Even though he was not much older than me, he definitely was much wiser, more visionary and a harder worker.
My guest column on Feb. 14 (“Build a coalition of greed for righteousness”) was actually molded after him. In reality, I wanted to do as he did but in my way.
To explain, my dear friend, mentor and colleague Dr. Ezzat Abouleish passed away on the early morning hours of Feb. 20 in his house among his close family. He was not sick. He was performing his natural functions when his soul passed serenely to its creator.
Why was Ezzat my mentor?
Dr. Abouleish retired from his tenured clinical anesthesiology career at the University of Texas Medical Center in Houston when he was in his early ’70s.
As soon as he retired, he realized the restless genie in his chest needed to get out. He had artistic desire in him all along his life. Then, he started to paint and draw and write in all directions, expressing every feeling he had by pen and brush, in color or black and white.
When 9/11 came, he found that Islamic principles and moral directives were being slandered by Muslims as well as non-Muslims. He took it on his shoulders to try to correct this grave situation to the best of his ability. He became a student of art at the College of Mainland to learn the basics of art and how to express feelings in a set of colors and drawings.
He then started artistically transcribing the Islamic holy book, the Quran, by hand. All the 600-plus pages are put in a beautiful color coordination and simple elegant Arabic calligraphy.
These beautifully transcribed pages of the Quran constitute one of the rare hand written versions of the holy book. Copies of several pages of his artistic transcription of the holy book are displayed at the Galveston Islamic Center.
During the past decade, he expressed so many of the moral Islamic directives in the form of beautiful paintings. His paintings allow the viewers to visualize the Islamic message and get it implanted in their minds.
I recently had a personal experience observing the powerful influence of his paintings on the moral values of viewers. One of my sons, who is limited in his Arabic, during a discussion, presented an Islamic painting from Dr. Abouleish’s collection as proof of the moral point of his argument.
Then I realized the power of these paintings.
As a matter of fact, we have several reproductions of his paintings in the Galveston Islamic Center. They generate interesting points of discussions with Muslim and non-Muslim visitors.
Dr. Abouleish with no doubt would have been the leader of the coalition of greed for righteousness — simply because it was molded after him and he had all the qualification describe in its creed. He had a clean heart that is filled with the most significant components of righteousness.
May Almighty rest him in peace.