سيّدنا طاهر سيف الدِّين
|Preceded by||Abdullah Badruddin|
|Succeeded by||Mohammad Burhanuddin|
4 August 1888
|Died||12 November 1965 (aged 77)|
|Resting place||Raudat Tahera, Mumbai|
|Chancellor, Aligarh Muslim University|
|Preceded by||Raza Ali Khan|
|Succeeded by||Hafiz Saeed Ahmad Khan|
Taher Saifuddin (4 August 1888[a] – 12 November 1965), also known as Tahir Sayf al-Din, was the 51st and longest serving Da'i al-Mutlaq of the Dawoodi Bohras. Saifuddin adapted the modernisation in Western and European ideas, and established its benefits for the Bohras, whilst still steeped in the traditions and the culture of the community's Fatimid heritage. Saifuddin laid substantial groundwork in terms of philanthropy, education, entrepreneurship, social outreach, political outreach, and community upliftment upon which his successors, Mohammed Burhanuddin and Mufaddal Saifuddin, continued to build, resulting in unprecedented era of prosperity among the Dawoodi Bohras.
The Chandabhoy Galla Case
The Chandabhoy Galla Case set a significant precedent on the issue of a human's claim to being infallible, immaculate, executor of God's will, and trusteeship of God's funds. The case was filed in 1917, during the British rule of India, by Sir Thomas Strangman, the Advocate General of Bombay, at the behest of Adamjee Peerbhoy's family against the 51st Dai al-Mutlaq of the Dawoodi Bohra, Taher Saifuddin. In 1921, Saifuddin won the case on basis of the belief that Imam, as representative of the Prophet and through him the representative of God, having withdrawn from the world, must entrust someone to represent them-- to be a deity on earth-- the Dai al-Mutlaq (and hence Saifuddin), in accordance with the Tayyibi religious belief, is that sole representative. Upon conclusion of the case, Strangman noted:
- "Looking back on the proceedings, I think what impressed me the most, even more than the extravagance of the claims, was the personality of the Mullaji, a frail looking figure possessed nevertheless of an iron will, great determination, and organising capacity. At the time he assumed office the administration must have been extremely slack. Yet he managed in a very few years not only to pull the administration together but to obtain a hold upon his followers greater perhaps than that of any of his predecessors."
Contributions to Islamic Institutions
Saifuddin contributed vast sums of money towards the refurbishment of mosques and shrines. He along with the Nizam of Hyderabad were among the few Indian Muslims to contribute towards the renovation of Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem:
- Sultan Taher Saif al-Din is said to have come from India with one hundred and fifty of his followers...At the Jerusalem station he was welcomed by the Mufti and other Sheikhs of the Supreme Moslem Council and a number of Arab notables including Ragheb Bey Nashashibi. A troop of Arab boy scouts paraded in his honour and there were two bands from Moslem institutions...The sultan was reputed to be a man of great wealth who had made substantial contributions to the religious and political funds of the Arabs of this country.
Saifuddin constructed Ghurrat-ul Masajid (lit. 'Pride of Mosques'), also known as Saifee Masjid, in Mumbai, Al-Mahal al-Saifee (lit. 'Saifee Palace') for pilgrims in Mecca, the zarih of Ali Ibn Abi Talib in Najaf and Husayn ibn Ali in Karbala and Cairo, the mausoleum of Qutub Khan Qutub al-Din and Fakhr al-Din Shaheed. He also made and donated the kiswah for the Masjid al-Haram.[when?]
Saifuddin married Husaina Aaisaheba, who was also from the family of Da'i al-Mutlaq. After her death, he then married Vazira Aaisaheba, Fatima Aaisaheba, and Amina Aaisaheba.:535
Saifuddin fathered 12 sons and 8 daughters: His sons were Mohammed Burhanuddin, Husain Husamuddin,[b] Abdut Taiyeb Zakiyuddin, Yusuf Najmuddin,[c] Ismail Shehabuddin, Hatim Hamiduddin, Qasim Hakimuddin,[d] Aliasgar Kalimuddin,[e] Shabbir Nooruddin,[f] Abbas Fakhruddin,[g] Mohammed al-Baqir Jamaluddin, and Khuzaima Qutbuddin.[h] His daughters were Asma, Maryam, Khadijah, Zahra, Shireen, Banu, Fatema, and Zainab.
