Dr. Dahesh: The Astonishing Lebanese Author and Miracle Worker.
Dr. Dahesh, originally named Salim Musa Al-Ashi, was a highly productive Lebanese writer and renowned figure known for his purported miracles. At the young age of 21, he adopted the name Dahesh, which means “Astounder” or “Astonisher” in Arabic, an appropriate choice considering the extraordinary events that unfolded throughout his life.
On March 23, 1942, Dr. Dahesh introduced Daheshism, a belief system that encompassed concepts such as the existence and immortality of the spirit, reincarnation, the interconnectedness of major religions, spiritual causality, and karma. Over the course of his remarkable writing career, Dr. Dahesh produced more than 150 works, including essays, poetry, short stories, novels, and an autobiography.
Although the name “Dahesh” may not be widely recognized today, it held a sense of awe and even fear for those who grew up in the 1950s and 1970s. However, the younger generation today is largely unfamiliar with Salim Musa Al-Ashi, the individual behind the enigmatic figure known as “Dahesh.”
At the age of three, young Salim fell ill and was admitted to the American University Hospital in Beirut. Remarkably, during his time at the hospital, he astounded doctors and nurses by conversing fluently in English, accurately describing his condition, and suggesting appropriate treatments. While the media landscape of that era differed significantly from today, the accounts of the doctors and nurses involved were documented in their memories and Lebanese newspapers.
In 1930, at the age of twenty, Salim Al-Ashi embarked on a journey to France, where his extraordinary ability to transcend the laws of nature captivated many. The Parisian Sage Institute honored him with an honorary doctorate in psychological research, as evidenced in various sources, including the House of the Soaring Eagle in Beirut.
Numerous articles, including those published in the Lebanese magazine Al-Hawadith, chronicled the extraordinary feats attributed to Dahesh. It was said that he could transform ordinary paper into currency, effortlessly converting it into dollars or Lebanese pounds. Witnesses claimed to have witnessed wood magically turning into gold in his presence. Furthermore, he possessed the uncanny ability to locate and return lost items, such as rings, watches, coats, long after their owners had given up hope.
Legends of Dahesh’s supernatural exploits continue to circulate, particularly in the neighborhoods surrounding Beirut’s renowned Al-Hamra Street, where he once resided. One captivating tale recounts an incident at a local barber shop in 1968. Faced with a crowded shop, Dahesh requested a haircut but was asked to return after an hour or two. Astonishingly, he handed his head to the barber, explaining that he would retrieve it upon his return. This bewildering display left witnesses in awe and further solidified Dahesh’s reputation as an enigmatic figure capable of defying the laws of nature.
Another astounding event involving Dahesh took place in France. In the presence of ten experts in supernatural phenomena, the twenty-year-old Dahesh challenged them to seal him inside a bag, submerge it in the Seine River for a week, and keep it under constant surveillance. When the bag was eventually recovered, Dahesh emerged completely dry, with a smile on his face, defying the very laws of nature that govern us.
To his followers, known as Daheshites, this mysterious man embodied a spiritual figure who promoted peace and rejected hatred, religious divisions, and wars. However, the media often portrayed Daheshism and its adherents negatively, leading to a distorted perception of their beliefs. During his time in the Zaqak el-Blat area in downtown Beirut, many sought blessings from Dahesh at his residence, which remains standing but has long been abandoned. Today, local residents attribute a haunting presence to the house, and children are afraid to approach it.
Dr. Dahesh passed away in 1984 in a New York State hospital due to bone thrombosis. His embalmed body was laid to rest in his former residence, which has since been transformed into a museum dedicated to preserving his life and teachings.
According to Dahesh’s own accounts, he faced persecution from Beshara Al-Khoury, the President of the Republic at the time, who stripped him of his Lebanese nationality and expelled him from the country. These actions were a response to the adoption of Dahesh’s doctrine by his sister-in-law, Mary Shiha Haddad, a prominent writer who recognized the unity of all religions and their divine origin. The saga took a tragic turn when Mary attempted to assassinate President Al-Khoury, leading to her confinement in the Deir al-Saleeb sanatorium, where she ultimately took her own life.
It is worth noting that after his exile, Dahesh and his followers journeyed to Azerbaijan, where he faced a death sentence for his unconventional message that challenged monotheistic religions. Astonishingly, there are accounts suggesting that Dahesh possessed six distinct personalities. In a truly perplexing turn of events, while one of his personalities was executed by a firing squad in Azerbaijan in 1948, Dahesh himself was unharmed, located elsewhere in the world.
While some may approach this information with skepticism or amusement, it has been chronicled in books and even featured in a television episode dedicated to unraveling the life and teachings of Dahesh. The archives of Lebanese newspapers and publications, including the works from the Dahesh Publications House, provide further insights into the extraordinary phenomenon surrounding this enigmatic individual.
Dr. Dahesh’s legacy continues to captivate the imagination of those who delve into the tales of his miracles and marvel at his incredible artistic works. His mysterious persona invites discussions and explorations into the vast potential of the human spirit and the enduring mysteries that lie beyond our understanding.