53rd al-Dai al-Mutlaq and Leader of the Dawoodi Bohra Community

His Holiness
Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin

His Holiness Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin
His Holiness Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin in the courtyard of the Nairobi campus of Aljamea-tus-Saifiyah
Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin is the 53rd al-Dai al-Mutlaq and present leader of the worldwide Dawoodi Bohra community. He has dedicated his life to the service of the community and the betterment of society at large, with a special emphasis on education, environmental responsibility and socio-economic development.
Syedna Saifuddin guides his followers across the globe drawing them closer to their faith, culture and heritage. He teaches them the Islamic values of peace and patriotism while emphasising the need for every member of the Bohra community to be productive citizens who make a positive contribution to the social fabric of their respective countries.

A Distinguished Heritage

Dawoodi Bohra Muslims trace their heritage to the Fatimi Imams, direct descendants of the Prophet Mohammed. They ruled over large parts of the Islamic world during the 10th to 12th centuries and were responsible for an unparalleled efflorescence of learning, art and architecture.

One of the oldest functioning universities in the world, Al-Azhar, as well as many architectural monuments in the city of Cairo, Egypt — the vibrant city the Fatimi Imams founded — are enduring legacies of that era. In 1132 the 21st in the line of the Imams chose seclusion after ensuring that the office of the al-Dai al-Mutlaq (lit. unrestricted missionary) was instituted to represent the Imams and lead the faithful. Ever since, the Dawoodi Bohras have been led by the al-Dai al-Mutlaq who first operated from Yemen and then, for the last 450 years, from India. The present incumbent to this office is the 53rd al-Dai al-Mutlaq, His Holiness Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin, who assumed office in January 2014, succeeding his father and predecessor, the 52nd al-Dai al-Mutlaq, His Holiness Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin.

His Holiness Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin and his son and successor Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin

A Noble Upbringing

Rooted in Legacy Early Life and Lineage

Born in Surat, India on the 20th of August, 1946, Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin is the second son of the 52nd al-Dai al- Mutlaq, Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin and grandson of the 51st al-Dai al-Mutlaq, Syedna Taher Saifuddin. Syedna Saifuddin benefitted from the personal tutelage and instruction of both his esteemed predecessors. Syedna Saifuddin was invariably present with his respected father Syedna Burhanuddin at home and on his many pilgrimages and travels to visit his community abroad. He thereby learnt first-hand the traditions, customs and protocols associated with the office of the al-Dai al-Mutlaq.

Academic Excellence A Path of Distinction

His Holiness appeared for the examinations of the historic Dawoodi Bohra educational institute Aljamea-tus- Saifiyah in Surat where he graduated with the highest honours. He completed his undergraduate education in India and Egypt where he was privately tutored by distinguished professors from Cairo’s leading universities including Cairo University and Al-Azhar.

Syedna Saifuddin was conferred the highest degree of Aljamea-tus-Saifiyah: al- Aleem al-Bari , (The Outstandingly Learned). Syedna Burhanuddin also conferred upon him the rare title of Thiqat al-Dawat al-Tayyibiyya (The Trusted of the Tayyibi Mission). Syedna Saifuddin is distinguished by special accolades and a unique closeness given to him by his predecessor that is reserved for future occupants of the office of al-Dai al-Mutlaq.

Recognition and Trust Preparing for Leadership

In 1987, following the passing away of Dr Shahzada Yusuf Najmuddin, rector of Aljamea-tus-Saifiyah, Syedna Saifuddin was appointed as one of the rectors of the academy. In this capacity, he strove to uphold and ensure the moral integrity of the academy’s students, encouraged them to memorise the Holy Quran in its entirety and inspired them to lead their lives according to the universal precepts of tolerance, kindness and service to one another to which the Holy Quran calls.
Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin Moula TUS
His Holiness Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin accepts an honorary doctorate from the University of Karachi

A Legacy Of Knowledge

Soon after his ascension to the office of al-Dai al-Mutlaq, Syedna Saifuddin was requested to accept the chancellorship of Aligarh Muslim University like his esteemed father and grandfather before him. A few months later, in April 2015, Syedna was confirmed as AMU Chancellor. In February 2016, Syedna Saifuddin visited the University as chancellor for the first time on the occasion of its 63rd Annual Convocation and addressed the 5000-strong gathering with an exposition of the Quranic verse which is the motto of AMU, “He (the Almighty) taught man that which he knew not”.

