Muscat: News that the Sultanate’s oldest living man had passed away at the grand old age of 127 came as something of a surprise to Salim Al Qasabi’s grieving family.
Reports yesterday claimed that Al Qasabi had died aged 127 in Bahla, making him Oman’s oldest human being, if not the world’s.
In fact, had Al Qasabi actually made it to 127, he would be eligible for a place in the Guinness Book of World Records, which currently records that the oldest living human being lived to the age 122.
“Our grandfather was not 127,” said Abdullah Al Qasabi, the deceased’s grandson. Al Qasabi’s grandson confirmed his age at time of death to be 110.
Al Qasabi had nine children, six of whom died before him, 34 grand-children and 42 great-grandchildren. The age difference — at the time of death — between him and his youngest great-grandchild was 109 years and 10 months.
“Three of his children are currently alive and six are dead. His youngest great grandchild is two months old,” Abdullah said.
Longevity could be in Al Qasabi’s blood as his father lived to the age of 95, but nobody is quite sure as no birth certificate exists. Because of his age, Al Qasabi never had a birth certificate, but did receive a Certificate of Appreciation Age, from the government.
“During that time there was no such thing as a birth certificate, but we calculated his age based on the information we know of his father. The age difference between our grandfather Salim and his father is 16 years, which would make our father 110 at the time of his death.” Abdullah added.
Describing the conditions that led to Salim’s death, Abdullah said: “As he got up to turn on the fan, he broke his thigh. When we sent him to the hospital it was discovered that he had to undergo an operation. After the tests, the results showed that he had many infections, including a chest infection, and they had to give him a breathing pipe. The hospital waited for him to get better, but his condition became unstable and he passed away on September 11.”
He said: “Salim was born in Oman in 1907. He lived in Zanzibar for 22 years, then came back to Oman to live out the rest of his life.”
“Before his death, Al Qasabi was hospitalised at the Nizwa Hospital for a total of 24 days. Of those, he spent 21 days in the intensive care unit.
“Throughout the years, my grandfather has always been a happy person, kind to people. He worked hard to provide for his family," said Al Qasabi’s 38-year-old grandson Abdullah.
According to his grandson, Al Qasabi did a few things that could have contributed to his long life. “He would sleep by 9pm and wake up every morning to sunrise for Fajir prayers. My grandfather also had dates and coffee daily.
“Walking and being active could also, be a factor. He never likes using cars, he was very active and sociable, people enjoyed having his company,” Abdullah added.
Al Qasabi was a successful businessman in Zanzibar, trading in cloves and other goods. “His popularity and close relations with the Zanzibari people helped him to escape during the revolution, and return to Oman.
“He was an honest man, who always paid his employees on time, and treated them well,” Abdullah added.