Syedna Abde Ali Saifuddin (RA) was the 43rd Dai-al-Mutlaq. He was the youngest of four brothers, the second of whom was the 42nd Dai-al-Mutlaq, Syedna Yusuf Najmuddin (RA), Syedna Abde Ali Saifuddin’s (RA) predecessor and mentor.
The era of Syedna Abde Ali Saifuddin (RA) as Dai-al-Mutlaq from 1213 H to 1232 H is written in gold letters in the annals of dawat. It witnessed spiritual, intellectual and architectural growth.
The era of Syedna Abde Ali Saifuddin (RA) was witness to intense intellectual activity. Many scholars were actively involved in the spread of ‘ilm throughout this period. They were the disciples of Syedna Abde Ali Saifuddin (RA): Syedi Sadiq Ali Saheb used poetry to explain articles of faith; Syedi Abde Ali Imaduddin (QS) penned down haqiqat in his eloquent verses; Syedi Shaikh Ibrahim Saifee (QS) composed a book about the laws of nikah; Syedi Shaikh Qutubuddin (QS) specialized in writing the history of Aimmat Tahereen (SA) and Duat Mutlaqeen (RA).
Syedna Abde Ali Saifuddin’s (RA) efforts towards promoting two types of ‘ibadaat: ‘ibadat ‘ilmiyah (worship through learning) and ‘ibadat ‘amaliyah (worship through religious acts) were manifested in the form of two great architectural accomplishments. First, an enormous masjid was built during those difficult times such that people of great courage and determination would fail to build even during times of wealth and prosperity. This masjid is known as “Al-Masjid-ul-Moazzam”. Syedna Abde Ali Saifuddin (RA) prayed in this masjid for the first time on the 14th of Jumad il Ula in the year 1220 H. It was Friday and thousands of mumineen had gathered for this event. After namaaz, majlis was held and mumineen offered felicitations to Syedna (RA).
That day was celebrated like the day of Eid.
The second architectural landmark of his era was ‘Ad dars us Saifee’, a madrasa which was built to house the seekers of knowledge. The cost of the madrasah was 65,000 rupees, and Syedna Abde Ali Saifuddin (RA) built it from his personal funds. Later, Syedna Taher Saifuddin (RA) granted it the status of a university and today it is famously knows as ‘’Al-jamea-tus-Saifiyah.”
Third, Syedna Abde Ali Saifuddin (RA) organized the activities of dawat. He was very particular about the system of raza in teaching. Moreover, he emphasized nobility of character. Once, he had earmarked a mumin for the title of Hadiyat. Later, when he saw the same person walking with arrogance, Syedna (RA) dismissed the thought of conferring Hadiyat on him because a raise in status would make him even more arrogant.
Syedna Abde Ali Saifuddin (RA) protected mumineen during two disastrous calamities: the floods and the great drought. Syedna Abde Ali Saifuddin (RA) sheltered 12,000 mumineen who had fled Kutch towards his hazrat in Surat. He sustained them for eleven months. Not only did he take care of their food and shelter but provided them with tools so that they could practice their craft and earn money. The earnings were deposited with a committee formed by Syedna (RA). After 11 months, mumineen returned to their hometowns and the deposited amount was handed over to them.
Syedi Abdul Qadir Hakimuddin (QS) whom Syedna Abdeali Saifuddin (RA) had selected as successor and on whom he had great faith, died unexpectedly. Syedna (RA), with the ‘noor of Allah’ chose Syedna Mohammed Ezzuddin (RA) as his successor and prepared him to shoulder the enormous responsibility of dawat. The grooming was so perfect that when people saw Syedna Mohammed Ezzuddin (RA) walking behind the janaza of Syedna Abde Ali Saifuddin (RA), they thought that it was in fact Syedna Abdeali Saifuddin (RA). Syedna Abde Ali Saifuddin (RA) troubled by ill health passed away on Monday, the 12th of Zilqad, in 1232 H at a young age of 43 years.
–by Shk. Shabbir Adenwala (Dubai)