omani Society for the funny and hardworking writer Ahmed bin Abdullah Al-Falahi, owner of the largest personal library in the Sultanate of Oman and the most hoarded of anecdotes of books, manuscripts, periodicals and volumes in various fields of knowledge, old and new. Rather, he resides in this library, breathing The air of its contents distributed over several rooms and corridors within his small apartment, and scoops of its pearls into the vessels of the day and night.

Al-Falahi’s career is characterized by richness, functional diversity in place and time, cultural perseverance and knowledge research, not to mention the scenes, images and stories that he stores from the time of the Omani diaspora and the era of development and renaissance. Hence, his biography is interesting and deserves to be told to new generations who have not lived through the hardships of life, the cruelty of voluntary exiles, and the fatigue of moving from one place to another in pursuit of livelihood.

He doesn’t remember his grandfather’s features

Ahmed bin Abdullah bin Salem bin Muhammad bin Salem Al-Falahi was born in the village of Al-Bateen in Wadi Nam in the Wilayat of Al-Qabil, east of Amman, on a date simultaneous or close to the date of the fall of the monarchy in Egypt in 1952. Because of his father’s migration to East Africa in search of work and livelihood, he grew up Al-Falahi was in the care of his grandfather, who was a pious man and a well-known jurist in eastern Amman and a refuge for the people of his village and neighboring villages in matters of jurisprudence and worship. But his grandfather died when our friend was six years old. Al-Falahi said, according to what was published by the Oman newspaper (10/22/2017), that he does not remember his grandfather’s features, but he remembers his instructions to him every morning when he used to go to greet him and kiss his hand. May the peace and blessings of God be upon him as a prophet and messenger.”

his mother is a reader

After the death of his grandfather, his mother took charge of his upbringing and upbringing, and she did well, especially since she was one of the few Omani women who could read and write at the time, but she also had a beautiful handwriting, which made his grandfather, when he was old and weak in his eyesight, relied on her in reciting the messages received by him. of scholars and write responses to them and read new literature.

Among what he remembers about his mother is that she taught him the sciences of the Qur’an, Sunnah, and jurisprudence, as well as calligraphy, and grammar through Urjuzah “The Urge of Expression,” and poetry through Abu Muslim al-Bahlani’s potty and others. He also remembers that she was wandering with him around the village, so images and scenes from the past settled in his mind, such as the scene of the village being devoid of residents and the scene of the doors of houses closed with huge locks due to the migration of people to escape the severity of the shop and the drought.

Return to life in the village

Years later, the drought ended and the fertility returned to the village of Batin, so the people returned from their emigration and life returned to the village and things became prosperous in it. Under these new conditions, his father returned from Africa. At that time, the farmer had grown up a little and became aware of what was around him, and among the things he eagerly sought was to reach the huge library left behind by his grandfather, which he was forbidden to approach. His mother forbade him from accessing the treasures in the library, and considered him good after a while. Indeed, the years passed quickly and the man found himself scooping from his grandfather’s library what he wanted and swimming between the collections of Al-Mutanabbi, Al-Maarri, Al-Buhturi, Abu Tammam and a number of Omani poets.

The first configuration station

It can be said that Al-Falahi’s life has more than one milestone that had a great impact on his formation, culture, personality and characteristics. The first stop was at the age of ten when he accompanied his father for the first time outside the confines of his village. His arrival in the coastal city of Muttrah was a great opening for him, as he saw for the first time the sea, the ships, the doctors and nurses at the Mission Hospital, and he listened to the morning sermon of the priest/doctor Thomas, and he learned about Christ and Christianity, and he watched how the Omanis came out of that sermon mocking the priest who I think he can convert them and get them out of their religion.

second station

The second stop was when he reached the age of twelve. At the time, he was visiting with his family one of the expatriate village men in the Gulf for work, and he was called “Rashid bin Ali Al-Falahi.” His attention was drawn to the titles of some of the books in the latter’s house, and they were attractive and new to him. The farmer asked his relative to borrow it to read it, and he had it. On another visit to Rashid Al-Falahi, he found that the latter had returned from the Gulf with another charming four-volume book entitled “One Thousand and One Nights.” He asked to borrow it, but the owner refused, on the grounds that the book was not suitable for his age. With Al-Falahi’s insistence on borrowing, his request was granted, so our friend began to read it eagerly, discovering worlds and climates he had never heard of before. His father learned about the book and its source, so he got angry and asked Rashid Al-Falahi not to give his son such a book, which is notorious among the sheikhs of knowledge in Oman. Al-Falahi remembers that incident and says: “No book has charmed me in my life until today as the book of One Thousand and One Nights.” In fact, his fascination with this book is expected of a person like him who knew only religious books at the time.

