Mohammed Burhanuddin

Mohammed Burhanuddin
52nd Dā'ī al-Mutlaq of the Dawoodi Bohra

delivering sermon during his Yemen visit in 2010
Born (1912-03-06)6 March 1912
Surat, Gujarat, British Raj
Died 17 January 2014(2014-01-17) (aged 101)
Malabar Hill, Mumbai, India
Cause of death Cardiac arrest[1]
Resting place Raudat Tahera, Mumbai
Style His Holiness
Term 1965–2014
Predecessor Syedna Taher Saifuddin
Successor Disputed between two claimants: Khuzaima Qutbuddin[2] and Mufaddal Saifuddin.[3][4][4][5]
Religion Islam (Dawoodi Taiyabi Mustaali Ismaili Shia)
Spouse(s) Aaisaheba Amatullah
Children Mufaddal Saifuddin, Qaidjoher Ezzuddin
Parent(s) Taher Saifuddin
Aaisaheba Husaina
Relatives Khuzaima (half-brother)
Taher (half-nephew)
Awards Star of Jordan, Order of the Nile[1]

Mohammed Burhanuddin (Arabic: سیدنا محمد برھان الدین; 6 March 1912 – 17 January 2014)[6] was the 52nd Dā'ī al-Mutlaq of Dawoodi Bohras, a subgroup within the Mustaali, Ismaili Shia branch of Islam.[7] He was appointed as the 52nd Dā'ī al-Mutlaq at the age of 52 in 1967.[8] He was the longest living Dā'ī al-Mutlaq of the Dawoodi Bohra community.[9][10] Upon the death of Burhanuddin the yet unresolved succession crisis owing to the 53rd Syedna succession controversy (Dawoodi Bohra) lead to two claimants vying for the post of Dā'ī of Dawoodi Bohra leading to various cases filed in Bombay High Court on the succession issue of Dawoodi Bohras. After the death of the claimant Khuzaima the succession suit is currently being led by Taher Fakhruddin the son of Khuzaima Qutbuddin.[11] Compared to those of his predecessor, Burhanuddin's policies were aimed at Islamization of his sect.[12]

Burhanuddin was presented the highest national civic honors by the leaders of Egypt and Jordan.[13] He was the first Dā'ī al-Mutlaq to visit Europe and America.[14]

Early life

Burhanuddin was born to Taher Saifuddin and Aaisaheba Husaina Aaisaheba in Surat in the Indian state of Gujarat.[10][15]:16 At the age of twelve, he survived a car accident in Colombo, Sri Lanka, where his vehicle got hung on one wheel.[16] He was educated by his father, Taher Saifuddin.[17]


Burhanuddin's reign as Dā'ī saw increased Islamization of the Bohras in the 1970s and 1980s. Among other things, he issued a dress code, calling for male Bohras to grow a beard and wear a white topi and kurta, and for females to wear a burqa. This Islamization countered a trend toward assimilation into the larger (Hindu-oriented) culture of their neighbors that was prevalent under his predecessor, Taher Saifuddin.[12]

In October 1999, Burhanuddin was elected Chancellor of the Aligarh Muslim University,[18] a position that his father also held. He is credited with expanding the two century old Arabic university Al Jamea tus Saifiyah. In 1983, a new campus of "Al Jamea tus Saifiyah" was built in Karachi by him.[17][19] He built "Burhaniyah Business Counselling Centre" in Mumbai to provide modern business solutions.[17] He built Raudat Tahera, a mausoleum of his father Taher Saifuddin in Mumbai, India. It is unique for its kind, having the entire Quran inscribed on its inner white walls in letters of gold and with precious stones.[17][20]

In 1998, he constructed the Mahad al-Zahra institute for memorization and recitation of the Quran.