Rasāʾil Ramaḍāniyya (Epistles)
|ID||Title||Title (Romanticized)||Orig (AH)||Pub (AH)||Pub (CE)|
|STS 01||ضوء نور الحق المبين||Ḍawʾ nūr al-ḥaqq al-mubīn||1335|
|STS 02||ثمرات علوم الهدى||Ṯamarāt ʿulūm al-hudā||1337|
|STS 03||زهر رياض الازلية||Zahr al-riyāḍ al-azaliyya||1338|
|STS 04||درر البشارت||Durar al-bišārāt||1339|
|STS 05||المشرب الكوثري||Al-Mašrab al-kawṯarī||1340|
|STS 06||درر الهدى المضيئة||Durar al-hudā al-muḍīʾa||1341|
|STS 07||روض عالم القدس||Rawḍ ʿālam al-quds||1342|
|STS 08||غرفة جنة||Ġurfat ǧanna||1343|
|STS 09||غرة الحق||Ġurrat al-ḥaqq||1344|
|STS 10||ثمار جنات عدن طيبة||Ṯimār ǧannāt ʿadnin ṭayyiba||1345|
|STS 11||قطف شجرة خلدية||Qaṭf šaǧara ḫuldiyya||1346|
|STS 12||زبدة برهان الصدق الواضح||Zubdat burhān al-ṣidq al-wāḍiḥ||1347|
|STS 13||صبغ نور||Ṣibġ nūr||1348|
|STS 14||غرس الجنة||Ġars al-ǧanna||1349|
|STS 15||درر اسرار اْل الكرار||Durar asrār āl al-Karrār||1350|
|STS 16||نور روض الجنة||Nūr rawḍ al-ǧanna||1351|
|STS 17||بحر فضل كبير||Baḥr faḍl kabīr||1352|
|STS 18||مسرات الفتح المبين||Masarrat al-fatḥ al-mubīn||1353|
|STS 19||الباب حظيرة القدس||Al-Bāb ḥaẓīrat al-quds||1354|
|STS 20||كرامة العقول الوضية||Karāmat al-ʿuqūl al-waḍiyya||1355|
|STS 21||صفحات عرفات المعارف||Ṣafḥat ʿarafāt al-maʿārif||1356|
|STS 22||انهار رياض الجنة||Anhār riyāḍ al-ǧanna||1357|
|STS 23||سحب بركات الخلد||Suḥub barakāt al-ḫuld||1358|
|STS 24||ذات البركة||Ḏāt al-baraka||1359|
|STS 25||كوثر الخلد||Kawṯar ḫuld||1360|
|STS 26||روضة فردوس||Rawḍat firdaws||1361|
|STS 27||دلو غدير حق||Dalw Ġadīr ḥaqq||1362|
|STS 28||مشربة تسنيم نور||Mašrabat tasnīm nūr||1363|
|STS 29||سلسبيل حكم غدق||Salsabīl ḥikam ġadaq||1364|
|STS 30||سرر رشد مرفوعة||Surar rušd Marfūʿa||1365|
|STS 31||صور حوض مورود||Ṣuwar ḥawḍ mawrūd||1366|
|STS 32||تكبير سكينة فتح مبين||Takbīr sakīnat fatḥ mubīn||1367|
|STS 33||فلسفة فوز عظيم||Falsafat fawz ʿaẓīm||1368|
|STS 34||تذكرة لبيب||Taḏkirat labīb||1369|
|STS 35||سلسلة نعمة عظمى||1370|
|STS 36||نعم الصبغة الالهية||1371|
|STS 37||خزائن امام المتقين||1372|
|STS 38||مفاتيح ياقوتة الحمراء||1373|
|STS 39||نهر النور الشعشعاني||1374|
|STS 40||بلاغ الدعاة الفاطميين||1375|
|STS 41||اشعة الفيض الازلي||1376|
|STS 42||امثال سدرة المنتهى||Amṯāl sidrat al-muntahā||1377||1958|
|STS 43||روضة دار السلام||Rawḍat dār al-Salām||1378||1430||2009|
|STS 44||توحيد الملة البيضاء||Tawḥīd al-Millah al-Bayḍāʾ||1379||1431||2010|
|STS 45||بركات اصحاب التطهير||Barakāt Aṣḥāb al-Taṭhīr||1380||1432||2011|
|STS 46||كمال النعم السابغة||Kamāl al-Aiʿam al-Sābiġa||1381||1433||2012|
|STS 47||تسبيح ذهب القدس||Tasbīḥ ḏahab al-Quds||1382||1434||2013|
|STS 48||شموس بركات الربانيين||Shumūs Barakāt al-Rabbāniyīn||1383||1435||2015|
|STS 49||انهار فيوض الفاطميين||Anhār Fūyūz al-Fātimiyyīn||1384||1436||2016|
Saifuddin died on 12 November 1965 (19 Rajab al-Asab 1385H) at Matheran, a hill-station in Maharashtra, India. He is buried at Raudat Tahera, a mausoleum opposite Gurrat-ul Masajid in South Bombay, constructed by his successor, Mohammed Burhanuddin.
