Dawoodi Bohras celebrate Syedna’s 100th birthday


Mumbai : Over 300,000 members of the Dawoodi Bohra community in India and abroad gathered here to felicitate their spiritual leader, Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin, who turned 100 Friday.

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On the occasion, the Syedna pledged Rs.1 billion for redevelopment of community members’ homes and colonies.

“I shall continue to serve my beloved community people, they will always remain in my heart. Their prosperity and well-being is my chief concern. I pledge to contribute one billion rupees towards the ongoing redevelopment of 9,200 Dawoodi Bohra homes and mohallas (localities) in Mumbai and other parts of India,” the Syedna said. The announcement was greeted with thunderous applause.

The main function was held at the Saifee Mosque in south Mumbai where the frail Syedna, clad in his traditional pure white attire and a cap, made a rare public appearance and blessed his followers who cheered and prayed for his long life.

He also expressed gratitude to his predecessors and former dais (direct in line of descent from Prophet Mohammed) for bestowing him with such a long and active life, and giving him the opportunity to serve the community for nearly five decades.

Later, the Syedna delivered a brief discourse, laying stress on peace and harmony among all peoples in India and the world. Though frail, he appeared healthy and spoke in a firm voice.

He also announced that another campus of the renowned two-century old Al-Jamiah Al-Safiah Arabic Academy in Surat (Gujarat) would be opened shortly in Nairobi.

The land for the project has already been acquired and financial and other arrangements have also been made for the third campus. The second was constructed in Karachi in 1983.

The birthday function Friday was telecast live to Dawoodi Bohra mosques in India and other countries.

For the past three days, the Bohra-dominated areas in south Mumbai have worn a festive look with colourful illumination on the roads, squares and major buildings, while community members decorated their homes in Mumbai and other parts of the country to mark the Syedna’s centenary.

On Sunday, the Syedna will be taken in a special horse-drawn carriage in a colourful procession from Nariman Point to Chowpatty, a distance of around four km, to enable him bless the community people, who will throng the route.