Khuzaima Qutbuddin, who had challenged his nephew’s appointment as the spiritual head of the Dawoodi Bohra community, passed away in the United States where he was on a visit.
Qutbuddin, who was 75, had filed a petition in the Bombay high court challenging the appointment of Mufaddal Saiffudin, the son of Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin, his late half-brother, as the 53rd Dai or head of the one-million strong community.
On January 17, 2014, when Mohammad Burhanuddin, the 52nd Dai or spiritual leader died, Khuzaima Qutbuddin had issued a statement that his brother had appointed him as his successor 50 years ago on December 12 1965, when he publicly appointed him his second-in-command or “Mazoon”, the title of the second ranking leader in the Bohra religious hierarchy. He said he had been asked not to reveal the appointment at that time. He had said a private appointment is valid according to Bohra doctrine, and there are several historical precedents recorded in Bohra texts.
With Qutbuddin’s death, the dispute over the seat comes to an end. The next date of hearing in the high court is scheduled for April 22. During his cross examination in court, Qutbuddin had reiterated he and not his nephew, the current Dai, was the rightful successor to the seat.
Qutubuddin told the court the 52nd Syedna often referred to him as his beloved son and thus, implied through his affection that he wanted him not his son Mufaddal Saifuddin as his successor. He went on to say that although Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin had a habit of referring to his other brothers, too, as his sons, yet, “the context in his case was different” and ascertained he wanted him to be his successor.
Saifuddin and his supporters claim he was appointed successor by Burhanuddin himself in June 2011 in London. Burhanuddin was at the time recuperating in a hospital in London following a stroke. Saifuddin’s advocate.