Taher Saifuddin

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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 Syedna Abdullah Badruddin
Successor Mohammed Burhanuddin
Religion Islam
Denomination Dawoodi Taiyabi Mustaali Ismaili Shia
Spouse(s) Aaisaheba Husaina
Children Mohammed (b. 1915)
Khuzaima (b. 1940)
Parents Mohammad Burhanuddin
Aaisaheba Amatullah

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 Mohammed Burhanuddin, whose family lineage can be traced back to Syedi Fakhruddin Shaheed.

During his reign, Saifuddin grew ever more interested with Western and modern ideas, and over the course of it, he established a far-reaching modernisation of the Bohra community. This sets him apart from both his predecessor and his son and successor, both of whom have pursued policies of Islamization and a strong focus on tradition rather than modernization.[2]

Early life[edit]

Saifuddin was born to the father Mohammed Burhanuddin and mother Aaisaheba Amatullah Aaisaheba on 4 August 1888 in Surat, British Raj (now in the Indian state of Gujarat).

Da'i al-Mutlaq[edit]

Taher Saifuddin name recorded at Aqsa Mosque tomb

Saifuddin became the 51st Da'i al-Mutlaq in the year 1915. He rebuilt or repaired many monuments of Fatemi Imams, Da'i al-Mutlaq and other prominent structures and artifacts.[3]

He was the chancellor of the Aligarh Muslim University for four consecutive terms.[4] He was made honorary chancellor of this university, which had only few Bohra students, in 1953, after a series of "strategic donations" that bought him much goodwill in Congress circles, having earlier been accused of supporting the Muslim League before Partition.[5]


Taher Saifuddin drew harsh criticisms for claiming to be “Elahul-Ard” (God on this earth) in Bombay high court when a case was filed against him challenging his authority [1] he also claimed in the high court that he is accountable to no one and that he is master of the soul, mind, body and properties of his followers. He made it compulsory that every Bohra should call him/herself as “Slave of Sayedna” (Abd-e Sayedna(male) / Amat-e Syedna(female)) and perform “Sajda-e ‘Ubudiyat” (Prostration of Obedience) in front of him. He also claimed that he is “Qur’an-e Natiq (speaking Qur'an) and that the Quran in the present book form is a dead book.[6] Taher Saifuddin called himself “Da’i-ul-Mutlaq” (Absolute Da’i) and Sultan of the Bohras. He introduced an unconditional oath of allegiance (Misaq) which is compulsory for every Bohra to offer to the Da’i. The harsh conditions in Misaq made it an instrument of punishment. He started a practice of “Jama’at kharij” (excommunication).[6]

Personal life[edit]

Taher 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.


Saifuddin died on 12 November 1965 in Matheran, Maharastra, India.[7] His mausoleum is known as Raudat Tahera located in Mumbai.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Hozefa Mohiyuddin, Tufatuh ale Akhbaare Hudat, Al Jamea tus Saifiyah Publication, 1995, pg. 109
  2. ^ Jonah Blank (2001). Mullahs on the Mainframe: Islam and Modernity Among the Daudi Bohras. University of Chicago Press. p. 185. 
  3. ^ "Sheikh al Doat al Mutlaqeen: Syedna Taher Saifuddin (R.A) - Anjuman-e-Najmi". Sfjamaat.org. Retrieved 2014-03-12. 
  4. ^ (Dr. Rahat Abrar (PRO), Chancellors of AMU, www.amu.ac.in, 22 February reverted)
  5. ^ Hellen E. Ulrich, ed. (1975). Competition and Modernization in South Asia. Abhinav Publications. p. 158. 
  6. ^ a b "bohra-an-islamic-sect-reduced-to-a-cult". Milli Gazette. Retrieved 9 April 2014. 
  7. ^ (Webzone, H. H. Dr Syedna Taher Saifuddin Memorial Foundation, www.matheranmemorialhall.com, 22 February reverted)

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