Mumbai/New Delhi: Born on August 20, 1946, Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin is the 53rd Dai or “Unrestricted Missionary” of the Dawoodi Bohras. He succeeded the office of Dai Al Mutlaq of the Dawoodi Bohras after 52nd Dai Syedna Mohammad Burhanuddin passed away on Friday.

When Mufaddal Saifuddin was born, his grandfather, the 51st Dai Syedna Taher Saifuddin, wrote a note saying his name as “Aali Qadr Mufaddal”.

During the era of Syedna Taher Saifuddin, Mufaddal Saifuddin began the recitation of the Quran in Saifee Villa in Sri Lanka. Syedna Mohammad Burhanuddin solemnised the marriage of Mufaddal Saifuddin with Jawharat-u-sharaf Aai Saheba, daughter of Amir-ul-Jamea’ Syedi Yusuf Najmuddin.

Mufaddal Saifuddin travelled to Karbala, Shaam, Misr and Yemen. During his trip to Yemen, he laid the foundation for the construction of Syedna Hatim’s Roza. After that journey, Burhanuddin entitled him with “Aqeeq-ul-Yemen”. Burhanuddin proclaimed succession on Mufaddal Bhaisaheb Saifuddin on June 4, 2011 in London. Burhanuddin was in the hospital at the time.

With prayers and quiet celebrations at home, the Dawoodi Bohra community had welcomed their community leader’s choice of Mufaddal Saifuddin as his successor.

Mufaddal Saifuddin is the Omara (rector) of the Dawoodi Bohra community’s 200-year-old institution Jamea-tus-Saifiah, which has campuses in Surat, Karachi, Mumbai and Nairobi. He was closely associated with the late Syedna and has received much of his spiritual guidance under the tutelage of his revered father.

Bohras say that the tradition of the Dai-al-Mutlaq has existed for more than 1,000 years, and though every Syedna declares his own heir, it is not always passed down from father to son. Mufaddal Saifuddin, however, is the third generation Dai from the same family, and shares his title with his grandfather Syedna Taher Saifuddin, the 51st Dai who died in 1965.

Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin supervises the curriculum of the Arabic academy Al Jamea Saifiyah and has emphasised education, both religious and secular, and modernisation for both men and women of the community. The Jamea is an Islamic Arabic Academy situated in the heart of Surat, India, and is a leading theological university for Dawoodi Bohras. It was founded in 1814 by the 43rd Dai Abdeali Saifuddin.