Mohammed Burhanuddin

Mohammed Burhanuddin (6 March 1915 – 17 January 2014) was the 52nd Dā'ī al-Mutlaq of Dawoodi Bohras.[3] He led the community for 49 years in a period of social, economic, and educational prosperity;[4][5] substantially strengthened and re-institutionalized the fundamental core of the community's faith and emphatically revived its culture, tradition, and heritage. In successfully achieving harmonious coexistence of traditional Islamic values and modern Western practices within the community, Burhanuddin completed the work his predecessor Taher Saifuddin had started in the face of modernist onslaught.[6] Burhanuddin was presented the highest national civilian honors of the states of Egypt and Jordan[3][4] recognising his revivalism and restoration efforts.[7] He was conferred with doctorate in Islamic Sciences by Al Azhar University, doctorate in Theology by Aligarh Muslim University, and doctorate in Literature by University of Karachi.[8] He was known in Arab countries as Azamat us-Sultan (lit. 'the Great Sovereign'). Owing to extensive travels for community reachout,[2] he was the first Dā'ī al-Mutlaq to visit Europe, Australia, and America.[9]

Syedna

Mohammed Burhanuddin

مُحـمّـد بـُرهـان الـدِّيـن
Syedna Taher Saifuddin and Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin.jpg
Da'i al-Mutlaq
In office
1965–2014
Preceded byTaher Saifuddin
Succeeded byMufaddal Saifuddin
Title
Other names
Personal
Born
Mohammed

(1915-03-06)6 March 1915
Died17 January 2014(2014-01-17) (aged 98)
Resting placeRaudat Tahera, Mumbai
ReligionShi'a Islam
Home townMumbai, India
SpouseAmatullah Aaisaheba
Children
Parents
  • Taher Saifuddin (father)
  • Husaina Aaisaheba (mother)
CitizenshipIndian
LineageAlid
SectIsmailism
Dawoodi Bohra
Jurisprudence
Other names
Occupation
  • Spiritual Leader
  • Philanthropist
StyleHis Holiness
Awards
Chancellor, Aligarh Muslim University
In office
3 Oct 1999 – 3 Oct 2002
Preceded byHakim A Hameed
Succeeded by Aziz M Ahmadi

LifeEdit

Early lifeEdit

Burhanuddin was born to Taher Saifuddin and Husaina Aaisaheba in Surat in the Indian state of Gujarat.[9][10]:16 He was educated by his father, Taher Saifuddin.[11]

Burhanuddin completed his religious education at the tender age of 13.[8] At 15, Burhanuddin's father, Saifuddin, held his mīthāq (oath) in Surat.[2]:66–67 Following which he was appointed Amir al-Hajj (Arabic: أمِير الحَجّ‎, lit. 'chief of hajj pilgrims'), was conferred the title of Shaykh (Arabic: الشيخ‎, lit. 'leader'), and bestowed the laqab of Burhan al-Din (Arabic: بُرهان الدّيْن‎, lit. 'proof of faith') by his father, Taher Saifuddin.[12][13]

 
Burhanuddin just after his appointment to the station of Mazoon al-Dawat in Surat on Yawm al-Mab'as, 1934.

On his 17th birthday, Burhanuddin was promoted to the rank of Haddiyah (lit. 'a high rank')[14]:15 and made in charge of Alvazaratus Saifiyah, the central administrative body of the community.[14]:19 At age 19, Taher Saifuddin designated him as his successor to the office of the Dai al-Mutlaq (Arabic: داعي المطلق‎, lit. 'absolute missionary'), and subsequently elevated him to the station of Mazoon al-Da'wat (Arabic: مأذون الدعوة‎, lit. 'authorized missionary'), making him his second-in-command.[12][13] By age 20, Burhanuddin had committed the entire Quran to memory.[14]:19[15]

Marriage and familyEdit

Burhanuddin married Amatullah Aaisaheba in 1937[12]at the age of 21 in Surat. The city and the ewan (hall) of Aljamea-tus-Saifiyah, where the celebrations and the ceremonies were to occur, were decorated heavily.[16] Taher Saifuddin had extended an open invitation for all community members to attend the functions, along with various dignitaries and officials.[17] Burhanuddin had seven sons and three daughters.