One Thousand and One Nights

Yes, the book “One Thousand and One Nights” was among the first non-religious books on which Al-Falahi was founded, in addition to the book “Jewels of Literature in the Literature and Establishment of the Language of the Arabs” which his father brought to him from Zanzibar. And with his frequent visit to Rashid Al-Falahi whenever he heard of his return from a trip to the Gulf, his eyes once fell on the Kuwaiti Al-Arabi magazine, and that was the first time he saw a book with a color picture on its cover and other pictures inside, and its author is not one person but a group of people. Al-Falahi says what means that he knew that it was a magazine, so he borrowed and read it and was attracted by the article “The Hadith of the Month” by Dr. Ahmed Zaki. Through one of its articles, he learned about world wars, as he first read an interview, and that experience was his first time in the press.

first adventure

At the third stage of his life, he decides at the age of thirteen to undertake his first adventure. It was around 1965 when he agreed with a number of his older relatives to emigrate in search of education and livelihood. With his father’s rejection of this idea, Al-Falahi decided to flee from Oman to Dubai, and in Dubai he took a boat towards Bahrain, where he arrived and lived for about two months, during which he enjoyed Bahrain’s cultural atmosphere and frequented its libraries and acquired new books and magazines from which he had not seen before, so his circle of acquaintances expanded. He also got rid of some superstitious ideas related to the inventions of the era, such as the radio, which he listened to eagerly after he thought it was a device worn by Satan.

By sea to Khobar

After Bahrain, Al-Falahi headed by sea to the Saudi city of Al-Khobar, wishing himself to work by day and study in the evening in a regular school, and to join the group of Imam Ghaleb Al-Hinai, which was hosted by the Saudi government in Dammam at the time. Our friend in Dammam got acquainted with two Omani personalities with whom he had strong relations and who played a role in his life: Professor Abdullah Al-Tai and Sheikh Muhammad Al-Shaiba. However, our friend’s stay in Saudi Arabia did not last long. After about a year, he left it and moved to Kuwait. In Kuwait, some advised him to move to Baghdad to study, but he arrived in the middle of the school year and was not accepted. Here, a group of his acquaintances suggested to him to travel to Damascus, where he lived and studied for a whole year, which included visits to Beirut and unimplemented proposals to travel to Egypt, which he was drawn to because of the slogans of the time of the Nasserite national tide. Thus, we find that his movements, although he did not benefit from them financially or academically, but they introduced him to the ideas, philosophies and cultures of that stage. He approached the ideas and personalities of the Imami Omanis, got acquainted with the orientations and aspirations of the Arab nationalists, and closely acquainted with the struggles of the Baathists among themselves and with others, at a time when his compass was tight towards his Omani homeland and the backwardness and isolation it was experiencing.

Return to Oman

At the end of 1968, our friend was in Abu Dhabi, where he resided for a period of time, and it happened at that time that he saw a magazine issued in Beirut heralding the imminent change of the regime in Amman, so he hurriedly wrote to Sheikh Al Shaiba, who had moved from Dammam to Kuwait to inform him of what he had read, and the latter replied with a message He wished that the desired change would occur and the scattered Omani people would be reunited. As a result, Al-Falahi traveled to Kuwait, and while he was having lunch at the Shaybah table at noon, then Radio Kuwait broadcasts the news of the change in Oman and Sultan Qaboos taking over the reins of government instead of his father.

Al-Falahi left Kuwait quickly to return to Amman to participate in the new renaissance through the city of Al-Khobar, but he was injured in Al-Khobar in a tragic traffic accident that left him in a tragic condition at Al Sharq Hospital under the supervision of a Lebanese doctor. The summary of the story is that he was with his friend Hammoud bin Salem Al-Harthy on their way back from visiting a mutual friend on a bicycle, when they were hit by a truck driven by an American employee of Aramco. His friend Al-Harthy died on the spot, while he sustained injuries and fractures.

Preferring media over education

Four months after that incident, Al-Falahi left his hospital and arrived in Oman, and his friend, Professor Abdullah Al-Tai, was chosen at that time as Minister of Information in the first government in the era of Sultan Qaboos, while the education portfolio went to Sheikh Saud Al-Khalili, so the latter offered Al-Falahi to work as a teacher with a salary. 65 riyals a month, but Al-Tai pressured Al-Falahi and convinced him that his place was the media, not the teaching. Accordingly, our friend joined the Ministry of Information as an employee in the news department of the Omani radio in early 1971, with a salary of 54 riyals, according to the desire of Minister Al-Ta’i. In fact, his preference for the media was a successful decision and in line with his nature and his passion for knowledge and culture. His new work allowed him to view most of the newspapers and magazines published in the Arab world, learn about the latest political and cultural events, read more books by literary giants in Egypt and learn about their various ideas and ideas.

After ten years in the radio, during which he worked as an editor for news and political affairs and a presenter of many literary, cultural and historical programmes, Al-Falahi moved in 1981 from the Ministry of Information to the Ministry of Education, where he worked for a whole year in the Department of Missions, before a decision was issued appointing him as a cultural attaché at the Omani embassy in Bahrain . In Bahrain, where he remained until 1987, his relationship with the cultural and poetic elites strengthened. He knew Ibrahim Al-Arayedh, Qassem Haddad, and Alawi Al-Hashemi, in addition to Dr. Ghazi Al-Qusaibi, who was then the ambassador of his country in Manama.

Council of State

At the end of 1989, he moved to Cairo to work in the Omani Cultural Attaché there. It was a new, different and rich turning point in his life. In Cairo, he saw in nature everything he had read or imagined. He also got acquainted with a group of Egyptian writers, led by Gamal Al-Ghitani and Youssef Al-Qa’id, who would become his best friends and regrets.

Between 2003 and 2011, he was appointed as a member of the State Council. In 2001, he was honored with the Sultan Qaboos Medal for Culture, Arts and Letters. He was also awarded the Oman Civil Order of the third degree in 2015. In 2010, a Royal Decree was issued promoting him to the rank of Undersecretary and appointing him to a position Adviser to the Minister of Education.

Cultural contributions remembered by the seventies generation

Intensive reading led him to the idea of ​​writing that he had come up with at an early age, and its first manifestation was writing poetry, which he began with a poem he sent to his father while he was in Dammam, one of its verses: This was not strange because he was aware of the world, loving poetry and fascinated by it, but he claims that after he grew up, he found that his poetic writings did not rise to the level of good poetry, so he got rid of them and focused on the prose writing that he started in the late sixties in the form of thoughts and short articles that were published in some The newspapers of Beirut, Cairo, Damascus and Kuwait, including the Egyptian radio stations Sawt Al Arab, London and Sawt Al Sahel broadcasts from Sharjah. After his return to Oman, and with the development of his writing style, he began publishing his articles in the Oman newspaper and some magazines published in Muscat. Al-Falahi considers himself an enlightening writer, and enlightenment to him, according to what he said in an interview with the Omani cultural magazine “Sharq West” (2/2/2016), is “informing people, guiding them and pushing them to assimilate the civilization of the age, abandoning stagnation and stagnation, and adopting ideas of urbanization and sophistication.” And moving towards a brighter tomorrow leads us towards development and progress,” while stressing that he never sees any contradiction between devotion to literature and living under the message of enlightenment. Al-Falahi, apart from what we mentioned, has cultural contributions that the generation of the seventies remember, the most important of which is his establishment in 1974 with his friends Hamad bin Muhammad Al-Rashidi and Yahya bin Saud Al-Sulaimi (they later became Ministers of Information and Education, respectively) to establish the “National Cultural Club”, which practiced cultural and youth activities on Over the course of five years, with the personal efforts of its members, he issued a magazine called “The New Culture,” before he stopped his activities for financial reasons. In 1977, Al-Falahi, along with a number of his companions in the Mudhaireb Club in the Wilayat of Al-Qabil, contributed to the publication of “Al-Ghadir” magazine, which was headed by the club’s president, Sheikh Ahmed bin Hamad Al-Harthy, while Al-Falahi held the position of editor-in-chief, and 74 of them were issued before it was finally stopped in 1984.

Al-Falahi wrote about the state of Arab culture in the Emirati newspaper Al-Rou’ah (9/24/2017), and said sighing: “Our Arab culture used to give and take from the world’s cultures, in a creative exchange, and in some of its prosperous vows, its giving was greater than its taking. As for today, it is affected more than it is influential,” stressing that “the exchange of knowledge between nations is a tradition that humanity has followed since its first dawn, and it is the living nations that extend their bonds with the other, neighbor or distant, in a tolerant relationship based on benefiting and benefiting from material benefits and in ideas and values.

Al-Falahi has published many books, including: “About Culture” in 2007, “Follow-ups” in 2009, “From Life” in 2011, “With Omani Literature” in 2011, and “Reflections” in 2013, in addition to a book “Reflections.” Bateen”, which he issued in 2013, in which he talked about his hometown.