No change in Dawoodi Bohra leadership, High Court settles 10-year-old dispute

The Bombay High Court has dismissed a suit challenging Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin's position as the religious leader of the Dawoodi Bohra community.
No change in Dawoodi Bohra leadership, High Court settles 10-year-old dispute
Jaano Junction

The Bombay High Court on Tuesday upheld Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin's position as the leader of the Dawoodi Bohra community while dismissing his nephew Taher Fakhruddin's claim. Fakhruddin had filed a suit challenging Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin's position as the 53rd religious leader or 'Dai-al-Mutlaq' of the Dawoodi Bohra community.

"I don't want any upheavals. I have kept the judgment as neutral as possible. I have only decided on the issue of proof and not faith," Justice Gautam Patel said.

The dispute centres on the leadership of the Shia Muslim community in Mumbai, with two claimants vying for the position of the Dai al-Mutlaq, the spiritual head.

The legal battle over succession began after an uncle-nephew dispute emerged following the death of the 52nd Dai, Syedna Mohammad Burhanuddin, in January 2014.

Also Read
'Listening to Hanuman Chalisa crime under Congress': PM in Rajasthan
No change in Dawoodi Bohra leadership, High Court settles 10-year-old dispute

Immediately after the Dai's death, his brother Syedna Khuzaima Qutbuddin invited the late leader’s son, Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin, for a debate over the succession. However, Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin did not respond and anointed himself as the 53rd Dai of the community, leading to a long-drawn legal battle.

Khuzaima Qutbuddin moved the High Court in April 2014 seeking to declare him as the community leader based on a secret nass (conferment of succession) by the deceased leader in 1965.

He stated that his brother, the 52nd Dai, had told him to keep it a secret initially, and later an oath of allegiance (Misaaq) was held by Syedna Burhanuddin, who announced Qutbuddin as the leader and was also equivalent in his rank.

However, Qutbuddin died during the trial. Subsequently, his son, Syedna Taher Fakhruddin, filed an application in the High Court seeking to replace his father in the suit. Fakhruddin claimed he was conferred nass by his father, and he claimed to be the 54th Dai.

The defendant, Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin, argued that the nass of 1965, as claimed by Qutbuddin, was without witnesses and hence could not be accepted. Saifuddin’s lawyers also submitted that as per established doctrines of the Dawoodi Bohra faith, nass could be changed and also furnished instances in the past.

Justice Gautam Patel has been hearing the declaratory suit since 2014, and the final hearing started on November 30, 2022. As one of the central questions in the case revolves around the concept of nass, the judgment will have significant religious and legal implications for the Dawoodi Bohra community.

The Dawoodi Bohras are a religious denomination within Shia Islam. They number approximately one million worldwide and have settled in over 40 countries around the world, with the majority of the community residing in India.

Source: India Today

Stay connected to Jaano Junction on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Koo. Listen to our Podcast on Spotify or Apple Podcasts.

Related Stories

No stories found.
logo
Jaano Junction
www.jaanojunction.com