Treatise written by 1st Dai states that Nass requires witnesses: defendant
Senior advocate Fredun Di’Vitre representing defendant Syedna Saifuddin further refuted the claim of the original plaintiff that the letter and alamat (bestowal of a Quranic verse) by the 51st Dai on him were an instruction to the 52nd Dai to appoint him as his successor
Mumbai: The counsel for defendant Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin on Tuesday informed the Bombay high court that as per the tenets of the Dawoodi Bohra faith, the confirmation of nass definitely required witnesses though views on the number of witnesses might differ, as texts in this regard simply said “persons”. However, the claim of original plaintiff Syedna Khuzaima Qutbuddin—that he was the witness of the nass conferred on him by the 52nd Dai on December 10, 1965—would be stretching the interpretation of the word “persons”.
Senior advocate Fredun Di’Vitre representing defendant Syedna Saifuddin further refuted the claim of the original plaintiff that the letter and alamat (bestowal of a Quranic verse) by the 51st Dai on him were an instruction to the 52nd Dai to appoint him as his successor. Di’Vitre submitted that if that were the case, the 52nd Dai would have been made aware of it by his predecessor, but there was no evidence to show this.
Replying to the oft-asked question by Justice Gautam Patel on what according to the Dawoodi Bohra faith constituted a valid nass, Di’Vitre informed the bench of the risala (treatise) of the first Dai which was written by him based on the instructions of the 19th Imam. The treatise stated that every Dai had to appoint a successor in his lifetime in the presence of a group of persons of the Da’wa who would be witnesses to the appointment. The bench was told that the instructions had been followed by all the later Dais, and the 51st Dai had also emphasised it in his own risala.
Di’Vitre said that apart from witnesses, an announcement of succession had to be clear and unambiguous like the Holy Prophet’s appointment of Ali as his successor in the incident of Ghadeer-e-Khum. He submitted that the Prophet had conferred nass on Ali by stating, ‘Of whomsoever I am Master, this Ali is his Master’, which was an unequivocal declaration that Ali was his successor.
The senior counsel briefly dealt with the other question repeatedly asked by Justice Patel: Why did the original plaintiff, who believed that he had been conferred nass by his predecessor in December 1965, remain silent after June 6, 2011, when the succession of the defendant, Syedna Saifuddin, was announced in Saifee Masjid?
Di’Vitre referred to the examination and cross-examination of the original plaintiff where he had stated that he remained silent as he was in ‘taqiyya’ (precautionary silence). However, Di’Vitre informed the bench that the explanation did not hold, as taqiyya was observed only when a religious belief was under threat.
Di’Vitre also referred to the plaintiff’s refutation of the translation of texts relied upon by the defendant. The counsel said that though both sides accepted the books, they differed on the meaning and interpretation. To this, Justice Patel remarked that if that was the case, the court would have to reject the evidence of both sides.