Reflections: Majlis 2

Ashara Mubaraka 1443 H
Aljamea-tus-Saifiyah, Nairobi

Majlis 2: 3rd Muharram al-Haram

On the 3rd of Muharram al-Haram 1443 H, al-Dai al-Ajal al-Fatimi Syedna Aali Qadr Mufaddal Saifuddin TUS continued his explanation of Amirul Mumineen’s AS series of kalām mubārak in which he outlines the things which he sought, and where he found them. Today, Syedna TUS elaborated upon where Amirul Mumineen AS found wealth:

I sought wealth and found it in being content with little.

Prior to expanding upon this concept, which was to be the focus of the waʿz mubārak, he outlined the characteristics and attributes of the Dawoodi Bohra community. The Dawoodi Bohras always:

  • remain happy,
  • offer gratitude,
  • cherish peace,
  • extend a helping hand to others,
  • encourage education,
  • adhere to [the directives of their] Awliya Allah AS,
  • refrain from deception,
  • strive for the development of the nation and
  • remain loyal to their homelands.

He added that their most defining trait is that they follow one leader, and wherever he goes, they go, their hearts brimming with his muḥabbat. As a result of these qualities and this muḥabbat, they gather for the majālis of Imam Husain AS taking time off from their businesses and leave from their occupations.

In the aforementioned kalām mubārak, Maulana Ali AS informs us that he searched for ghinā, wealth, and found it in being content with little. Syedna al-Dai al-Ajal TUS defined ghinā as wealth that a) enables one to live with relative ease and comfort, and b) suffices one from seeking charity from others. As such, ghinā is a relative term and is founded primarily on being content with the smallest of portions. Syedna TUS elaborated this concept through the example of an individual who possesses 1000 shillings. He explained that even a single shilling could bring happiness and satisfaction and when a single shilling holds value for him, he will soon realize that he indeed possesses a great amount of wealth. He will never resort to outstretching his hands to others and will live a life of comfort.

However, if he succumbs to greed, even millions of shillings will seem inadequate and he will lead a life of worry and anxiety. His existence will be like that of a pauper, unhappy with the Almighty, believing that He has denied him the means to lead a life of comfort and will always be reliant and dependent on others. Therefore, the greatest blessing is to be happy with whatever one possesses, no matter how little. Contentment is a treasure that is inexhaustible.

To illustrate this, Syedna Saifuddin TUS related an encounter between Amirul Mumineen AS and Maulana Abizer al-Ghifari RA. (Maula TUS explained that the name Abizar can be said in three ways: Abizar, Abazar and Abuzar.) One day, Abizar RA visited Amirul Mumineen AS. After qadambosi, Maulana Ali AS enquired as to why he appeared so distraught. He replied that he was burdened with debt, and debt is a blemish on one’s faith. He added that he did not possess even a single dirham that could be put towards its repayment. Pointing to a stone in his courtyard, Maulana Ali AS told Abizar RA to use this stone to pay off his debts and dispel his worries and troubles. Maulana Abizer RA asked, ‘How can I use a stone to pay off my debt?’ Amirul Mumineen AS instructed him to beseech Allah Taʿālā and seek the intercession of the Great Name (Ism-e-ʿĀẓam) and by the might and power of the Almighty, the stone would turn to gold. Maulana Abizar RA did as directed and the stone turned to pure gold. Then Amirul Mumineen AS instructed him to use only as much gold as needed to pay off his debt. Once again, Abizer RA asked how he would be able to remove the precise amount of gold without the necessary tools, to which Maulana Ali AS replied, ‘Have faith, take the wasīla of the Great Name so that Allah may soften the gold for you just as he did iron for Dawood Nabi AS.’ The gold immediately became pliant and Abizer RA removed a portion of it to settle his debt and it was exactly the requisite amount. The gold that remained turned back to stone and Maulana Abizer RA gratefully settled his debt. Syedna TUS pointed out that this narration teaches us that Allah’s Awliya AS may at times offer us something that seems no more valuable than a stone, however, if we value it and are content with it, then treasures of blessings will open for us.

Highlighting how the Duat Mutlaqeen AS have always taught Mumineen to treasure whatever Maula TUS gives, Syedna Saifuddin TUS mentioned that Syedna Taher Saifuddin RA used to repeatedly say, ‘Take bhai Burhanuddin, for wealth lies beneath his feet.’ Mumineen took this counsel to heart and treasured even a few seconds of Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin’s RA qadam mubarak in their homes which brought them immense joy and happiness. It is by the blessings of this qadam, that Mumineen have prospered.

Syedna al-Dai al-Ajal al-Fatimi TUS then addressed the gathering:

O congregation of entrepreneurs! When many of you left your homes in search of new frontiers of livelihood, your fathers bade you farewell with whatever amount of money that was possible for them. Those who accepted these amounts happily have prospered. Had you been displeased and ungrateful, can you imagine what would have happened to you?