Al-Dai al-MutlaqEdit

After the demise of his father, Taher Saifuddin on the 12th of November 1965, Mohammed Burhanuddin presided over a 40 day mourning period and assumed the office of his predecessor. He chose the burial place of his father to be Qasre Husaini (Raudat Tahera), the site where the shrines of Imam Ali and Imam Husain were fabricated.[2]:6[14]:25

CentenaryEdit

In 2011/1432 Hijri, Burhanuddin, celebrated his centenary in accordance with the Islamic calendar. A mega procession was organised in Mumbai that started from MG Road to Azam Campus Grounds (the route is popularly known as Marine Drive) involving 8,000 participants. Followers were dressed in golden robes traversing on horses or upon chariots. Various floats were a part of the parade displaying a variety of accomplishments during Burhanuddin’s tenure. Similar processions took place at community centers across the world.[18] During the ceremonies held over the period of a week, Burhanuddin laid the foundation stone for the SBUT project in Bhendi Bazar[19] and announced the opening of a branch of the Aljamea-tus-Saifiyah university in Nairobi, Kenya.

Appointing his successorEdit

Burhanuddin spent a few days every year in London, where he has a home. During one such visit in 2011, he suffered a stroke and was admitted to Cromwell Hospital. Some days after being admitted to the hospital, he appointed his 2nd son, Mufaddal Saifuddin, as his successor holding a few members of his immediate family to bear witness, as per the religious traditions. He asked for the news to be communicated to all community members.[20]

Upon his return to Mumbai, Burhanuddin visited the mausoleum of his father. There, he reiterated his proclamation upon Mufaddal Saifuddin as his successor-designate amongst thousands of onlookers, the event also being broadcast to a number of other locations in Mumbai.[21]

ActivitiesEdit

Libas al-AnwarEdit

 
A Dawoodi Bohra family in their religious attire, the Libas al-Anwar.

Burhanuddin issued a dress code, calling for male Bohras to grow a beard and wear a white topi and kurta, and for women to wear a colorful two piece abaya, known formally as a Rida. This Islamization countered a trend toward assimilation into the larger culture of their ancestors that was also prevalent under his predecessor, Taher Saifuddin and the previous Du'at before them.[6] The history of this culture can be traced back to the medieval Fatimid dynasty in Egypt.

Al-Jame al-AnwarEdit

Jame Anwar before and after renovations under taken by Burhanuddin. The mosque was formally inaugurated by Anwar Sadat, the 3rd President of Egypt in 1980.
Great Mosque of Kufa before and after restoration by Burhanuddin in 1990s.

In 1980 ACE/1401 AH, the Al-Hakim mosque was extensively refurbished in white marble and gold trim by Mohammed Burhanuddin. Remnants of the original decorations, including stucco carvings, timber tie-beams, and Quranic inscriptions were restored as part of the renovations. His intent to restore the ancient Al-Hakim Mosque as a place of worship in contemporary times necessitated a lighting solution that provided this important functionality to the mosque and did so in a manner that paid tribute to the Fatimid tradition of illumination and its aesthetics. The miraculous emergence of the mishkat or small lantern from the niche of the richly decorated façade of Al Jami al Aqmar provided that solution. The niche in which the lantern motif was found has also been compared to the mihrab niche of Al Azhar mosque, the same also now found in Al-Hakim mosque, which has a central motif that resembles a large lamp or lantern.[22]

Educational contributionsEdit

In October 1999, Burhanuddin was elected Chancellor of the Aligarh Muslim University,[23] 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 by him in Karachi.[11][24] He built the "Burhaniyah Business Counseling Center" in Mumbai to provide modern business solutions.[11] He also built the Raudat Tahera, a mausoleum of his father Taher Saifuddin in Mumbai, India. It is one of a kind, having the entire Quran inscribed on its inner white walls in letters decorated with of gold leaves and with precious stones.[11][25] It was inaugurated in 1975 by the erstwhile President of India Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed.