Prior to this, in September 2015, the University of Karachi conferred upon His Holiness the degree of Doctor of Letters honoris causa in recognition of his scholarship and commitment to the causes of learning and education. Syedna Saifuddin is the third head of the Dawoodi Bohra community to have received an honorary degree from this institution; his father, Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin, was presented with the same degree in 2004, and his grandfather, Syedna Taher Saifuddin, was also presented an honorary degree in 1955.

 
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Education is one of the most imortant obligations upon mankind & no matter the effort expended in its pursuit, itcan never be consideres sufficient.

His Holiness Dr Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin TUS

Recognition

His Holiness Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin, was presented with ‘Nishan-e-Pakistan’, the country’s highest civilian award in a Special Investiture Ceremony on Tuesday, 5th December at Aiwan e Sadr (President House), Islamabad, Pakistan.

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The former President of Pakistan the honourable Dr Arif Alvi presents His Holiness Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin with the 'Nishan-e-Pakistan', the country's highest civilian award.

Upholding The Tradition of Knowledge

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Surat Campus
Karachi Campus
Nairobi Campus
Mumbai Campus
Aljamea-tus-Saifiyah, originally built in Surat, India in 1810 for the teaching of religious lore and jurisprudence under the direct supervision of the al-Dai al-Mutlaq of the time, has been greatly expanded under Syedna Saifuddin and his predecessors. They introduced modern facilities and contemporised teaching methodologies while retaining the academy’s essential and original features.

Today, it has become an institute of great repute with three established campuses in Surat, Karachi and Nairobi, and one more under construction in Mumbai. Enrolment in the institute is highly sought after in the community and is quite competitive. An integral element of Aljamea-tus-Saifiyah’s curricula, and a primary factor for admission, is the memorization of the Holy Quran. A department within the institute dedicated to Quranic sciences and arts known as Mahad al-Zahra was established in 1976. Over the years it has expanded tremendously and today offers a variety of classes to students of Aljamea-tus-Saifiyah and via its eLearning platform it facilitates Quranic education for community members across the world.

At the same time, Syedna oversees the functioning of hundreds of schools and educational institutes across the world, in which religious education is combined with the secular. This gives students the ability to creatively meet the challenges of career and society, while their core Islamic values and beliefs are strengthened.

The beneficiaries of Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin’s efforts in the field of education are not limited to members of the Dawoodi Bohra community. Apart from schools under his own administration, there are a number of educational establishments across South Asia, East Africa and the Gulf states which have benefitted from His Holiness’s and his predecessor’s generosity and patronage, a prime example being the Dr Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin Department of Genetics at Karachi University. Syedna also recently donated 1000 computers to a group of high schools affiliated with Aligarh Muslim University, one of which is the Syedna Taher Saifuddin High School at Minto Circle. The school’s buildings are listed heritage monuments and Syedna has sponsored a programme for their complete architectural restoration. In this way, Syedna’s educational endeavours and trusts have helped countless students in their academic journeys.
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Reviving History

Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin was instrumental in the endeavour to restore ancient Fatimi monuments in Cairo dating back to the 10th through 12th centuries. This movement began in the late 1970s with the restoration of the nine century-old masjid of al-Imam al-Hakim bi Amr Allah, also known as al-Jami al-Anwar.
Before
after
A photograph of al-Jami al-Anwar by celebrated English photographer Francis Frith from the 1850s
Al-Jami al-Anwar in its restored splendour

