Taher Saifuddin

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Syedna Taher Saifuddin
51st Da'i al-Mutlaq of the Dawoodi Bohra
Taher Saifuddin.jpg
Born (1888-08-04)4 August 1888
Surat, British Raj
Died 12 November 1965(1965-11-12) (aged 77)
Matheran, India
Resting place
Raudat Tahera, Mumbai
Organization Chancellor, Aligarh (1953-65)
Style His Holiness
Term 1915–1965
Predecessor Abdullah Badruddin
Successor Muhammad Burhanuddin
Religion Islam
Denomination Dawoodi Taiyabi Mustaali Ismaili Shia
Spouse(s) Aaisaheba Husaina
Children Muhammad (b. 1915)
Khuzaima (b. 1940)
Parents Mohammad Burhanuddin
Aaisaheba Amatullah

Syedna Taher Saifuddin[1] (سيدنا طاهر سيف الين, 4 August 1888 – 12 November 1965) was an Indian-born leader, the 51st Da'i al-Mutlaq of the Dawoodi Bohra sect. He was the son of the 49th Da'i al-Mutlaq Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin, whose family lineage can be traced back to Syedi Fakhruddin Shaheed. He became the 51st Da'i al-Mutlaq in 1915. He was known as the shams (sun) amongst the Da'i al- Mutlaq.[clarification needed] He was chosen by the Imam in seclusion to be his saif (sword) to fight the enemies. That is the reason why he was named 'Saifuddin' which means, 'the sword of Deen (religion)[2]

Being born in the house of Da'i al-Mutlaq, he was closely associated with the members of the Dawoodi Bohra sect from a very early age. His father became the 49th Da'i al-Mutlaq when he was very small. His father entrusted Syedi Abdeali Moiyuddin[who?] to teach him certain knowledge imparted by the 43rd Da'i al-Mutlaq Syedna Abdeali Saifuddin.[1]

He married Aaisaheba Husaina Aaisaheba and settled in Surat.

Having served his father when he was the 49th Da'i al-Mutlaq, and later the 50th Da'i al-Mutlaq Syedna Abdullah Badruddin, Saifuddin became 51st the Da'i al-Mutlaq at the age of 28 years.

He had the longest tenure of more than 52 years as the Da'i al-Mutlaq. In 1942 his speech in Arabic was broadcast on Radio Ceylon.[3] In 1958 he delivered a speech on the life of Maulana Ali which was broadcast on radio.[4]

He remained as the Da'i al-Mutlaq till 1965. On 12 November he died and was succeeded by his son, the 52nd Da'i al-Mutlaq Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin.[5]

Early life[edit]

Taher Saifuddin was born to the 49th Da'i al-Mutlaq Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin and Aaisaheba Amatullah Aaisaheba in Surat, a city in the state of Gujarat, India.

Taher Saifuddin became well accustomed to various norms of the Dawoodi Bohra sect under the guidance of his father. He was just 8 years old when his mother Aaisaheba Amatullah Aaisaheba died. At the age of 15 years his father took his misaq (equivalent to confirmation in Christianity and also includes a pledge) and at the age of 17 years he was conferred with Hadiyat (a title for the learned). His father died when he was 18 years, and from then on he was taken care of and educated by his uncle the 50th Da'i al-Mutlaq Syedna Abdullah Badruddin, who raised him to the position of Raas ul Hudood (a high-ranking position) when he was 28 and later in the same year did nas upon him in Dumas, Gujarat.[1]

Abdullah Badruddin arranged his marriage with Aaisaheba Husaina Aaisaheba at a very early age. She gave birth to Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin,[6] who went on to become the 52nd Da'i al-Mutlaq.

Da'i al-Mutlaq[edit]

Taher Saifuddin became the 51st Da'i al-Mutlaq in the year 1915.

In 1928 he sent foodstuffs and grains to Yemen during the drought.[7]

Syedna Taher Saifuddin also shifted the headquarters of the community from Surat to Mumbai after purchasing Saifee Mahal, a place where his father used to stay when he visited Mumbai.[8] He also shifted all the offices of the Dawoodi Bohra sect to Mumbai.

He also concentrated on the spiritual growth of the members of the community. He completely restructured the Dars us Saifi in Surat and renamed it as Al Jamea tus Saifiyah.[4] He created a curriculum for learning, making knowledge available to every person in the community. He also perfected the syllabus of the madrasas.

