Sr Sami Nassib Makarem
Beirut – Somayya Mahmoud
Prominent Druze Monotheist intellectual and acclaimed philosopher Sr Sami Nassib Makarem has died of a sudden illness after being admitted in the hospital for two days.
The professor of Sufism and Islamic Thought at the American University of Beirut was still teaching and holding seminars in his house in Eitat which he turned into a cultural centre.
The cultural committee of the Sect Council of Monotheist Druze lamented Makarem’s death as a “professor, lecturer, intellectual, a researcher, a man of dialogue, peace, and wisdom”.
He was taken to his final abode in his hometown Aitat, while the AUB issued a press release stating that: "Sami Makarem, professor of Arabic and Islamic Studies and Arabic Calligraphy specialist at the AUB, has died on August 21 due to sudden illness".
Sami Makarem was born on April 14, 1931 and is considered by academics an authority on Islamic Sufism. His friends refer to him as practicing Sufi with a warm and generous soul.
Despite being in his eighth decade, Sami Makarem was still a part-time professor at the AUB teaching Islamic Sufism and Old Arabic Verse classes until his departure.
“Professor Makarem led me to the spiritual path and to Sufism through his classes and mentoring” said professor Bilal Orfali, a former student of Sami Makarem’s and currently the heads the Arabic department at the agency.
Sami Makarem was born in Aitat, one of the villages of the Aley district in Mount Lebanon. His father, Sheikh Nassib Makarem, was a collector of Arabic calligraphy, large tableaux and fine artistic original texts. He was an artist of precise calligraphy and drew on marble and silver as small as eggs to the size of a rice grain and a wheat grain. The father and son had a close relationship full of warmth and friendliness. When the father died, his son Sami felt a need to remember him through art.
Through his academic and intellectual activities as well as his scholarly authorship, Sami Makarem was able to gather a vast array of visual arts and poetry. He published three volumes of poetry: “A Mirror on Mount Qaf (1996)”, “Light over the City of Mist (1999)”, and “Love Poems at the Shore of a Mirror (2004)”. He also authored more than 20 books in addition to a voluminous number of essays in specialised magazines, and hundreds of visual artworks.