In 1976, he established a facility exclusively dedicated to the study of arts and sciences of the Quran.[26]

MSB SchoolsEdit

MSB[27] (also known as Al Madrasa Tus Saifiya Tul Burhaniyah[28][29]) was founded by Burhanuddin in 1984, with its first two branches in Mumbai, India and Nairobi, Kenya.[27] It is accredited with the Indian Certificate of Secondary Education[30] and is operated under the purview of the office of the Dai al-Mutlaq of the Dawoodi Bohras. The institute has branches in 25 cities across India, Pakistan, East Africa, and the Middle East.[30][31]

List of MSB campuses:[32]
# City Established (AH)
1 Al-Madrasah Nairobi 1405
2 Al-Madrasah Mumbai 1405
3 Al-Madrasah Karachi (Shabbirabad) 1405
4 Al-Madrasah Dubai 1406
5 Al-Madrasah Mombasa 1406
6 Al-Madrasah Indore 1407
7 Al-Madrasah Nashik 1407
8 Al-Madrasah Bengaluru 1408
9 Al-Madrasah Kolkata 1408
10 Al-Madrasah Godhra 1409
11 Al-Madrasah Daressalaam 1411
12 Al-Madrasah Raipur 1412
13 Al-Madrasah Nagpur 1413
14 Al-Madrasah Chennai 1413
15 Al-Madrasah Secunderabad 1414
16 Al-Madrasah Rajkot 1418
17 Al-Madrasah Bhopal 1420
18 Al-Madrasah Tananarive 1424
19 Al-Madrasah Pune 1424
20 Al-Madrasah Karachi (Haidery) 1425
21 Al-Madrasah Kuwait 1427
22 Al-Madrasah Banswara 1427
23 Al-Madrasah Kota 1434

Aljamea-tus-SaifiyahEdit

 
Masjid e Moazzam in Surat post re-construction by Burhanuddin is a striking example of Neo-Fatimid architecture style that flourished during his tenure.

On the occasion of his 100th birth anniversary, Mohammed Burhanuddin established a third campus of the institute of Aljamea-tus-Saifiyah in Nairobi, Kenya.[33] Two years later, his son Mufaddal Saifuddin, announced the dedication of yet another campus of Aljamea-tus-Saifiyah in Marol (Mumbai) on his behalf. The construction of each campus is centered around a masjid, with all buildings oriented towards the Holy Kaaba in Mecca.[34] All four campuses have integrated green building techniques and observe environmental friendly operations. The buildings have been designed to utilize sunlight and facilitate natural ventilation as much as possible, and avoid dependency on artificial methods that consume great amounts of electricity, for e.g. solar water heating systems have been used in the dormitories of the Surat campus. A layout of coconut trees planted along the perimeter of the Karachi campus’ sports field mitigates waterlogging not only in Jamea but also in the surrounding homes. Recycling, compost facilities, motion sensor lighting and paper reduction policies are also applied in all four campuses.

Al-Multaqa al-Fatemi al-IlmiEdit

In the year 1978, Burhanuddin held a historic Islamic conference in Surat where he called upon delegates of the community centers to adhere to the time-tested traditions of their faith while also embracing the beneficial ‘new’ with the advent of scientific advancements. Amongst his important messages to the community was to renounce the practice of riba (lit. 'interest and usury'). The congregation initially started in Surat and was thereafter held in Mumbai, Karachi, Nairobi and Dar es salaam between 1978 - 1988.

The first gathering at Surat in 1978 was held in Iwaan al-Barakat (lit. 'Hall of Blessings') of Aljamea-tus-Saifiyah. Burhanuddin laid down seven principles[which?] in this meet to develop social, educational and economic fervor amongst his followers.

In 1984, on the twin occasions of the 100th birth anniversary of his father, Taher Saifuddin and the 1400th birth anniversary of Husayn ibn Ali, Muhammed’s grandson; Burhanuddin laid down another set of principles similar in spirit to the ones established before with the added emphasis of Qardan Hasana (lit. 'good loan'), which are interest-free loans. The abolition of riba from an institutional level and to certain extents on an individual level is considered to be the highlight of these meetings.[35]

Community KitchensEdit

Burhanuddin is credited with the establishment of community kitchens to provide meals everyday to the Dawoodi Bohra families, thus providing free time for women to pursue economic, educational or religious activities.[36] The community kitchens don't discriminate between the privileged and the underprivileged sections, both getting the same "good quality and hygienically-prepared" food,[37] while the community members have the provision of paying for their own family, and for sponsoring those who cannot afford it.[38]

Medical aidEdit

 
Manmohan Singh, then Prime Minister of India, speaks at the inauguration of Saifee Hospital on June 4, 2005. Seated on the podium are Vilasrao Deshmukh, Mohammed Fazal, and Burhanuddin.

