SHAYKH SERAJ HENDRICKS, a luminous lamp in the shade of Table Mountain

: Hellyer (H.)

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51pp., illus., paperback, No Place, 2021


Shaykh Seraj Hendricks was one of the Resident Shaykhs at Azzawia Institute of Cape Town, and appointed representative (khalifa’) of Sayyid Muhammad b. Alawi al-Maliki, having studied in the Holy City of Makka for more than a decade. Shaykh Seraj died from Covid complications in July 2020, at the age of 64.

“In this tribute of reverence and love, Shaykh Dr Hisham A. Hellyer fulfills the time honoured tradition of recording in writing the biographies of luminaries who have passed on – most particularly, that of Shaykh Seraj Hendricks. He weaves into it the fascinating backstory of how the Muslims at the Cape, after two centuries of forced migration, isolation, social subjugation and enslavement, began, after the abolition of slavery in 1834, to reestablish links with the Muslim world, and specifically Makka. From this contact, the suppressed aspirations of Cape Muslims sprung into a resurgent and resilient tradition of scholarship that continues to the present day. Through this narrative Shaykh Dr Hisham has rightfully earned the gratitude of the Cape’s Muslims.” Maulana Taha Karaan, Mufti of the Muslim Judicial Council, Cape Town

“The iconic Azzawia Institute is situated on the slopes of the Table Mountain ampitheatre overlooking Table Bay where South Africa’s first Muslims arrived as slaves and exiles. Founded in 1920 by his grandfather, Shaykh Muhammad Salih Hendricks, the late Shaykh Seraj was steeped in his grandfather’s Makkan ethos and Ghazalian traditions. A scholar of note, an eloquent orator, a defender of social justice, a supporter of the creative arts, a spiritual beacon and a community leader, Shaykh Seraj was many things to many people. This brief bio-publication, a fitting tribute penned by Shaykh Dr Hisham A. Hellyer, gives the reader precious insights into the shining legacy of one of Cape Town’s finest sons.” Shafiq Morton, author and journalist, Voice of the Cape

British scholar and analyst Dr Hisham Hellyer is a Senior Associate Fellow in International Security Studies at the Royal United Services Institute in London and a scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. In 2020, Dr Hellyer was elected as Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts in London. He is editor of The Islamic Tradition and the Human Rights Discourse and author of A Sublime way, the Sufi path of the sages of Makkaa, Muslims of Europe, the "other" Europeans and A Revolution Undone, Egypt's road beyond revolt.