Prominent sheikh dies of Covid-19

Sheikh Seraj Hendricks from the Azzawia Institute.

A prominent Islamic scholar and spiritual leader, from Walmer Estate, has died after a long battle with Covid-19.

Sheikh Seraj Hendricks, 63, had spent four weeks in the Netcare Christiaan Barnard Memorial Hospital’s ICU before succumbing on Thursday July 9, said family spokesman Shafiq Morton.

His wife, Rhoda, had also been admitted to the hospital with Covid-19 but had recovered.

Sheikh Hendricks served as the imam of Walmer Estate’s Azzawia Institute for more than 30 years.

The institute, which celebrates the 100th anniversary of its founding this year, is both a mosque and a place of Islamic scholarship.

A statement from the institute said Sheikh Hendricks’s death left a void in the Cape’s Muslim community.

Sheikh Hendricks’ brother, Sheikh Ahmad Hendricks, also works at the institute.

Sheikh Hendricks was also dean of the Madina Institute in Cape Town and supervisor of a Honours course at the International Peace College of South Africa in Gatesville.

He was the leader of the Crescent Observer Society, which observes the new moon for the Islamic lunar calendar. The Muslim Judicial Council said the country had lost a prominent scholar and luminary who had contributed greatly to the religious, spiritual and intellectual development of the community.

“He leaves behind a wonderful legacy of pursuit of knowledge, teaching, spirituality and dedication to his masjid and his community,” an unsigned statement said.

Mogamed Buffkins was among those who posted Facebook tributes. He said it was a blessing and an honour to have grown up with Sheikh Hendricks.

Mogamat Salih Davids said, “He was a scholar of note and I commemorate his life, his teachings and his guidance with many all over the world.”

Zaid Dante said Sheikh Hendricks had been a great scholar, a real gentleman and a spiritual guide for the many who had sat at his feet.

Mr Morton said Sheikh Hendricks would be remembered as an intellectual giant and a jewel of the Muslim community.

“He was a very humble person, had a tremendous amount of
humility and was always approachable.”

In his free time, Sheikh Hendricks had enjoyed playing video games and reading science-fiction novels, he said.

Close family attended Sheikh Hendricks’s janaazah at Mowbray Muslim Cemetery on Friday morning, July 10 .

Sheikh Hendricks is survived by his wife, Rhoda, and children Rashid, Alia and Nuha.