بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
كل من عليها فان ويبقى وجه ربك ذو الجلال والاكرام . صدق الله العظيم
With these words of the holy Koran; our holy book, we say farewell on this earth to the great man John Paul II, the Pope of the Catholic church, who has just passed away. Our sincere condolences to all the Catholic people in the world and to all humanity in general.
This Pope was quite an exceptional man, a true lover of humanity; a man who had the courage of conviction and great character to put aside all scruples of quite a strict faith historically and visit mosque and synagogue and extend his hand of peace to all men regardless of race and religion. He was an activist who did not hesitate to speak out on political and social issues of relevance and urgency in his time. His voice was always heard and presence felt everywhere in the world. We the Iraqis have a special sadness and regret on this solemn occasion: that the express wish of his holiness to visit the birth place of the prophet Abraham here in the land of Mesopotamia; the greatest of all pilgrimages was not to be realized. Yet for believers, as you all know; death is not the end, but rather the beginning of eternal life in the hereafter.
On this occasion, I recall some of the verses of one our greatest Iraqi poets, Al Jawahiri, and don’t ask me to translate, hoping that one of our friends might volunteer a respectable translation:
لغز الحياة وحيرة الالباب أن يستحيل الفكر محض تراب
أنا ابغض الموت اللئيم وطيفه بغضي طيوف مخاتل نصاب
يهب الردى شيخوختي ويقيتها بكهولتي ويقيتها بشبابي
ذئب تربصني وفوق نيوبه دم اخوتي وأقاربي وصحابي
Inspired by the courage of the late Pope who did not hesitate to walk into our mosque, we should not hesitate as Moslems to pray for the peace of his soul. And as our prophet Mohammed (ص ) said on the occasion of the death of his son : “Although we are fully resigned to the will of God, yet still the heart grieves and the eye moistens for your departure”