Syedna Abde Ali Saifuddin R.A was the 43rd Da’i al-Mutlaq of the Dawoodi Bohra. He was the son of 41st Da’i al-Mutlaq Abduttayyeb Zakiuddin III and the brother of the 42nd Da’i al-Mutlaq Syedna Yusuf Najmuddin. He was a Dai, scholar, and poet and one of the most venerated Dawoodi Bohra Dai.


Syedna Abde Ali Saifuddin R.A was born on 9 Safar 1188 Hijri (20 April 1774 AD), succeeded the 42nd Da’i al-Mutlaq on 18 Jumada al-Thani 1213 Hijri (28 October 1798 AD), and died on 12 Dhu al-Qi’dah 1232 Hijri (23 September 1817 AD) and is buried in al-Qubbah al-Najmiyah in Surat. He was only twelve when his father died. He was then brought up by his elder brother Syedna Yusuf Najmuddin in Surat. Syedna Najmuddin himself was an extraordinary scholar. He trained and educated Abde Ali Saifuddin in the tradition and learning that was the treasured inheritance of the Fatimid-Ismaili community.

The era of Syedna Abde Ali Saifuddin was witness to drastic intellectual activity. Many scholars were actively entangled in the spread of knowledge throughout this period. They were the disciples of Syedna Abde Ali Saifuddin: Syedi Sadiq Ali Saheb used poetry to explain articles of faith; Syedi Abde Ali Imaduddin penned haqiqat in his eloquent verses; Syedi Shaikh Ibrahim Saifee composed a book about the laws of nikah; Syedi Shaikh Qutubuddin specialized in writing the history of Aimmat Tahereen (SA) and Duat Mutlaqeen (RA).


Syedna Abdeʿali Saifuddin RA made an essential contribution to the development of the Arabic language in South Asia by developing a methodology that enabled students to quickly become proficient in Arabic. Arabic vocabulary and grammar were indirectly acquired by beginners through the introduction of complex Arabic texts orally translated and explained by instructors. This method was in contrast to the one prevalent at the time which involved thorough schooling in grammar and vocabulary before introducing Arabic study texts.

A vital element in this method of instruction was the use of Lisān al-Daʿwat: the vernacular of the Dawoodi Bohra community. A structural derivative of Gujrati written in the Arabic script, Lisān al-Daʿwa’s vocabulary mainly consists of Arabic, Persian, Urdu, and Sanskrit lexicon. The usage of Lisān al-Daʿwa facilitates the easy acquisition of Arabic. The pivotal decision to study texts in their original Arabic has enabled students to accurately fathom the intricacies of meaning and has led to Al-Jamea becoming a center of excellence in Arabic studies in South Asia.

An exceptional scholar and writer, Syedna Saifuddin RA was referred to as ‘Muʾayyad Asghar’, a reference to Syedna al-Muʿayyad al-Shirazi RA (d. 471/1078), the author of eight hundred majālis (sermons) on Fatimi thought and philosophy.

Syedna Saifuddin RA wrote many epistles and literary works which clarified ambiguities about Fatimi thought and jurisprudence. Due to his keen interest in the dissemination of knowledge, he oversaw the writing of historical and jurisprudential works such as the elaboration of the chapter of marriage from Daʿāʾim al-Islam by Syedi Ibrahim Saifee QR and a condensed history of Fatimi imams and their dāʿīs by Syedi Shaikh Qutub bin Sulayman  QR.

Syedna was also an administrator par excellence, and the community’s governance was regulated and formalized during his tenure. He devised an unprecedented, systematic documentation process for marriages within the community and provided guidelines for the organs of Dawat to function efficiently.


  • He built the educational institute Al-Dars-al-Saifee in 1224 Hijri (later renamed Aljamea-tus-Saifiyah by Syedna Taher Saifuddin). The cost of the madrasah was 65,000 rupees, and Syedna Abde Ali Saifuddin (RA) built it from his funds.
  • He built the al-Masjid al-Moazzam in Surat in 1219 Hijri, which was later renovated by Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin in 1417 Hijri.
  • During the Indian families of 1813 (1228 Hijri), 12,000 Dawoodi Bohras traveled to Surat where he housed, fed, maintained, and uplifted them at his own expense. 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 eleven months, the mumineen returned to their hometowns and the deposited amount was handed over to them.
  • He made an important contribution to the development of Arabic in South Asia by developing a methodology that enabled students to quickly become proficient in Arabic. He was referred to by his contemporaries as al-Moiyed al-Asghar (the second Moiyed) after the famous Isma’ili scholar and poet Mu’ayyad fi’l-Din al-Shirazi.
  • His major contributions consist of systemizing the machinery of the Da’wah, including formalizing the curriculum and setting out the rules and regulations of the Dawoodi Bohra teachings.


Syedna (RA) chose Syedna Mohammed Ezzuddin as his successor and prepared him to shoulder the responsibility of dawa’t. Syedna Abde Ali Saifuddin (RA), troubled by ill health died on Monday, the 12th of Zilqad, in 1232 AH at a young age of 43 years. (23 September 1817 AD)

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