• A String of Thoughts of Life, Death, and In Between BY: Ahmed Salah Al-Mahdi


    Whenever I walk down a new street where I have never walked before, I look at the balconies and windows and imagine the many different lives and lurking secrets behind those closed windows and drawn curtains.

    Those distant illuminated windows in the stillness of the night; what awake souls gathered around that light in joy or sorrow? As if every house is a novel that carries, between its two covers, stories of unknown heroes.

    I wish I had the ability to live different lives at different times, to complete the human experience within me. Perhaps only then would I solve the mystery of human existence.


    Do you know that we are made of stardust? This vast universe with its galaxies, nebulae, suns, and planets is not much different from us. You are a part of it, and it is a part of you. So don’t be afraid of death— When you die, your atoms and molecules will be free from that physical restriction called the body, free even from Earth’s gravity, and travel freely through the infinite abyssal space. Some of our atoms and molecules may fuse into a supernova during the death of a star and the birth of a new one, and you will then be part of that star. After millions or billions of years, someone from another civilization on another planet will look up towards the sky at the star that you have become a part of, and say to himself, I am made from stardust, one day I will become a star like it. We are eternal.


    I’m no longer afraid of death, but I realize that I’m scared of it. What I dread more is to be forgotten after death: To fall in the dark endless abyss of non-existence… to lose my last chance of immortality. So I cling to life as a lost child clings to his doll for his evidence that he belonged to a world, and he wanted to belong to it forever.


    Can the desire for immortality drive a person to seek death?

    It was the desire for immortality that drove Arabs to exaggerate things like generosity, chivalry, and courage. To be bold and not to flee from battles, so that people remember their name after death. So that forgetfulness and the succession of days do not erase it.

    Immortality here is spiritual, not physical. People will remember that someone was brave, or another was generous, like the courage of Antarah bin Shaddad, and the generosity of Hatim Al-Tai.

    Sometimes I think that this desire for immortality is what drives me to write, so that I will not be forgotten after my death, so that my writings remain as a witness trace of my fleeting life in this timeless universe. Someday a person will sit in another age, in another country, and read my books, or perhaps it is on another planet in the distant future.

    But is spiritual immortality real? The universe is in a state of entropy; in the end, the stars will cool down, the suns will darken, the planets will turn into cold dark rocks without any trace of life, and the universe will turn into a silent tomb. At that time, neither the courage of the Arabs nor their poetry will remain, nor will the writings of those who wrote. Not a single trace of anyone no matter whom he is. All humans will be equal at last.

    Another Mystery

    Another gray morning. Another night I couldn’t sleep. My thoughts haunt me like clingy ghosts that you cannot escape from— the more I try to elude them, the clingier they get. Once again, I look at the distant horizon and ask myself, what am I doing here? Of the 700 quintillion planets in the vast universe, I was born on this planet. Of all the elapsed eras on Earth in over 4.5 billion years, I was born in this age. Is it a coincidence? Or Maybe there’s some mystery that brought me into existence from nothing?

    My gaze bounces from the far horizon to the nearby crowded street and I look at similar faces, and the jostling shoulders wind their way through the crowds, carried against their will through the ever-flowing stream from life to death, and I ask yourself: Is each one of them another coincidence or another mystery?



    The night is the enemy of the sad, the lonely, and the troubled.

    They say, “The wolf only eats the stray sheep,” he waits and stalks the herd, waiting patiently until one of them falls behind, then the wolf leaps on it, and devours it.

    Likewise, the sadness that lurks in one’s soul is stalking him from the dark corners of the mind, hiding from the daylight, overwhelmed by the overlapping voices, and the movement of the flowing stream of life, so that one does not pay attention to it or feel its presence.

    But when the night falls and covers existence with his dark grim cloak, when all movements settle down and all voices fade away, and one is alone, only then sadness would emerge from the depths of the subconscious, baring its teeth. There will be no one to save one from it. Rather, he has fallen into a black vortex of quicksand, and the more he tries to pull himself out of it, the more he drowns.

    No one is here to hear muffled screams in the darkness of the dreadful night, or to see the sadness crouching on a chest, gnawing at loneliness, clenching a heart with its black claws.