Syadna Mufaddal Saifuddin With
World Leaders & Dignitaries

His Holiness presented with the Key to the City of Houston by former Mayor Annise Parker following the Ashara Mubaraka sermons of 2015 in Houston.
His Holiness with the President of Madagascar, His Excellency Andry Rajoelina
His Holiness with the former Prime Minister of Sri Lanka, Mr Ranil Wickremesinghe.
His Holiness with the ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.
His Holiness with the late President of Tanzania Mr John Magufuli during the Ashara Mubaraka sermons of 2016 in Dar es Salaam.
His Holiness with His Excellency President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya during the inauguration of Aljamea-tus-Saifiyah’s Nairobi campus
in 2017.
His Holiness with the Prime Minister of India, His Excellency Shri Narendra Modi during the Ashara Mubaraka sermons of 2018 in Indore.
His Holiness with the President of Egypt, His Excellency Mr Abdel Fattah Al Sisi.
His Holiness with the President of Uganda, His Excellency Mr Yoweri Museveni.
President of Singapore
His Holiness with the President of Singapore, Her Excellency Mrs Halimah Yacob.
His Holiness with the King of Bahrain, His Majesty Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa.
Emir of Kuwait
His Holiness with the Late Emir of Kuwait, Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Jaber Al Sabah.
His Holiness with the former Chief Minister of Gujarat, Shri Vijay Rupani.
His Holiness with the Chief Minister of Sindh, Syed Murad Ali Shah.
His Holiness presented with the Key to the city of Karachi by former Mayor Waseem Akhtar during the Ashara Mubaraka sermons of 2017 in Karachi.
His Holiness with the former President of Sri Lanka, Mr Maithripala Sirisena during the Ashara Mubaraka sermons of 2019 in Colombo.

Encouraging Entrepreneurship

The Dawoodi Bohras have a significant presence in various countries across the world where they have gone on to thrive and prosper as industrialists, traders and professionals.

This prosperity can be attributed in a large part to the efforts of the Duat (pl. of al-Dai al-Mutlaq), who, in keeping with Islamic values, have inculcated a business-minded attitude in the community, which Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin today continues to encourage. Some say that the very name ‘Bohra’ is derived from the Gujarati word for trade. As an example, in countries of East Africa, Syedna has rekindled the renowned entrepreneurial zest of the Bohra community.

Syedna Saifuddin has personally guided followers and overseen the establishment of their homes and businesses in these developing nations, some of whom have returned here from the Gulf and western nations where they were once comfortably established. 

Under the guidance of His Holiness, by their contributions to both economic and social development, members of the Dawoodi Bohra community have become exemplary citizens of their countries of domicile while also remaining steadfast to the principles of Islam, demonstrating that temporal success and spiritual fulfilment can go hand in hand.

The late His Holiness Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin opens the Multaqa al-Fatimi conference at Surat

Qardan Hasana - A source of econmic growth

Continuing the initiatives of his esteemed father, Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin has developed further a number of institutions that assist in alleviating poverty, providing affordable housing and enabling business growth. An extensive network of schemes offers interest-free loans in keeping with the Islamic injunction to refrain from all forms of interest. The Quranic term for these loans is Qardan Hasana. Apart from institutional lending, community members are encouraged to loan each other money as Qardan Hasana at a personal, individual level — these initiatives being as much acts of faith as of sound economic value. Their practice has led to sustained economic growth and self-reliance within the community.

qardan hasana

Protecting the Environment

Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin has repeatedly emphasized the responsibility of every member of the community to conserve and protect the environment.

In his discourses and sermons, Syedna promotes environmental awareness, particularly the preservation and enhancement of greenery by way of planting trees and flowers in and around homes and community buildings. For example, in Ramadan of 2017, Syedna expressed a desire for the community to plant at least 200,000 trees all around the globe. Linking the planting of trees with fasting and prayer which is the essence of the holy month of Ramadan, Syedna’s message is clear: protecting the environment is an important aspect of a Muslim’s ibaadat (worship).

