Cape Town – Moulana Shaykh Ihsaan Hendricks al-Nadwi, former Muslim Judicial Council (MJC) leader and prominent Islamic scholar, passed away on Friday after a long illness. He was 54.
In a statement issued by human rights and Palestine solidarity organisation, BDS South Africa, Professor Farid Esack called Hendricks “a giant in the international Islamic scholarly community, a friend to the Palestinian people, an activist in the Palestine solidarity movement and a supporter of the BDS boycott of Israel campaign”.
“Hendricks was crucial in getting South African Muslims to see that while they should be inspired by their religious values (of justice and equality) to fight for the liberation of Palestine that that struggle and providing solidarity was not one essentially about Muslims but one of justice for all Palestinians regardless of faith (or none).
“He was an ally of Muslims, Christians and Jews; whoever was oppressed! He was a supporter of justice across the board,” Esack said.
The ANC also issued condolences to the Hendricks family, calling the late leader a “scholar and an activist in the Palestine solidarity movement.”
In a statement, ANC national spokesperson Pule Mabe said that Hendricks was a leader whose contribution would “forever be recognised as part of our history”.
“He dedicated his life to the fight for the liberation of the people of Palestine and was a supporter of the BDS [Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions] boycott of Israel campaign,” said Mabe.
ANC MOURNS THE PASSING OF MAWLANA HENDRICKS pic.twitter.com/WJeX484igY
Social media has been awash with tributes to Hendricks since news of his death first broke.
Council on International Relations is deeply pained and extends sincere condolences to the #South_Africa people, and the family of of Moulana Ihsaan #Hendricks who died on Friday night at the age of 54 years, after struggling with ill health. https://t.co/n6phKRHzLf pic.twitter.com/MzXfEhbuYq
The Ahmed Kathrada Foundation extends its condolences to the family of Moulana Ihsaan Hendricks, as well as to the staff & leadership of @mjc_sa which he was a former President of. Ml Hendricks was a vocal proponent and supporter of the Palestinian struggle for freedom.
Hendricks, originally from Worcester , studied at Nadwatul Ulama Seminary in Lucknow , India and played a major role in Muslim community matters in South Africa as President of the MJC.
Internationally, he was a leading member of the International Muslim Scholars Council and founder of the Al Quds Foundation in South Africa, which focused on both moral and material support for the Palestinian struggle.