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Taher Saifuddin

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 Mohammed Burhanuddin, son
Spouse(s) Aaisaheba Husaina
Parent(s) Mohammad Burhanuddin
Aaisaheba Amatullah
Mausoleum 51st and 52nd Dai

Syedna Taher Saifuddin[1] (سيدنا طاهر سيف الدين, 4 August 1888 – 12 November 1965) was the 51st Da'i al-Mutlaq of the Dawoodi Bohras, a section within Shia Islam. 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, Taher Saifuddin RA adapted the modernisation in Western and European ideas, and over the course of it, he established its benefits for the Bohra community. This sets him an ideal for the mixture of modern isation, education while being rooted in the traditions and the culture of the Fatimi Heritage and his son and successor Syedna Mohammad Burhanuddin and grandson and his successor Syedna Aaliqadr Mufaddal Saifuddin have continued in his path taking giant strides in the benefit of the community. ,

Early life

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

Da'i al-Mutlaq

Taher Saifuddin name recorded at Aqsa Mosque tomb
grave seen from entrance raudat Tahera

Saifuddin became the 51st al-Dāʿī al-Mutlaq in the year 1915. He rebuilt or repaired many monuments of Fatimi Imams, al-Dāʿī al-Mutlaq and other prominent structures and artifacts.[2]

He was the Chancellor of the Aligarh Muslim University for four consecutive terms.[3][4] He was made honorary chancellor of this university, which had only few Bohra students.

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:[5] Sultan Tahir 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.[6]

Syedna Taher Saifuddin also gifted the internal curtains which were kept in the Kaaba for decades to King Abdul Aziz of Saudi Arabia in 1354AH, with whom he kept warm relations.[7]

He constructed Ghurratul Masajid (Saifee Masjid)[8][9] in Mumbai, al Mahal al Saifee[9] for pilgrims in Mecca, the Zarih of Ali Ibn Abi Talib in Najaf and Husayn ibn Ali in Karbala and Cairo,[9] the mausoleum of Qutubuddin Shaheed and Fakhruddin Shaheed.[9] He also made and donated the Kiswah of the Kaaba.[9]

Personal life

Syedna Taher Saifuddin married Aaisaheba Husaina Aaisaheba, who was also from the family of Da'i al-Mutlaq. After her death, he then married Wazeerah Aaisaheba, Fatema Aaisaheba and Amenah Aaisaheba.

He had a total of 12 sons and 8 daughters. His sons were Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin, Husain Husamuddin, Abdut Taiyeb Zakiyuddin, Yusuf Najmuddin, Ismail Shehabuddin, Hatim Hamiduddin, Qasim Hakimuddin, Aliasghar Kalimudddin, Shabbir Nooruddin, Abbas Fakhruddin, Khuzaima Qutbuddin and Mohammed al-Baqir Jamaluddin. His daughters were Asma Baisaheba, Maryam Baisaheba, Khadijah Baisaheba, Zahra Baisaheba, Shireen Baisaheba, Banu Baisaheba, Fatema Baisaheba and Zainab Baisaheba.[10]

Literary works

The following are a list of Rasāʾil Ramaḍāniyya composed by Taher Saifuddin . Each Risalah (epistle) is given a title gematrically equivalent to the Hijri year of its publication:[11][12]

1. Ḍawʾ nūr al-ḥaqq al-mubīn, 1335/1917.

2. Ṯamarāt ʿulūm al-hudā, 1337/1919.

3. Zahr al-riyāḍ al-azaliyya, 1338/1920.

4. Durar al-bišārāt, 1339/1921.

5. Al-Mašrab al-kawṯarī, 1340/1922.

6. Durar al-hudā al-muḍīʾa, 1341/1923.

7. Rawḍ ʿālam al-quds, 1342/1924.

8. Ġurfat ǧanna, 1343/1925.

9. Ġurrat al-ḥaqq, 1344/1926.

10. Ṯimār ǧannāt ʿadnin ṭayyiba, 1345/1927.

11. Qaṭf šaǧara ḫuldiyya, 1346/1928.

12. Zubdat burhān al-ṣidq al-wāḍiḥ, 1347/1929.

13. Ṣibġ nūr, 1348/1930.

14. Ġars al-ǧanna, 1349/1931.

15. Durar asrār āl al-Karrār, 1350/1932.

16. Nūr rawḍ al-ǧanna, 1351/1933.

17. Baḥr faḍl kabīr, 1352/1934.

18. Masarrat al-fatḥ al-mubīn, 1353/1934.

19. Al-Bāb ḥaẓīrat al-quds, 1354/1935.

20. Karāmat al-ʿuqūl al-waḍiyya, 1355/1936.

21. Ṣafḥat ʿarafāt al-maʿārif, 1356/1937.

22. Anhār riyāḍ al-ǧanna, 1357/1938.

23. Suḥub barakāt al-ḫuld, 1358/1939.

24. Ḏāt al-baraka, 1359/1940.

25. Kawṯar ḫuld, 1360/1941.

26. Rawḍat firdaws, 1361/1942.

27. Dalw Ġadīr ḥaqq, 1362/1943.

28. Mašrabat tasnīm nūr, 1363/1944.

29. Salsabīl ḥikam ġadaq, 1364/1945.

30. Surar rušd Marfūʿa, 1365/1946.

31. Ṣuwar ḥawḍ mawrūd, 1366/1947.