Mohammed Burhanuddin is credited with the establishment of community kitchens to provide meals twice a day to the Dawoodi Bohra families, thus providing free time for women to pursue economic, educational or religious activities.[21][22] The community kitchens don't discriminate between the privileged and the underprivileged sections, both getting the same "good quality and hygienically-prepared" food,[23] while the community members have the provision of paying for their own family, and for sponsoring those who cannot afford it.[24]

Awards and honors


Burhanuddin died of cardiac attack at his home Saifee Mahal in Mumbai on 17 January 2014.[1] The Bohra community announced a 40-day mourning period in respect of the departed leader.[30] He was buried at Raudat Tahera Mausoleum in Bhendi Bazar, Mumbai beside his father Tahir Saifuddin.[25] His second son Mufaddal Saifuddin led the "Namaz-e-Janaza" (funeral procession) of his father at the Saifee Mosque.[25] Half mast of Flag and state honor was given by Indian Government during his funeral.[31]

The day after his death, a crowd of supporters assembled outside his residence to pay their respects; when the gates were opened to let them in, a human stampede ensued, killing eighteen people.[32] A commemoration service held one year after Burhanuddin's death drew an estimated three lakh people to Mumbai; two townships were built specially to accommodate them.[33]


Family tree of Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin

Burhanuddin did not publicly declare any successor as late as 2011 and there were fights between rival factions among Burhanuddin's several brothers and sons to succeed him as head of the vast empire he controls.[34]

After Burhanuddin suffered a stroke in June 2011 in London, Mufaddal Saifuddin was declared as his successor by Muffadal's brothers.[35] The Dawoodi Bohra community was informed of succession by the faction led by Mufaddal Saifuddin after Burhanuddin suffered a debilitating stroke which robbed him of speech[36][37] a group formed in 2013 in support of Burhanuddin's half-brother Khuzaima Qutbuddin, who was Mazoon, serving second under Dā'ī al-Mutlaq.[38]

After Burhanuddin's death in January 2014, Mufaddal took up the office,[1][38][39] Qutbuddin, claiming to have been appointed heir 50 years earlier in secrecy,[1][40][41] challenged Mufaddal's right to be Dā'ī in court.[39] Khuzaima also took the office as he 53rd Dā'ī of Dawoodi Bohras having two headquarters one in Thane and primary being in the ancestral headquarter Saify Mahal where Mufaddal also resides.

The faction of Dawoodi Bohras led by Qaid Johar Ezzuddin the brother of Mufaddal who follow Mufaddal Saifuddin supports Mufaddal Saifuddin as Dā'ī,[42] and have excommunicated Qutbuddin and his faction.[43]

