The martyr Fadi al-Batsh as I knew him
My daughter Duaa, this is your father…
Dr. Sharif Abu Shammala
I know that my words are not enough to make up for your father’s absence, whose heart was overwhelmed with pure love to you and your siblings Aseel and Mohammed. I know that after today, he can no longer walk you to the school bus, carrying your heavy bag, before he farewells you as he used to. He can no longer take you and your sister to the club every Saturday, and he can no longer prepare you for your English exam or help with your homework.
Nonetheless, I’m sure he’ll continue to be a heartwarming memory that you’ll shield in its shadows. He will remain a great source of pride that takes you forward, support your back and strengthen your arms…
So are the martyrs, my daughter, alive among us, but we can only see them if we look closely beyond our ordinary sight.
I knew your father, Fadi, from when we were both students at the Islamic University of Gaza, through the specialized student clubs that formed a backbone to our work in the student council at the university. He was active in the engineering club, dedicated to serving his fellow students, excelling all expectations, achieving the best grades and gaining a master degree with distinction. He was very popular and beloved amongst his teachers and classmates.
Our friendship was strengthened when I came to Malaysia. He arrived here before me after long-suffering and repeated attempts to travel and join his doctoral program and embark on a new journey of excellence. From his first day in that journey, his supervisor noticed his distinction and chose him to become his assistant researcher.
During that period, I have always known him to be a diligent determined hard-worker, who goes to his lab right after al-Farij prayer and doesn’t come back before Maghreb. The fruit of his diligence was a record full of thoughtful scientific production that the martyr was renowned for, besides his scientific contributions that flew far and wide, to the east and west around the globe. Not to mention, being awarded a scholarship for distinguished researchers, winning first-place in several competitions, and receiving several Achievement Awards that decorated his scientific journey.
His accomplishments were a source of pride, as he became a role model of a decent, devout, creative, persistent, beloved, self-made young scientist. He never refrained from helping others with his knowledge. He was confident in the Palestinian mind and ability, dreaming of a day when Palestine is liberated and we have labs like the one he worked in his diaspora.
After graduating, he worked as a university lecturer, sincere and diligent in his work. Before he died, he told me about how he received a high job assessment as a university lecturer, and how the dean of the college was very pleased with his performance and was keen to keep him at the university.
He continued developing and disseminating his research, and had a promising scientific future growing wider with his advancements, until the hands of the treacherous occupation got to him before finishing his projects and research. They saw in him a unique successful Palestinian scientist, and feared his mind and capabilities, so they assassinated him cowardly in front of his home while he was on the way to al-Farij prayer. Before, he was preparing himself to travel on the same day and head a scientific conference that researches techniques to provide a better and safer life to people worldwide.
Do not be surprised, my daughter… The occupation that killed him cannot handle seeing a successful Palestinian alive and thriving, but rather wants to see all Palestinians dead, even if after seventy years of Nakkba.
My Children; Duaa, Aseel and Mohammed,
In his diaspora, your father was Palestine’s dutiful son, and a sincere ambassador of its cause. He was very active, exerting lots of time and effort to defend our homeland, promote its just struggle, and raise awareness about it. He was an active member of the Malaysian BDS Movement, a volunteer in a Malaysian organization for the reconstruction of Gaza, and an imam with the Malaysian institutions working for Palestine.
He was never late for duty or bored of working for Palestine and Islam. His successes and scientific interests did not distract him a single day from his dream of returning to Palestine. We had always discussed for long our memories of the homeland, its blessings, its struggle and its cause. We had always longed to the day we return to it and cure our thirst.
Allah gifted Fadi with a strong memory, as he memorized the Quran at an early age. After which he spent the years preserving and strengthening that by-heart memorization of the Quran by always reciting the holy book in a pure beautiful voice. Then he learned the Isnad narrative of Shu’ba and Hafs from Aasim during his studies in Malaysia.
Malaysians were always keen to invite him to be their imam on a number of occasions, whether in the neighborhood Masjids close to where we live, or even outside the city, which required long hours of traveling. Nonetheless, he was a great Imam, adhering to his promises, always showing up on time and preaching peace and tranquility in the hearts of his followers with Allah’s Quran.
I remember how he’d always tell us that he had to leave our gathering early, saying, “I’m supposed to be the imam [at that place] and I must be on time.” He did not just suffice with memorizing the Quran, but he was teaching it to others, even when he worked as a university lecturer, he had never missed that blessing and reward until the day he was martyred.
The Holy Quran was reflected in his appearance and morals. He was sweet, goodhearted, well-intentioned and always smiling. He was loving and nice to people, close to their hearts and showing great modesty. His heart had never carried evil and did not pursue anything except in good.
He had never procrastinated serving others. He always spared effort, time and money for helping people. His time was accurately organized; he was never late for visits or urgent occasions, he adhered to all his promises and commitments despite all his preoccupations and the fullness of his schedule night and day. As if, Allah had blessed his time. Above all, he was always in touch with his parents, grateful to them, always remembering their good deeds and praying for them.
Fadi came to Malaysia with your mother seven years ago, and there Allah gifted him with his two daughters; Duaa and Aseel. Then his heart was made greatly happy again with Muhammad a year and a half ago. Your father loved you and gave you his heart, passion and care.
I still remember the day we went to pay your school fees, Duaa, and they were highly expensive, perhaps higher than university tuition fees. He gladly borrowed money, and smiling as usual, he said, “My father has spent his money on my education and my brothers’, and inshallah, I will do it with my children.”
Your father dreamed of a day when you would return to a family in Palestine. Trust me when I say how we laughed together the many times we imagined the return of our kids to the homeland and the cultural differences and paradoxes they’d be exposed to.
Your father told me one day how his parents will be waiting for him and his children whom they were deprived of embracing for a long time, since you were born away from them. You and your siblings will come back home, Duaa, without your father. Your grandfather will hug you without him. I repeat my daughter: it was the occupation who took him from you.
The news about your father’s martyrdom were a great shock to all who knew and loved him. We wept for him so much and we suffered from his martyrdom. Our hearts were scattered into thousand pieces for our loss.
People from all nationalities flock to the Masjid where your father used to be the imam, to cry and mourn his martyrdom and remember his lifetime and his great qualities. Different Malaysian and Palestinian institutions and organizations mourned our great loss with statements of love and appreciation.
At the hospital, while waiting for the procedure to return him to his homeland, his friends, students, lovers and brothers came to mourn parting with him and to get a final look at his bright face shining with the light of martyrdom and the blessings of Quran.
We saw how much he was loved and praised through the hearts and words of people who called to express their condolences and cry our loss. You father was a true lover of Allah and his Holy Quran, and in return, Allah placed Fadi’s love in the hearts of his worshipers. Their hearts, languages and colors differed, but their hearts were united by their love to your father.
Indeed, we lost a great mind and a great soul, but the spirit of this blessed hero will continue to inspire us.
Rest in Allah’s peace Fadi… May Allah overwhelm you with his mercy and place you in his wide heavens…