Saifee HospitalEdit

Burhanuddin conceptualized and established Saifee Hospital in Mumbai, a state-of-the-art, multi-specialty, 250-bed hospital.[39] It was inaugurated in 2005 by Dr. Manmohan Singh, the erstwhile prime minister of India.[40] During the inauguration, Dr Singh said: “The Bohra community has made a noble and significant contribution to society at large in constructing the Saifee Hospital and I too pray and hope that it benefits all sections of our society” [41]

The main vision of the hospital is to provide preventive, curative and holistic care to individuals from every strata. The hospital consists of 2574 beds and is a multi-speciality healthcare destination.[42] It has 44 ICU beds, 9 Operational Theatres and conducts approximately 10,000 surgeries in a year.[43] It has been certified by ‘The International Standards Organisation’ (ISO) and National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABL).[43]

The hospital specializes in Robotic Surgeries, Bariatric Surgeries, Cardiology, Critical Care Medicine and Dentistry among other services.[43]

Burhani Medical IdaraEdit

Mohammed Burhanuddin set up the Burhani Medical Idara (Department). The aim of this department is to provide medical aid to the members of the Dawoodi Bohra community.[44]

The official website of the department has an online Doctor’s directory which enlists the name of all doctors of the community who are providing their services free of charge. As of December 15 2019, a total of 2549 doctors have been registered with the department. The ratio of doctors with respect to the total members of the community is 1:300.[44]

Apart from this, hospitals have been established all across the globe in places such as Tanzania, Pakistan,etc  where medical aid is provided at a subsidised rate.

Saifee Ambulance in Mumbai provides subsidised medical services to the local neighbourhood.  It extends  help in hospitalisation, immunisation and blood donation. It also sets up regular medical camps.[45]

Saifee Burhani Upliftment TrustEdit

One of Burhanuddin’s major undertakings was the establishment of the Saifee Burhani Upliftment Trust. This redevelopment project comprising 16.5 acres of landform has approximately 250 existing buildings, 1250 shops and 3200 families under its radar in South Mumbai. The idea is to incorporate the locality’s dilapidated structures into a more sustainable development project, with new buildings, modern infrastructure, wider roads, more open spaces and commercial establishments.

Using the ‘best principles of urban planning’ the project aims to meet the present and future socio-economic needs of the people. The neighborhood, famously known as Bhendi Bazaar has been divided into 7 sub-clusters. The majority of the flats in these buildings will relocate the existing tenants/occupants to better accommodation. The area will have its own environment-friendly decorum along with an efficient sewage treatment plant, solar panels, rainwater harvesting, and garbage disposal units. The project aims to be resource neutral. It has already been pre-certified 'Gold' by the Indian Green Buildings Council.[46]

Memorisation of the QuranEdit

Burhanuddin emphasized on the notion of ‘memorising the entire Holy Quran’. There are several examples where Burhanuddin has announced this idea on an international level, for example on the occasion of completion of 1400 years of Quranic revelation on Mohammed (1387 H), and in the International Islamic Conference on Aspects of Islamic Studies at Albert Hall, London (Meherjaan al-Alami al Islami 1976 CE) he addressed this desire in his speech.[47] Subsequently, in that same year, a Quranic  institute by the name of Mahad al-Zahra was established by him.[48] The main objectives of this institution is to facilitate learning of the art of recitation, memorization and understanding of the Quran and its sciences.[49]

Mohammed Burhanuddin had inaugurated Mahad al-Zahra, Karachi in the year 1404H, during his birthday celebrations there. In 1415 H, he delivered a sermon where he stressed upon the memorisation of the Quran and directed the students of Aljamea-tus-Saifiyah to commit the entire Quran to memory. In the following year 1416 H, Husain Burhanuddin, the grandson of Mohammed Burhanuddin memorised the  entire Quran and since then this initiative has taken traction tenfold.[citation needed]

