His Holiness’ contribution to the revival of Fatimi art and architecture brought back to life a remarkable chapter in history. The Fatimi era, spanning the 10th through 12th centuries, was a golden age in the history of Islam. A testimony to the rich culture and prosperity of the period is its resplendent architecture; a manifestation of Fatimi philosophy that uniquely blended grandeur with humility. These architectural masterpieces were neglected and misused for centuries. Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin took upon himself the enormous task of their restoration.
The most significant architectural revival was the restoration of al-Jamiʿ al-Anwar, the masjid of the Fatimi Imam al-Hakim in Cairo, Egypt, in 1980. One of the world’s largest masjids, its complete restoration was a colossal undertaking requiring painstaking research, planning and execution. Bearing testimony to Syedna’s firm resolve, al-Anwar was rebuilt to its original grandeur in a short span of twenty seven months. Syedna Burhanuddin’s son and successor, Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin, was instrumental in the realisation of his father’s vision.
The restoration of al-Anwar marked the beginning of a renaissance of Fatimi art and architecture in the global Bohra community, heralding the restoration of historic masjids and monuments in Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Yemen and India. The history, culture and spirituality encapsulated in the stone edifices of the Fatimi era remain extant in the extensive use of its architectural features in contemporary Dawoodi Bohra masjids and structures throughout the world.