On 14 September 2018, the Islamic Forum hosted a tribute to Marhoom Suleman Lockhat. The proceedings were fittingly held at the Suleman Lockhat Auditorium, based at the Mariam Bee Sultan Centre in Kenilworth Road. A Disclaimer was articulated that is neither from the Islamic traditions, nor customs, to eulogise the deceased, but that the programme was to use the benchmark of this servant of humanity, and sublime personality, to measure our own being and life in this ephemeral world, in relation to the mandate for our existence.
In attendance were many of his former colleagues, associates (both from the legal fraternity and Islamic organisations), friends and well-wishers. The programme commenced with a Qirah by Hafez Shu’iab Moola who appropriately and mellifluously recited Ayahs 153- 157 of Surah Baqarah. Senior scholar Sheikh Ashraff Nasser then delivered a talk titled “Living and Dying as a Muslim”, which elucidated the Divine rationale for the existence of man on Earth. The talk compellingly advanced the evidenced obligation, from Qur’an and Seerah, for the injunction for mans’ existence as his Social Compact with humanity. This obligation was legislated immediately after belief (tawheed) and the articles of faith.
Following the presentation by Sheikh Ashraff, an opportunity was extended to some of his colleagues and associates to recall their memories of Suleman. Advocate Thuthuka Ngwenya, Deputy Master of the KwaZulu-Natal High Court in Pietermatizburg, movingly recounted how Suleman afforded him articles when he was unable to secure a position. Advocate Ngwenya recalled lovingly Suleman’s generosity of spirit and how Suleman advanced his protégé’s legal knowledge and experience by constantly “throwing him in the deep end”. He recalled further how Suleman kept and maintained contact with him even when he moved on in his profession. A long-standing associate, partner and friend of Suleman, Attorney Mr Bill Gounden, paid tribute to Suleman with recollections of the years when they studied and qualified as attorneys. He recollected how Suleman’s friendship transcended a simple fraternal association and that is what elevated his esteem of Suleman to being a unique human being.
Sheik Saad Altalib, a longstanding associate of Suleman in the Islamic and Dawah movement, movingly described his long-standing relationship with Suleman from decades past. He credited Suleman with planting and germinating many of the seeds of what are today trees benefitting the Ummah. Sheikh Saad emotionally described the sincerity, dedication, commitment and consistency of Suleman in all that his did. Sheikh Saad pointed to the selflessness and humility that distinguished Suleman as a committed servant of the Deen and humanity. It was these personality traits he manifested, together with his sincerity, that will entrench his memory far into the future
Nasser Seedat, son-in-law of Suleman, responded to the tributes paid to his late father-in-law. He attested that, away from the public eye, Suleman was all the more a gentle soul with his family. He exuded deep love and compassion for his immediate and extended family, and went beyond the normal call of duty in his care and love for his late mother. This bore testimony that “Solly” was the genial spirit both in his public and private life.
A commemorative brochure of the life and times of Suleman, researched by Professor Goolam Vahed was distributed. The proceedings closed with a dua by Sheikh Abdullah Khair.