(Surat al-Anfal: 7-8)
Allah Ta’ala wills to establish the Truth according to His words and to cut off the roots of the Unbelievers;- That He might establish the Truth and prove Falsehood false, distasteful though it be to those who have committed crimes.
The legacy of the 43rd Dai-l-Mutlaq Syedna Abdeali Saifuddin RA (Surat) is that of knowledge (‘ilm), nurture, and structure (organization). Syedna Abdeali Saifuddin was shamsud-du’aatil-mutlaqeen, a shining sun amongst the Du’aat and a spring of knowledge. He was known as Mu’yyad-i-Asghar in reference to the unmatched Syedna al-Mu’ayyad al-Shirazi, the Bab-ul-Abwaab of Imam Mustansir SA. From the time he became Dai at the young age of 25, till his untimely wafaat at the age of 43 years, Syedna Abdeali Saifuddin led a renaissance of ‘ilm and literary achievement in the Fatemi Dawat; a clear manifestation of the fayz flowing to Syedna from Imam-uz-Zaman SA. Syedna achieved a mastery of Arabic and composed a Diwaan of Arabic qasidas; the Diwaan strikes a masterful harmony between the beauty of the words and the depth of meaning. Shehzada Dr. Abdeali Bhaisaheb’s Master’s thesis is about the concept of Ishq in the Diwaan – an excerpt from his work has been published here.
The greatness of Syedna Abdeali Saifuddin is also manifested in the strength of the other scholars and ulama of his time. In Syedna’s reign, Syedi Sadiqali Saheb composed his flowing and forceful Nasihats. Other scholars such as Shaykh Qutub and Shaykh Saify also composed valuable works about the history of Dawat and jurisprudence (fiqh). Syedna Abdeali Saifuddin’s student, the eminent scholar Syedi Abdeali Imaduddin, composed numerous qasidas and Risaalats, including works in the level of Haqiqat. Syedna Abdeali Saifuddin also established ‘Dars-e-Saify’, a free seminary for students of the ‘ilm of Aal-e-Mohammed.
The establishment of the Dars brings us to Syedna’s second prominent legacy: bringing structure to the organization of Dawat. The education of students has always been conducted by all the Du’at, especially the 34th Dai Syedna Ismail Badruddin Bawa, yet until this time there was no formal institution. Syedna Abdeali Saifuddin established the structure of the Dars, institutionalized the education process and gave it structure. Syedna Taher Saifuddin further organized this process and renamed the Dars, al-Jamea al-Saifiyyah. Syedna Abdeali Saifuddin also organized many other aspects of Dawat into institutionalized structures, especially the Wazarat Saifiyyah (the Saifiyyah Ministry), which handled the communications with Aamils, their appointments and other affairs of the Dawat.
Perhaps the legacy of Syedna Abdeali Saifuddin that is closest to Mumineen’s heart is that he nurtured 12 thousand Mumineen for one full year in Surat in the face of severe famine. He undertook the responsibility of their lodging and boarding and even helped to reestablish their livelihoods. Syedna incurred a debt on the Dawat organization for undertaking this mammoth task.
Syedna Abdeali Saifuddin also built al-Masjid al-Mu’azzam in Surat from his personal wealth. Syedna Burhanuddin RA rebuilt this grand massjid in 1417H. Syedna Abdeali Saifuddin’s life and achievements are difficult to encompass in a few short paragraphs. His conviction and confidence in facing the trials and tribulations of his time are inspiring. These difficulties are true testament to the strength of his personality and character.
And his legacy is enduring. Syedna Abdeali Saifuddin’s successors, particularly Syedna Taher Saifuddin RA and Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin RA, built on his legacy. Today, Syedna Khuzaima Qutbuddin TUS continues that legacy through his teachings and actions. The legacy of ‘ilm continues through his composition of Qasidas, Risalat, Sabaqs and Bayaans; through his encouragement of education for boys and girls including secular education. The legacy of organization and structure is continued in the systematic calculation of zakaat, the establishment of a professionally run scholarship program for higher education and the many aspects of structural enhancement to the Dawat administration mentioned in Syedna’s vision (including systems of accountability, local representation and transparency). The legacy of nurturing Mumineen continues as Syedna’s doors are open in the weekly bethaks for every Mumin to come to him personally and seek advice, solace and refuge.
Syedna Abdeali Saifuddin faced tremendous challenges and with the aid of the Ta’yeed of Imam-uz-zamaan consolidated the structure of Dawat. His successor Syedna Qutbuddin continues to respond to the challenges of this age and the enmity of those who disbelieve in him with conviction, strength and a complete reliance on Imam-z-zaman. As the Quranic ayat quoted at the beginning of this Sijill states, Allah Ta’ala establishes the Truth with his words. From one perspective the Du’aat, in the time of the Imam’s satar, are Allah’s living words.
In these testing times, these verses composed by Syedna Abdeali Saifuddin resonate with the Quranic ayat quoted above and with our current circumstances:
Syedna Qutbuddin TUS is the true successor to the Nass and legacy of Syedna Abdeali Saifuddin, Syedna Taher Saifuddin and Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin. For all those who dare to think, to overcome their fears, the Truth is as clear as day.