Aiosha Deghayes, sister of Jaffar Deghayes, writes a tribute to her brother who died fighting in Syria on the weekend.
Deghayes, 17, is believed to have died after leaving home for Syria in a bid to help overthrow Bashar Al-Assad’s government. His brother, Abdullah, 18, died in Latakia province in April after leaving the UK in January reportedly to take up arms with Jabhat al-Nusra, Al Qaeda’s official franchise in Syria. It’s thought that Jaffer also had been involved with Jabhat al-Nusra.
Below is the text of a Facebook post Aiosha Deghayes left today:
“When younger, Jaffar was a very quiet boy. He was so quiet to the point you could forget he was around, he used to always sit in a little corner and do his thing. Most of the time that was drawing/colouring or playing with a small toy.
I remember this one time we were at the beach and Jaffar disappeared, my mum went crazy she was looking everywhere until she found him sitting quietly with a random family smiling and playing with their toy.
Growing up he was always more interested in getting his homework’s done and watching TV. The opposite of my other brothers who loved playing outside and would always plot to distract my parents and run away to the park… He did used to sometimes join his brothers but most of the time he preferred the quiet.
He was always strong about what he believed in. If he believed something was wrong then he would work so hard to change it. I remember when the twins were 10 they were a little chubby so my mum used to encourage them to fast because she thought it’s good practice and it wouldn’t do them any harm. He would listen to everything my mum says about fasting and from the age of 9 mashallah he started fasting Ramadan.
Of course he wasn’t perfect and at his early teenage years he changed and became a troubled teenager… but he would always express how he hated staying up late at night and how he wanted to quit the life he lived. One morning he woke up and told me he was fasting, he also told me that when he breaks his fast at night he would not go out as he has decided to change all his bad habits.
Mashallah he did change, from then on he did not miss a single day at college, he would spend his free time at the gym or with a good friend/his cousin, he also started going to do Arabic school (learn how to read and write in Arabic) every Saturday to keep off the streets. I was so proud of him.
As a brother he was and still is very special to me. He was so sweet and caring he only called me by my nickname. When away in the UAE he would constantly message me and when in England we would spend most of the summer staying up at night talking. England wasn’t the same this summer without him.
I wrote all this because Jaffar was and still is so special to me and the thought of him gone is unbearable. La ilaha illa Allah. To Allah we belong and to Him we shall return.
I believe in Allah and as a Muslim I believe in faith and destiny. I believe we are all destined to die, and only Allah knows when. Alhamdulilah he died as an honourable man helping to fight an oppressive tyrant, he passed away on a Friday and his last words were La ilaha ila Allah.
I ask Allah to grant him what he’s always wanted (paradise) and may He reunite me with him and Abdullah.
I really cannot wait to see my baby brother again.”