Reason #94: A Mockery of Justice (part 2)
Recently, Khuzaima Qutbuddin and the Fatemidawat website have made the following statement in an effort to justify their unprecedented action of using the Indian court system to try and prove Khuzaima’s claims as holding the office of the 53rd Dai Mutlaq:
“Syedna [sic] Qutbuddin follows the path of his predecessors. The 51st and 52nd Dai have both established their rights in the Indian Judiciary when challenged; they have recognized the jurisdiction of the courts and defended their rights. In fact Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin approached the courts as plaintiff to assert his rights as Dai.” (Sijil – A Weekly Newsletter of Fatemidawat.com, Issue 8, 5th Jamadil Ukhra 1435H).
They go on to talk about the Chanda Bhai Gulla Case as an example and mindfully state that Syedna Taher Saifuddin RA ‘established’ his rights in the Indian Judiciary when challenged by an opposition. The wording chosen here in Sijil is important to note. In English, to establish something generally means to found, institute, build, or bring into being on a firm or stable basis. In other words, the author of the article in Sijil, the official newsletter of Fatemidawat.com – the official website of Khuzaima Qutbuddin – seems to be stating that the ruling of judicial courts are means to establish the rights of the Da’i Mutlaq. That is to say, if a court rules in favor of the Da’i it somehow affirms his position; it somehow legitimizes the position of the Da’i.
Furthermore, they go on to claim that going to the judiciary system (which the community habitually respects and abides by to the fullest extent) is a customary action of the Du’at Mutlaqeen, namely the 51st and 52nd Dai Mutlaq when a need arose to ‘establish’ their position. Khuzaima and his children make this statement in order to justify their own current actions of approaching the Mumbai High Court as plaintiffs to ‘establish’ Khuzaima’s claim of holding the office of the 53rd Da’i Mutlaq and to seek legal adjudication ruling that Aqa Moula Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin TUS is not our 53rd Da’i al-Mutlaq and successor of Aqa Moula Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin RA. They want the Indian judiciary system to rule against and undermine the wishes and unfaltering belief of nearly 99.95% percent or more members of the Dawoodi Bohra community. They would like to make the Indian judiciary system a criterion for determining religious dogma and belief.
As the Mumbai Mirror has reported the Qutbuddins seek the following,
- Syedna [sic] Khuzaima Qutbuddin has filed a suit in High Court against Shehzada Mufaddal Saifuddin, seeking relief that he (Khuzaima) be declared Dai-al-Mutlaq
- Mufaddal Saifuddin should be restrained from holding himself out as or performing any acts or deeds as the Dai al-Mutlaq.
- and that no transfers should be made as regard to the trust’s assets.
Thus, they are interested in limiting the power of the current 53rd Da’i al- Mutlaq Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin TUS and controlling the funds of Dawat. It is quite baffling that anyone would be compelled to do this considering that almost all the members of the Dawoodi Bohra only accept Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin TUS as their Da’i and will never consider Khuzaima Qutbuddin as anything more than a claimant to something that isn’t his. Yet this isn’t the first time Da’wat has been taken to court by plaintiffs seeking to remove the Da’i Mutlaq from power surrounding questions about nass.
This last point is where Khuzaima Qutbuddin and his children have provided the readers of their website with a somewhat ahistorical account (because it is out of context) of the Chanda Gulla Bhai Case as a justification for their unprecedented action of dealing with the matters of Dawat-i-Hadiyah in court. They are somehow suggesting that the British-Colonial justice system in India was better suited to legitimize the position of the Da’i Mutlaq than the Dawoodi Bohra community itself and that Syedna Taher Saifuddin RA appeared in court himself to give testimony to ‘establish’ legitimization for the position of Da’i Mutlaq. When has ever an exterior party been more suited to pass judgement or make regulations for a religious community than the community itself?
Before I go into the details of the Chanda Bhai Gulla case in the following point, I would like to first pose a question. What if any given legal system does not acknowledge the authority or power of the Da’i Mutlaq. Does this change the belief of the community? Would it actually sever the belief of the Dawoodi Bohra community for their Da’i – a belief which is based on love and devotion? The answer is obvious.
The story of Syedna Qutbuddin Shaheed RA is etched in the consciousness of every Mu’min since it is a pivotal moment in our community’s history. Historically, Syedna Qutbuddin Shaheed RA was martyred in Ahmedabad because the Mughal legal system found him guilty of heresy during the era of the Mughal emperor Shah Jehan. During the early history of Dawat in Hindustan, the Duat Mutlaqeen had, for the most part, led the Dawoodi Bohra community with a fair amount of religious freedom in Gujarat under the early Mughal emperors. However, during the reign of his father, Awrangzeb began a campaign to limit those freedoms and to persecute religious minorities while he served as governor of Gujarat. This coincided with the era of Syedna Qutb Khan Qutbuddin al-Shaheed RA (1644-1646).
In 1645, Awrangzeb arrived in Gujarat and under the influence of his advisor, ‘Abd al-Ghawī (al-Qawī) he persecuted all Shias including the Dawoodi Bohra community. He imprisoned Syedna Qutbuddin al-Shaheed RA accusing him of being a rāfḍī (a heretic). Dawoodi Bohra mosques were placed under Sunnī control and Syedna Qutbuddin Shaheed RA was eventually brought to trial. This court decided to put him to death due to a forged letter signed by the young children of Syedna Qutbuddin Shaheed RA in which there was a false testimony claiming that Moula RA acceded to being a rāfḍī (heretic). The court ruled against Moulana Qutbuddin Shaheed RA and ordered that he be punished by beheading. Moulana Qutbuddin Shaheed RA was martyred by beheading while giving sajda at the ground of Karanj in Kalupur Ahmedabad. This act was an attempt by Awrangzeb to bring an end to the community and sever our religious conviction and beliefs through fear and persecution.
What Khuzaima fails to understand that it isn’t the tradition of Duat Mutlaqeen to seek the court’s ruling to determine the validity of the Da’i Mutlaq as he has claimed. On the contrary, using the judiciary system to challenge Dawat and the Dai is the action of those who have traditionally opposed Dawat. Khuzaima has sought to forward his agenda through the judiciary system in order to ultimately make financial gains and try to get an external party to award him the title of being called the Dai since Moulana Burhanuddin Aqa RA did not. However, Khuzaima will never be able to stake a claim over the hearts of the Dawoodi Bohra community.
Almost 500 years ago, Awrangzeb, ‘Abd al-Ghawī, and Shah Beg tried to persecute the community in the guise of seeking a ruling through a judiciary system. However, history has shown that the subsequent will and belief of the community could not be faltered. Syedna Qutbuddin Shaheed RA told his persecutors near to his martyrdom that, “You might be able to murder my physical body but you will never be able to murder my soul.” Those words resonate today in the hearts of all Mumineen. Our message to Khuzaima and his children are – we do not fear you or your futile attempts to use the judiciary system to try and persecute our belief systems. We are united more than ever under our Moula Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin TUS. We too have faith in the Indian judiciary system that they will uphold justice and the belief and well acknowledged resolve of the community in accepting Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin’s RA successor Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin TUS as the 53rd Da’i Mutlaq.