Mumbai, Jan 17 IANS | 11 months ago

Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin, spiritual head of the Dawoodi Bohra community, died following cardiac arrest here Friday, an official said. He was 102.

The end came at Saifee Mahal, his residence in Malabar Hill in south Mumbai, his media associate Shaikh Qureish Raghib said Friday.

He is succeeded by his second son, Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin.

Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin had proclaimed Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin as his successor at a Nass (investiture) in London in 2011.

The new Syedna, who was on a visit to Sri Lanka, is expected to reach Mumbai and finalise the funeral and other arrangements.

"The Syedna passed away this (Friday) morning and was to celebrate his 103rd birthday next month. The Dawoodi Bohra community will observe a 10-day mourning for the departed spiritual leader. As a mark of respect for the Syedna, all shops and businesses run by the community members shall remain closed for the next three days," Raghib said.

As soon as the news spread through an official announcement, thousands of grieving Dawoodi Bohra community people rushed towards south Mumbai from different parts of the city and Thane.

Apprehending an unmanageable situation arising at Malabar Hill which also houses the governor, chief minister, deputy chief minister, home minister, top businessmen, diplomats, the community appealed to all Dawoodi Bohras to go and pray in mosques in their respective localities.

Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin had succeeded his father, the late Syedna Taher Saifuddin in 1965 and led the community for nearly five decades.

He will be buried beside his father at Raudat Tahera Mausoleum in Bhendi Bazar, south Mumbai. The funeral will likely be held Saturday.

Prior to that, the new Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin shall lead the 'Namaz-e-Janaza' (funeral procession) of his father at the Saifee Mosque nearby.

A marble building, the Raudat Tahera Mausoleum is renowned for the entire Holy Quran inscribed in gold letters and bejewelled precious stones -- a landmark in the city.

The new Syedna has worked closely with his father and received spiritual guidance from him.

Highly respected in the community, Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin travelled widely with the late Syedna, interacted with world political and religious leaders.

Under his father's directions, he also worked on several national and international projects, including the restoration of the famous Fatemi Mosques in Egypt and other important edifices in the Arab world.

The spokesperson said that thousands of community people from Mumbai, rest of India and around 40 countries worldwide are expected to converge for the funeral to pay last respects to the departed spiritual leader.

Hundreds of weeping Dawoodi Bohra members, including women and children went to around three dozen community mosques in Mumbai to offer prayers.

(Posted on 17-01-2014)

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