KHARTOUM (Sudanow) - The late prominent Lawyer, Former Foreign Minister of Sudan during 1959-1963 Ahmad Khair, was a man to be held in high esteem. He was known to be the first Sudanese to initiate the peaceful struggle against British rule by co-founding the Graduates Congress in 1938 that eventually developed into political parties which led the country into independence in 1956.
In the following article history researcher Omar Hummaida relates his personal relationship with Khair that saw a number of amazingly supernatural incidents. Wrote Hummaida:
My relationship with Ahmad Khair started in 1989. Call it the way you wish: a spiritual relationship, an emotional relationship or an academic one. What matters to me is that my relationship with Khair started that year when I was planning to write my graduation research from the Faculty of Arts of the University of Khartoum. In one of the Faculty’s corridors, I had a discussion with my tutor, historian, Dr.Mohammad Saeed al-Gaddal, about my decision to write a biography of a person, any person. For me, it would be a research and that is all, after which I would graduate and seek a job.
With the academic sternness he was known for, Dr. Gaddal said: Write about Ahmad Khair..full stop!
Here I said to myself ;What can I write about Khair? Renowned Journalist Bashir Mohammad Saeed had just written a book about him..What else can I say?
I tried to revise Dr. Gaddal on the matter and received no more than the same reply: I told you to write about Ahmad Khair!
Ever since that order my relationship started with Ahmad Khair, that important figure in the Sudanese national movement.
In this article I will not write about my research, its sources or its output.
I will just write about my personal experiences with Khair as I compiled the research, the research that later on developed into an M.A thesis and which could have been further promoted into a doctorate if it were not for my dismissal from my government job “for political reasons.”
For seven years I continued to collect data about Ahmad Khair, leaving no stone unturned. I read every paper written about him. I met all his friends. I spent many years under the warm air of the ceiling fans of the Sudanese National Records Office and many similar years at the library of the Afro-Asian Institute of the University of Khartoum, researching about the man. I met whoever had written about him. I travelled long journeys to the towns of Sinja and Wad Medani and to the village of Fadasi that saw his birth. I entered his home and the homes of his sons and daughters. I met his aging uncles at al-Halfaya suburb of Khartoum North. I saw what remained from his gas station in Wad Medani. I touched with my hands the furniture of his office which was bought by the al-Azhari University in an auction, instead of putting it in a special museum. I pursued Khair’s life story and did that in a firm and an intimate mania.
But all that was not what matters. What mattered was Ahmad Khair, a real simplicity, towering height, horizontal Shaygi scars on his cheeks and when he turns towards you, he turns with his entire body, his neck cracking with a sound. He had sharp wits and when I first met him he was getting old and his memory waning, in particular with names and dates. But his memory was bright when he narrated events. Very often he would invite me for breakfast and when I went to his place, I found that he had forgotten about the invitation. But very soon the breakfast (hot wheat gurrasa bread with soup) would come fuming from his home kitchen.
In this article I will write about the unusual aspects of my moral relation with Khair, the supernatural incidents that occurred to him and to me in the course of that relationship. Call it the sixth sense or what I don’t know! It is for psychologists to interpret it:
In one of my meetings with Ahmad Khair, he told me that he was very infatuated with the school of law which he joined as an adult senior clerk in the civil service. He sat for the school admission exam which was held biannually at that time, but could not make it. He kept reading and memorizing for the next two years and when it was time for the written test, an extraordinary incident occurred: In the night before the test, he kept reading and then slept for a few hours to wake up after a very strange dream. He saw in his dream an exam paper containing a single question. He immediately got up and proceeded to his library, looked for the article’s subject, wrote the answer and learned it by heart. In the morning he entered the exam hall and to his surprise the test contained one question: the article he saw in his dream. Unawares he passed water.. but continued with his test, succeeded and joined the law school.
On the day he died, I was watching TV with some friends in the town of Kassala in the East and when the news reader uttered the usual cliché when some important person is announced dead that says: Ladies and gentlemen..The President of the Republic mourns…. I quickly and unknowingly shouted “it is Ahmad Khair!”, to the surprise of those present who thought that I knew about Khair’s death beforehand. It was a strange thing that came to my mind for one second. Ahmad Khair was not ill and I did not expect him to die that day. Until now I can’t explain what happened
Two weeks after Ahmad Khair’s death and his burial in Wad Medani (upon his own wish), I was in town at an invitation for a wedding party. On the way to the wedding party I had to cross the Medani graveyard. As I walked through, I all of a sudden stopped, at a grave and prayed, saying: “This is the grave of Ahmad Khair!” There were a number of new graves at the place and there was no sign that the grave I prayed at was Ahmad Khair’s. My companion, Mr. Jamal (who knew my obsession with Ahmad Khair) was amazed by what I had done and said: ”For God’s sake, how did you know it was Ahmad Khair’s grave? Did you attend his funeral?
I soon asked myself: What has made me believe that it was Ahmad Khair’s grave?
Then after some time I was invited for Ahmad Khair’’s remembrance ceremony in Wad Medani. Part of the event was a visit to his grave on which a tomb was built. Oh, my God! It was the same grave I stopped and prayed at on my way to the wedding party!
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