Syedna (Dr) Mohammed Burhanuddin

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Early life

Syedna, Dawoodi Bohras’ spiritual leader, 102

Second Son Takes Up The Mantle

Mohammed Wajihuddin TNN

Born in Surat on March 6, [1911?], the Syedna succeeded his father Syedna Taher Saifuddin as the community’s spiritual leader in 1965. He thus became the 52nd Dai al-Mutlaq or spiritual head of the Dawoodi Bohras,

He was a noble soul who kept his community away from clashes and confrontations.

He is credited with having built several institutions, including the Raudat Tahera, the mausoleum of his father Syedna Taher Saifuddin, near Saifee Mosque. The mausoleum has the entire Quran inscribed in letters of gold on its walls.

Institutions created by him

Saifee Hospital at Charni Road and the ongoing ambitious Saifee Burhani Upliftment Trust’s project of redevelopment of the crowded Bhendi Bazaar locality were among some of his other major initiatives. Determined to provide hygienic and nutritious food to his community, he started community kitchens across the world.

Highly respected in his own community and among the spiritual heads of the world, the Syedna was often called “an ambassador of peace” by his admirers. On his 100th birthday, a novel project of distributing sparrow feeders was launched to stop the decline in the numbers of sparrows.

Honours received

Among the numerous honours he received were the Star of Jordan and Order of the Nile from the governments of Jordan and Egypt respectively. He was also given honorary doctorates by renowned institutions like Cairo’s Al-Azhar University, the Aligarh Muslim University and the University of Karachi.

Religious activities

The Syedna’s annual sermons during the first ten days of Muharram, the month of Prophet Muhammad’s grandson Imam Hussain, would be eagerly awaited and listened to in rapt attention by huge crowds that would fill the lanes and by-lanes of Bhendi Bazaar. Community members attend religious congregations like the Muharram sermons with the help of E-jamaat (identity) cards, a brainchild of the Syedna.

Dr Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin who guided his globally one-million-strong community for almost half a century, died of cardiac arrest at Saifee Mahal, his residence at Malabar Hill, south Mumbai, on the 17th January 2014.

He is survived by six sons and a daughter.

The Syedna was buried at Raudat Tahera, the whitedomed mausoleum of his father Syedna Taher Saifuddin near the Saifee Mosque.


His second son, Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin, whom the Syedna anointed as his successor in 2011 in London, became the 53rd Dai al-Mutlaq and led the Namaz-e-Janaza (funeral prayer) for his father at the Saifee Mosque in Bhendi Bazaar the next morning.

See also

Bohra for more on Succession

Dawoodi Bohra

Syedna (Dr) Mohammed Burhanuddin

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