Witnesses necessary even for private nass, says defence counsel
Syedna succession case On the 14th day of the hearing in the Bombay high court, defendant Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin’s counsel refuted the past instances of private nass submitted by the plaintiffs to prove that the nass conferred on Syedna Khuzaima Qutbuddin in December 1965 was accepted practice
Syedna succession case
On the 14th day of the hearing in the Bombay high court, defendant Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin’s counsel refuted the past instances of private nass submitted by the plaintiffs to prove that the nass conferred on Syedna Khuzaima Qutbuddin in December 1965 was accepted practice.
Counsel Fredun Di’Vitre informed Justice Gautam Patel that in the instances cited by the counsel, the authoritative books relied on by both sides had mentioned that all these nass were accompanied by tawqeef (confirmation by witnesses). As per the tenets of the faith, he submitted, nass had to be accompanied by tawqeef in order to be valid.
The counsel then referred to six instances of private nass (relied on by the plaintiffs), among them the appointment of Asif bin Barkhiya by Prophet Sulaiman and the appointment of the eighth Dai by the seventh Dai.
In the case of Prophet Sulaiman appointing Barkhiya, Di’Vitre submitted that it was stated in the authoritative books of the Dawoodi Bohras that the appointment was conveyed to the latter in the presence of four nuqaba (very close aides of the Prophet). Similarly, the eighth Dai was named as successor in the presence of witnesses but just to ensure that no one had any doubt, he had posed questions to the people of higher learning which he answered himself after they expressed their inability to do so.
The bench was told that even though the plaintiff had relied upon a sermon of the 52nd Dai wherein he had said that private nass was acceptable, Di’Vitre submitted that the spiritual leader had added that it had to have witnesses.
In the last part of the hearing, senior defence advocate Janak Dwarkadas, submitted a summary of the events after June 4, 2011, when news of the 52nd Dai being admitted to a hospital in London was announced till his demise in January 2014. Dwarkadas informed the bench that the plaintiffs had used strong words to describe the health condition of the 52nd Dai and had employed the word ‘coterie’ for the defendant and his brothers to show that they had managed the conferment of nass on Syedna Saifuddin by the former Dai though he was not in good health.
Dwarkadas further informed the bench that the ruse was probably adopted by the plaintiff to play down the four instances wherein the 52nd Dai had conferred nass on the defendant in unambiguous terms. The bench was told that in January 1969, the 52nd Dai had conferred nass on Syedna Saifuddin for the first time in the presence of witnesses. The second instance was in November 2005 and the third and fourth instances were on June 6, 2011, and June 20, 2011.
The counsel submitted that despite such clear instances, the plaintiffs were denying the nass as also the views of the defendant’s witnesses who confirmed the four instances of nass. He informed the bench that he would not only give details of the four events but would also show that the December 1965 event claimed by the plaintiff probably did not happen.