If you happen to visit Mumbai these days, you will see a surprising sight, something no citizen of Mumbai would have dreamt of witnessing it. The area around Raudat Tahera is on the verge of being transformed in to one that is more befitting of its grandeur and sanctity. In the brief interlude between the pulling down of the downtrodden structures and the building of the grand new project under the aegis of SBUT, one sees vast tracts of flat and open lands. When was the last time did Bhendi Bazar ever appear like this? A century ago? Possibly even more.
Certainly no buildings would have existed back to the 18th century when the 40th al-Dai al-Mutlaq, al-Dai al-Ajal Syedna Hebatullah al-Moaiyad fi al-Deen RA sent Maula Shah Malak to Mumbai to get in touch with the British Governor and enroll Syedna’s name in the roster of the East India Company. The reason for this was that in those days the Government of Bombay (as it was then) was higher in rank to that of Surat and, being enrolled in the company’s roster afforded privilege and protection from the atrocities of local rulers. The Government of Bombay issued special instructions to the officials of the East India Company to show Syedna every mark of respect whenever he passed through their territories.
In 1772 AD Syedna al-Moaiyad RA sent his nephew Shamsuddin Bhaisaheb to Mumbai to address matters of Dawat and enforce the tenets of sharia. These are some of the earliest references of the presence of Dawat and mumineen in Mumbai, even before Surat became the seat of Dawat.
The 43rd al-Dai al-Mutlaq, al-Dai al-Ajal Syedna Abdeali Saifuddin RA would often test his mansoos al-Dai al-Ajal Syedna Mohammed Ezzuddin RA. Once he ordered him to travel to an undisclosed location without informing his family. It was to Mumbai that Syedna RA had ordered him to travel. Upon reaching Mumbai he wrote to his family informing them of his whereabouts. The Mumineen of Mumbai availed of the barakat of his presence.
Syedna Mohammed Ezzuddin RA was held in great esteem by the then governor of Mumbai, Lord Elphinstone. It is said that in around 1233 H, a few important official documents were lost. Lord Elphinstone sought Syedna’s help to recover them. Syedna RA instructed his Aamil in Mumbai to help find the documents. The Aamil helped recover the documents for which the governor remained ever grateful to Syedna RA.
The 45th al-Dai al-Mutlaq, al-Dai al-Ajal Syedna Taiyeb Zainuddin RA was one of the prominent members of the legislative council of the Governor of Mumbai. The British Government accorded him immense respect and reverence.
The 47th al-Dai al-Mutlaq, al-Dai al-Ajal Syedna Abdul Qadir NajmuddinRA was born in Mumbai. Subsequent Doat Mutlaqeen RA would frequent Mumbai and stay at Badri Mahal in the Fort area of Mumbai.
Islampura was an area located in present-day Bhendi Bazaar. The 48th al-Dai al-Mutlaq, al-Dai al-Ajal Syedna Abdul Husain Husamuddin RA convened Asharah Mubarakah waaz here. It was here that he presented a small sword to al-Dai al-Ajal Syedna Taher Saifuddin RA when he was four years of age.
Syedna Taher Saifuddin RA upon becoming the Dai Mutlaq shifted the administrative offices of Dawat to Mumbai, though Surat remained and still remains the seat of Dawat, even to this day.
Today, nearly a century later, Mumbai boasts of one of the highest populace of Mumineen, and Raudat Tahera is the pivot of their lives. The two Dais who nurtured, uplifted and shaped the destiny of the entire community rest here, to answer their prayers, fulfil their wishes and offer them succor. Raudat Tahera is a garden of jannat, and all those who reside around this heavenly place are privileged. It is in recognition of this privilege that al-Dai al-Ajal Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin RA commissioned the Saifee Burhani Upliftment Project. With the blessings and dua mubarak of al-Dai al-Ajal Syedna Aali Qadr Mufaddal Saifuddin TUS this massive undertaking has commenced amidst innumerable hurdles and seemingly insurmountable entanglements. The project is a bestowment of Doat Mutlaqeen on the Mumineen of Mumbai and an irrefutable proof of what Allah says in the Quran:
نحن اوليائكم في الحيوة الدنيا وفي الاخرة
“We are your Awliyaa’ in this temporal life and in the hereafter.”
May Allah grant our Maula, Syedna Aali Qadr Mufaddal Saifuddin TUS a long life till the day of Qiyaamat.