The Dandi Memorial
Saifuddin donated his home Saifee Villa in Dandi, Navsari where Gandhi stayed for ten days during his historic march from Sabarmati Ashram against the English Salt Laws, to Nehru in 1961, which was later converted into a National Museum. It lies adjacent to the 15-acre National Salt Satyagraha Memorial in Dandi inaugurated by Narendra Modi in 2019.
Saifuddin was instrumental in setting up over 350 co-ed institutes, some of which bear his name, including but not limited to: Aljamea-tus-Saifiyah in Surat, Saifee Hall in Calcutta, Saifiyah Girls School in Karachi, Saifi High in Mumbai, Saifee Nursery at Saifee Mahal in Mumbai, Saifee Eide Zahabi College in Karachi, Saifee Golden Jubilee Quaderia College in Burhanpur, Saifee Jubilee Arts and Commerce College in Sidhpur. Mohammed Burhanuddin later organized the schools under the banner of MSB Educational Institute (also known as Al Madrasa Tus Saifiya Tul Burhaniyah), which are affiliated with Indian Certificate of Secondary Education and, as of 2011, has branches in 22 cities across India, Pakistan, East Africa, and the Middle East. Burhanuddin organized the numerous religious schools world-wide known as Madrasas under the purview of the department of Attalim.
Saifuddin from his own personal wealth renovated Dars-e Saifee, an institution of Islamic studies, founded by his predecessor Abdeali Saifuddin c. 1810 in Surat, transformed it in to a University by introducing secular courses and establishing affiliations with international educational bodies, and consequently renamed it Aljamea-tus-Saifiyah (lit. 'The Saifiyah University').
Keeping in line with tradition of his predecessor, Ismail Badr al-Din I, the talabat al-ilm (lit. 'seekers of knowledge') of the institution were provided with lodging and meals at full cost to the office of Dai al-Mutlaq. To further inclusion and expansion, Saifuddin admitted to Aljamea its first female students. As is tradition, in his capacity as Dai al-Mutlaq, Saifuddin personally taught select classes at the newly renovated Academy. Saifuddin brought about a structural and functional change at Aljamea: He personally oversaw the standardization of the syllabus of each class and wrote numerous memoranda and treatises which were instilled into the curriculum. To this day, the treatises written by Saifuddin and his successors, Mohammed Burhanuddin and Mufaddal Saifuddin, are taught through the year and are central subjects of al-Imtihan al-Sanawi (lit. 'the annual exams'), among other religious and secular subjects.
After succeeding his father, Burhanuddin significantly expanded the reach of Aljamea: He added Mahad al-Zahra, an institute of Quranic studies c. 1976, re-renovated the Surat campus c. 1983, established campuses at Karachi c. 1983, Nairobi c. 2011, and Mumbai c. 2013. Aljamea and its graduates have since become integral to spiritual and temporal aspects of the Dawoodi Bohra community.
Aligarh Muslim University
The Syedna Taher Saifuddin School at Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) is named after him in his honour. Saifuddin was the longest serving chancellor at AMU at 12 years, and was a patron of the Ali Society at AMU.
