Bombay High Court Declaratory Suit 13th, 14th & 16th February 2018

The cross-examination of the Plaintiff, Syedna Taher Fakhruddin Saheb (TUS) continued on the 13th, 14th, and 16th of February 2018 in the Hon’ble Bombay High Court.  

On 13th February, Senior Counsel Mr. Iqbal Chagla for the Defendant, Shehzada Mufaddal Saifuddin, asked the Plaintiff about a treatise of the 51st Dai which states that Nass should be in the presence of “people” from the Dawat. The Plaintiff responded that the translated word “people” is a general meaning and the Arabic word used in the text is ‘jamaat’. He further said that the Prophet Mohammed SA had himself said that “a single believer is a jamaat.”

In response to a question from Mr. Chagla on whether Nass of succession should be explicit, the Plaintiff responded that conferment of Nass must be by a direct statement or clear indication, as is explained in the Dawoodi Bohra misaaq (oath).

On 14th February, Mr. Chagla asked the Plaintiff whether he accepted that the compilation listing Ismaili treatises on law, doctrine and history, authored by Ismail bin Abdurrasool al-Ujjaini (al-Majdu) was an authoritative compilation. The Plaintiff replied that this compilation should not be regarded as fully authoritative, as the author of this compilation, known in the community as the renegade al-Majdu, revolted against the 40th Dai.

Mr. Chagla sought to ask further questions on al-Majdu’s compilation which the Hon’ble Justice Patel disallowed on the grounds that the Defendant would first have to prove that al-Majdu’s compilation was authoritative in the community.

On 16th February, the Plaintiff produced a video recording of the 52nd Dai Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin Saheb RA, in which the 52nd Dai said that “no conceptions of Majdu should be adopted” and that any works authored by al-Majdu should be treated with extreme caution.

Mr. Chagla produced an audio recording of a sermon of the 51st Dai Syedna Taher Saifuddin Saheb RA in which the Defendant claims that the 51st Dai spoke of a requirement of witnesses to nass. The Plaintiff produced an enhanced (for clarity) version of the same recording and said it is clear that no requirement of witnesses is discussed. In fact, he said, the 51st Dai does not even mention witnesses (“shaahido ne bhi”), rather he mentions writings (“kaaghazo ma bhi”). The Hon’ble Justice Patel noted this crucial difference and stated that it would have to be examined separately.

Mr. Chagla asked the Plaintiff if there were any proofs of the 27th Dai’s rightful succession against the rival claimant Sulayman, other than the fact that he was the Mazoon of the 26th Dai. The Plaintiff replied that the 25th Dai had stated that the Imam appeared in a vision before him in a dream and instructed him to appoint both “the two Daud’s” the 26th and the 27th Dais after him. The Plaintiff also said that when the 26th Dai appointed the 27th Dai as Mansoos, some people objected. The 26th Dai responded to the objectors that in fact it is was his predecessor the 25th Dai who had instructed him (26th Dai) to appoint his successor Syedna Daud bin Qutubshah as the 27th Dai.

The Plaintiff also noted that the 51st Dai in his Risalat states that Sulayman accepted the succession of Syedna Qutubshah (the 27th Dai) by performing Sajda to him, before he rebelled a few years later.

(The Defendant, Shahzada Mufaddal Saifuddin, has prostrated before the Original Plaintiff Syedna Khuzaima Qutbuddin RA, and video recordings of this have been submitted in evidence.)

The Hon’ble Justice Patel has scheduled the further cross-examination of the Plaintiff on 21st and 22nd of March 2018 and if required on the 10th, 11th and 13th April 2018.