    So, one finds no way to escape but to surrender… and drown… in the deep darkness of depression.



    We feel nostalgic when we remember moments of our childhood. Nostalgia is a strange feeling. It gives us Happiness and Sadness at the same time; Happiness because we lived that moment, and Sadness because we can’t live it again.

    While nostalgic, we find ourselves searching for your lost past , maybe it’s a song we heard in our childhood, the intro of our favorite cartoon, or a videogame we played holding the joystick, perhaps its and old photo of us and our loved ones, the colors of which have faded over time.

    Do you yearn for your childhood, or for a time when you were free of care? Perhaps the worries of the world seemed far away at that time, not staring at you from everywhere. After all someone else would carry all your worries and burdens, you wouldn’t have to worry or struggle.

    Time passes while we are drowned in our nostalgia, turning the old yellowed pages of time, our heart is torn between and overwhelming joy and depressing sorrow. But for some reason we can’t just stop, Or pull ourselves out of this feeling we drowned ourselves in.


    Angel of Death

    People misunderstand the angel of death― He doesn’t kill you. He accompanies you on your journey to the other world, so that you don’t cross the barrier between life and death alone.


    Humans are their own worst enemy. They created titles and social classes for themselves so the strong may prevail over the weak, and riches accumulate in the hands of a few of them, while they subject the rest of mankind to their will with a whip, or throw them into the furnace of war under several bright slogans to bring more wealth to the overlords. Those overlords often hide behind the curtain of religion. They are the shadow of heaven on earth, and what they do is divine will.

    Then a new religion emerges that takes the side of the weak, the poor and the oppressed, and it tries to destroy the stagnant, archaic ideas of the ruling classes and their false, unjust religion. So the nobles and those with authority would fight it in a fierce battle, to defend of their religion and way of life that allows them to be oppressors and tyrants. But often their old religion loses in the face of the new one, because those who smell freedom become ready to sacrifice their lives for it, for them the life without freedom is the same as death.

    If the nobles felt that they would be defeated, they bend their heads to the wind, and they themselves embrace the new religion, and repent their old sins. They are forced to stand on an equal footing with those whom they oppressed; the nobles next to the poor, the overlords next to the slaves. Then the nobles bend the new religion to their will, and they become the masters of the religion, and the ones who set its laws and codes. They taint it with their old rot.

    Time goes by, the masters become masters once again, and slaves become slaves, as if nothing has changed.

    Until the next new religion emerges . . .

    Dear Mr. Alien

    Dear Mr. Alien, I know that you are looking at our planet now with wonder or perhaps with anger as well. You must be witnessing wars, pandemics, and the oppression of humans to each other or to forms of life that share this planet with us, and abhor us. But I would like to tell you that we are not all so bad. In the shadows, there are still those who extend a helping hand to the helpless people. There are those who warm a poor cat on a cold night, and those who give food to a stray animal.

    Dear Mr. Alien, I know that the image of our planet is now grim in your eyes, but believe me, amid all this darkness there is still a glimmer of light, some good in the crashing waves of evil.

    Perhaps I wished many times leave this planet and go to another one, but sometimes I see a mother’s look at her child, or a brother’s at his younger brother, sometimes I feel a cold breeze on a summer night, or moments of warmth on a winter night, then I feel that I can embrace the whole planet.

    Dear Mr. Alien, I know that humans are complicated and incomprehensible for you, but we are learning and maturing. Humanity is still a child crawling in this vast space, and one day we will be an intelligent species that deserves its place among other intelligent life forms in this the endless universe.


    Great Filter

    Humanity is about to face the final great filter: The great filter of devastating war. Either we will emerge as a peaceful and powerful race ready to conquer the Galaxy, or we will perish and extinct, leaving the earth a dead rock in the vast endless space.

    Mother Nature

    I guess Mother Nature regrets giving this kind of complicated intelligence to our evolving species after what we have done to her. But fortunately for her, we are doing a great job killing ourselves.


    I’m tired as an ancient star that witnessed the emergence of the universe, and got weary of existence.


    And the sunset still stirs in my heart a longing for worlds that I don’t know and may never know.