Saifuddin founded Bunaiyat-tul-Eidiz-Zahabi, a volunteer-run organisation of Dawoodi Bohra Women, in the 1950s which set a precedent that led to formation of Burhani Womens Association by his son Burhanuddin; Happy Threads and Supermums by Mufaddal Saifuddin's daughter Umme Haani in 2010s, and The Radiant Arts by Mufaddal Saifuddin's daughter-in-law Zaenab Imaduddin.
In a similar vein, Saifuddin established an organisation of Dawoodi Bohra men, Shabab ul-Eid iz-Zahabi, during the Golden Jubilee celebrations of his 50 years in the office of Dai al-Mutlaq, exclusively for community service. Mohammed Burhanuddin would later found the Burhani Guards (for crowd-control at miqaats lit. 'religious events'), Tolaba ul-Kulliyat il-Mumenoon (of college and school students), Burhani Medical Idara (of medical professionals), Saifee Ambulance in India, and Burhani Ambulance in Pakistan (of paramedics and first responders). Mufaddal Saifuddin, on his first visit to North America, established Saifee Burhani Medical Association (America), on 14 March 2015.
To subsidize costs and facilitate marriages among the close knit Dawoodi Bohra, Saifuddin initiated Rasm-e Saifee (lit. 'The tradition of Saifee') in Jamnagar c. 1952 and later institutionalised it c. 1963. Rasm-e Saifee is a singular occasion when multiple Nikah are solemnized at the hands of the Da'i al-Mutlaq and his representatives. Burhanuddin further organized it under International Taiyseer al-Nikah Committee (ITNC) (lit. 'International Committee for Marriage Facilitation'), which organizes Rasm-e Saifee throughout the year at various miqaats (lit. '(religious) gatherings'). Burhanuddin's successor, Mufaddal Saifuddin, continues to uphold the tradition.
Saifee Hospital in Mumbai, inaugurated by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in 2005, was dedicated to Saifuddin by his successor, Mohammed Burhanuddin, who built the hospital in social service. Saifee Hospital was one of the first responders to 2008 Mumbai Terror Attacks. Another hospital of the same name was built by Mohammed Burhanuddin in Karachi and dedicated to his father.
In 2009 Mohammed Burhanuddin founded Saifee Burhani Upliftment Trust (SBUT), a large-scale cluster redevelopment project in Bhendi Bazaar and dedicated it to his father, Saifuddin. The Government of Maharashtra plans to develop Kamathipura, one of the oldest neighborhoods of South Mumbai, after the cluster redevelopment model pioneered by SBUT.
Saifuddin's urs (lit. 'death anniversary') is commemorated annually by the Dai al-Mutlaq at Saifee Masjid, South Bombay. Since 2014, Aljamea-tus-Saifiyah's annual examinations are conducted at the conclusion of Saifuddin's urs.
Shortly after Saifuddin's demise, on 18 March 1966 Mohammed Burhanuddin established His Holiness Dr. Syedna Taher Saifuddin Memorial Trust for educational and medicinal financial aid for institutions and individuals.
In memory of his father Burhanuddin set up Matheran Memorial Hall, a museum and lodging facility in the hill station of Matheran, where Saifuddin breathed his last.
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On the inauguration of the Golden Jubilee of Syedna Taher Saifuddin AQ accession to the office of Da’il Mutlaq in 1962, an organization for mumineen youth was founded. Named after the auspicious Golden Jubilee, Shabab-Ul-Eidiz-Zahabi began its operations in Karachi. This was followed by the creation of local chapters all over Bilaad Imaniyah, with Raza Mubarak of Syedna. Reorganization under Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin TUS further bolstered Shabab’s reputation for khidmat and jaafeshaani, under a central body.
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...by the Raza & Dua Mubarak of our beloved Aqa Moula Al-Hayyul Muqaddas Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin RA “BURHANI MEDICAL IDARA” was formed. On 11th Safarul Muzaffar 1424H. – worldwide Mumineen Doctor’s was blessed with Sharaf of Ziyafat of Al-Hayyul Muqaddas Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin RA. On this auspicious occasion BURHANI MEDICAL IDARA was officially announced in Doctor’s Ijtema in Surat.
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|Da'i al-Mutlaq of Dawoodi Bohra sect|
| 51st Da'i al-Mutlaq