His Holiness Syedna Taher Fakhruddin Saheb (TUS), the 54th Dai al- Mutlaq is head of the worldwide Dawoodi Bohra Community. He is the eldest son of 53rd Dai al- Mutlaq His Holiness the Late Syedna Khuzaima Qutbuddin Saheb (TUS) and was anointed as the 54th Dai al-Mutlaq on November 8, 2015. In an interview with Neeta Kolhatkar of Free Press Journal, Syedna Fakhruddin who has also started a hedge fund in which a woman is a partner, spoke of empowerment of women.
- Do you think both the warring factions of the Dawoodi Bohra community will merge after the Bombay High Court’s order in case you lose? How divided will be the whole community?
The dispute is about right and wrong and I am confident the community will not stand divided. I am working towards it. As for the case, I am confident of winning and I have absolute faith in our Indian courts. I am hopeful they will rule expeditiously. Truth will prevail and we are speaking the truth in the courts. Sooner the judgement is given we will join together and become a beacon for every society and country.
- After the death of The 52nd Da’i al-Mutlaq of the Dawoodi Bohras, Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin, in January 2014, the Prime Minister came to meet the other leader, the claimant to the 54th Dai al-Mutlaq, Syedhna Mufaddal Saifuddin. Do you feel this is a message of the government supporting the opposite group?
This event was not known to the Prime Minister that the matter is in the courts. It is premature to assume that he is supporting any one faction. I do not think if Narendra Modi was made aware of the legal proceedings he would support any one faction when the matter is with the judiciary. He would not do so and at least I believe he would not do so.
- You have a hedge fund and a woman is a partner as you said. Would your fund managers give financial training to Bohri women and let them also start such funds?
Yes, as long as they can balance in commitment to their family and business together. You have to give priority to your family. The men who pursue business also need to balance, but most often we see the males focus on their business and not their families and the responsibility of it falls on the women. Often the men are away for weeks on their business. I would say for both the balance is important.
- The oral triple talaq is banned in many countries and now there is a case filed by Muslim women asking to ban this. What is your stand?
We Dawoodi Bohras do not practice triple talaq. In the broader sense of the Muslim society issue, this needs to be resolved. No gender rights are denied and especially hurting women, such issues can be worked out. We want to be compliant to the laws of any land. Religion is not to put hardships on a section of society. The laws are there for the betterment of society. It is important to come together.
- Will there ever be a lady Syedna, spiritual leader for the Bohras? Would you believe in this?
You may have heard of Maulatuna al-Hurrat al-Malika who was nominated to the rutba of hujjat (the only known woman to have occupied this rank besides Maulatuna Fatema) and was made the overall head of the Dawat in Yemen by Imam al-Mustansir Billah. This was done at that point of time.