32. Takbīr sakīnat fatḥ mubīn, 1367/1948.

33. Falsafat fawz ʿaẓīm, 1368/1949.

34. Taḏkirat labīb, 1369/1950.

The following Risālas were each composed during the corresponding year but were posthumously published under the 52nd Dāʿī, Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin:[12]

42. Amṯāl sidrat al-muntahā, 1377/1958, Bombay, n.d.

43. Rawḍat dār al-salām, 1378/1959, Mumbai, 1430/2009.

44. Tawḥīd al-milla al-bayḍāʾ, 1379/1960, Mumbai, 1431/2010.

45. Barakāt aṣḥāb al-taṭhīr, 1380/1961, Mumbai, 1432/2011.

46. Kamāl al-niʿam al-sābiġa, 1381/1962, Mumbai, 1433/2012.

47. Tasbīḥ ḏahab al-quds, 1382/1963, Mumbai, 1434/2013.

The following Risālas were each composed during the corresponding year but were posthumously published under the 53rd Dāʿī, Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin:

48. Shumūs Barakāt al-Rabbāniyīn 1383/1964.[13]

49. Anhār Fūyūz al-Fātimiyyīn 1384/1965 انهار فيوض الفاطميين [14]

The Chandabhoy Galla Case

The Chandabhoy Galla Case is celebrated case in the history of religion where a human being is challenged for the representative of God on earth who is infallible and immaculate. The case was filed by the Advocate General of Mumbai at the behest of Adamjee Pirbhai family members against Syedna Taher Saifuddin. The case was filed in 1917 and decided in 1921. The claim was based on the belief of Imam as representative of the Prophet, and through him the representative of God, having withdrawn from the world, someone must represent him, and so ultimately the Deity on earth. The Dai, according to community religious belief, is that representative. The ownership of the Chandabhoy ‘Galla’( box kept for religious offerings) was denied on the plea of improper succession. [15] [16]

Concluding this extraordinary case then Advocate general Strangman remark about Syedna Taher saifuddin recorded is as follows [17] :

"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."

During testimony of 51st Dai Syedna Taher Saifuddin, he clarified about knowledge classes of 'Zahir', 'Tavil' and, 'Hakikat' present in community. First two are known to many but third one namely 'Hakikat' content some religious truths known to very few. Some of which are known to only 2 or 3 persons in community, and there is also knowledge which is available with Dai only, and he gets it from his predecessor Dai.[18]


Saifuddin died on 12 November 1965 in Matheran, Maharashtra, India.[19] His mausoleum is known as Raudat Tahera located in Mumbai, and was constructed by his successor, Mohammed Burhanuddin.

See also


  1. ^ Hozefa Mohiyuddin, Tufatuh ale Akhbaare Hudat, Al Jamea tus Saifiyah Publication, 1995, pg. 109
  2. ^ "Sheikh al Doat al Mutlaqeen: Syedna Taher Saifuddin (R.A) - Anjuman-e-Najmi". Retrieved 2014-03-12. 
  3. ^ (Dr. Rahat Abrar (PRO), Chancellors of AMU,, 22 February reverted)
  4. ^ "51st Dai at Aligarh". Retrieved 2016-07-27. 
  5. ^ []
  6. ^ []
  7. ^ []
  8. ^ "Saifee Masjid - Wikimapia". Retrieved 2016-07-27. 
  9. ^ a b c d e "The Dawoodi Bohras - al-da`i al-Mutlaq". Retrieved 2016-07-27. 
  10. ^ Indorewala, Haider; Indorewala, Saifuddin; Indorewala, Shabbir (1975). سيدنا طاهر سيف الدين ني حيوة طيبة ني ايك جهلك. Anjuman e Taiyebi - Indore. p. 49. 
  11. ^ ميزة مفتاح خزائن العلوم. Mumbai, India.: Aljamea-tus-Saifiyah, Badri Mahal. 
  12. ^ a b Traboulsi, Samer (2016). "Transmission of Knowledge and Book Preservation in the Ṭayyibī Ismāʿīlī Tradition". Intellectual History of the Islamicate World – via Brill. 
  13. ^ His Holiness, Syedna Aali Qadr Mufaddal Saifuddin Saheb (2015). شموس بركات الربانيين. His Holiness Syedna Aali Qadr Mufaddal Saifuddin Saheb, Badri Mahal, Mumbai, India, 1435H. 
  14. ^ His Holiness, Syedna Aali Qadr Mufaddal Saifuddin Saheb (1436H). انهار فيوض الفاطميين. His Holiness Syedna Aali Qadr Mufaddal Saifuddin Saheb, Badri Mahal, Mumbai, India. 
  15. ^ [1]; Mullahs on the Mainframe: Islam and Modernity Among the Daudi Bohras; By Jonah Blank; p-236,2001.
  16. ^ [2]; History A Modern History of the Ismailis: Continuity and Change in a Muslim Community; edited by Farhad Daftary 2010 - Social Science; egal battle with dissidents:-'chandbhai case, internal dissent: legitimacy of nass on abdul qadi nazmuddin –nazim dai 50 yearts'.
  18. ^ [4];Record No. 52; Syedna Taher Saifuddin’s RA Testimony in the Chandabhoy Galla Case 1920, pp. 280-284
  19. ^ (Webzone, H. H. Dr Syedna Taher Saifuddin Memorial Foundation,, 22 February reverted)

Further reading

Da'i al-Mutlaq of Dawoodi Bohra sect
Preceded by
Abdullah Badruddin
51st Da'i al-Mutlaq
Succeeded by
Mohammed Burhanuddin