Thanks to my readers for wanting to know more about my college roommate at Wood Junior College, Hassan Edjlai. Hassan was from Iran having been sent to Wood by the government of Iran. He was to go to Wood two years and then go to Mississippi State to earn a BS degree in Engineering. His school expense was paid by the Iranian government.
Hassan reminded himself often to whom he owed his allegiance. The Shah of Iran and his wife were expecting a baby at the time Hassan got to this Country. Soon a baby boy was born to the Shah and wife and everyone in Iran was elated. Hassan asked me if I would take him to Starkville in order that he could send the Shaw a telegram of congratulations upon the birth of a son. I told Hassan I would take him to send the telegram but assured him the Shaw would never know about the expression of congratulations. He assured me that the Shaw would know. I ate my words because in about two weeks Hassan got a telegram and away we went back to Starkville. Sure enough it was from the Shah and Hassan was elated. I never bothered to tell him that an aide probably sent the telegram and I was not convinced that the Shaw himself did not send it.
Hassan came to me one day and said, “Would you please read my Holy book?”
My response was “If you will read my Holy book.”
We agreed to meet every two weeks for lunch and discuss what we had read in each other’s Holy book. The first time we met, Hassan was shocked to learn the first five books in the Koran were very close to the first five books of the Bible. We continued the study and I could hardly wait to get to the New Testament in the Holy Bible so I could tell him that this was much different than his Holy book. We finished the study and I did tell him the difference in the New Testament but Hassan remained loyal to the Koran.
One thing all of us found out about Hassan was that he was very loyal to his religion. Muslim men pray three times a day; morning, noon and night. Wherever we went, when his prayer time came, he faced the east and bowed deeply. Some of the guys he traveled with decided that when he bowed we would bow our heads and remain silent. This drew a lot of attention but it had to say to him these guys are serious about their faith as well.
I wish I could tell you with certainty what happened or is happening in his life. I heard from what I think is a reliable source that when he returned to Iran the government did not need engineers but rather math teachers. If this is where the government needed him you can be assured he became a math teacher. I wish I could tell you more about this guy that I liked a great deal. But as you know it would be virtually impossible to look him up in Iran.
Billy McCord is a retired school administrator and an Elder in the United Methodist Church. He is Pastor of Shady Grove UM Church in Calhoun County and is President of the Calhoun County School Board. Contact him at P.O. Box 337, Bruce, MS 38915 or firstname.lastname@example.org