In the year 1418 H/ 1998, Burhanuddin laid down the foundation for a new branch of Mahad al-Zahra in Surat (India).[50] The new facility provides the ideal environment of comfort and peace for the students engrossed in the demanding memorisation process. This institute also houses an audio studio where various recordings have been taped. The entire Quran has also been recorded and distributed via CDs and lately, through the internet. Students of Aljamea-tus-Saifiyah memorise the Quran under this institution and render teaching services to community members residing in different parts of the world. In H 1433 / C.E. 2013, a kindergarten named Rawdat al-Quran al-Kareem (RQK) was established in Mumbai with the aim of nurturing young pupils in the light of the Quran.[50]

E-learningEdit

In the year 2005, a distance-learning memorization program was launched to reach out to members of the community who live in distant cities such as Sydney, Australia, Los Angeles. etc.

Marriage ceremoniesEdit

Burhanuddin continued his father’s tradition of organising mass marriages of community couples on his visits to different cities. Popularly known as ‘Rasme Saifee’ (alluding towards Saifuddin), it is essentially a mass marriage ceremony where the nikah of a large number of Dawoodi Bohra couples is solemnized simultaneously in accordance with the tenets of Islam. A worldwide committee known as ‘Taiseer un Nikah’ (facilitation of marriage) plays a leading role in match-making, counselling and facilitating the solemnization of marriages.[51]

TeachingsEdit

Burhanuddin and his father Saifuddin at a religious gathering in Rampura, Central India Agency c. 1947.

Ashara MubarakaEdit

Ashara Mubaraka (Arabic: عشرة مباركه‎, lit. 'the blessed ten') is an annual mourning of Husayn ibn Ali's martyrdom at Battle of Karbala.[52][53] In the tradition of the Fatimids,[54][55] the Da'i al-Mutlaq delivers ten wa'az (Persian: وعظ‎, lit. 'sermons') on Islamic philosophy, history, liturgy, expository, horatory over 9 days: One wa'az each day for 8 days starting 2nd Muharram and two on the final day of Ashura (Urdu: عاشوراء‎), the 10th of Muharram.[52] Every year the Da'i al-Mutlaq selects a city to host the Ashara at[53][56][57] which, at times, attract 100,000 to 200,000 azadar-e Husayn (Urdu: عزادارِ حسين‎, lit. 'mourners of Husayn').[58][59][60][61][62] The ashara wa'az from the host city is, on occasion, broadcast to various venues around the world.[58][59] Arrangements are made to provide the travelling pilgrims with free accommodation, transportation, and meals.[59][63][64][65] Elaborate Tazyeen (lit. 'decor') of the host venue is undertaken by faculty and members of Funun al-Quran, a department of Aljamea-tus-Saifiyah.[66]

