Those messengers some We have preferred above others; some there are to whom God spoke, and some He raised in rank.
(Surat al-Baqara: 253)
Syedna Taher Saifuddin RA was born on 27 Zil Qa’da 1305H (4th August 1888) in the time of the 48th Dai Syedna Abdul Husain Husamuddin RA. When his father the 49th Dai Syedna Burhanuddin RA took him to the hazrat of Syedna Husamuddin for the first time, Syedna Husamuddin gave him the name ‘Taher’ and gifted him a sword, foreseeing that this child would become the great Dai Saifuddin, who would protect this Dawat and fight its enemies. He foresaw that this Dai’s accomplishments in the khidmat of the Imam would be unparalleled.
Syedna Taher Saifuddin RA authored over 40 Risalats, composed over 10,000 verses of Arabic poetry, delivered 1000’s of waaz sermons, taught 1000’s of sabaqs, and gave 1000’s of personal and private audiences to mumineen. He traveled far distances to Mumineen’s home towns, sometimes even on bullock-cart. He consolidated the organization of Da’wat and raised the stature of the community amongst the Muslim Ummah and world leaders (he was unanimously elected chancellor of Aligarh Muslim University for three terms and remained Chancellor until his wafaat). He built the zarihs of Maulana Ali SA, Imam Husain AS and Rasul Husain AS. He constructed the Mahallus-Saify in Mecca, Saify Masjid in Mumbai (from his personal wealth), the Jame’a and hundreds of masjids. He established sanitariums and hundreds of high schools which brought the community literacy rate to nearly 100%. He faced the enemies of Da’wat in court and rose victorious. This list simply serves to highlight the 51st Dai’s many accomplishments during his 53 year reign. To elaborate on each would require volumes.
It is our belief that all Du’aat Mutlaqeen are in the elevated position of the representation and niyaabat of Imamuz-Zaman. It is the Du’aat whom Rasulullah SA addressed as brothers. It is the Du’aat whose names Maulana Ali SA inscribed in Kitabul ‘ilm. But as the Quranic Ayat quoted above reads, there are those whom Allah Ta’ala has preferred over others. Syedna Taher Saifuddin’s RA maqaam amongst the Du’aat was that of a shining sun.
It is incumbent upon each Dai to prepare his successor – to prepare one who is like him. Each Dai until the 51st Dai has done so. The 51st Dai prepared his successor and his successor’s successor – the 52nd and the 53rd Dais. Syedna Taher Saifuddin prepared his successor the 52nd Dai Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin RA, who he called "ana" – (lit. me – he is like me, or he is me).
Syedna Taher Saifuddin also prepared the 53rd Dai, Syedna Khuzaima Qutbuddin TUS. During Syedna Taher Saifuddin’s landmark trip to East Africa, Syedna Qutbuddin also accompanied him. Due to an ongoing project in Mumbai, Syedna Qutbuddin had to return to Mumbai for brief interim period, and was not present when Syedna Taher Saifuddin visited Mombasa. Later when he rejoined Syedna Taher Saifuddin in Arusha, Mumineen from Mombasa requested Syedna Taher Saifuddin to send Syedna Qutbuddin to Mombasa for a few days. Syedna Taher Saifuddin agreed to their request. When Syedna Qutbuddin visited Mombasa mumineen gathered to receive Syedna Qutbuddin with great enthusiasm and joy, and were enthralled by Syedna Khuzaima Qutbuddin’s bayaan and personality. When Syedna Qutbuddin returned to Syedna Taher Saifuddin’s hazrat in Arusha, a few Mumineen of Mombasa traveled with him to offer shukur to Syedna for sending his beloved son to grace their town. Syedna Taher Saifuddin spontaneously responded ‘mein kehyu thu ne ke mein biji waar aawis’ (did I not say that I would come again) (Golden Panorama, pp. 13-15).