See also


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 "Bohras protest Syedna's half-brother 's claim". The Times Of India. Retrieved 26 March 2014.
  2. "Late Syedna`s kin file complaint against Mufaddal`s followers | Zee News". 2014-07-05. Retrieved 2015-01-17.
  3. The author has posted comments on this article (2014-10-27). "2.5 lakh Dawoodi Bohras' arrival boosts business in Surat - The Times of India". Retrieved 2015-01-17.
  4. 1 2 "Syedna Aali Qadr Mufaddal Saifuddin | Free Press Journal". Retrieved 2015-01-17.
  5. Succession suit currently led by Taher Fakhruddin
  6. "The Dawoodi Bohras - The 52nd al-Da`i al-Mutlaq". Retrieved 2016-07-27.
  7. "Know 10 rare facts about Dawoodi Bohra leader Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin".
  8. "Know 10 rare facts about Dawoodi Bohra leader Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin". Retrieved 7 April 2014.
  9. "Know 10 rare facts about Dawoodi Bohra leader Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin".
  10. 1 2 "Know 10 rare facts about Dawoodi Bohra leader Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin". Retrieved 7 April 2014.
  11. "Syedna's death won't affect succession row in High Court". The Asian Age.
  12. 1 2 Blank, Jonah (2001). Mullahs on the Mainframe: Islam and Modernity Among the Daudi Bohras. University of Chicago Press. pp. 184–185. ISBN 0226056775.
  13. "18 killed in stampede in Mumbai ahead of spiritual leader Syedna's funeral". The Times Of India. Retrieved 7 April 2014.
  14. "Know 10 rare facts about Dawoodi Bohra leader Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin".
  15. Mohiyuddin, Hozefa (2011). Tasbeeh al Mafakhir. Neelam Publication.
  16. "Know 10 rare facts about Dawoodi Bohra leader Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin".
  17. 1 2 3 4 "Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin: A symbol of piety, peace for Dawoodi Bohras". The Hindu. Mumbai. 17 January 2014. Retrieved 7 April 2014.
  18. "Signposts". India Today. 18 October 1999. Retrieved 7 April 2014.
  19. Khurana, Ashlesha (6 November 2009). "From Gurukul to IBO varsity". The Times of India. Retrieved 7 April 2014.
  20. "Know 10 rare facts about Dawoodi Bohra leader Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin". India TV. 12 February 2014. p. 6. Retrieved 7 April 2014.
  21. Subramanian, Reetika (16 September 2011). "City Bohris start dabba service for community households". Hindustan Times. Mumbai. Retrieved 11 July 2015.
  22. Bhattacharyya, Sourish (29 March 2013). "Faith and food in the Bohra way". Mail Online India. London. Retrieved 11 July 2015.
  23. Ansari, Shabana (9 March 2012). "Bohra women get respite from cooking". DNA. Mumbai. Retrieved 7 July 2015.
  24. Diggikar, Ranjana (5 July 2015). "Freedom from the kitchen smoke & heat". The Times of India. Aurangabad. Retrieved 7 July 2015.
  25. 1 2 3 "Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin laid to rest in Mumbai, 70,000+ mourners attend funeral". Retrieved 7 April 2014.
  26. "Largest distribution of bird feeders". Retrieved 7 April 2014.
  27. "Mohammed Dilawar's 'save sparrows' campaign enters Guinness record". Retrieved 7 April 2014.
  28. "Padma Awards 2015". Press Information Bureau. Archived from the original on 26 January 2015. Retrieved 25 January 2015.
  29. "The Muslim 500".
  30. "Dawoodi Bohra community spiritual head, Dr Burhanuddin passes away". Retrieved 7 April 2014.
  31. "Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin laid to rest in Mumbai, 70,000 mourners attend funeral". Zee News.
  32. "Funeral stampede kills 18 in Indian city of Mumbai". 2014-01-18. Retrieved 2014-06-12.
  33. "Dawoodi Bohras observe late Syedna's death anniversay". DNA India. 5 January 2015.
  34. "bohra-dissenters-challenge-oppressive-priesthood/". Retrieved 9 December 2014.
  35. "Claimant to Syedna seat declares official challenge". dna. 12 March 2014.
  36. 'With prayers and quiet celebrations at home, the Dawoodi Bohra community had welcomed their community leader’s choice of Mufaddal Saifuddin as his successor'
  37. "Dawoodi Bohras welcome nomination of successor". Hindustan Times. Mumbai: HT Media. 7 June 2011.
  38. 1 2 "Talk of rift among Bohras over Syedna's successor". Hindustan Times. 15 April 2013.
  39. 1 2 "DNA India: Latest News Headlines, Breaking News & Live Updates on Politics, Business, Sports, Bollywood at Daily News & Analysis". dna.
  40. "Talk of rift among Bohras over Syedna's successor". Retrieved 26 March 2014.
  41. 01/30/2014 12:37 pm EST (2014-01-30). "The Intricacies of Succession: Two Claimants Emerge for Dawoodi Bohra Leadership | Rizwan Mawani". Retrieved 2015-01-17.
  42. "How is Syedna chosen? HC wants to know". The Indian Express. April 30, 2014.
  43. "Bohras make anti-Syedna faction's ex-communication official, stick by Mufaddal Saifuddin". Daily News and Analysis. 31 January 2014. Retrieved 30 June 2014.
Shia Islam titles
Preceded by
Taher Saifuddin
52nd Dā'ī al-Mutlaq
Succeeded by
Succession is disputed between his son Mufaddal Saifuddin and his half-brother Khuzaima Qutbuddin
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