List of cities Burhanuddin precided over Ashara at as Dai al-Mutlaq
City Country Cont CE AH Start Date End Date
1960s[2]:130
Mumbai (1)   IND Asia 1966 1386 23 December 31 December
Mumbai (2)   IND Asia 1967 1387 23 December 31 December
Mumbai (3)   IND Asia 1968 1388 23 December 31 December
Mecca (1)   KSA Asia 1969 1389 23 December 31 December
1970s[2]:130
Colombo (1)   SRI Asia 1970 1390 23 December 31 December
Calcutta (1)   IND Asia 1971 1391 23 December 31 December
Surat (1)   IND Asia 1972 1392 23 December 31 December
Mumbai (4)   IND Asia 1973 1393 23 December 31 December
Mumbai (5)   IND Asia 1974 1394 23 December 31 December
Mumbai (6)   IND Asia 1975 1395 23 December 31 December
Calcutta (2)   IND Asia 1976 1396 23 December 31 December
Chennai (1)   IND Asia 1976 1397 23 December 31 December
Karachi (1)   PAK Asia 1977 1398 12 December 20 December
Jamnagar (1)   IND Asia 1978 1399 5 November 13 November
Mumbai (7)   IND Asia 1979 1400 5 November 13 November
1980s[2]:130
Cairo (1)   EGY Africa 1980 1401 5 November 13 November
Cairo (2)   EGY Africa 1981 1402 5 November 13 November
Sidhpur (1)   IND Asia 1982 1403 5 November 13 November
Karachi (2)   PAK Asia 1983 1404 5 November 13 November
Nairobi (1)   KEN Africa 1984 1405 5 November 13 November
Surat (2)   IND Asia 1985 1406 5 November 13 November
Indore (1)   IND Asia 1986 1407 5 November 13 November
Karachi (3)   PAK Asia 1987 1408 5 November 13 November
Mumbai (8)   IND Asia 1988 1409 5 November 13 November
Surat (3)   IND Asia 1989 1410 5 November 13 November
1990s[2]:130
Dar es Salaam (1)   TAN Africa 1990 1411 5 November 13 November
Colombo (2)   IND Asia 1991 1412 5 November 13 November
Pune (1)   IND Asia 1992 1413 5 November 13 November
Mombasa (1)   KEN Africa 1993 1414 5 November 13 November
Mumbai (9)   IND Asia 1994 1415 5 November 13 November
Mombasa (2)   KEN Africa 1995 1416 5 November 13 November
Karachi (4)   PAK Asia 1996 1417 5 November 13 November
Surat (4)   IND Asia 1997 1418 5 November 13 November
Nairobi (2)   KEN Africa 1998 1419 5 November 13 November
Colombo (3)   SRI Asia 1999 1420 5 November 13 November
2000s
Surat[2]:130 (5)   IND Asia 2000 1421 5 November 13 November
Houston[67][68] (1)   USA North America 2001 1422 5 November 13 November
Indore[53][61] (2)   IND Asia 2002 1423 5 November 13 November
Mumbai[65] (10)   IND Asia 2003 1424 5 November 13 November
Dubai[69] (1)   UAE Asia 2004 1425 5 November 13 November
Surat[70] (6)   IND Asia 2005 1426 5 November 13 November
Mumbai[71] (11)   IND Asia 2006 1427 5 November 13 November
Colombo[72][73] (4)   SRI Asia 2007 1428 5 November 13 November
Colombo[74][73] (5)   SRI Asia 2008 1429 5 November 13 November
Mombasa[75][76] (3)   KEN Africa 2008/09 1430 5 November 13 November
Marol[58] (1)   IND Asia 2009 1431 18 December 26 December
2010s
Mumbai[77] (12)   IND Asia 2010 1432 8 December 16 December
Mumbai[a] (13)   IND Asia 2011 1433 27 November 5 December
Surat[b][80] (7)   IND Asia 2012 1434 15 November 23 November
Mumbai[c] (14)   IND Asia 2013 1435 5 November 13 November

PatriotismEdit

Mohammed Burhaunndin always instructed his followers to be patriotic to the state they resided in. In Islam, loyalty to the land of abode is an integral part of one’s faith. Mohammed Burhanuddin urged his followers to follow the laws of the country they live in and strive to be good citizens. Dawoodi Bohras have therefore become well integrated into the various societies that they have become part of, in the countries in which they reside. They are active in community help efforts and also partake in social drives and campaigns.

Islamic IdentityEdit

 
Burhanuddin in conversation with Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, in London (2010).

Throughout his 50 years in the office, Mohammed Burhaunndin strove to imbibe a particular Islamic identity to his followers. The most prominent distinction of the Dawoodi Bohra community is their religious attire, known as the Libas-al-Anwar (lit. Radiant Clothes.) For men, it usually consists of a trouser-like pant called an izar, coupled with a loose elongated shirt-like draping over the upper body --- called a kurta along with an overcoat called a saya, which is topped off by a skull cap called - Topi. The women’s attire is called a ‘Rida’ which is an all-covering dress worn by Bohra women. Furthermore, the men in the community adorn a full-grown beard which adds to their distinctive identity.

In addition to the distinctive clothes, he also urged his followers to speak a unique language, known as the Lisan-al-Da’wah (the language of Da’wah). The language is predominantly rooted in Arabic and Gujarati with a mix of words from other languages such as Urdu and Persian.

Burhanuddin has also supported the movement towards Islamic English where the expression of Islamic norms and Quranic concepts are better articulated in the English language without compromising the meaning. For example ‘Mosque’ though derived from the Arabic word ‘Masjid’ fails to convey the original meaning of the word, ‘a place for prostration or sajda.[81]

UpliftmentEdit

During his life, Mohammed Burhanuddin regularly urged his followers to extend help to the less fortunate in society. In the year H 1424 H/ C.E. 2002, during his visit to the island nation of Madagascar, Burhanuddin instituted the idea of ‘upliftment’ and called upon all the members of the community to help their fellow community members. Along with the community members, he expanded his efforts to help the society at large. This can be understood by the aids provided by him in the aftermath of the Bombay Riots and the Bhuj earthquake.

During the Holy Month of Ramadan, the less fortunate members of the community would be provided essentials such as clothes, food, shelter and medical services.

To carry out these functions, Mohammed Burhanuddin set up institutions such as His Holiness Doctor Syedna Taher Saifuddin Memorial Foundation (STSMF).[82]

Trade and businessEdit

The new Trust[which?] was aimed to provide modern solutions for today's modern business. Throughout his life, Mohammed Burhanuddin urged his community to enter the world of trade, business and industrialization. The word ‘Bohra’ itself denotes the meaning of ‘a trader.’. Mohammed Burhanuddin encouraged his followers to move forward and expand their businesses. He stressed to his followers to keep the tradition of business and entrepreneurship intact in the community. To help his followers to that extent, Mohammed Burhanuddin institutionalized the concept of Islamic Loans which are interest free, known as Qardan Hasanah (Good Loans). In 1991, Mohammed Burhanuddin established the Burhani Qardan Hasana Trust. The main goal of this trust is to provide interest free loans to community members to fulfill their economic goals and help expand their businesses. Furthermore, to help enhance his community members' business skills, Mohammed Burhanuddin set up the Burhaniyah Business Counseling Centre (BBCC) in Mumbai. The center organized numerous expos named Burhani Expo to help connect community members with each other to expand their businesses and create a global network of traders within the community.

In 2014, Mohammed Burhanuddin again re-institutionalized this concept by renaming the Qardan Hasnah trust by the name of Hasanaat al Qardan Hasan al Burhaniyah.[83] The BBCC was also absorbed by this new trust and a new department was formed to help community members prosper in their business endeavors. This department was named ‘Tijarat Rabeha’ which translates into Profitable Business. The main aim of this department is to facilitate the needs of new and upcoming entrepreneurs within the community by providing modern day solutions and ideas to them. It also organizes numerous seminars, workshops and webinars to help existing businessmen within the community expand their businesses and evolve their business acumen in course with the ever changing times.[84]

Welfare of womenEdit

Burhanuddin formed the Amatullah Aaisaheba Memorial Trust in 1996 in memory of his late wife, Amatullah Aai who had played a leading role in the welfare of the Dawoodi Bohra women. The trust lays particular emphasis on the support of home industries run by women.[85]

Housing complexesEdit

The community facilitates schemes to provide flats and houses at cheaper rates. Several housing complexes have been established all over India, for example in Kalyan, Marol and even in foreign countries such as in Nairobi, Kenya.[86]

In H 1426 / C.E. 2004, a department known as Faiz Enayat Amakene Anwar was established in Mumbai. The main aim of this department is to provide better living conditions for those living in poor conditions.[87]

Awards and honorsEdit

State honors
Top: Padma Shri (India); Star of Jordan (Jordan). Bottom: Stamp commemorating Burhanuddin's 100th birthday (Pakistan); Order of the Nile (Egypt).
  • "Order of the Star of Jordan", the highest civic honor of Jordan by the King of Jordan.[88]
  • "Order of the Nile", the highest civilian honor of Egypt.[89]
  • "Honorary Doctorates", by Al-Azhar University, Egypt, Aligarh Muslim University, India and University of Karachi, Pakistan.[90]
  • On 6 March 2011, Burhani Foundation, India made largest distribution of bird feeders (20,631) to celebrate Mohammed Burhanuddin 100th birthday (according to the Islamic calendar). It was recorded in Guinness World Records.[91][92]
  • Padma Shri, the fourth highest civilian award of India, in 2015.[93]
  • Mohammed Burhanuddin was named one of The 500 Most Influential Muslims in the years 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 & 2013.[94]

DeathEdit

Left: Raudat Tahera entrance facing the qibla. Right: Qabr mubarak as seen from one of the entrances of Raudat Tahera.

Burhanuddin died of cardiac arrest at his home Saifee Mahal in Mumbai on 17 January 2014.[88] The Bohra community announced a 40-day mourning period in respect of the departed leader.[95] His second son and successor, Mufaddal Saifuddin led the Salat al-Janazah (lit. 'funeral procession') of his father at Gurrat al-Masajid, after which he was buried at Raudat Tahera besides his father Taher Saifuddin.[90] The Indian flag was flown at half-mast as a mark of state mourning.[90]

The day after his demise, a crowd of supporters peacefully assembled outside his residence to pay their respects; Unfortunately, when the gates were opened to let them in, a human stampede ensued, killing eighteen people.[96] A commemoration service held one year after Burhanuddin's death drew an estimated three hundred thousand bohras to Mumbai; two dedicated townships were built specially to accommodate them.[97]

SuccessionEdit

 
Burhanuddin confers nass on his son Saifuddin at a gathering at Raudat Tahera, 2011.

Mohammed Burhanuddin, died in January 2014.[98] As per the tenets of the sect[99] each predecessor is required to nominate his successor during his lifetime.[100][101] His death sparked a succession crisis where two rival claimants emerged for the title of 53rd Dā'ī al-Mutlaq:[102] his son, Mufaddal Saifuddin, and his half-brother, Khuzaima Qutbuddin, who was previously Mazoon [103] of the Dawoodi Bohra.[104]

The challenge created a divide in the community with the vast majority aligning with Mufaddal Saifuddin[105][106] whilst a small number aligned with Khuzaima Qutbuddin.[107] Mufaddal Saifuddin assumed control of the Dawoodi Bohra administration and infrastructure. He is largely accepted as the Bohras' leader[108] by governments and other public bodies.[109] The UK Charity Commission[110] has stated in writing, that "our view is that His Holiness Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin is the current incumbent of the office of Dai al-Mutlaq."[111]

GenealogyEdit

Burhanuddin is a descendant of leaders of the early Fatimid mission in India, Fakhr al-Din Shaheed, Abd al-Qadir Hakimuddin, Khanji Pheer, and Syedi Lukman.[112]

Notable worksEdit

Rasāʾil Ramaḍāniyya (Epistles)Edit

The following are a list of Rasāʾil Ramaḍāniyya composed by Mohammed Burhanuddin. Each Risalah is given a title according to Abjad numerals equivalent to the Hijri year of its publication:[113][114]

ID Title Title (English) Hijri Pub.Year
SMB 00 حكمة الغيبة الحقيقية Hikmat al-Ghaybah al-Haqiqiyyah 1385H
SMB 01 استفتاح زبد المعارفIsteftah Zubad al-Ma'arif1385H 1386H
SMB 02فيوضات الجنةFuyoodhaat al-Jannah1386H
SMB 03 سلام نضرة النعيم Salaam Nadrah al-Na'eem 1387H
SMB 04 ذات النور Zaat al-Noor 1388H
SMB 05 ظهور مجد الفاطميين Zuhoor Majd al-Fatimiyeen 1389H
SMB 06بركة صبغة الله Barakah Sibghah Allah 1390H
SMB 07نشر الخير [115]Nashr al-Khayr1391H1437H2017
SMB 08ندى الفيوضات [116]Nadā al-Fūyūdāt1392H1438H 2018
SMB 09 سلسبيل روض القدس [117] Salsabīl Rawd al-Quds 1392H 1439H 2019

NotesEdit

  1. ^ The Ashara sermons and prayers were led by Saifuddin, Burhanuddin's son.[78]
  2. ^ Saifuddin, Burhanuddin's son, led the sermons and prayers.[79]
  3. ^ The Ashara Mubaraka sermons and prayers were led by Burhanuddin's son, Saifuddin.[80]

ReferencesEdit

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Further readingEdit

Shia Islam titles
Preceded by
Taher Saifuddin
52nd Dā'ī al-Mutlaq
1965-2014
Succeeded by
Mufaddal Saifuddin