Christchurch, New Zealand – Yama Nabi, son of Haji Daoud Nabi, was late to last Friday’s prayers but it turned out that the delay was what saved Yama’s life. And, changed it irrevocably.
Yama arrived at the mosque to find his friend Ramazan standing outside and repeating, “Your father saved my life. Your father saved my life.”
Yama sensed that something had gone wrong at the mosque yet thought that his 71-year-old father had simply helped his friend escape in the way he had helped so many others out of trouble all of his life.
What Yama hadn’t expected was that his father was gone forever.
In the three days that followed, Daoud — a retired engineer with a love for vintage cars — became the first victim to be identified from the terrorist attacks on two Christchurch mosques that killed 50 people and injured 48 others.
His sons, Yama and Omar Nabi, confirmed the death of their father and retold his honourable life to the public.
Haji Daoud, as he was known in the NZ Muslim community, escaped the Russian invasion in 1979 and moved to New Zealand with his young family. With four sons, a daughter, and nine grandchildren, the head of the family was greatly loved.
According to news outlet Al Jazeera, Daoud ran the Afghan Association and dedicated his life towards helping refugees like himself start lives anew in New Zealand.
“He used to make them feel at home,” recalls Omar.
Another article by The Telegraph mentions the retiree greeting the gunman Brenton Tarrant with “Hello, brother” in the live stream video recorded by a camera attached to the terrorist’s military-styled outfit. Right after the word “brother” came Tarrant’s callous reply; three bullets shot into the kindly old gentleman.
The hashtag #HelloBrother has been used all over Twitter and Facebook to recognise the heroic act of Haji Daoud who warmly greeted the terrorist, with no questions asked.
"Daoud Nabi", a 71-year-old Afghan refugee who escaped death in his country to cite in New Zealand where he received the terrorist at the mosque door with the words "welcome brother" but the terrorist killed him directly pic.twitter.com/Ct06jimFpy
— ابوعبدالرحمن (@dhafer___) March 15, 2019
— آهای خبردار???????? (@SaketLeila) March 16, 2019
Mr Omar shared how his father had spoke of the importance of unity just two days before the massacre: “My father said how important it was to spread love and unity among each other, and protect every member of the society we live in.”
Aside from unity, Omar clearly recalls his father’s view on death; Haji Daoud considered “the best place to pass away was in a mosque during Friday prayers.”
Some Muslims believe that Prophet Muhammad said there is virtue in dying on a Friday which is Islam’s holiest day of the week. In Islam, Friday is regarded as the day made more superior by God for it is the day that Muslims come together to pray in congregation.
Yama now knows just how much his father helped his friend Ramazan; it was bullets his father took on — an act Yama thinks he father was capable of because “he was used to Afghanistan.”
“He jumped in the firing line to save somebody else’s life and he has passed away,” said Omar during his statement outside the Christchurch’s High Court on Saturday.
When asked about his father’s sacrifice, the grieving son elucidated, “Your time is up but you’re helping someone else to live because they’re younger – their life has to go on.
“Just helping people was his main thing. It makes me feel like he wanted other people to live.”
For those who want to help the affected families, a crowdfunding page has been established and has gathered almost NZD 1.8 million to date.