Sheikh Khalfan leaves a legacy

By: Lakshmi Kothaneth

MUSCAT: Noted Islamic Scholar Sheikh Khalfan al Esry (pictured), passed away on Tuesday. His funeral was attended by thousands of people who flowed to the cemetery for the final rites. Condolences meet for men was held at Masjid Salim bin Rashid al Kharusi and for the women at the residence.

Khalfan al Esry, Honourable Member of the State Council, was an engineer, Islamic scholar, health safety and environment expert, human resources, spiritual and motivational speaker, business man with a vision.

A man of wisdom and tolerance, a champion of road safety, a friend to everyone he met, and a citizen of the world has left a legacy of positive thinking and self development.

For more than fifteen years, Sheikh Khalfan as he was fondly addressed, reached out to the listeners of Radio Sultanate of Oman 90.4 FM during every day of Ramadan. A concept that originally started off as a programme called, ‘Dialogue on Islam,’ evolved into ‘Body, Mind and Soul.’ This was in addition to his Friday sermons and speeches at the mosques and gatherings.

In the Holy month of Ramadan Al Esry would answer calls from people in distress and queries on his mobile to live calls from listeners during the one hour program.

If he was in a hurry, looking back he had a reason for it. He accomplished plenty and managed to reach out to as many people as possible nationally and internationally. Last year at, days of Ramadan were filled with the videos of ‘Life a Journey,’ a conversation with Khalfan al Esry. Tired yet a positive Al Esry last week narrated how a nurse at the hospital in Germany where he was undergoing treatment asked him if he was the man on the YouTube and told him that in one episode he had answered eight of the questions she had always pondered about.

It was the words of wisdom, engraved with sense of humour that made him very popular with the youth. “Khalfan was a friend to everyone,” said Ahmed al Subhi who was a college mate of Al Esry. “I was once traveling to Australia and at the airport I saw him with a whole lot of children. He introduced me to the children as future leaders of Oman.”

Time flies when you are busy achieving. The person who moved swiftly like the wind might have slowed down physically with the health challenge in the last couple of years. But his mind was sharp with analytical skills was always ready for solutions for anyone who approached him for advice.

He wanted to inculcate the habit of reading in everyone whether they were young or old. Quality time is what he stressed on whether it was at work or home. It all starts with positive thinking, he would point out.

During a conversation last week, Al Esry said, “Stop. You just used the word problem. Change that word to ‘challenge’. There are never problems, they are just challenges.” Accept the challenge he would say, “You will immediately see it becomes easy to handle.”

In the last meeting with the scholar, he said there is a lot more he wants to work in the human development. “For better productivity it is not just about attitude alone. It is also about training and continuous development of skills,” said Al Esry. He said his illness had actually given the time to focus more on the subject Oman is stressing on – human resources. He advised on the importance on delegating and staying focused. “This period has given me opportunity to look inward and I have come in terms with anger. Words are very powerful. It is important to have control over them. I do not get angry anymore, and even if someone is negative I try my best to make him positive.”

The most important aspect of the motivational speaker is that he has left a mark and legacy with anyone he has ever spoken with and the same remains with anyone who has heard him speak or have read about him.

Al Esry was also popular with expatriates. Sheikh Khalfan was a coach and facilitator on leadership with extensive knowledge and experience in multicultural management and organizational behavior. He had sound experience in Shari’a and regularly contributed towards education of Shari’a Principles. A board member of six companies, he was also a member of Oman Chamber of Commerce as Vice Chairman in SME committee. He has been the co-founder and managing director of Prosper and Management Consulting Firm. He was Corporate HSE Manager at Petroleum Development Oman and Corporate Omanisation Manager at PDO.


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