Similarly, last year during the annual Upliftment Drive where members of the community reach out to those less fortunate in different rural and urban settings in India and elsewhere, one of His Holiness’s directives was to assist in the cleaning and organising of private homes as well as community properties, particularly cemeteries which were often found neglected.

Volunteers removed undergrowth and planted shrubs and flowers often transforming unused lands into play areas and sports fields.

In the wake of these recurring cleanliness drives, Nazafat or Cleanliness Committees have been established in Dawoodi Bohra communities with the specific mandate of maintaining their cities’ sanitation and environmental health.

Food and sustenance of any sort is seen as a blessing in Islam as it is in many other traditions. Therefore, food waste and excess has come under the spotlight in recent years and an emphasis has been placed on ensuring that not a single grain or morsel is discarded at homes or during communal events. Elaborate systems are in place to ensure that leftovers are either taken home or distributed to those in need by volunteers.

Enhancing The Quality Of Life

Saifee Burhani Upliftment Project: A renwal of space and sprit

Prominent among his welfare initiatives is Syedna Saifuddin’s focus on improving the living standards and conditions of the community. 
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Faiz al-Mawaid al-Burhaniyah: The Community Kitchen

Establishing a common kitchen in every village, town or city where they live, under the aegis of Faiz al-Mawa’id al-Burhaniya, commonly referred to as FMB.
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Yemen: Fostering Prosperity

At a young age, Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin was deputed the care and social, economic and spiritual development of the Dawoodi Bohra community domiciled in Yemen.
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Tireless Travels

Syedna greeted by local officials at the airport in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
Syedna arrives in Kisumu, Kenya
Syedna welcomed at the airport by government officials in Colombo, Sri Lanka

his-holiness-syedna-mufaddal-saifuddin-leader-dawoodi-bohras-travels-by-train
Syedna greets community members during a brief stop at a train station in Indore
Syedna at al-Jami al-Anwar in Cairo, Egypt
Syedna inspects a Guard of Honour in Madagascar
Over the centuries, Dawoodi Bohras have migrated across the world in pursuit of better opportunities in trade and commerce. Small community settlements have grown into sizeable formal congregations in many places around the globe. Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin accompanied his father on his journeys to observe for himself the collective growth of the community and understand the complexities every individual faces. Today, His Holiness travels extensively wherever Dawoodi Bohras live, be they metropolitan cities or remote towns and villages. Each of his visits brings vibrancy to the faith and draws the adherents closer to their culture and heritage.
He provides a sense of direction and purpose to their lives, inculcates in them the values of patriotism as laid down in Islam and emphasizes the importance of being productive citizens, guiding them towards becoming an integral part of the social fabric of their countries. Moreover, His Holiness’s interactions with world statesmen, captains of industry and religious leaders, and their reciprocation with honour and respect, enhances the pride of the community and helps foster warm and peaceful relations between Dawoodi Bohras and their fellow citizens.

Looking Confidently Towards The Future

Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin Moula
His Holiness continues to uphold his respected father's outstanding legacy of service, scholarship and commitment to social betterment.
The 52nd al-Da’i al-Mutlaq , His Holiness Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin led the Dawoodi Bohra community for half a century leaving behind a rich legacy of spiritual and material progress. Despite the magnitude of the task, His Holiness Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin has resolutely met the demands and challenges of the community’s leadership after his respected father’s passing. He continues to uphold his outstanding legacy of service, scholarship and commitment to social betterment.
As Syedna Saifuddin travels the world visiting members of the Dawoodi Bohra community, he guides them towards a way of life the hallmarks of which are kindness, loyalty and devotion — both to their faith and their country. He never fails to strengthen the bonds and bridges of love and amity that exist between the Dawoodi Bohras and their brethren from other faiths and communities in whichever country they call home. His warmth and humility make a lasting impression on all those whom he meets and his sincerity and sagacity are inspiring. Basking in his leadership and direction, the Dawoodi Bohra community looks confidently towards the future.

Photos Of Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin

His Holiness Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin

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