Qalīl means something that is few and far between, or as Maula al-Minʿām TUS stated, unique. The Quran Majīd has described Mumineen as being qalīl in the following verse:

Except those who believe and do good – but how few are they! (38:24)

Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin TUS explained that even though Mumineen are few in numbers, their value is great. So to be content with qalīl in this context is to always remain grateful for the bounty of ʾīmān that Allah Taʿālā has bestowed upon us. The wealth that one receives in turn, is that Maula TUS places us in the treasure chest that is his heart.

In explaining the significance of appreciating this bounty of ʾīmān, Syedna al-Dai al-Ajal TUS referred to a counsel given by Maulana al-Imam Jaʿfar al-Sādiq AS to a Shia who was a successful businessman. Imam AS said to him that, ‘If you happen to incur a loss in your business, remember that Allah Taʿālā has blessed you with his ʾīmān; remember that your heart is filled with our love.’ ‘He has given you that which he has given few others.’ This understanding ensures that one remains grateful and content with the great wealth of ʾīmān. Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin TUS emphasised this reality by stating that even if a Mumin did not have a single grain of food, had no clothes apart from the leaves of a tree and no roof above his head save its shade – he is still wealthy and need not hold out his hands to anyone apart from Wali Allah AS.

Syedna al-Dai al-Ajal TUS quoted yet another kalām mubārak to clarify this concept. Amirul Mumineen AS has stated:

‘The greatest of wealth is to abandon all hope of ever receiving anything from what others possess.’

Depression and hopelessness follow those who lack contentment, and Syedna Aali Qadr TUS pointed out that this is a major modern day problem. In this state of depression, some even contemplate suicide, even the thought of which is a sin. Syedna al-Dai al-Ajal TUS sternly stated that no one should resort to such thoughts or actions. Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin RA used to state that the one who commits suicide is not a Mumin for he has abadondoned his faith in Allah. Even though he assumes that he will rid himself of all worries, he has instead brought upon himself a thousand more troubles. Syedna TUS then outlined two ways of saving oneself from depression related to the overall topic of today’s waʿz mubārak: al-riḍā bi al-qalīl. The first is to do away with expectations from others and remain happy and content with whatever one possesses. When you have expectations from others and they are not met, it leads to disappointment which can eventually snowball into a complete loss of hope and disregard for one’s own life. The second way is maintaining faith in Allah Taʿālā. One should consider whatever one has as a great blessing. Even a sip of water is a great bounty, which we take and immediately say ‘Alhamd li Allah.’


The Battle of Uhud provides another expression of ‘al-riḍā bi al-qalīl’. Abu Sufyān and a number of the tribal leaders of Makkah al-Mukarrama set out for Medina Munawarra with 3000 infantry and 200 cavalry. Rasul Allah’s SAW army of 900 stayed fast to their assigned stations and met the enemies head on. Amirul Mumineen AS and Maulana Hamza AS fought valiantly, with Amirul Mumineen AS slaying 70 commanders from 70 different divisions. On the cusp of losing, Mushrikeen retreated, at which point the Muslim army abandoned its positions in order to seek the spoils left by the retreating army. The Mushrikeen took this opportunity to open a new front from which to attack and the Muslims suffered great losses: Maulana Hamza AS was slain and Rasul Allah SAW was injured with only Amirul Mumineen AS staying steadfast at his side. In his analysis of this event, Maulana al-Minaʿām TUS remarked that those who abandoned their posts were not content with qalīl. Instead, in their attempt to acquire wealth, not only did they return empty handed, but they will always be remembered for abandoning Rasul Allah SAW and disobeying his orders. On the other hand, Syedna al-Dai al-Ajal TUS explained that Amirul Mumineen AS was content with qalīl; he was happy to stay back alone and defend the Nabi SAW. His reward was that the Nabi Mohammed SAW declared: ‘Ali is from me and I am from Ali.’ Maula TUS exclaimed, ‘Is there any wealth greater than this!’


Syedna al-Dai al-Ajal TUS explained that Imam Husain AS sought Allah’s riḍā in every step he took until ultimately, on the day of ʿAshūraʾ, even under such dire circumstances, he made his happiness known by solemnizing the marriage of Maulana Abdullah AS with his beloved daughter, Maulatona Sakina AS. When Abdullah AS came to Imam Husain AS seeking his razā to go into battle, avenge the death of his brother, Maulana Qasim AS and bring back water for the haram, Imam Husain AS wept incessantly and said, ‘O beloved son, you are young like your brother, Qasim, who went before you and did not return. These foes intend to slay you, but you are the image of my brother, Hasan, and thus I shall not permit you to go.’ Abdullah AS was heartbroken and began to shed tears in a secluded corner of the encampment. He asked himself what he could do to make Imam Husain AS reconsider his decision, when he remembered the note his respected father had written for him. He took the note and brought it to Imam Husain AS. In it, Imam Hasan AS had written, ‘O my beloved son Abdullah, when your uncle, Imam Husain, is besieged by hardships in Karbala, do not cherish your life; sacrifice yourself in your revered uncle’s service. If he does not permit you, then I give you permission to ransom yourself for him.’ Seeing the note in his brother’s handwriting, Imam Husain AS wept and placed it on his head. He said to Abdullah, ‘The note you have shown me has reminded me of my brother’s parting wish.’ Imam Husain AS took Abdullah AS by his hand and brought him to Maulatona Zainab AS stating, ‘O my beloved sister, bring forth the bridegroom’s garb from the trunk.’ Maulatona Zainab AS brought the garb and Imam Husain AS clothed Abdullah AS with it. He then called Maulatona Sakina AS and officiated her nikah to Abdullah AS. The two sat together in happy conversation, when a call was heard asking whether there were any men left to fight. Abdullah AS immediately stood up and proceeded towards the battlefield when Imam Husain AS summoned him and transformed both his pāghrī and garbs into shrouds. Maulatona Sakina AS clung to Abdullah AS and said, ‘O my beloved, my father has entrusted me to your care and now that you go off to battle, who do you entrust me to?’ Abdullah AS wept and glanced at his mother who in turn embraced Sakina, as Abdullah AS departed for battle. He fought valiantly despite being of tender age and having had nothing to eat or drink for three days. His blessed body was decimated by an onslaught of spears. He intended to ride back to Imam Husain AS but was weakened to such an extent that he was unable to even grasp his horse’s reins. Blood flowed from his wounds as he fell to the ground calling out to Imam Husain AS so that he might reunite him one last time with his beloved bride and mother. Imam Husain AS hurried towards him and carried his body back to the encampment where a storm of grief erupted when the sayyidāt saw his blood soaked body.