He made many monumental structures in Islamic religious places and also replaced or made new artifacts used at the site of the tombs of Islamic religious heads and others. He also built many masjids and schools.[9]

In 1953 he established Rasme Saifee an event where marriage (nikah) of couples are solomised in group in the presence of Da'i al-Mutlaq and with his blessings. In the first event 100 marriages were performed.[10]

Taher Saifuddin was the chancellor of the Aligarh Muslim University for four consecutive terms.[11]

He also started the custom of waaz (sermon) for all nine days instead of just one day of Ashura (the tenth day of the first month Moharram ul Haram of the Hijri Calendar) as was prevalent before.

He did nas on his son Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin at a very early age.[12]

Syedna Taher Saifuddin died on 12 November 1965 (19th Rajab 1385 Hijri) in Matheran.[13]

Family[edit]

Saifuddin married Aaisaheba Husaina Aaisaheba, who was also from the family of Da'i al-Mutlaq. The couple had a son, Mohammed Burhanuddin who later became the 52nd Da'i al-Mutlaq of Dawoodi Bohra community.

Achievements[edit]

Preserver of Fatemi Architecture[edit]

Taher Saifuddin name recorded at Aqsa Mosque tomb
Zarih Imam Husain built by Syedna Taher Saifuddin

Taher Saifuddin rebuilt or repaired many monuments of Fatemi Imams, Da'i al-Mutlaq and other prominent structures and artifacts.[14] The major among them being

  • The internal curtains of the Kaabah
  • Qubba Najmiyah in Ujjain
  • Qubba of Syedi Hasanfeer Shaheed
  • Qubba of Syedna Qutbuddin Saheed
  • Zarih of Maulana Ali[15]
  • Donated significant amount for restoration of Al-Masjid al-Aqsa for which as an acknowledgement his name was recorded on the Al -Masjid al-Aqsa.
  • Imam Husayn Shrine at Karbala.[16] Presented in 1939 AD/1358AH a set of screens made with 500 gold coins (6 kg) and 200 thousand silver coins (2.4 Tons) and beautified with precious gems.

Later minted coins of old zarih of Imam Husain and distributed among members of the Dawoodi Bohra sect as memorabilia and good fortune with the blessings of Imam Husain.[17]

He also built Masjids to facilitate the performance of prayers of the members of the Dawoodi Bohra sect the prominent among them are

  • Taheri Masjid at Malabar Hill in Mumbai,[18]
  • Masjid in Karachi,
  • Masjid in Hydrabad and
  • Al-Masjid al-Fatemi in Surat.

He also built educational institutions like

  • Saifee Girls High School, Mumbai and
  • reconstructed Al Jamea tus Saifiyah, Surat

Ambassador of Dawoodi Bohra sect[edit]

Syedna Saifuddin as Chancellor of Aligarh University, conferring the degree of Doctor of Laws (honoris causa) on King Saud of Saudi Arabia.

Syedna Taher Saifuddin visited many places in different countries in an effort to improve the relationship of the Dawoodi Bohra community with the Government of the respective countries so that they accommodate the members of the Dawoodi Bohra sect when they visit those countries for business or pilgrimage. The prominent among these places are

  • Karbala al-Moalla,
  • Najaf e Ashraf,
  • Mecca and Madina, where he authenticated the location of Ghadir e Khumm,
  • al-Moizziyah al-Qaherah,
  • Karachi,
  • Hong Kong
  • Europe and
  • East Africa.

He also improved relationships between the said country and members of Dawoodi Bohra sect by conducting Ashura or Milad celebrations in the said country as such celebrations entailed enormous gathering of the members of the Dawoodi Bohra sect which not only boosted the local economy but also created new business opportunities.

Syedna Taher Saifuddin welcomed the King Saud of Saudi Arabia and Shah of Iran at Saifee Mahal, Mumbai. This improved the relationship between Dawoodi Bohra sect and these two countries.

Writer and teacher[edit]

Taher Saifuddin was a prolific scholar who wrote more than 40 volumes of books and have written more than 10000 verses pertaining to the different aspects of the Dawoodi Bohra sect.[1] Much of his works are part of the sylabus in the different branches of Al Jamea tus Saifiyah.

Aligarh Muslim University offered Taher Saifuddin[19] Doctorate of Theology and also offered Chancellorship of Aligarh Muslim University which Syedna Taher Saifuddin accepted and remained as a Chancellor till his demise for three consecutive terms.

