Mumbai: The fight between two cousins to become the Dai-al-Mutlaq, spiritual head of the Dawoodi Bohra community intensified on Friday with one deposing in the Bombay High Court and claiming to have been ‘specially trained’ to handle the position.
Syedna Taher Fakhruddin deposed as a ‘witness’ in the historic central courtroom, which was jampacked by hundreds of his disciples and also the followers of his opponent Shehzada Mufaddal Saifuddin, the elder son of Syedna Burhanuddin, who had died in January 2014.
Syedna Fakhruddin had deposed before a single-judge bench of Justice Gautam Patel, who is conducting a trial in the suit filed by his father Khuzaima Qutbuddin, seeking the court to declare him as the 53rd Dai-al-Mutlaq of the community.
In his deposition, Syedna Fakhruddin said, “Special knowledge and special training is must for becoming Dai-al-Mutlaq. I have such a special knowledge which was given to me by my father. I have also received the special training to become Dai-al-Mutlaq, from my father. This special education and training include how to understand and interpret hierarchy of sources of knowledge in our faith.”
Apart from this, Syedna Fakhruddin answered to at least 27 questions, which were asked to him by his counsel Anand Desai, who was conducting the examination-in-chief. This session which lasted for more than five hours included questions as to how the Bohra community came into existence
During the course of the examination, Syedna Fakhruddin while answering a question, said, “There have been several instances wherein a Dai-al-Mutlaq appointed his successor as per the choices of his predecessors. One such instance was of 28th Dai-al-Mutlaq, who had appointed the 29th in accordance with the choice of the 27th Dai-al-Mutlaq. That time, some people had challenged 28th Dai-al-Mutlaq’s choice and then he had termed those people as donkeys.”
The dispute arose after the death of Dawoodi Bohra community’s spiritual head and 52nd Dai-al-Mutlaq Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin. His elder son Shahzada Mufaddal, had took over as the spiritual head or Dai-al-Mutlaq of the community, against the claim made by his uncle Syedna Qutbuddin, who claimed himself to be the spiritual head by virtue of being the brother and ‘mazoon’ (deputy) of the deceased Syedna Burhanuddin, for around 50 years. After his death, his son Syedna Tahir Fakhruddin had moved the HC seeking substitution as a plaintiff.