Tribute to Mawlana Ihsaan Hendricks aka Abu Yusuf Saleh

Mawlana Ihsan Hendricks seen here with Ismail Hania of Hamas

On Friday 10th August 2018 Moulana Ihsaan Hendricks passed away in Cape Town bringing with it a profound loss to the Muslim Ummah in South Africa. In a fitting tribute at his Janaza, former Ambassador Ebrahim Rasool lamented the loss of knowledge, intellect, intelligence, strategy and direction that his death has brought to the community. He did in his short life what others would do in a hundred years. Moulana championed against of injustice and was concerned, locally, about the plight of South Africans and internationally, the Palestinians.

Rasool went on to add that the Moulana was not interfaith because he put on the coat of interfaith, but interfaith because his Christian grandmother took him to madressah every day. He went on to add that whilst others were looking for their white, French or Dutch parentage, the Moulana was proud of his Koi-San heritage and embraced all cultures. He was also not political because it was fashionable, but because he joined the liberation movement in Worcestor at an early age. He shunned people with degrees and titles and stood with those who sought justice. He lived up to the description of knowledge in the Qur’an. Rasool went on to beseech the Almighty to reward the Moulana abundantly and that his name “Ihsaan”, which appears in Sura Ar-Rahman, was fitting in that the reward for Ihsaan is only goodness. Concluding, Rasool said that now that the Moulana is no longer with us, he has indeed passed on his baton to all of us and that he relegates his qualities of justice, peace and character in all of us.

On social media, Professor Ebrahim Moosa posted that he had lost a wonderful, caring and justice-loving friend. He went on to add that “Moulana Ihsaan was born in Worcester, and trained as a traditional alim, a scholar of Islam, at Darul Uloom Newcastle in Kwazulu-Natal and at the Darul Uloom Nadwatul Ulama in Lucknow, India. He was a stoic fighter for justice for all dispossessed people, be they in South Africa, Palestine or elsewhere in the world. He was passionate about two things: justice and knowledge. And true to the meaning of his name, he oozed the beauty of character, generosity of spirit and grace.

Contrary to what many might think of most traditional scholars, Moulana Ihsaan was an extremely open-minded person. He listened to different points of view. He strongly believed that traditional Muslim scholars needed the best exposure to new knowledge and experiences.

“Moulana Ihsaan had the unique distinction of serving on the International Union of Muslim Scholars (IUMS) under the leadership of Shaykh Yusuf al-Qaradawi whom he admired and he also served as the representative of the World Alliance of Muslim Youth (WAMY) responsible for Central and West and Southern Africa.

“Moulana Ihsaan was ailing for some time with a variety of kidney and cardiac related ailments. Only a few days ago, on the day he was discharged from a long period of hospitalization, we spoke for almost 45 mins laying out plans to begin in earnest the work of Madressah Discourses and he made me promise that we would work together on this initiative.

“He and I were of one mind that it was fruitless and destructive to engage in the demonization of different Muslim perspectives, especially the disastrous sectarian conflict and tensions between Sunni and Shia theological tendencies. He would agree with me, I know, that the best response to sectarian outrage is to show self-restraint. I will miss him, his laughter, sense of humour, brilliant mind, his humanity and the capacious knowledge he shared with all.”

Indeed, we will all miss him and, in the words of Abu Tammam,

“Far be it, that time will ever bring forth the likes of him

Time is stingy in sharing the likes of him.”

“From Allah we come and unto Allah is our return”

Go well our friend, hamba kahle, habibi Ihsan!

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