Death[edit]

Tomb of Syedna Saifuddin.

Syedna Taher Saifuddin died on 12 November 1965 at the age of 77.

See also[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Abdul Qaiyum Mulla Habibullah, His Holiness Syedna Taher Saifuddin Saheb, Dai-ul-Mutlaq of Dawoodi Bohra, Dawoodi Bohra Book Depot Publications,1953.
  • Syedna Taher Saifuddin: A Philosophical Discourse, Al Jamea tus Saifiyah Publications 1963.
  • Life and Works of His Holiness Syedna Dr. Taher Saifuddin Saheb, Leader Press Pvt. Ltd. Publications.
  • Jafar us Sadiq Mufaddal Saifuddin, Al Aqmar: A Living Testimony to the Fatemiyeen, Al Jamea tus Saifiyah Publications, 2000.
  • Jafar us Sadiq Mufaddal Saifuddin, Al Juyushi: A Vision of the Fatemiyeen, Al Jamea tus Saifiyah Publications, 2002.
  • Mustafa Abdulhussein, Al-Dai Al-Fatimi Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin: An Illustrated Biography, Al Jamea tus Saifiyah Publications.
  • Jonah Blank, Mullahs on the Mainframe: Islam and Modernity among Daudi Bohras University of Chicago Press Publications, 2001.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Hozefa Mohiyuddin, Tufatuh ale Akhbaare Hudat, Al Jamea tus Saifiyah Publication, 1995, pg. 109
  2. ^ Hozefa Mohiyuddin, Tasbeeh al Mafakhir, Neelam Publication, 2012, pg. 66
  3. ^ Hozefa Mohiyuddin, Tasbeeh al Mafakhir, Neelam Publication, 2012, Section Timeline pg. 22
  4. ^ a b Hozefa Mohiyuddin, Tasbeeh al Mafakhir, Neelam Publication, 2012, Section Timeline pg. 27
  5. ^ Hozefa Mohiyuddin, Tasbeeh al Mafakhir, Neelam Publication, 2012, Section Timeline pg. 29
  6. ^ Hozefa Mohiyuddin, Tasbeeh al Mafakhir, Neelam Publications, 2012, Section Timline pg. 16
  7. ^ Hozefa Mohiyuddin, Tasbeeh al Mafakhir, Neelam Publication, 2012, Section Timeline pg. 19
  8. ^ (many authors, 'Saifee Mahal (Mumbai)', wikimapia.org, date reverted 22 February 2014)
  9. ^ Hozefa Mohiyuddin, Tufatuh ale Akhbaare Hudat, Al Jamea tus Saifiyah Publication, 1995, pg. 110
  10. ^ Hozefa Mohiyuddin, Tasbeeh al Mafakhir, Neelam Publication, 2012, Section Timeline pg. 25
  11. ^ (Dr. Rahat Abrar (PRO), Chancellors of AMU, www.amu.ac.in, 22 February reverted)
  12. ^ Hozefa Mohiyuddin, Tasbeeh al Mafakhir, Neelam Publication, 2012, Section Timeline pg. 20
  13. ^ (Webzone, H. H. Dr Syedna Taher Saifuddin Memorial Foundation, www.matheranmemorialhall.com, 22 February reverted)
  14. ^ "Sheikh al Doat al Mutlaqeen: Syedna Taher Saifuddin (R.A) - Anjuman-e-Najmi". Sfjamaat.org. Retrieved 2014-03-12. 
  15. ^ Hozefa Mohiyuddin, Tasbeeh al Mafakhir, Neelam Publication, 2012, Section Timeline pg. 23
  16. ^ Hozefa Mohiyuddin, Tasbeeh al Mafakhir, Neelam Publication, 2012, Section Timeline pg. 21
  17. ^ Hozefa Mohiyuddin, Tasbeeh al Mafakhir, Neelam Publication, 2012, Section Timeline pg. 28
  18. ^ Hozefa Mohiyuddin, Tasbeeh al Mafakhir, Neelam Publication, 2012, Section Timeline pg. 18
  19. ^ Hozefa Mohiyuddin, Tasbeeh al Mafakhir, Neelam Publication, 2012, Section Timeline pg. 24

External links[edit]

Da'i al-Mutlaq of Dawoodi Bohra sect
Preceded by
Syedna Abdullah Badruddin
Da'i al-Mutlaq
1915-1965
Succeeded by
Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin