Who is new Syedna? Trouble brews as half-brother stakes claim

Many Bohras have accepted Burhanuddin’s second son Syedi Mufaddal Saifuddin as Syedna

Written by Tabassum Barnagarwala 2 | Mumbai | Updated: February 6, 2014 2:50 pm
Many Bohras have accepted Burhanuddin’s second  son Syedi Mufaddal Saifuddin as Syedna Many Bohras have accepted Burhanuddin’s second son Syedi Mufaddal Saifuddin as Syedna

While the dust is yet to settle after Saturday’s tragic turn of events, another storm is brewing within the Dawoodi Bohra community – over who will succeed the late Syedna Burhanuddin as the 53rd Dai al-Mutlaq, the religious head of the one million member-strong worldwide community.

Even as a section of Bohras have already accepted Burhanuddin’s second son Syedi Mufaddal Saifuddin (70) as the next Syedna, Burhanuddin’s half-brother Khuzaima Bhaisaheb Qutbuddin (73) announced late on Friday night that the Syedna had performed nass on him in private nearly 49 years ago while appointing him as Mazoon, that is the second in line, after the Syedna.

Nass is the official conferring of succession of the Dai’s position, which can be done either in a public ceremony or in private. At 3.15 pm on Saturday, when Muffadal Bhaisaheb Saifuddin made his first public appearance on a temporary bridge connecting Saifee Masjid and Raudat Tahera mausoleum after Syedna’s demise, lakhs of Dawoodi Bohras standing on the streets of Bhendi Bazaar screamed “Maula” giving a clear indication of who they have believed to be their 53rd Dai al-Mutlaq.

For some members of the community, there is absolutely no doubt over the succession of Mufaddal Bhaisaheb as the next Syedna.

A representative of the community who did not wish to be named said that along with thousands of other Bohras, he was witness to the ceremony when the late Syedna proclaimed nass on “Mufaddal Bhaisaheb” in Rahudat Tahera mausoleum in Mumbai. Months before this happened, in June 2011, the late Syedna had reportedly said to have suffered a stroke and had made the same proclamation of nass in front of his sons.

However, followers of Khuzaima Bhaisaheb Qutbuddin consider him the rightful successor, having been the late Syedna’s closest aide over the years. A statement released by this sect, which has unofficially started calling itself the ‘Qutbi Bohras’, says the late Syedna had instructed the Mazoon to not reveal the nass at the time. He continued to keep it under wraps at the time of the late Syedna’s illness two years ago, in hope that he would recover.

Dr Abdeali Qutbuddin, son of the Mazoon, said that on various occasion the late Syedna had indicated that the Mazoon would be the next Dai. “The group who claims that Mufaddal bhaisaheb is the next Dai has taken advantage of Syedna’s illness which left him speech impaired. In the so-called official nass, the late Syedna was not even able to speak, let alone utter the name of his son as the successor. Syedna’s son-in-law misinterpreted late Syedna’s gesture and everyone present believed that Mufaddal was pronounced the next Dai,” he said. Whether there will be spilt in the community, remains to be seen but followers of Khuzaima believe that people will “gravitate towards the truth and a progressive and reformist ideology.”

stuti.shukla@expressindia.com
tabassum.barnagarwala@expressindia.com

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  1. A
    Alhaq
    Jan 20, 2014 at 12:10 pm
    plz tell the learned men to not conceal their power lusts..according to their admission that the late Sna couldn't speak...then they are putting the late Sna in the category of 'so weak' that he didn't perform his duties and let 'crooks' take advantage of his health...Do they mean that the late Dai az zamaan to be so incapable..nauzubillah
    Reply
    1. J
      Jayraj Paleja
      Feb 8, 2014 at 6:41 am
      Bohras are well educated prosperous & soft spoken community. The matter of succession is now in dispute. In this case they must find out some solution internally instead of making publicity & memoum to the CM of Maharashtra. It is an open invitation to the outsiders tointerfere in the religious affairs of Bohras. The half brother Khuzaima Molla was second in hierarchies & deputyof last Saana still his death. He is also the most competent & well experienced person enjoying support of many Bohras. We live in 21st centuary so the best way is a democratic way on merit bases.
      Reply
      1. J
        Jayraj Paleja
        Feb 8, 2014 at 6:41 am
        Bohras are well educated prosperous & soft spoken community. The matter of succession is now in dispute. In this case they must find out some solution internally instead of making publicity & memoum to the CM of Maharashtra. It is an open invitation to the outsiders tointerfere in the religious affairs of Bohras. The half brother Khuzaima Molla was second in hierarchies & deputyof last Saana still his death. He is also the most competent & well experienced person enjoying support of many Bohras. We live in 21st centuary so the best way is a democratic way on merit bases.
        Reply
        1. T
          Teлeц
          Jan 21, 2014 at 9:50 am
          Gujarati Parsis and Gujariti Bohras are sailing in the same boat.They are cut from the same cloth.Gujju Parsis and Gujju Bohras have similar surnames "Dabbawala, Batliwala,"Gujarati Parsi priests and Gujarati Bohra priests look the same, dress the same.Gujarati Parsis and Gujarati Bohras have a common language, Gujarati.Gujarati Parsis and Gujarati Bohras have the same religious dress.
          Reply
          1. I
            Ismail
            Jan 20, 2014 at 11:36 am
            Bohra community is going through a vertical split.If religious leaders are not so hungry for fame and money this can be so easily avoided.This religious leaders fabricates all kinds of myths and illusions and then loot the poor Bohras of their money.
            Reply
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