Narrating the events that unfolded prior to and during Syedna Taher Saifuddin’s RA visit to East Africa in 1383 H (1963 AD), Syedna al-Dai al-Ajal TUS quoted a bayān mubārak of Syedna Saifuddin RA wherein he stated that those Mumineen in the region who were engaged in business persistently kept sending telegrams to him asking him to finalise a date for his visit. They maintained that a trip of such significance needed many months worth of prior preparation and that even eight days prior, Syedna RA had not sent any confirmation. How then would they be able to prepare and notify the Governor-General of Syedna’s RA arrival? Eventually they sent a letter stating that if Syedna RA did not arrive by a specified date, the Governor would not be present in Nairobi to receive him. Syedna RA did not respond to them and travelled to Karachi from where he sent a telegram directly to the Governor-General McDonald, that he would be travelling to Nairobi on a specified date. Mumineen were not aware of this until they received a call from the Governor’s house that a date had been confirmed by Syedna RA for his arrival. When Syedna RA touched down at Nairobi Airport, the Governor-General, who had a pleasant, jovial personality, had arrived to receive him and was standing next to his aircraft. Syedna Taher Saifuddin RA had met him on two prior occasions, once in Singapore and once in Delhi and thus was well-acquainted with him. The Governor and many people including other officials were at the airport to receive Syedna RA. Seeing the Governor welcome Syedna RA in such a manner made a profound impression upon all those who witnessed it. Someone inquired of those who were present that day as to what had transpired and they replied saying that they witnessed something far beyond what they had expected. Many also stated that they were in keen anticipation to see who would emerge from the aircraft and when they saw him it was as if his countenance radiated with light. People from various communities had gathered that day including Khojas, Memons and Hindus. They all witnessed that the Governor-General took Syedna Taher Saifuddin RA by his hand and seated him in his own vehicle. A stately motorcade consisting of about 150 cars accompanied Syedna RA to the Governor’s House where he spent three to four hours and prayed namaz before departing for Mombasa.

Al-Dai al-Ajal al-Fatimi Syedna Taher Saifuddin RA was the first dai to visit East Africa.

Syedna Saifuddin RA and Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin with Sir Malcolm McDonald

In Mombasa many people came to welcome Syedna RA from various communities. Mumineen had long been in anticipation to see their dai and to witness his personage. Many informed Syedna RA that their children had been ready to depart for Europe as the holidays were coming to an end, but had stayed back in anticipation of Syedna’s RA arrival. Syedna RA summoned these students and youngsters and spoke to them for hours on end. He accepted their desire to pursue various degrees yet insisted that they not pursue education endlessly without making concrete plans for their future and without compromising their faith. When the wider community came to know of Syedna’s RA presence in Mombasa they flocked to him. The Aga Khan had instructed his followers in Mombasa to welcome Syedna RA and to afford him more respect than they would to him. One Khoja man came to Syedna RA complaining of chronic insomnia that had rendered him sleepless for eight consecutive nights. He asked Syedna RA for a duʿāʾ or tʿawīz that would alleviate his condition. Syedna RA asked him to come back the next day for a tʿawīz and for the time being, instructed him to bring some water that he could bless with shifāʾ. The man returned the next day and exclaimed, ‘Syedna, I drank the water and fell asleep in my car even before I reached home!’ Similarly, Syedna RA was asked to pray for a woman who was brought to him on a stretcher. She was in labour and about to give birth but her state was so dire that people feared she would not make it. The woman gave birth and after fifteen days came back to Syedna RA with her child acknowledging that it was because of his duʿāʾ that she had survived and had been blessed with a child.

May Allah Taʿālā grant Syedna Aali Qadr Mufaddal Saifuddin a long life in everlasting health and happiness until the Day of Qiyāmat.